Are you ready for election-time fundraising?

Posted on 23 Feb 2022

By Cathy Truong, executive director, GiveNow

Executive director of GiveNow, Cathy Truong provides tips on how your organisation might prepare for an election year fundraising campaign.

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A federal election is looming – it has to be held on or before 21 May 2022 – and we can largely anticipate the electoral issues that will be debated.

The economy, covid and national security will all rate highly, as will employment rates and brewing inflation. But we will also witness intense debate on social issues such as the safety of women, housing affordability, LGBTQI+ rights, tough-on-crime mantras, freedom of religion, a treaty, and national identity.

So, our advice to you? If you know that the community you serve is going to be part of the national discussion, claim your organisation’s role in addressing the social issue and ask the public for funding to make it happen. More than anyone else, you know the broad policy settings likely to be debated by political leaders, and you know how your organisation can contribute to solutions. So now is the time to prepare, to polish your narrative so you can capitalise on the election-year discussion through fundraising.

The times when media relied heavily on the ‘International Day of…’ calendar to guide the news are gone. Commentary now is more reactive. But election periods are somewhat predictable and you’ve got to plan for them.

In an ideal fundraiser’s world, the challenge you are seeking to address would become part of the news cycle for a week or more during the election campaign, but there are no guarantees, and a single day in the spotlight, maybe two, is more likely.

Truong Cathy
Cathy Truong, executive director, GiveNow

So what can you do now to make the election part of your fundraising plan? Anticipate the conversation and get organised! Now is the time to:

  • develop your ask. You know how the political debate is likely to play out, so draft your response this week (you can always fine-tune later)
  • compile your personal stories and images
  • update your online fundraising page (all GiveNow users are encouraged to update their text, or even better create a new cause)
  • create a hashtag for promotion in social media – this is where most election commentary rages
  • reconnect with your journalist contacts.

We see time and again how agile organisations manage to get their organisation’s purpose into the news – for example, organisations that received thousands of dollars in donations during the recent transgender student furore, and women’s shelters that reiterated the message of the importance of safe refuge after another woman was murdered in a domestic violence setting.

It is not a case of ‘cashing-in’ on media attention, and it’s definitely not just luck. It takes good planning, good timing and good communication to effectively convey the reasons why you need funding to bring about change. During the next 90 days until the election, the moment will come and go fast, so have a week’s campaigning planned and ready to activate.

Being prepared for the debate with an ask for funding provides people with an outlet for their concerns and an opportunity to contribute to solutions. Many people feel that their single vote is not powerful enough to channel all their rage, so give them the option to turn their rage into social change by donating to your organisation. Governments come and go, but the real engine for change lies within community organisations like yours.

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