A Grassroots Fundraising guide for Municipal elections

August 16, 2017 - 7 minutes read

Moving to a new city had me in a tizz about the finer details in life. Details such as who would clean out the eaves gutter of leaves after a stormy night. Or who would look after my Samoyed pup during my weekend trips out of the city ( in case I ever own a Samoyed and take weekend trips). My neighbor, Damian relieved me all such worries.

No, Damian isn’t good with dogs or storm drains. He’s the guy who knows a guy who knows another guy. Go to Damian with any problem and he’d hook you up with someone who can solve it for you.

That’s how grassroots networks work as well. No wonder grassroots is the perfect way to organize a campaign for a local municipal or a city council election. You can discover issues, address them to win supporters and use the supporters to spread your campaign.

Have you considered using a grassroots approach to raise funds?

If you do it right, grassroots can help you win contributions that can fulfill the need for major donors in a municipal campaign. You’d have to build a fundraising network right from the grassroots level to boost the amount you raise. Let’s look at how to do it right.

municipal election fundraising using grassroots

Expand your circle

Your circle would be the friends, colleagues or acquaintances you can approach yourself. You’d need them close by to build a network in the community. Ask them for contributions to get you started. Once you are there, you can ask them to connect you with other voters they know – either one-on-one or at events or through a phone call. From there, you can continue the approach and expand your circle.

You could then get the supporters to ask on your behalf. The supporters would ask within their network for funds and introductions to other likely donors. This way you reach every possible supporter through a person they know. It also gives the supporters a feeling of being part of the campaign and lets you delegate tasks.

New relations through old faces

It is important to note here that a strong grassroots network is built through trust. So the approach for new voters should be made through familiar faces – faces they can trust.

Either the candidate meets them directly and wins them over or they are approached by someone they know. It could be someone in their circle or a recognized face in the community. When a person they trust shows their support for the candidate, it gives the voter the social proof needed to open up to the idea. This is why you should get political influencers in the community or past winners to back your campaign.

Specify goals for tasks

As more and more volunteers join your grassroots effort, you have to give them different responsibilities. Fundraising tasks may vary between individuals and teams. Be it bringing more grassroots volunteers into your network or organizing a fundraiser, your volunteers should have specific goals for every task.

The supporter should have a clear objective in mind for the task they are handling. That way they can approach it however it suits them. Members who establish a relationship with donors should see to it that they engage the donors further from time to time. When your volunteers take up responsibilities, you can set different fundraising goals as the campaign builds up.

Guide new members

Not all of your volunteers would be able to take up tasks on their own. Some might find it easy while others will need more guidance. This doesn’t mean that they are any less enthusiastic about participating.

Your training process should be easy on the volunteer as they fill the shoes for any role. Let experienced members guide them in their initial tasks. Make sure that they understand the message of the campaign. Only then would they be able to spread it on their own. Give scripts to volunteers who go door-knocking or phonebanking to guide their conversation.

Resources to use

The fundraising workers should have every necessary resource at their disposal to ease their work. You have to empower them with the tools and services that smoothen the workflow within the campaign.

Have contact lists that can be managed and synchronized between teams and other departments. Set up different ways to raise donations – online through your website, through the mail or at events. Create an easy registration process for members to bring new volunteers in. There should be a standard communication process between teams and departments. Allocate funds for campaign paraphernalia like posters and brochures. Volunteers should know the process to set up meetings between donors and the candidate as well.

A grassroots network takes time to build. Yet it is the most trustworthy way to establish a supporter base in a local election where people are likely to vote only if they feel personally connected. Use it for fundraising and you’d see donations flowing in from people in the community who feel bound to the cause. You could run a successful municipal campaign without the need to cater to big donors. Plus you’d be seen as a trusted member of the community in the future and are sure to have a sitter for your Samoyed whenever needed.

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