red to blue: fundraising
Why is Fundraising Important?
To defend and advance our U.S. democracy, it is essential to elect progressive, Democratic representatives at the local, state, and national levels. As we all know, races are expensive, and our candidates need money to beat their Republican opponents who are typically wealthier and receive large donations from PACs, corporations, and individuals. Many of the candidates we support do not receive PAC money; they rely on small donations like ours.
What is NOPE Neighbors’ Fundraising Approach?
NOPE’s fundraising method provides a simple and easy way to raise money for our selected candidates – even if you’ve never raised money before. Here’s how we do it:
We conduct research on the pool of Democratic candidates for each election we are supporting (e.g., for the upcoming 2019 Virginia House of Delegates election and 2020 Congressional election). We work with local activist groups who do similar analyses and we scour the Internet for data from reputable sources including the Cook Report, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball (Center for Politics, University of Virginia), Nate Silver’s 538 and others.
We select our candidates based on several criteria:
Candidates who are “on the cusp” – they have a chance to win but are not shoo-ins.
Candidates who are in need of donations – their opponents are out-raising them. We typically do not fund raise for candidates who are already receiving significant funds from donors.
Candidates running in states that are holding elections on the local, state, and/or federal levels. This helps candidates run (and win) on each other’s coat tails.
We launch fundraising campaigns for one candidate, a group of candidates, or an organization. Each fundraiser is named for and built around the theme of democracy (e.g., Save our Democracy, Give for Democracy)
Whenever possible, we invite our selected candidates or members of the selected organization to join us at one of our monthly meetings, typically via a video conference call.
At each meeting, we make a pitch for donations for the candidate(s) or organization(s) that we have selected to support that month. We provide all attendees with an action slip for making their pledges of support. We follow up on their pledges shortly after each meeting.
We also ask NOPE members and friends to join our NOPE Giving Circle. Giving Circle members pledge to give a specified amount each month to our chosen candidates and organizations.
We use a peer to peer email fundraising approach. We raise money via emails, not events. NOPE members email their friends, family, and colleagues, asking them to contribute to our selected candidates. We make it easy for our fundraisers by providing an email template describing why we chose each candidate and emphasizing the importance of giving. We have found that our friends, family, and colleagues appreciate our well-researched suggestions – they’re bombarded by requests for money and we help them decide who to donate to. As one NOPE member put it, “I’ve never raised money before and wasn’t initially comfortable with the idea. But NOPE showed me how to do it and now my mom and long-time friends reach out to me to ask who they should support - and they get impatient if I don’t provide the information promptly!”
What Can You Do?
You can help by joining our Giving Circle with a pledge to donate a specific amount to a NOPE fundraising campaign each month. Another way to get involved is to ask your personal network of friends, relatives, and colleagues to contribute to the candidates we are supporting. To learn about our current fundraising campaigns, please go to Red to Blue: Fundraising Campaigns. To donate to an active campaign go to Donate.
In 2017 and 2018, NOPE Neighbors raised $302,000 for 11 Virginia House of Delegates candidates (2017), 16 House of Representatives candidates (2018) and 8 U.S. Senate candidates (2018). Nine of our 11 Virginia candidates and 10 of our 16 House of Representatives candidates won! More than 440 people contributed to these fundraisers.
For more details about our candidates and their election results go to Red to Blue: Fundraising Accomplishments. Also take a look at our Flipping Fifteen: NOPE’S Giving Circle Recipients for the 2018 Mid-Term Elections.
We provide training webinars on peer to peer email fundraising and how to start a Giving Circle. To learn more about our fundraising tools and to receive a schedule of upcoming training workshops, please send us a note at NOPENeighbors@gmail.com.
Resources for learning about upcoming races and candidates are provided in Red to Blue: Fundraising Resources.