Monday, September 10, 2012

Down to the Wire - Last Minute Cash and Flash on the Campaign Trail

It's after Labor Day and the absentee ballots go our in one month. And you have no money.  What to do?  Panic of course. Then call the Campaign Doctor. Can't find one in the Yellow Pages?  Let us help.

Go back over the names in your data base, spreadsheet, Rolodex, stack of business cards, Christmas card list, high school yearbook, book club members, church members, PTA members, co-workers, and everyone on your block.  Call them up or stop by their home if they're near by and you already have a relationship with them. Hand them an envelope and ask for money.

Oh, that sounds easy, you say. Hi, here's an envelope, give me some dough. Ha!  Not quite as simple as that, but try these few not-terribly-difficult-or-painful steps and watch the cash start coming in:

  • Make the call.  If you don't pick up the phone, the money won't come.  So start dialing for dollars now.
  • Have a script.  All you need is something simple like this:  Hi Hillary, have you got a minute? You know I'm running for dogcatcher here in Pleasant Valley. Well, the election is coming closer and I need your help to make sure my mail gets to the absentee voters. There are more of them today then ever. I need to raise $10,000 to finish my mailing. You know how expensive the post office is these days! Can I count on a $500 contribution from you and Bill? 

(Now you pause, take a deep breath and sweat for a five count)

Hilary has to say something. It's likely to be along these lines: Well, that's a little steep for us, Michelle; I'll talk to Bill tonight and see if we can come up with $250. We'd love to see you as dogcatcher. I'll call you back tomorrow.

Your turn: Thanks Hil!   I am under a bit of a time crunch. I think you will like the pieces we are sending.  My opponent has been telling some untruths and I need to set the record straight.

Hil: Of course, Micelle. Talk to you then.

See?  Nothing to it. Just be upbeat, specific about what the money will be used for and ask.  The pause is crucial or you will find yourself talking them down.  Let them consider what they can give.  Of course it's best to have some idea of what they are capable of giving first. And of course, know if there are donation limits in your race.

And it's better yet to have done this several months ago, so you have a war chest and your last minute calls are just to shore it up, not get the whole campaign rolling.  But if you find yourself in a crisis, try the phone, and leave no stone, or relative, unturned. 
  •  Follow up - And if Hilary forgets to call you back, call her and offer to pick up the     check personally. Then do it. And thank her profusely.  Now she is invested in you and your campaign and maybe she'll even walk a precinct or call her lists on your behalf too.