At some point during your political campaign, if you are doing things right, you are likely to experience a major fundraising achievement. Whether it’s right before an important FEC fundraising deadline, or part of a final campaign push, you need to be ready when it happens. Because once those donations come pouring in, any sudden or unexpected roadblocks could kill the entire effort.
If you’re planning a big political fundraising haul, here’s what you need to do to prepare:
- Map out a game plan well in advance
Big fundraisers don’t happen by chance. They’re carefully planned and meticulously orchestrated, sometimes months in advance. Your campaign can’t simply sit around waiting for the money to come in. You need to plan every aspect, create goals and set deadlines.
Consider the logistics. How will people donate? What is the appeal? Why will they respond to it? Who on your team is going to track totals? How will you follow up with donors? Leave no question unanswered.
- Let your team know what to expect
No one on your team should be in the dark about your fundraising plans – even if those plans are a single email blast. Get the whole campaign involved. Set realistic expectations. Keep everyone motivated, but avoid hype.
If you promise too much and fail to deliver, your fundraiser will be a huge disappointment. If your goal is too low, a massive haul may make your team overly confident. Use every available data point to understand what results you can expect to achieve.
- Accepting online donations? Make sure your website can handle it
If you plan to take donations online, make sure your site will be able to handle the extra load. This isn’t a time to build your own site and hope for the best. You need to rely on secure, trusted technology. If you expect a sudden surge in visitors and/or contributions, check with your host to ensure your site will stay live regardless of the traffic you receive.
- Keep an eye on fundraising as it’s happening
Again, this is especially critical if you’ll be getting donations online. If you send out an email blast at 6pm with the expectation of receiving a flurry of donations overnight, you can’t simply go to bed with your fingers crossed. Make sure someone is tracking the donations and monitoring site traffic all night.
If something were to go wrong, like your website crashing, and nobody on your team knew about it until the next morning, then you’d lose an entire night’s worth of donations. And you might not get that opportunity again.
- Be ready for reporting
Congratulations, you raised $1 million! Now, how do you plan to report those donations to the FEC? Did you collect the proper information from your donors? Can you confirm they are all U.S. citizens?
Make sure you’re aware of all FEC reporting requirements before launching your big fundraising push. Additionally, make sure you have a team who can work with the data to ensure every dollar is accounted for and processed properly.