Worst Mistakes Candidates Make #5

Not having a Fundraising Plan

Getting into a Race without a Realistic Notion of Where the Campaign Funding is going to come from.

I once met with a candidate for Governor in a Midwestern state. He had several good reasons for running, was articulate, attractive, energetic, had a solid business background, a good legislative record and a clean personal history.

When the discussion got around to fundraising, I asked him about his fundraising plan. He didn’t have one. I asked how he intended to raise the several million it would take to run for Governor, and he mumbled something about hiring a direct mail firm. In other words, he’d not given the subject much thought. Big mistake, and as it turned out for him, a fatal one. He never had the money he needed because he never did have a fundraising plan worthy of the name.

For all the talk about the wonders of internet and direct mail fundraising, there remains an ugly truth. Unless you are prepared to self-fund your race, you will have to personally ask people for money. In meetings. In groups. Over the phone.

Can’t ask for money? Then don’t run unless you are prepared to pay for the campaign out of your own pocket. Can’t pay for your campaign out of your own pocket? Then learn to ask for money.

There are a myriad of ways to fundraise which I cover in my video on the rudiments and fundamentals of raising money, a tutorial in which I also define several different tiers of givers…but the most important of these are family and friends. They should be the first people you ask, and they should be asked before the campaign ever becomes public. If they won’t give, rethink what you are doing. It may be a sign that your campaign is never going to have the resources needed. Best to know that before you start the campaign than to learn it after you have begun to ring up a lot of campaign bills.

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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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