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What’s the Secret to Successful Online Political Fundraising?

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Published: Jul 7, 2021

Running political campaigns is expensive – whether you’re running for a national office or for a local position. Did you know the 2020 political campaign is the most expensive to date? It appears the cost of a winning political campaign will only increase. 

Raising such a large sum can seem overwhelming. The right online political fundraising tactics can help you meet your budget goals and run a successful campaign.

Check out our summary section to jump to the fundraising idea that interests you the most. Or better yet, visit every section and explore all the ideas!

Online political fundraising ideas

Here are 9 online political fundraising ideas with insights into communication tactics on each. 

Send emails

To run a winning email fundraising campaign, you’ll need to expand your database so your message reaches a large audience. Use multiple paths like your website and social media to encourage your supporters to sign up to your email lists. 

After an individual signs up, start nurturing them by sharing regular updates to stay on top of their mind. 

Now, for a successful online political fundraising campaign using emails, send timed and deeply targeted emails to all your supporters. Start with a fascinating subject line that will lure your readers in. If feasible, employ A/B testing to determine the kind of subject lines your supporters react best to. 

Your opening email must entail:

  • Purpose of the campaign.
  • A distinct call to action.

Here are a few other things to consider:

  1. Your follow-up email should update your supporters on the campaign’s progress and motivate them to take action. Consider keeping your email visually appealing and ensure your supporters can access all the information quickly. 
  2. Keep the body of your email short and crispunder 200 words. An outstanding fundraising email puts together a persuasive message that takes only seconds to consume. 
  3. Personalize the messaging by segmenting your supporter list into groups. For example, someone who has donated to your party in the past may not need the same level of persuasion compared to a new supporter. 

Lastly, your ask must be firm and straightforward – provide a range of options for your supporters to choose from. It’s also a good idea to adopt the ‘rejection-then-retreat’ technique – Robert Cialdini writes about this technique in his book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’. 

According to this technique, you first start with a big ask. For instance, you ask your supporter for a donation of $10,000. If this seems like a huge ask, your supporter may hesitate from donating. This is when you make a relatively smaller ask, say in this case, $2,000. Your supporter is more likely to come forward this time. 

But, make sure your first ask is reasonable at the same time. As Robert writes in his book, studies have shown that an unreasonable ask followed by a small one is less likely to see success. 

When you’re interacting with past donors, make the ask depending on their donating history. For example, ask for a slightly larger donation than their previous one. 

However, make sure your fundraising email always directs the supporter towards your ask. Refrain from keeping any other links and call-to-action, which may distract your supporters from the ‘Donate Now’ button! 

Jabari Brisport incorporates the call-to-action in 3 different ways in their online political fundraising campaign. All three CTAs lead to the single desired page, so regardless of which one compelled the reader, the result would be the same. They also incorporate urgency in every CTA, which is a commonly used marketing tactic.

online political fundraising email example
Source: Email Design Blog

Leverage peer-to-peer texting

If you are not leveraging peer-to-peer texting (P2P texting) for online political fundraising, you’re surely missing out on a lot. When you engage prospects in a conversation, they are more likely to contribute than a direct ask without prior nurturing.

P2P texting, in simple terms, is one-on-one text conversations between your agents/volunteers and supporters. This is mediated by a text marketing platform that allows an agent to have multiple conversations simultaneously and makes these interactions scalable. 

On a popular P2P texting platform like CallHub, you can avail of the following features to make your conversations intriguing and extremely personalized:

  • Merge tags and custom fields to address personal details such as the first name.
  • Saved responses for frequently asked questions or anticipated replies.
  • Sync up with your CRM to import and export data files.
  • Scheduled follow-ups for non-delivered messages.

Check out CallHub’s P2P texting tool here.

Segment your list of supporters, so the messages and links you share with each supporter are highly relevant to them. This way, you can increase the chances of them taking the action you ask for. 

Go social!

Your social media presence plays a large part in maintaining your party’s visibility throughout your campaign and beyond. 

Say you’re hosting a 24-hour online political fundraising campaign. What’s the best way to keep a large group of people engaged throughout your campaign? 

Social media! 

You can do many things in a day while completely dedicating your social media page towards your fundraiser. For example, go live, post video testimonials, give a shout-out to your donors for the day, etc.

Launching a full-day social media campaign needs quite a bit of preparation. Take all the help you can get to create the posts, film videos, respond to comments throughout the day. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a US representative, shares frequent updates on social media. Here’s a video of her listing all the accomplishments from two years in 2-3 minutes. 

Source: Twitter

You can see that the video received over 11 million views and an astonishing engagement rate. Of course, the views and engagement will be proportionate to your follower count. But with paid ads and regular posting, you can improve it continually.

