When you stop to think about it, politics and fundraising actually have a lot in common...and both can cause quite a stink if not executed with aplomb.
Some lessons lived and learned include the following insights—
Political platforms, like fundraising initiatives, are endeavors of people, trust, stewardship and mission. Both the politician and fundraiser need to earn and retain the trust of their constituents by their very actions, assuring them that their money and trust will be used wisely to carry out the very mission they have set about to support. People who don't understand or don't support your goals or who have had a less than favorable past experience are less likely to support you. The election platform (or fundraising goal) should help you well articulate a convincing reason why you should be elected/ or receive funds – you need to earn it.
Of course, raising supportive constituents and money take time, patience and planning. Both require knowing the past history of support, results, and strategizing about how to better the performance. Every politician and fundraiser know that they place various demands on their volunteers, supporters and their respective organizations. Those demands can be time consuming, expensive and stressful. Politics like fundraising require good planning, a good sense of people and situations and good execution – while not forgetting the ongoing stewardship and communication. In short, both politician and fundraiser need to know what their organization needs, what 'sells', who has the money, who can open doors and who can influence your position.
Similar philosophies of Politics and Fundraising—
Know who and what you represent.
Voters and donors feel confident to know that their vote or money is going to someone who knows what they are doing and what they support. You are not speaking to the masses; you are speaking to individuals, one at a time.
Know your audience.
Before communicating for a vote or money, do your research. Know who and why they are a good fit.
Take time to do it right.
Someone recently noted, "Politicians don't win elections as much as they lose elections". Take the time to do it right, make it right and keep it right. Both fundraising and politics take time to develop mutually supportive relationships. Your 'second chance' may never come.
Political support and fundraising success come when your efforts have stood out and well above the crowd. Be creative, be honest, maintain professional integrity.
Don't just raise voters or money, build relationships.
Friendraising and Fundraising are inextricably linked. One doesn't succeed without the other, and building good relationships take time.
Learn from your mistakes...clarity to see and discipline to change.
We can all learn from our mistakes if we are intelligent about it. Every mistake made reveals an opportunity for growth, yet why do so many repeat the same blunders?
It's simple. We lack the clarity to see where we have gone wrong and secondly, the discipline to mend our ways. Character lies precisely in the promise to ourselves (and to our supporters) to become continually better.
Politics and Fundraising seem to boil down to two golden rules-
We are all intelligent enough to reflect on what we have done and what we do daily. Recording our actions aids to interpret our actions. Some of the greatest thinkers and influencers – Thoreau, Socrates, Franklin, Trudeau – did precisely that. That's how, some would suggest, that they grew up 'healthy, wealthy and wise.' Their consistent review of their encounters and confrontations gave them the insight to know what habits they needed to change. Somwhat akin to conducting a personal SWOT analysis. That's the first one.
Second, Fix it...or them...permanently, through a deep and abiding desire to develop and practice principles and philosophies that become you and bring out the best of you and your supporters.
Living by the golden rules and lessons learned help keep the effluvium to a minimum.