Fundraising List

Building a Fundraising List for the First-Time Candidate
list development

How to Develop a Fundraising List for the First-Time Candidate

As a Republican candidate who’s started running for office, let’s recap the remarkable strides you’ve made so far. You’ve successfully filed your candidacy, set up a competent finance team, and hosted your inaugural campaign event. By now, you likely have a dedicated group of volunteers. Financially, it’s ideal to have amassed a campaign fund between $5,000 and $10,000 to support your endeavors.

Embarking on a campaign for the House of Delegates, State House of Representatives, or State Senate usually means operating with limited paid staff – often just one or two individuals, if you’re fortunate. However, it’s common to rely on a highly committed volunteer to fulfill key roles such as campaign manager, scheduler, press secretary, and webmaster. Even though these positions might be unpaid, conducting thorough interviews is crucial to ensure they align with your campaign’s vision and ethics. Remember, you have the option to offer compensation, but for state legislative campaigns, it’s typical for these roles to be filled by volunteers, either from within your core team or through a selective interview process.

Key roles you’ve already filled include treasurer, campaign chairman, and finance chairman. These are your foundational hires. The next critical appointment is your campaign manager or director, a role that may be combined in smaller campaigns but is distinct in larger ones.

When interviewing potential campaign managers or other staff, consider these questions:

  • Is this individual aligned with your vision?
  • Do they exhibit strong teamwork skills?
  • How organized are they?
  • Can they effectively multitask?
  • How proficient are they in written communication?
  • Are they capable of working under pressure and for long hours?
  • Do they interact well with your existing leadership team?
  • Can they effectively lead and manage subordinates?
  • What is their temperament like, especially under stress?
  • Lack of Eye Contact: This might indicate confidence issues or dishonesty.
  • Gossiping About Previous Campaigns: A red flag for professionalism and discretion.
  • Chronic Tardiness: Suggests poor organization and commitment.
  • Poor Listening Skills: Indicates lack of interest or respect.
  • Missed or Rescheduled Interviews: A sign of unreliability.
  • Overuse of Filler Words Like ‘Like’: Displays unprofessional communication.
  • Background Check Concerns: Minor issues could escalate into major credibility problems.
  • Inappropriate Language: Reflects poorly on both the individual and your campaign.
  • Bragging: A potential sign of a non-team player.
  • Unprofessional Appearance: Can negatively impact the campaign’s image.

Most staff will be paid for more prominent campaigns or those in larger states like California or Texas. As your campaign manager comes on board, it’s essential to fill other critical roles:

  • Press Secretary and potentially a Deputy Press Secretary
  • Fundraisers for both high and low-dollar events, including direct mail campaigns
  • Events Coordinator and/or Scheduler
  • Digital Communications Director managing social media and online presence
  • Webmaster responsible for website functionality and security

Ensure that these team members are evaluated with the same rigor as your campaign manager. Cohesion and professionalism within your team are vital for presenting a unified front to the public.

Once your team is assembled, avoid micromanaging. Trust your campaign manager’s decisions. Stay neutral in internal disputes, allowing the campaign manager to handle them.

Have confidence in your leadership team, but stay vigilant. If you perceive issues, don’t hesitate to make necessary changes, whether replacing your campaign manager or adjusting team dynamics.

Remember, you’re akin to a team owner, with your campaign manager playing the head coach role. Avoid extremes of over-involvement like Dan Snyder or complete hands-off management. Striking the right balance is key.

Above all, trust in your ability to select the best talent for your campaign, enabling a successful and impactful political journey.

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