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Friday, December 09, 2005

Better Fundraising Through A Recurring Monthly Donor Program

Anyone who has worked inside the Democratic Party knows that fundraising and finance are immensely critical issues.

And lets be honest, they should be. Without money to pay the bills, and eventually staff and operations, most DECs lay dead in the water.

Most DECs rely on dinner fundraisers to get the funds they need to pay the bills or other expenses. In Marion County, we raise a few thousand dollars everytime we have a fundraiser, and they're great for paying the bills for our headquarters. Unfortunately, they do little more than that - pay bills.

If DECs are to be successful, they must begin to look at alternative forms of fundraising. Before I go any further, let me say that dinner fundraisers should continue to provide basic funding for DECs, and they shouldn't be stopped. These dinners not only raise money, but also allow fellow Democrats to socialize, coalesce, and make important contacts.

The best way to constantly raise large amounts of money over a period of years is through the creation and maintenance of a recurring monthly donor program. For those who are familiar with the "Democracy Bonds" program started by Howard Dean and the DNC know what I'm talking about. A recurring monthly donor program basically allows donors to contribute a certain amount of money per month to party coffers. The difference between a "recurring" monthly donor program and your ordinary donor program is that with a recurring donor program money is automatically deducted from the donor's bank account and into the party's account. This way, donors don't have to be called up and annoyed when they forget to send their monthly pledges.

To show how effective this could be. Look at Marion County. In 2004, arguably a very hot election year, the party raised a grand total of $17,919.07. In 2005, Marion County Democrats have so-far raised $10,472.98, because of a revamped fundraising operation (a group of dedicated people have finally organized a committee and have dedicated themselves to putting on regular fundraisers.) However, consider this. If Marion Democrats could put 100 people on a recurring donor program (the minimum amount being $10 a month), the party would raise $1,000 a month, that being $12,000 a year. Put that on top of recent well-attended fundraisers and you have a real fundraising operation with serious capabilities.

Also, its good to note that there are 75,000+ registered Democrats in the Marion County. Obviously, not all are going to participate in such a program. But just a fraction of folks giving just the minimum of $10 a month, is enough to build a superparty.

Recurring monthly donor programs can be set up through Paypal.