Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tips on Online Fundraising for Political Rookies

For rookie political campaigns, online fundraising can be daunting, appearing to require digital expertise in everything from website building to #cashtags and online video. But even those "starting from scratch" can succeed reassures a recent Campaigns & Elections magazine article by Laura Packard, partner in the Democratic digital strategy firm PowerThru Consulting. Packard ironically begins by warning neophyte fundraisers against rushing into the arms of an expensive digital consultant, especially one who offers to raise big bucks without a proven donor list. Instead, she suggests less costly basic steps to an online fundraising base. Start by being realistic about online fundraising goals, she advises. Direct mail, phone campaigns and big-donor meetings will bring in the bulk of donations; a digital effort is a valuable tool but a supplemental one. And while social media generates lots of buzz, the workhorse of online fundraising is still e-mail. So, Step No. 2 is to find a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to handle your e-mail deployment and response, ranging from small-file options like Constant Contact to NGP VAN used by most Democratic campaigns. Bottom line: Don't use a personal e-mail account that not only appears unprofessional but lacks good deliverability and response tracking. Third, build a decent website with a prominent e-mail sign-up and a way for potential donors to give via credit card. Website-building doesn't have to be expensive either; domain registration sites offer cheap/free tools to create web pages that are good enough for start-up. Finally, and most important, build that e-mail list; the bigger the list, the more money you can raise! For her suggestions on CRM options and list-building, go to http://www.campaignsandelections.com/campaign-insider/2544/starting-from-scratch-here-s-how-to-hit-your-online-fundraising-goal

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