“In politics, it’s no go without dough.” —Evry’s Law
Some Libertarians succeed by re-inventing the wheel. Most Libertarians fail by reinventing the flat tire. Here’s the simplest, easiest, fastest way to raise the first $2,500 for your next campaign in only seven days.
Why is the first $2,500 so important? That $2,500 is your campaign’s seed corn. Political start-up capital. Yeast to make the bread rise. The first seven days of a fitness program, the first seven days of a diet, the first seven days of developing a new skill set the pace for all that follows. A strong beginning fans the flames of faith. A weak start breathes life into self-doubt. “You don’t have to recover from a good start,” said John Wareham.
Can it really be done in only seven days? Some candidates raised the first $2,500 in seven hours. Others in a day. Many in 3 days. A few took the whole week. Nobody needed more than seven days.
You’ll be doing one-on-one personal fund-raising for your campaign. The steps are elegant and simple and easy:
Before you read this section, get some blank paper and a pen.
First, we’ll make a preliminary list of the people you know who know you. If you’re well-known in your community, many people you don’t know may recognize you. Leave them off your list. If you stay up on what’s going on in your community, you will recognize many people who don’t know you. Leave them off your list. To qualify for your preliminary list, the person must know you and you must know the person.
Don’t consider whether they can or can’t afford to give, whether they will or won’t give, whether they should or shouldn’tgive. This is just a preliminary list.
a. Write down the names of your immediate blood relatives. One name per line, list your father and mother, your brothers and sisters. What about grandmothers and grandfathers? Aunts and uncles you stay in touch with?
b. If you’re married, write the name of your spouse, mother-in-law, father-in-law . . . and any of your spouse’s immediate blood relatives.
c. Write down the names of your personal friends.
d. List the people you socialize with. Who do you go to dinner with? Have over for parties? Go camping with? Play bridge with? What other social activities do you engage in? Who with?
e. What organizations (other than the LP) are you involved in? Rotary Club? Lions? Chamber of Commerce? Church? Charity? A support group? Mensa? Society for Creative Anachronism? Square Dancing? Ballroom Dancing? University boosters? Health Club? What else? Who do you usually sit next to, talk with and spend time with at the gatherings or meetings? Write their names down.
f. Write the names of the coworkers that you spend time at work with. (Don’t list or ask people who report to you at work. It borders on harassment.)
g. If you’re a member of one of the professions, own a business, are self-employed, or in sales, who are your regular, repeat, favorite clients? They could be doing business with someone else in your field, but they are loyal to you. They know you, trust you, like you and believe you. List their names.
h. Who do you spend money with? Who do you do business with? Who is your doctor? Your dentist? Chiropractor? Car mechanic? Who owns the used bookstore you frequent? Who owns the small boutique or men’s store you patronize? Who is your insurance agent? Who’s your veterinarian? Who styles your hair? Who owns the dry cleaners that you spend $500 a year at? Who’s your real estate agent? Car salesperson? Printer? Video rental store owner? Health food store owner?
Who else do you spend money with? If they know you and you know them, if you’ve done repeat business with them, especially if you’ve sent them business . . . list their names. (Your checkbook, credit card billing, Rolodex, appointment calendar, holiday card list and receipts are gold mines for this chunk.)
i. Who else do you personally know who personally knows you? List their names.
Congratulations! You’ve put together your basic preliminary list. Other names may occur later. Write them down as they occur. As the Arabs say, “The palest ink is more reliable than the strongest memory.”
Second, list the phone numbers and addresses next to the names on your list.
Third, put a check mark next to the name of everyone on your list that you’ve personally talked with at least 30 minutes during the last 12 months. This is your list of prospective donors.
These people are not motivated to give because of The Libertarian Party, the Libertarian philosophy, your unanswerable arguments for your positions, the benefits of living in a better society or even because they despise the incumbent.
They are giving to you because of you and your personal relationship with them. Your family from love, duty and family ties. Your friends and co-workers out of friendship, obligation and personal ties. So, too, with the people you socialize with. Your clients and customers out of goodwill and loyalty. And the people you spend money with and do business with will do it from goodwill and out of a sense of reciprocation. You scratched my back, now I’ll scratch yours. They want to return the favor. The only reason these people are motivated to give is because of you and their relationship with you. They know you and like you and trust you and believe you. The strength of your relationship and their income determines how much you can ask for.
The easiest thing to ignore is a letter — closely followed by fax and e-mail. So you won’t use these.
The second easiest thing to ignore is a phone call. There are answering machines, call interrupt services, people in the home or office interrupting or waiting for the person you’re trying to talk with. Contacting anyone on your list by phone will be a last resort.
The hardest thing to lie to, ignore, put off, let down, refuse or get rid of is a living, breathing person looking you in the eyes. One-on-one, in person is how you’ll be asking for almost all of your contributions.
Also remember that you can’t immediately collect a check through the mail or over the phone. You can in person.
If you live within 60 miles of the person on your list, go to his office or home. (Telephone the others.)
Pick a time when you can spend an uninterrupted seven minutes with the person. Don’t make a formal appointment. Don’t make a big deal
about it. If you’re around other people,take the person aside with, “C’mere, I have some good news. You’re one of the first people I’ve told.”
With family, friends, co-workers and people you socialize with, here’s the basic format:
Use the same format as above through step 6. Change step seven to incorporate reciprocation: “I see . . . But John in the last 12 months I spent $1,247 with you, and in the next 12 months I’ll probably spend another $1,247 with you. I’d like to know you
appreciate me and my business . . . and the best way for me to know that is with your $125 donation to my campaign. Will you do it?” Other reciprocation sentences:
You know your hours and commitments better than I do. Set aside 2 hours each week day and 4 hours each weekend day for seven days. Work it around your schedule.
Money is the fuel that runs your Libertarian campaign. It won’t make you a good driver or guarantee you reach your destination. But without it you’re stalled and stuck.