3 Lazy Ways Political Candidates Can Raise Money

Political candidates love to spend money on their campaigns. They just hate the process of raising it.

Many candidates feel uncomfortable asking for money and feel sleazy when doing it. They hate calling up strangers and asking for a contribution.

Heck, most candidates don’t even want to ask people they know to financially support your campaign.

These feelings are normal and mean that you are normal and not an robotic fundraising sociopath.

That’s probably why you like the idea that there are lazy ways for political campaigns to raise money.

“Lazy” in this instance is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more accurate to say these are three “passive” ways to raise money for political candidates to raise money.

As any person who has attained a fair amount of wealth will tell you, passive income is a great source of money.

While passive political fundraising won’t be as lucrative to a candidate as a passive income streams are to an entrepreneur, however there are ways to collect some random contributions that your regular fundraising efforts might miss.

1. On your Campaign Website

Your political campaign’s website needs to be set up to accept contributions.

But any financial solicitations on your website should not be obnoxious.

When someone visits your website they are most likely coming there to learn more about you and what you stand for. You don’t want to overwhelm them with appeals for donations as way too many campaigns are doing.

Instead you make giving to your campaign through your website feel like a seamless and natural experience.

You do this by having a Donate button near the top of your website.  I recommend the upper right hand corner of your site, and the Donate button should be easy to find and possibly stand out in your color scheme.

Don’t have a fundraising popup. I know popups work, that’s how I’ve grown The Campaign School newsletter organically, but don’t use popups as a fundraiser.

Use any popups on your campaign’s website to collect information on the voters, particularly emails and phone numbers so you can contact them later, but not for fundraising.

A hyperlink to donate should also be in the footer menu of your website.

And here’s a pro tip:  Have the text on your website’s donate button read “Donate Now.”  It’s psychologically a call to action that tells a potential donor not to wait to send your campaign money, but to do so immediately.

2. In All of your Emails

Your campaign should be sending out emails, specifically to your campaign supporters.

Now every email you send out should not be a fundraising appeal. Too many campaigns (especially federal races) are clogging inboxes with their relentless appeals for money.

You don’t want to follow their example.  Instead,I recommend at 1:4 ratio. That means for every four emails you send out, the fourth can be solely a fundraising solicitation.

However, you can still be looking to raise money in every way. You just want to do it passively and not in a heavy-handed way.

Here’s what you should try out. In your campaign’s emails that are simply a regular communication to your supporters, include a post script that very lightly requests a campaign contribution.

It might read something like this.

P.S.  If you agree with my plan/priorities for our city/community/state/nation, you can help me take my message to the voters with a contribution. I would be honored to receive any financial assistance you might be able to offer.  Tap this link if you would like to contribute to my campaign to (key message or slogan).

You would include a hyperlink in the last sentence that takes those who do tap the link to your online fundraising service.

3. At Your Non-Fundraising Events

You read that correctly.  Candidates can fundraise at their non-fundraising events.

This might at first seem like contradictory advice, but I’ve noticed that at every  non-fundraising event the candidates I’ve been working with, their events have raised money.

More than one person always shows up with a check and others ask how they can contribute to the campaign.

Even though the event you may be holding isn’t an actual fundraiser, you need make it easy for those who offer of their own accord to give you money.

There are two very simply ways for candidates to do this. One is high tech, the other as low tech as it can be.

The high tech way is to have a QR code on a printed piece of material, your handout or a banner that people can scan with their phone. The QR code would then take the potential donor to your campaign’s website with its “Donate Now” button in the upper right hand area or your online fundraising service.

Since your campaign has a nice bright Donate Now button on your site, they know exactly what to do once their smart phone takes them there.

The low tech way is to have a “fishbowl” at your event’s check in table.

The “fishbowl” doesn’t need to be an actual fisbhowl, but it can be. It can also be a large glass like a piano player in a hotel lounge might have or some other clear cylindrical object with an open top such as that.

When you put the fishbowl on the event’s check-in table as you set up you want to put one of our own personal folded and voided check in it.

Just like your lounge piano player or bartender already has cash in their big tip glass to gently nudge people into a gratuity, you want to do the same.  No one wants to be first or alone.

If you have a “fishbowl” on the table, you do need to have someone sitting with it at the check-in table the entire time.

The risk isn’t so much that money is going to walk out the door with someone.

No, what your volunteer or staff member is doing standing guard of the “fishbowl” is to ensure that checks that any contributions coming in comply laws and regulations of the area and the race you are in.

Every place is different when it comes to how much money a campaign can accept, what entities you can accept contributions from, and what specific practices you can use to raise money.

I am not a lawyer and am not giving legal advice here, so if you want a solid legal answer to what is and isn’t permissible, I strongly suggest you contact a lawyer in your state who is an authority in this area.

Your “fishbowl” monitor will also be responsible for preventing anyone from putting cash into your “fishbowl.”  You should not be taking cash as a political contribution under any circumstance.

Cash is always problematic, both from a legal stand point, as well as the appearance it creates.

Since a “fishbowl” feels like a natural place for someone to drop a $20 or $100 into it to help your campaign you must vigilantly guard against someone that wants to give your campaign cash.

Don’t let them do it!  Do not take cash. Tell them they can write your campaign a check or donate online.

And there you have it, three passive, potentially lazy ways, that you can raise money for your political campaign.