Let’s face it…there are two possible outcomes in every political race. Filing to run is a relatively simple matter. Winning the race takes skills most candidates have never deployed and will need to learn, strengthen and maximize.
Campaigns are a marathon, not a sprint. The only time you’ll have all the answers is the day after the election — so maximizing every opportunity along the way is critical. Whatever else you have done in your life, campaigning for public office will be a whole new universe. The sooner you embrace the challenge and hit your stride, the better.
From the minute you announce your campaign, your top priority is building your base. You need donors, you need voters and you need endorsers and influencers. Some people will fall into more than one category, but knowing who you know, what they bring to the table and why they should care about your race is key to your fundraising and “friend-raising” success.
Politics is relationship building on steroids. Nothing is more important than authenticity, and nothing turns a prospective voter off more than a candidate who is faking it. Being the best version of yourself will always serve you better than trying to create the illusion that you are someone you’re not.
There are skills you are born with and skills you learn. Those who are born with natural abilities in one area, usually need training in other areas. We all have the capacity to learn and improve in many areas, but in the political arena, nothing is more critical than your communication skills. You need to be able to convey who you are, but more importantly, you need to inspire prospective voters and donors to believe that electing you will have a positive impact on them and the interests they care most about.
Remember, it’s not all about you. Learning to speak with the listener in mind is an art. Donors, voters and stakeholders want to know how your life experience, your ideas and your track record for getting things done will make an appreciable difference in their lives if you are elected.
The best candidates and elected officials want to influence, inspire and be change-makers.
Money in politics is a hot topic these days. Big donors get a lot of attention, but getting a few big checks is not as impactful as getting a lot of smaller ones.
Think about it. If everyone wrote a check for $25 to the candidate they liked best, not only would that candidate raise more money than they would from a handful of large checks, but when someone bets $25 on a horse, they pay attention to the race.
Bottom line: You need money fuel a campaign. How you approach fundraising will impact your fundraising success.
To raise what you need, you will have to put every relationship you’ve ever built — personally, professionally, politically and socially — on the line to build your fundraising base.
With the right attitude, the right toolkit, the right message and the right motivation, you can rapidly and effectively build your visibility, your credibility, your network and your financial resources.