Fundraising Skills as a Factor of Political Success

Jagoda Poropat Darrer

Fundraising Skills as a Factor of Political Success

Objavljeno u časopisu Diplomacy and Commerce, siječanj 2019. godine

In order to win on the political battlefield it takes a myriad of skills, with fundraising skills now days emerging to be the most prominent among them. It encompasses certain speech techniques and interpersonal skills, well established reputation and assertiveness.

While writing this lines the partial federal government shutdown in US is on its 33rd day. As known, Trump first forced the government into a partial shutdown in December 2018 after he suddenly changed his mind on a funding bill that did not include funds for the wall along the US – Mexico border. As Democrats didn’t yield Trump decided to fundraise the money for the wall. He addressed the nation over border security. “I’m addressing the nation tonight at 9 PM EST,” wrote Trump. “Get on the Official Secure the Border list my team sends me afterwards. Donate NOW.” Analytics from the URL-shortener shows 114,000 people have clicked on the pre-address link, 60 000 within the first two hours after the message began going out, writes A second wave of messages followed after the speech. “I just addressed the nation on Border Security. Now I need you to stand with me. Donate to the Official Secure The Border Fund NOW.”  That link has garnered another 102,000 clicks, 67 000 of them in the first two hours. “There’s no way to know how many people actually contributed, or how much they gave, but counting each click as a $25 donation yields a back-of-the-envelope valuation of $5 million dollars for a nine-minute speech aired by every national network for free.” President Trump’s speech certainly hasn’t make Democrats change their minds, but the presidential address has been a great fundraising success.

Fundraising skills of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump’s fierce opponent, hasn’t been nothing less. Au contraire! A huge reason she maintains her iron grip in politics is her ability to raise lots of money. According to, she’s raised more than $500 million for Democrats since entering the party leadership in the early 2000s, including $141.5 million in the 2015-2016 cycle. She explains it “I’m a master legislator, I am a strategic, politically astute leader, my leadership is recognized by many around the country, and that is why I’m able to attract the support that I do, which is essential to our election, sad to say.” But it’s her fundraising skills that are regarded as a key political asset. The daughter and sister of former Baltimore mayors, she rose quickly through Democratic ranks in the 1980s as California party chairman, then finance chair for the party’s Senate campaign committee.

Effective fundraising is a critical part of successful political campaigns, charitable organizations, community organizations, entrepreneurship, and even scientific research, explains Alyson Doyle (2018). It’s natural that people who work in fundraising need to have good written and verbal communication skills. It’s difficult to convince people to contribute their money to a cause without an excellent pitch. Fundraiser experts should be able to write letters, edit, proofread and write grant proposals and press releases. They’ll also need to be able to effectively facilitate discussions, inspire confidence and trust in face to face communication, and effectively engage in public speaking. Individuals who work as fundraisers should have a wide range of interpersonal skills. They should practice leadership and assertiveness, as well as be able to build relationships with donors motivating and training volunteers. It is crucial to know how to effectively recognize prospective donors and be persuasive in their dealings with them.

Daniel J. Jenuwine, senior consultant at Richner&Richner emphasizes three main pillars of fundraising. He mentions reciprocity, relationship, and reputation. You can think of this fundraising approach as a funnel, as writes, with you and your pitch at the wide end and your audience of investors at the closed end. Fail to point that funnel at the right investor or firm at the right time, and that’s your time and money lost.

Crowdfunding platforms, on the other hand, turns that funnels on-end. By providing a single platform to build, showcase, and share your pitch resources, this approach dramatically streamlines the traditional model. Traditionally, it will take months sifting through your personal network, vetting potential investors, and spending your own time and money to get in front of them. With crowdfunding, it’s much easier to get the opportunity in front of more interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business. It is a method of raising capital through the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors. This approach taps into the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals—primarily online via social media and crowdfunding platforms—and leverages their networks for greater reach and exposure. Although, text messages are emerging as the key fundraising medium in the US run up to 2020, states Kevin Poulsen. At an event in October, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale reportedly held up his cellphone and declared “This is how Donald Trump stays president for four more years.”  Who wants to bet on it?