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Hottest New Campaign Tips and Strategies

Raising Money in Difficult Times

By Mark Montini
Reprinted with permission - July-27-07

I've had three different conversations this week with Republican state party leaders discussing how difficult it is to raise money right now. The truth is that almost every Republican organization and candidate out there is struggling to raise money. And you don't have to be a genius to figure out why.

President Bush's approval rating is about 10 points south of Michael Vick's. The much-heralded immigration bill turned out to be much, much, much (how many times can I say much?) more popular inside the beltway than outside the beltway. And, to top it all off, the 8,231 Republican candidates for president are focusing almost all their attention right now on raising money.

So what's a local candidate or organization to do in difficult times like these?


Let's start with PRIORITIZE.

Prospecting (i.e. bringing in new donors) is not a good investment of time or money right now if you're a Republican candidate. It's just not working very well and you'll most likely end up losing money. The tide will turn and prospecting will pick up again before long, but right now you just need to weather the storm. While you're doing that, prioritize your fundraising activities on people with whom you have an existing relationship (i.e. friends, family, colleagues, customers, etc) and/or people who have given to your campaign before.

Don't forget that "people with whom you have an existing relationship" means more than just people with whom the candidate has an existing relationship. It applies for friends, family, colleagues, and customers of the candidate as well. In other words, you want to focus your fundraising on those who will give because of a relationship rather than an ideology.

Once you prioritize, you need to PERSONALIZE.

In difficult times like these, prioritizing isn't enough. You must also find ways to personalize your fundraising appeals. Traditional "mass marketing" to your prioritized list isn't going to work. You must talk with them personally, or have some with whom they have a relationship talk to them personally. The "talking" can be done by mail, phone, or in person - but it needs to be personal.

Bottom line: When times get tough, focus your fundraising almost exclusively on people who will contribute because of a relationship, not an ideology.


About the author

--Mark Montini is widely recognized as one of America’s leading political communication consultants and trainers.

Known for his “outside-the-box” approach, Mark has worked with CEO’s, Members of Congress, Members of Parliament and leaders from four continents.


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