As grassroots organizing becomes more and more common, political fundraising has increasingly become a hot topic of conversation (even sparking a well-loved meme). Small-dollar fundraising is a simple way for individuals to get involved in campaigns.
Even a few dollars can go a long way. During the 2020 elections, over 1.6 million small-dollar donors contributed to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, with amounts ranging from $5 to $15. Campaigns and candidates might not feel comfortable asking for money, but fear not: political fundraising doesn’t need to rely on awkward solicitation. Here are a few more creative ideas for people-powered political fundraising:
Encourage volunteers to engage with family and friends by starting a donation chain. Volunteers can start by donating a small amount and sending a text to a family member, encouraging them to match the initial amount. Better yet, volunteers can challenge them to raise the amount by a few dollars (or more) and send similar messages to other supporters within their network. If the chains continue, a single volunteer can generate a significant donation total.
Political fundraising letters may seem outdated compared to the quick process of donating online, but they're not going anywhere anytime soon. Volunteers have the chance to personalize messages to supporters when writing letters. Plus, letters can be more popular than online donation methods with older populations that are less familiar with technology, or populations that don't have ready access to technology. Incentivize supporters with a pizza party (or any party of their choice), turn on some upbeat music, and get to writing.
Sometimes, personal offerings can be more valuable than a large gift basket. For volunteers with unique skills or talents, an auction with friends and family is an enjoyable way to fundraise. For example, a volunteer with a talent for cooking could auction off a favorite recipe. Or, a volunteer with endless knowledge about a particular industry can auction off an hour of consultation. The offering can even be as simple as an embarrassing story that friends are dying to know! Volunteers can get creative and enjoy the quality time that results from this unique political fundraising option.
Social media is increasingly important to political campaigns. In fact, 15% to 18% of donations are referred directly from Facebook in an average peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Whenever a volunteer donates, ask them to upload a story, tweet, or post with an original hashtag and a short description of why they donated. Starting a social media hashtag campaign allows supporters to see the momentum of their political fundraising efforts and encourage others to take action.
Got junk? For volunteers who have been putting off a deep clean, a yard sale is an optimal way to clear out their space while generating funds to donate. Volunteers can even coordinate a larger community garage sale for anyone who wants to participate. Of course, not all community members have to donate. But a yard sale could also be a great space for volunteers to connect with other neighbors who are interested in getting involved with a political campaign.
Encouraging volunteers to create teams for peer-to-peer texting or phone banking is a simple way to create a fun political fundraising experience. Teams can give volunteers a sense of camaraderie and turn individual texting into a group experience. Campaigns can even offer incentives to the winning teams, like free campaign merch or a shout-out on social media.
Ultimately, political fundraising comes down to connecting with supporters and making fundraising a positive experience. With these tips, campaigns can fundraise successfully, minimize awkward requests, increase enjoyment for volunteers.