Here are 5 simple steps to organize a successful online grassroots fundraiser for your candidate or cause this political season! Top political analysts claim “there are no huge microphones anymore” and that online presence, especially with fundraising, could make or break the 2016 elections. (See Yahoo.com)
Obama won the 2012 election because he raised millions online and created a voter base with a grassroots fundraising campaign. The success of Obama’s Organizing for Action platform has led to lots of web-based programs and mobile applications being developed for grassroots fundraising.
Where should you start?
Here are 5 steps to keep it simple and start your online grassroots campaign today:
Step One: Create a Compelling Story
Messaging is everything with fundraising in general, and especially with online fundraising. You need to engage your intended donors in why they should give to your candidate.
- The best way to do so is to not tell, but share why you support her, and in an emotional context that connects to your family and peers. The article Your Nonprofit Story: Blockbuster or Dud? gives the best advice – “people want to believe in something bigger than themselves”; they want a hero.So your story should explain why the candidate is your hero, and better yet, a hero for the community. If she is planning to increase funding for schools and you are a mom, she is a hero for you and your children. If she supports immigration reform and you are a first or second-generation American, connect to that message.
- When writing your story, use language that is conversational and colorful. Avoid jargon and too many statistics – keep it personal and light.
- Create a fantastic title for your page that immediately sparks interest and draws the reader into clicking your link!
- Find pictures that relate to your story. These can be of the candidate herself in action photos helping the community, of you interacting with the candidate, or of an illustration of a problem you address in your messaging (i.e. hungry children, a polluted riverbed, etc.).
- Have a fundraising goal – one that is attainable but high enough to make a real impact.
Step Two: Develop a Fundraising Webpage
If your candidate’s campaign office did not direct you to a fundraising platform to use, you need to pick where online you are going to post your message. Any crowdfunding program will work, but you might pick one that is especially designed for political fundraisers, and also consider the cost of using the site.
Make sure your choice also has a mobile application built-in as well. Here are the 15 most popular online fundraising resources that could all do the job.
Step Three: Develop Your Media Outlets
As a minimum, you need to have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the most used social media outlets. If you think you can manage the upkeep, you should also consider developing Pinterest and Google+ accounts and starting a YouTube page and a blog or general website.
To attract more attention:
- Make sure all privacy settings are turned off so that the maximum amount of people see your fundraising campaign.
- Link your social media to your blog or website, and vice versa.
- Send letters to the editor of as many local media outlets and online outlets as possible with the page’s link.
Step Four: Blast Your Message – Over and Over!
- Post Facebook updates at least weekly early in the campaign, then daily, with news of the campaign, updates to your message, etc.
- Tweet daily if you can.
- Send text messages once a month with a link to the giving page.
- Write a new blog post or a website article at least once a week.
- You should send emails once a month updating your network on the status toward meeting your goal.
- You might send a letter in the mail as well to those in your network for whom you have addresses, if you can afford the printing and postage. Our “Sample Fundraising Letters” e-book has free-to-copy political candidate appeal letters.
Step Five: Follow up and Thank Your Donors
You need to personally thank each and every donor to the campaign, no matter how big or small the donation. You should immediately, within a day, text them or call them if you can, and you should also follow up with a personal email or letter. You never know when you will need their support again, and timely thanking is the best way to maintain a good relationship.
Grassroots fundraising online could make or break the next election – make sure you’re prepared to take advantage for your candidate or cause! And never forget that, while online fundraising is a fantastic tool for efficiency and pulling people together in our fast-moving world, it is most effective when paired with real events on the ground, personal calls, and all of the other old-fashioned relations that connect donors to giving.