How to Start Getting That Money

Fundraising is a regular part of running for elected office. We were lucky enough to have She Should Run Community member Kaitlyn Montagna share some fundraising fundamentals that we’re passing on to you! For the better part of her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked with nonprofit organizations in achieving their fundraising goals, building awareness, and advancing their missions. As part of a small team, she raised over $10 million for these nonprofit organizations in the New England area. Through the years, she’s learned a lot about fundraising and is excited to share some tips and tricks!

Fundraising 101

There are many different types of fundraising. A good fundraising plan incorporates all of the different types and engages people in different ways.

  • Major Gifts: Do some homework, follow organizations that are fighting for a cause, and study their donor lists.

  • Campaigns (specific goal): Small donations add up!

  • Events: Awareness and participant-based.

    • Use suggested donation levels if there is no ticket for the event

  • In-Kind Donations (event space, food, printing)

The main thing to keep in mind is fundraising is a continuous cycle of asking, receiving, thanking, putting that money to work, communicating successes and next steps, and then starting all over by asking for more money. When all of these steps are done properly, the donor feels engaged and part of the journey.

Top 5 Fundraising Tips

  1. Make it Easy! Be sure that you are ready and able to accept donations before you start asking. Open your bank account and set up an online fundraising tool.

  2. Create a “take-away” such as a business card with your contact information and ways to donate. It comes in handy when someone is interested in supporting you but can’t donate in the moment. This serves as a reminder to them to go find you and make a contribution.

  3. Network your network! We all have amazing cheerleaders who want to help and spread your message and mission just as passionately as you. EXAMPLE: After the Boston Marathon Bombing, I had a friend who really wanted to run. He was worried about being a charity runner and raising the minimum $5,000. I asked my friends and family, some of whom had never even met him, to donate and was amazed at how many people donated because I asked.

  4. Be clear about what you are asking for. Don’t give an option to “under” donate. Aim high and let the donor say no. It’s better to ask for more and get something than ask for a little and, well, get exactly that.

  5. Make it mean something. Quantify how different donation levels will help, for example: $50 helps me reach an additional 100 people.

Remember: By definition, a donation is a gift made in exchange for no goods or services. The only thing you owe donors is gratitude.

Now that you’re equipped to fundraise for your campaign, find the right position to run for with our Which Public Office Should You Run For? quiz!