The Fundraising Plan

  1. First, make a budget. For County Board, here are some targets:
    • High: $25,000
    • Middle: $15,000
    • Low: $7,500
  2. Write a plan with goals, and how to reach them.
  3. Who are you getting the money from? Identify your targets and how best to reach each kind of target.
  4. Start raising money today.
  5. EMILY'S List has it right: Early Money Is Like Yeast. It raises the dough.
    • Try to raise at least half of your money before June 1.
    • You are competing with other candidates for money. Be first and be persistent.
    • You should not be raising money in October. That’s too late.
  6. Fundraising channels: use them all.
    • Direct appeal
    • Website
    • Social media (including digital ads)
    • Direct mail
  7. Lists
    • Don’t buy a list. You will lose money on the deal.
    • You can ask the party to publicize your events using their list. That’s free.
  8. Build your own list of high, medium and low dollar donor prospects.

Sample donor plan

Donor type Number of donors Amount of donation Total amount raised


20 $500 $10,000
Medium 50 $50


Low 100 $25 $2,500


Donor types

  1. Personal relationships give first and don't require a lot of money or effort to cultivate. Ask them now.
    • Friends and family
    • Neighbors
    • Colleagues, vendors and customers
    • Community groups you belong to
  2. Small affinity donors are getting lots of asks. They want to give a little to everyone who’s “on their side.”
    • Party members
    • Elected officials
  3. Your opponent’s enemies are worth seeking out. Some of them may become your donors.
    • Special interests threatened by your opponent (especially if an incumbent)
    • Personal enemies
  4. Big donors have long decision cycles and require lots of effort to cultivate.
    • Labor unions
    • PACs
    • Lobbying organizations
    • Businesses

Donor research

  1. State Board of Elections
  2. Open Secrets
  3. Follow the Money
  4. FEC

Donor management

  1. Database can be anything from Excel to NGP, NationBuilder, etc.
  2. All prospects, donors and activities should be tracked.
  3. Once you get a donation, that donor should be on the list for a second and third ask.
  4. Thank all donors in writing. Every time.

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Democratic Party of McHenry County