Book Review: How to Raise Money for Political Office

Hey it’s election season! In a year and a half, it will be time for another US presidential election, which means it’s a good time to run, since people tend to vote more during presidential election years.

Lately I’ve been researching how to do political fundraising for a friend of mine. Since in politics what you communicate doesn’t matter as much as how you communicate it, you’ve got to start fundraising early and never stop, even after you get elected.

This week I’m reviewing a book called How to Raise Money for Political Office by Brandon Lewis.   This book has many concrete examples of how to write political fundraising communications, like letters, emails, reply devices and invites.

Why do political donors give?

According to Brandon Lewis,
1. They give because their friends give (peer pressure)
2. They have a particular political interest (maybe they want to see lower property taxes)
3. They want access to the candidate (they want influence if the person gets elected)
4. They have a general allegiance to the party (they always vote democrat no matter what)
5. Someone asked them. (And this is the trick, to ask the right people after building a relationship with them.)

What’s a sample fundraising email for politics look like?


Dear Mary,

As I travel across this state, I am excited to see how my message of common sense principles to achieve prosperity is resonating with Washingtonians! Our recent polling indicates that voters are overwhelmingly choosing my experience as a civic leader and businessman over my opponent’s experience in DC as registered lobbyists.

With only three days until the primary, and with the Federal Election Commissions filing deadline quickly approaching this Friday, I need your help. In the coming weeks, we will communicate my liberal message in a variety of ways with increasing frequency. While our grassroots efforts are making a tremendous impact and outpacing my opponents, TV still remains the most effective way to communicate with the most voters.

We want to make a major media buy and need to raise an additional $29,000 before this Thursday, October 29th. Help me take our Washington values to DC by selecting one of the following options today:

  • $25.30 buys 1/2 cable TV spot
  • $50.60 buys one cable TV spot
  • 101.20 buys two cable TV spots
  • $253 buys five cable TV spots
  • $498 buys one prime-time network TV spot
  • Other donation

Will you help me in this important effort? Please make your secure online donation today.

With your help, we will chart a liberal course of leadership for our state and the nation. Thank you for doing your part in this tremendous endeavor.


Candidate signature

P.S. Because the filing deadline is this Thursday, October 29th, please make your donation today.


How can we break this email down? Here are the 12 different parts of a fundraising email, according to How to Raise Money for Political Office.

Example political fundraising email

1. Who it’s from: It should be from the candidate

2. Subject line: Make it a teaser, make it personal. “I need your help by this Thursday”

3. Salutation: Dear Mary, (first name works!)

4. Paragraph 1: What is your platform? Share the bandwagon effect. What’s the momentum? According to this book, even if you’re losing badly you should act like you’re winning.

5. A candidate picture plus your logo for the campaign- It helps people realize this email comes from a real person.

6. Paragraph 2: Share the urgency and what you’ll do with the money you raise.

7. Paragraph 3: Get even more specific about your needs. Reiterate when you need the money by.

8. The Donation Choices: The ask- Here’s some choices. Donate $25 and this will help us do this! Donate $50 and this will help us do that!

9. Ask #2 and Thanks: Ask them, reiterate the deadline, and thank them.

10. Signature of the candidate.

11. P.S. Don’t introduce any new ideas. Help us now!

12. Social media icons to share the campaign (I wouldn’t necessarily put these into an ask email.)

I really like how this book breaks down how to communicate and get money for your campaign.

So, if you’re doing political fundraising, is this book worth your time?


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