- Tue, August 07 2007
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
An article in today’s Washington Post once again underlines how friends, families and colleagues are often the best messengers for mobilizing people to give:
When Michael A. Mingolelli pulled out his checkbook on June 25 and made a $500 pledge to Sen. John McCain, he was not thinking about the promise of a McCain White House. The financial and estate planner from Farmington, Mass., was thinking about keeping one of his best customers satisfied.
“One of my dear clients asked me if I would help contribute and I said yes, even if I don’t think McCain’s going to win,” Mingolelli said. “And to be honest, if it came down to McCain and Romney, I’d probably go with Romney,” he added, referring to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R).
The kind of solicitation directed at Mingolelli is not unusual as presidential candidates grow more reliant on their stables of “bundlers”—well-connected supporters who can tap vast networks of associates for money and whose special status in a campaign is enshrined with such honorifics as “Ranger” (President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign) or “Hillraiser” (Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign).
The bundlers are under their own kind of pressure to produce for their candidates. And they pass it on—corporate executives hitting up employees, real estate developers seeking checks from vendors and law partners prevailing upon less-senior lawyers.
One sign of where this pressure—direct and indirect—is applied is the rising number of contributions from secretaries, administrative assistants and executive assistants for whom a $1,000 political contribution is a major expense. At this point in the campaign four years ago, 127 donors making contributions listed one of those three occupations. In the first six months of this year the number was 526, and the average check was for nearly $800.
“Almost everyone raising the big money these days will tell you: You start your fundraising network by thinking of people . . . who can’t say no,” said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University professor who has studied the psychology of political giving. “They may not tell the person they have to give, or even imply it, but both of them know that’s not true.”
We’ve found this applies to fundraising outside of politics too. Top fundraisers at Six Degrees attest to it.
Don’t forget - you don’t have to be your organization’s only messenger. When it comes to fundraising, your most ardent supporters are probably better at it than you. The people within their own circles can say no to you, but they can’t say no—to them.