Here are some best practices for online political fundraising leveraging social media:

  1. Tailor your messaging around your fundraising campaign. Make sure you streamline the posting process and maintain a consistent tone. High-quality, professional photographs help in capturing your audience’s attention. 
  2. Although visuals help in capturing attention, the quality of your content determines the engagement
  3. Hold a peer-to-peer campaign where you leverage your existing supporters’ network. In a peer-to-peer campaign, your supporters make the ask on your behalf. These personal conversations help you accept political donations online and expand your reach. 
  4. Keep your supporters highly motivated and equipped with resources like a cheat sheet, design tools, sample posts, etc. You could also give a shout-out to them on your social media pages. This way, your other potential donors too get the inspiration to contribute to your campaign – Win-win!
  5. To promote your campaign even further, hold contests that encourage your supporters to share your campaign posts. People love participating when there’s an important message involved. Some people may only share the posts and not donate, but hey, your reach is getting bigger and bigger!

You can use organic and paid social media posts to:

  • Encourage your supporters to donate.
  • Sign up for other upcoming events.
  • Lead them to your fundraising campaign’s landing page.

In all these cases, you are pushing your supporters one step closer to your online political fundraising goals. Here’s a guide to help you use different social media platforms for your political campaign. 

Keep people engaged. Share progress updates. Stay focused on your goals. 

Host ticketed virtual events

Hosting virtual events has become a common online political fundraising strategy. Many people enjoy gatherings, be it virtual or physical. Organize a virtual event that brings all your supporters together and offers them the opportunity to network. This is an excellent platform for you to educate people about your position and answer their questions. 

Usually, tickets are sold ahead of the event with various pricing levels (for proportionate benefits). This helps you draw in different kinds of donors and better understand the spending patterns of your contacts. Send personalized invitations to all your supporters through texts and emails. 

For virtual events, you need a good amount of planning and preparation, including:

  • Deciding the schedule.
  • Selecting the type of event. 
  • Setting a financial goal.
  • Determining the budget. 
  • Choosing the theme.
  • Selling the tickets. 
  • Recruiting volunteers. 
  • Briefing your candidate about the crowd.
  • Crafting the right message. 
  • Defining the different levels of ask amount.
  • Practicing the addressing and role-playing for the personal interactions.  

Although every event is different, it’s usually good to start the preparation process 4-6 weeks before the event.  

A great way to maximize your online political fundraising results through events is to send a donation appeal text during your presentation at the event. Here’s what you can do:

Schedule your texts to be sent out during your candidate’s solicitation talk. This is one of those times where your supporters are highly motivated to contribute. So, when your candidate is addressing the crowd and in between everybody’s phone starts chiming, he/she can stop and say, “Hey, you must have received a link to contribute!”.

Keep in mind that relationships are crucial when it comes to fundraising. An individual appeal involving your candidate is a great way to raise money for your campaign. Take the time to bond with your supporters and earn their trust. 

Follow-up texts right after the event are also highly effective. Segment your list into two groups – the ones that already donated for your campaign and those that haven’t yet. Now, your texts can thank your attendees for their participation and make the ask if they have not donated yet. 

With proper planning and a good fundraising strategy, you can meet your budget goals comfortably!

Use text-to-donate campaigns

A text-to-donate campaign is a sophisticated and effective online political fundraising strategy. Invest in a texting tool to capitalize on this popular fundraising tactic. 

CallHub offers the tool you need to host a text-to-donate campaign. The platform is easy to use. While setting up your campaign, you need to choose a memorable keyword and a phone number and promote them on online and offline channels. 

Here’s how you set up a text-to-donate campaign on CallHub:

Step 1: Select ‘SMS opt-in campaign’ after logging in to your account. 

Step 2: Rent a phone number and a keyword of your choice (it will take a few days for the keyword to get approved, so it’s best to create the campaign ahead of time).

online political fundraising sms opt in interface3

Step 3: Create a new phonebook to save the contacts of people who opt-in or add them to an existing phonebook. 

online political fundraising sms opt in interface2

Step 4: Craft the message to be sent along with the donation page link after a donor texts you the keyword. 

online political fundraising sms opt in interface1

Step 5: Hit ‘Finish’ and schedule the campaign in the following prompt. 

You can use your marketing channels and virtual events to promote your opt-in and fundraising details. 

The process at the donor end goes like this:

Step 1: Your donor texts the keyword to your campaign number.

Step 2: Donor receives a text with the link to your donation page.

Step 3: Donor makes a donation with a preset or custom amount.

online political fundraising text to donate example
Try our SMS opt-in tool for free, here.

Run eCard campaigns

An eCard campaign is one of the creative and innovative online political fundraising strategies. Collaborate with a platform that specializes in fundraising using eCards, such as ShopWithScrip. Here’s how an eCard fundraising works:

Step 1: You buy a set of eCards from the platform.

Step 2: Sell these eCards to your supporters at face value and encourage them to use it.

Step 3: Your supporters make a purchase with the eCard.

