Campaign Finances

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(Many thanks to Dietmar Strehl, the treasurer of the German Green Party, for his useful tips) 

Contents
1. Learning from the past
2. First the income
3. Then the expenses
4. Structuring the budget
[Print version of the entire article]

[Click here for Best Practice Examples]

Learning from the past
Some people consider that you need a miracle to finance a campaign for a small party. Most of them do not even want to start planning because they are convinced that there will never be enough money. Of course, writing figures on a page, counting and calculating does not increase the budget, but it is the first step towards doing so.

The treasurer of a campaign should always be a well respected person. He or she does not necessarily have to be old, but should have the trust of all parts, regions or factions of your party.

First of all, you should get an overview of what you need and what you have. The best way to start a new budget plan is to look for an old one. What did you spend in your last campaign? What happened then? Where did you get your money from?

If you have never before run a campaign in your town or country you should try to find out how much other parties on your level spent. The more information you can gather about their finances, the better. You don’t have access to your competitors’ data? Then ask Greens in other towns or countries of comparable size and with a similar financial situation. If your party has a big bank account, the situation is different from that of a poor party with no assets, even if the size of the town is comparable. Look for best practices of budgeting campaigns in a comparable party and learn from them. The most effective way of learning is by copying – try to copy from the budget plan of others, adjusting it as required.

Search for colleagues. Try to find experienced Green treasurers who can assist you. They can have a look at the draft of your budget at a very early stage and provide you with useful information.

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