How to do Fundraising and Actually Feel Good About It

Fundraising is the hardest thing in the world for a candidate to do. It is the hardest thing in the world for anyone to do.

Most of us are taught early in life to be self-sufficient, provide for ourselves and to not lean on others for support.

There are people that enjoy fundraising, but for your average person it is almost a counter intuitive thing paramount to pan handling and can be very humiliating.

OK, Yes, Got it! Fundraising sucks.


You are not asking someone for money to buy a beer, or party, or because you are just too lazy to get up and go to work?

No. You are asking them to invest in their community through you and you should feel good about that.

You are running for office because you want to make your community better and you have the skills and ability to serve the voters of your district.

You are running for office because a job needs to be done or a job is not being done and because your community needs committed representatives.

When you are fundraising you are asking someone to give your campaign money, you are not asking them for money to put in your pocket.  It is going into a committee that is intended to be used for specific things like running for office or political communication.

So in a sense it is not really your money, it is the campaign’s money.

When you are fundraising you are really asking for money to do something positive for the community.  So you should feel good about fundraising.

If somebody wants change, agrees with your position, thinks you can help bring the change desired, and has the financial means to give, they should be willing to “invest in their community” by making a contribution to your campaign committee.

When they do, it should give you a good feeling.


I am going to assume here that you do not have the money to self-finance your campaign.

So if you are not self-funded how else will you get the money to communicate your message to the voters?

Yard signs are $4-$7 per piece.  500 yard signs will cost you a minimum of $2,000.

Voter data will cost money and most reputable vendors generally have a minimum order or around $100 to $200.

Direct mail can run you, once you consider postage, printing, data, design, etc. $.65 or more, depending on the size of the targeted voting universe you are mailing.

So at $.65 per mailed piece and you are mailing to a target of 10,000 select voters the price would be $6,500.  Mail is expensive.

Even if you are relying on volunteers to design your campaign mailers and brochures, the printer and mail house (unless you are related to them) is not going to provide their materials and time for free.

The data company that provides you a cleaned up, formatted, targeted voter list will not do that work for free.

A sign company will not print you signs for free and the United States Post Office will certainly not give you free postage (they have enough trouble breaking even on their budget as it is).

Fundraising is the only way you will get the money you need to communicate your message to the voters.


These words uttered by former California State Treasurer and former Speaker of the California State Assembly, Jess M. Unruh, were as profound as they were unsettling for many.

We are not talking about buying votes here.  And we are not trying to cast an ugly view of politics (that has already been done). We are talking about fundraising for a specific political purpose.

The fact of the matter is that campaign materials give you the ability to communicate your message to the voters and these materials cost money.

People that provide these materials are in business like anyone else and will expect to be paid.  They’ll be quite unlikely to “comp” you these items you need to communicate with voters.


This is famous line from Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”, meaning money has profound influence says it all.

Money will profoundly influence your ability to communicate with voters.

Think of campaigning as marketing and marketing costs money.  Many of you are business owners, managers, executives, and entrepreneurs and you know how much marketing can cost.  You also know important it is to make sure people know your company and products exist.

Think of a political campaign like a big marketing effort.  If you are not marketing your campaign and communicating with the voters in mass, it will be like you don’t exist.

Your voice, your message and what you have to offer the community will go unnoticed.


You need to tell people why they should vote for you.

Unless your district is only a few hundred voters, you will not be able to successfully reach all voters with a consistent message without using mail, phones, signs, and other forms of advertising.

I am a very big fan of precinct walking.  And precinct walking is one of the top things you must do to win on election day.  But while precinct walking is very important to your campaign, shoe leather alone will not get you elected.  You also need to be able to communicate in mass to your targeted universe.

Without money you can not reach everyone you need to reach with a consistent message and you will not win.

And if you do not get elected you will not be able to do the good things for your community that are  important to you and your supporters.

So feel good about fundraising.

If you have a problem with asking people to support your campaign, just keep remembering that you are asking them to invest in their community.

Think about it that way and start raising money today!!