Step 4: Your party earns a certain percentage of the amount as a donation.

online political fundraising ecard campaigns infographic
Source: Freepik

Spreading the word is essential in this fundraising campaign. You can make use of the peer-to-peer fundraising strategy we spoke about earlier here. Consider rewarding your supporter/s who sell the highest number of eCards.  

Try ‘Donate your hobby’

You may have a pretty talented group of supporters; why not leverage that in your online political fundraising campaign?

With a ‘donate your hobby’ campaign, your supporters donate their talent to your fundraising campaign. For example, your supporters may conduct online guitar lessons. Your audience signs up and pays a certain amount of donation to access the classes. 

You can have multiple supporters donating their talent simultaneously. 

There may be a wide pool of talent among your supporters. For example:

  • Art
  • Craft
  • Communication
  • Storytelling
  • Public speaking, etc.

This is a great way to reach a highly diverse audience and expand your supporter list.

You may use Zoom, Google hangouts, or any other virtual meeting platform to execute this campaign. 

Advertise on Google

Digital advertising can be a highly effective online political fundraising strategy when targeted correctly. Since May 30, 2018, $766,388,900 has been spent on advertising on Google, YouTube, and partner platforms by political space in the United States. 

With Google Ads, you can run ads to show on top of the Google Search Results page. For instance, when you set up a campaign on Google Ads, you pick a few keywords that best define your political campaign. Now, whenever somebody uses your keyword/s in the search query, your fundraising landing page shows up in the results, based on your targeting. 

However, there are a few restrictions when it comes to political advertising, issued by the Federal Election Committee and Google.

Use online fundraisers

An optimized donation page is the key to success when it comes to online political fundraising using fundraisers. Keep your landing page clear and concise so your supporters don’t drop off midway. Promote this page on all your marketing channels and events. Add a strong CTA button that directs your supporters to the payment gateway.

Online fundraiser campaigns work better when you periodically update your donors on the campaign’s progress and the outcomes. 

Political donation websites like PayPal are great ways to collect donations. They offer an easy and quick method for people to donate online with multiple payment options. 

Here are some best practices that can help you overcome some of the more common challenges you will face when raising funds.

Which online fundraising site is the best?

Here are 5 political fundraising platforms that we recommend, along with the particular use each one has. Explore them and use the one that best suits your interests. If you have any other suggestions, please tweet them to us at @CallHub

1. PayPal

PayPal is a mobile-optimized online fundraising site with multiple payment options to collect donations. The campaign donation website transfers funds to your account within a few minutes. The platform also offers a political fundraising tool with insights on every campaign contribution. 

The features include:

  • Summary of your campaign account activity.
  • Downloadable transaction information.
  • Search feature to find records on a specific transaction.
  • Multi-user access to the campaign’s transaction history.

Pricing: Pay when you get paid.

2. Kickstarter

With Kickstarter, you can start your online political fundraising campaign by setting a goal and a timeline to achieve it. For every donation level, you can offer a small gift or an experience to your donor through the platform as compensation or reinforcement. 

As per their all-or-nothing model, once you complete your campaign, the funds are transferred to your account. This means Kickstarter doesn’t charge your credit card till you meet your campaign goals. 

Pricing: A fee of 5% of total funds raised + A payment processing fee of (3% + $0.20 per pledge).

3. Qgiv

Qgiv helps you quickly set up your online political fundraising campaign forms and start collecting donations. The platform also offers management and reporting tools to track and improve your campaign’s performance.

With Qgiv, you can:

  • Create multiple donation forms customized to your party’s brand style.
  • Give your donors the options to choose between one-time and recurring donations.
  • Set contribution limits and disclaimers to your forms.

Pricing: Starts with $0/month + 3.95% + $0.3 per transaction.

4. Indiegogo

Indiegogo is similar to Kickstarter except for the all-or-nothing model. The tool also integrates with platforms like Google and Facebook. 

Here are the 3 notable features:

  1. Expert support and exclusive partnership.
  2. Pre and post-campaign tools that help you beyond crowdfunding.
  3. Flexibility to raise funds from anywhere in the world.

Pricing: Starts with $0/month + 2.9% + $0.3 per transaction.

5. Raise The Money

Raise The Money allows you to collect donations from your website, social media pages, and email links. The platform also offers a feature to accept recurring donations. 

Your funds are transferred to your bank account on the next day. It’s easy to set up, mobile-friendly and provides instant detailed reports. 

Pricing: 4.9% + $0.25  

Get Started!

When election season is at its peak, you should have your political campaign fundraising ideas in action. With proper planning, you can launch an online political fundraising campaign that will engage your supporters and meet your goals. Here are some tools to help you with your political campaign management. 

We hope you’ve found the ideas you needed and are ready to get your fundraising team started!

For more inspiration, check out our top-performing grassroots fundraising strategies to help your funds account never go empty.

Feature image: Photo by Monstera from Pexels.

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