This session in the Candidate track is one that most candidates hate talking about, but is absolutely necessary to achieve the goals of the campaign: fundraising. The “mother’s milk of politics” is also the bane of most candidates, who struggle to spend the requisite time and personal investment to have a successful fundraising program. Relying on direct mail and generic requests won’t equate to enough resources to cross the finish line strong.
Faulkner spent the bulk of the time in this session discussing the various means of fundraising, from direct mail solicitations to online fundraising. Faulkner walked participants through the personal solicitation, direct mail and fundraising event portions of the finance plan in general terms, as a general overview of the basics of these traditional fundraising activities.
The discussion on online fundraising was engaging, showing the power of smaller voices coming together to create a political roar (ala Ron Paul more than Howard Dean), and bringing people into the campaign by directly engaging them with your campaign message in a format with which they are comfortable .
Online fundraising has other advantages as well, such as creating “fans” (strong supporters), being able to grow your email lists (remember the Obama campaign’s millions of emails?), asking for smaller amounts but in greater numbers of people, and creating community around your campaign.
However, as Faulkner brought home, a candidate still has to spend 35-50% (or more) of their time on doing personal, face to face solicitation of potential big donors in order to create the financial foundation to build the rest of the campaign on. Sorry, candidates, there is no magic wand in the Internet to keep you from having to do the hard, humbling work of asking other people to give you and your ideas the money to make them work.