Fundraising and Sponsoring

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1. Getting started – the right attitude
2. Fundraising – who and how
3. Sponsoring
[Print version of the entire article]

Getting started
You want to raise a huge amount of money in no time? Then you should play in a lottery – this article is going to disappoint you. Fundraising and sponsoring are well-planned efforts which require financial as well as personal resources.

Whereas a fundraiser usually doesn’t give anything directly in return for a donation, the situation is different for sponsoring. This is more like a business contract: a company gives money or contributions in kind to the party and will get something in return that both sides have agreed on: e.g. the company logo will be displayed at certain events, on the candidate’s car or on the back of a brochure.  We’ll come back to that later.

In some countries there are legal or cultural barriers for fundraising. You should always check the legal situation before you start fundraising. Sometimes, only certain parts of a party are allowed to raise funds, in most cases parliamentary factions are not allowed to do so. In some countries people are more used to donating in cash, in others they want to pay by cheque, transfer money from their bank account via SMS, or use an online donation tool. Have a look at the methods used successfully by others in your country and ask which may be good ways for your target groups. Of course you can leave the choice of the channel up to your donors.

The main challenge to start fundraising may be your own attitude towards it. Your party needs money, but you feel uncomfortable begging for it? That’s why you haven’t even started? Perhaps you want to hire a fundraiser and let him or her do the bad job?
If these are your feelings it is time to change your attitude. You are not a beggar! You are fighting for a better world with your party and you offer others the opportunity to support your cause – even if they cannot or do not want to spend time on it. They want a better world for themselves and for their children – and you provide them with the opportunity to improve the situation by simply giving some money. Isn’t this a generous offer? Or as John D. Rockefeller, Jr put it: „Never think you need to apologize for asking someone to give to a worthy object, any more than as though you were giving him an opportunity to participate in a high-grade investment.”

Fundraising is not just about money, it’s much more about persons and relationships. Building up a good relationship between the party and the donor is crucial. The most promising donors are the members of your party. They already have an intense relationship with your party and will understand when your party needs money to finance a campaign. But most of them will want to donate for a vision, for a better future or for a specific issue, not just for ‘the campaign’.

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