Fundraising Primer

What is fundraising all about?

Fundraising is a coordinated effort to raise money in order to support a candidate, campaign, or local organizations working in communities. You can  donate on your own or you can multiply your financial support by raising funds from other donors.

Why care about fundraising?

  • Most of the money used to run political campaigns or local organizations working in the political sphere — like Fair Fight —  comes from contributions, whether from individuals, like us, or from groups.
  • Well-funded campaigns are able to hire staffers to fill more positions  such as a financial director, communications director, social media strategist, volunteer coordinator, political director, database manager and others who do various things to move the ball toward your goal.
  • Money is also needed to open campaign offices, hold meetings with constituents, and pay for materials and advertising.
  • To run a solid campaign for the House in a swing district a candidate needs a few million (depending on the district location). For the Senate the cost is much higher. In 2020, now Senators John Hickenlooper and Jon Ossoff spent about $20 million each in their winning campaigns. Mark Kelly who won and Gideon who lost spent $70-80 million.

When is it most important?

Early money is critical to help a campaign get organized, hire initial staff and build on the ground organization.

Non-incumbents who may not be well known can benefit from early money to “put them on the map” of viable candidates.

Incumbents, too, can benefit because early money can help them build the infrastructure needed for a primary and general election.

The Midterms are only a year away. The time to care is now.

How do I get started?

You can find out what candidates or local organizations to support based on a variety of factors — how they ally with your views, how much impact the funds will have, how much impact they will have.

Certain online sites can help focus your fundraising and donating efforts. Force Multiplier is an independent, volunteer fundraising organization supporting  out-of-state congressional candidates that are running in key districts; Movement Voter Project raises funds to support grassroots groups organizing in their own communities throughout the country; and Elect 535 analyzes House and Senate candidates to find ones that reflect your values.

And, of course, we at Together We Elect provide crucial information on candidates and groups through our Take Action pages as well as on our Calendar.

Anything more I need to know?

  • Individuals can contribute up to $2,900 for each candidate per election (primary and general).
  • In 2020, the average Senate campaign raised $43 million. The average Congressional campaign raised $2.39 million.
  • Voters can decide who to support and based on the financial strength of a candidate’s campaign.
  • Raising funds for a campaign or candidate that you believe in and who has a chance of winning can make a real impact.
  • Money contributed to a politician, political party, or PAC can’t be deducted from your taxes.
  • Money contributed to a non-partisan, non-profit group may be tax-deductable. You should check with the group.
  • Act Blue is an American nonprofit technology organization that enables left-leaning nonprofits, Democratic candidates, and progressive groups to raise money from individual donors on the Internet by providing them with online fundraising software.