Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tips on Campaign Fundraising & Budget

Consultant's Take: Liz Chadderdon
"Budgets are something that I think candidates screw up, both male and female candidates at all levels. When running a campaign, the most critical factor is a budget," said Liz Chadderdon, President of the Chadderdon Group and frequent lecturer on campaign budgeting. "A really good campaign budget is a very thorough, all encompassing document. It is a living, breathing document and will probably change everyday." Chadderdon likens running a campaign to running a small business. "There are three secrets to success when it comes to your budget." 

How much money do you have? Chadderdon recommends the book Game Change as a cautionary tale describing how Hillary Clinton’s campaign almost went broke.
How much money do you need? Candidates are encouraged to make tough choices and differentiate between "needs" and "wants."
How much money are you going to raise? A state legislator race can cost anywhere from $75,000 (Texas) to over $1 million (California). “Any woman considering a run for office needs to be able to answer these three questions,” explains Chadderdon.

When developing your campaign budget, you will need to account for administration, fundraising costs ("Counterintuitive, I know."), communication, field operations, and research (polls and opposition research). However, 70% of your total budget should be on communication. Thinking about how much you have to do with that remaining 30% will give you an idea of how much money you really need to make this work. Your campaign needs to be lean, lean, lean. You'll learn very quickly to cut down on administration costs, that you can't do as much research as you want, and that the key to fundraising is not spending any money.

Take Action: Mail Call

By now, you know the number of individuals who voted in the last election for the race you are interested in. How much will it cost to do a mailing to that many households? Although it varies by state, Liz Chadderdon says a good rule of thumb for postage is 27 cents per piece for standard bulk rate. And that's just for postage! If you anticipate spending more than $30,000 on direct mail, Liz Chadderdon advises hiring a professional. Direct Mail firms, like the Chadderdon Group, often provide free consultations for prospective clients.

Tip Sheet: How much will 70% get you?

As Liz Chadderdon advises, 70% of any campaign budget should be for communication, with 70% of that being allocated for the last two months of the campaign. Paid communications can be rather pricey, however. Contact your local media outlets (newspapers, television, and radio stations) and inquire about the cost of running an ad. How much will cost you to run an ad for an entire 2 months (2x for monthly publications, 8x for weekly, and 60x daily for radio and TV stations)?

To learn more about Liz Chadderdon, please visit The Chadderdon Group website.
Quoted From She Should Run Newsletter

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