Campaigning in today’s political world is expensive. Over the last few decades, we have seen the cost per vote increase, and the standards voters have set to receive that vote has risen along with that. This is why fundraising has become one of the most important parts of running a campaign. Sometimes it is hard to ask for money, especially if politics is something new in one’s life. It can be awkward at times but overcoming that fear of “no” will serve a politician and a campaign well. The key to fundraising is to start early, even before announcing in some cases. Lining up a few bigger donors before entering a race can make all the difference, as an early infusion of cash into a campaign can set it up for success. It is not hard to find these people, they are usually business leaders in the community or district a candidate is running in, and they have a great stake in the success of the area.
Meeting individually with these donors is a must, and this is probably not their first time being courted by a campaign for money, so go in with a plan, and a detailed explanation on your goals once elected. This does not by any means however, imply that smaller donations are not important. They add up. This means that hosting fundraisers and inviting supporters is important. It not only rallies the base, but also a chance to collect a lot of little donations. Creating buy in to a campaign is vital to getting volunteers, and this is something these fundraising events do. Volunteer retention is something that will be covered in detail at a later date.
There is no set amount of money it takes to run a race; every race is different and thus requires a different amount of support. That being said, sometimes off year, or down-ballot races get lost, and good candidates go unfunded. This does not spell defeat though, many campaigns have been underfunded and still won, but what it does mean is that the campaign must be smart about what they spend money on. The number one thing a campaign should spend money on before ANYTHING else is staff. Even if this means a singular person that just manages the campaign with the candidate, having people to share the workload is paramount. By even multiplying a campaign's manpower by two, so much more can get done, and donors will see their money being put to very effective use. We will discuss staffing at a later date, but it is something that the initial cash influx to a campaign must be spent on if they are serious about winning and covering the most ground possible.