TOP TIPS: Fundraising While Social Distancing
1. Remember You Are Enough. In some ways, fundraising hasn’t changed with the onset of COVID-19. Great candidates like you still need funds. Donors still expect campaigns to ask for money. Remember you got this and you are worth investing in, especially now.
2. Ask. The main reason why people give is because they were asked. It may feel inappropriate to ask for money right now, but more than ever, COVID-19 is showing us that our collaborative leadership style is what is needed and we can only do that if we are in those political positions to make the decisions.
3. Be Sensitive. Acknowledge the anxiety and fear that is dominating this time of COVID-19. But don’t give into it. Show how you are already leading, offer some resources, then do your money ask.
4. Be Creative. Do a MATCH: Ask $25 for the flood bank and $25 for your campaign; be FUNNY: Host a pajama-bottom-work-top-only Zoom fundraiser; use VISUALS: Put a thermometer on your website that tracks giving; go LIVE: Invite donors to Facebook Live and for every donation received, have the candidate celebrate in real time.
5. Pay Attention to Tone. Uplifting is okay. Funny is okay. Playful is okay. Opportunistic is NOT okay. Divisive is NOT okay. “Pollyanna” is NOT okay.
6. Explore Different Platforms. People usually give via the candidate's website, an email or in person via check. Explore other platforms such as Paypal, Venmo, or Zelle. Make sending money to the campaign as easy as possible for the donor.
7. Remember Why People Give. People donate to political campaigns for many reasons, make sure your ask or follow-up matches those motivations. Often people give because:
- They want to be recognized -- so do real-time thank-yous or shout-out;
- They want face time with or proximity to the candidate -- so write a handwritten thank-you note;
- They want to get inside information from the campaign -- so have the campaign manager respond with a personal email;
- It fulfills a social aspect for them -- so consider a social platform for the fundraiser; and
- The enemy of my enemy is my friend -- so… I don’t know, do 10 jumping jacks?
8. Keep Your Fundraising Team in the Loop. Internally, consider holding morning or evening Zoom calls with your host committee to keep them updated on your campaign, and offer members input on planning online events.
9. Still Do Call Time. And think about sending out personal texts, leaving voice messages, or sending a handwritten note. Remember to acknowledge the anxiety of the time, show how you are already leading, offer some resources, and then do your ask.
10. Be Safe. Some campaigns are (understandably) worried about handling checks right now, but, according to the USPS, there is “currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.” If you want to be extra cautious, you can quarantine incoming checks for a few days.