Fundraising and Sponsoring

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When you want to look for sponsors you should carefully check the legal situation in your country first. In many countries there are limitations for political parties to receive money from corporations. No party or candidate should be dependent on corporate money alone – this would be an invitation for more corporate influence on legislation and corruption. Therefore sponsor relationships always have to be transparent.

In a few Green parties people are strictly opposed to sponsoring. The majority, however, wants binding limits. Instigated by the Green European Foundation in 2010 in Budapest, a discussion has started between treasurers and fundraisers of Green parties and of the EGP about a Green code of conduct for sponsoring (and fundraising).

At best, sponsor relations are treated like business contracts with precisely defined conditions. A company gives money or contributions in kind to the party in exchange for a certain service. Examples for these services include companies:
– renting a certain space at party conventions where they can present themselves. Some parties have their party conventions in congress centres on fair grounds to be able to host all these presentations.
– sponsoring the cars of the party and publish it.
– giving donations in kind for party events (catering, equipment, wireless connections for everybody…).
– giving money for publications in which their contribution is mentioned and their logo displayed.
– paying for advertisements in party newspapers – perhaps the most common way of sponsoring.

If you are not sure whether you should press hard on sponsoring, you should discuss this with people from other Green parties that are more experienced in this field. And of course you should never start it without a decision of your party board or even your membership. The delicate question of whether a certain company should be allowed to sponsor your party or not should be handled with care – regulations can prove very helpful. They could, for instance, exclude military and nuclear industries, and define an internal decision-making process to limit the risk of wrong or controversial decisions. With creativity and personal involvement of the top people, and with binding regulations and full transparency, the chances of establishing a good mix of sources for financing your party are high. Good luck!

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