Fundraising in an election year looks very different from your average fundraising year. With presidential candidates expected to spend upwards of $6 billion in ads, how can nonprofits still make their voices heard above all of the election noise? We’ve got the insider tips from our fundraising strategist, Miriam Kagan, who recently did a webinar on the topic. Republican or Democrat, here are four things you can do to ensure your nonprofit wins by a landslide:
Plan and Prepare Early
Get with your team to discuss a strategy for Fall giving. This should include items like:
- Confirming your campaign schedule so that nothing is promoted or distributed on election day
- If you have advocacy teams, meet with them to coordinate scheduling
- Contact your local political offices to ask about events or campaigns that may be relevant to your organization
- If distributing radio and/or TV ads, speak to your vendor to ask about air time
Align Your Mission With a Political Cause
Elections tend to bring up important issues that could potentially lead to your cause getting a lot of exposure. Try to take advantage of this. While aligning yourself with a political cause doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take a side, it does give you a platform from which to promote your mission and gain access to a whole new group of potential donors.
Strategize According to Your State
Your nonprofit may be impacted during election season depending on the kind of organization you are and where you’re located. If your nonprofit is either based in or has chapters in swing states, you will need to pay careful attention to your budget. Because there is already a lot of promotion for the presidential candidates, ad space may get more expensive, there could be delays with mail delivery and your donors and prospects might be overwhelmed with election spam.
The key here is to plan ahead, and come up with a budget with specific strategies in mind for these potential barriers. For example, if your nonprofit isn’t able to get desirable air time, try contacting the station to see if suboptimal air time now can be traded in for better air time later.
Focus on Year-End
Elections put people in a generous mood. In fact, donors giving to political campaigns appear to increase their overall giving. According to this study, political donors show a pattern of being philanthropically generous at every income level. So the idea that elections take money away from nonprofits appears to not be true in this case.
Take advantage of people’s charitable moods by putting emphasis on your year-end campaign, because that’s where the dollars are.
While fundraising in an election year might require different strategies, it is not an impossible feat. In fact, if you use the political season to your advantage, your nonprofit just might come out on top.