How To Start Getting That Money

| Kathleen Kiernan

Fundraising is a regular part of running for elected office. In our Virtual Cohorts, women are introduced to the fundamentals of fundraising, begin to get more familiar with how elected officials ask for donations when running for office, and start practicing fundraising on their own.

In the She Should Run Spring Virtual Cohort, one of our own Cohort members, Kaitlyn Montagna, shared some fundraising fundamentals. For the better part of her professional career, Kaitlyn worked with non-profit organizations in achieving their fundraising goals, building awareness, and advancing their missions. As part of a small team she raised over $10 million for these non-profit organizations in the New England area. Through the years she’s learned a lot about the art of fundraising and is excited to share some tips and tricks!

Fundraising 101

There are many different types of fundraising. A good fundraising plan incorporates all of the different types and engages people in different ways.

  • Major Gifts: Do some homework and follow organizations that are fighting for a cause and study their donor lists.

  • Campaigns (specific goal): Small donations add up!

  • Events: Awareness and participant-based.

    • Use suggested donation levels if there is no ticket for the event

  • In-Kind Donations (event space, food, printing)

The main thing to keep in mind is fundraising is a continuous cycle of asking, receiving, thanking, putting that money to work, communicating successes and next steps, and then starting all over by asking for more money. When all of these steps are done properly the donor feels engaged and part of the journey.

Top 5 Fundraising Tips

  1. Make it Easy! Be sure that you are ready and able to accept donations before you start asking. Open your bank account, and set-up and online fundraising tool.

  2. Create a “take-away” such as a business card with your contact information and ways to donate. It comes in handy when someone is interested in supporting you, but can’t donate in the moment. This serves as a reminder to them to go find you and make a contribution.

  3. Network your network! We all have amazing cheerleaders who want to help and spread your message and mission just as passionately as you. EXAMPLE: After the Boston Marathon Bombing, I had a friend who really wanted to run. He was worried about being a charity runner and raising the minimum $5,000 (yes, they hit your credit card if you don’t raise the full amount). I asked my friends and family, some who never met him to donate and was amazed with how many people donated because I asked.

  4. Be clear about what you are asking for. Don’t give an option to “under” donate. Aim high and let the donor say no. It’s better to ask for more and get something than ask for a little, and well, get exactly that.

  5. Make it mean something. Quantify how different donation levels will help. It could be something as simple as $50 will help me reach 100 new people through facebook ads. **Disclaimer- I don’t know if that math is accurate**

Remember: By definition a donation is a gift made in exchange for no goods or services. The only thing you owe donors is gratitude.

She Should Run offers Virtual Cohorts throughout the year. Our Virtual Cohorts provides you with education and resources to demystify the myths around running for office, a judgment-free zone where women can explore a future run for office without intimidation, and a community of supportive women all across the country.


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