Okay, so here’s some campaign fund-raising thoughts:
1) library board campaigns have traditionally not done a ton of fund-raising locally; usually they just do some yard signs, maybe some flyers, nothing too expensive
2) this year’s campaign in Oak Park has ten people running for four spots, and is the most contested campaign the library board has had in a long time (possibly ever)
3) if you raise more than a certain amount, it knocks you into a higher level of governmental reporting, so some candidates may want to avoid the hassle of needing to file quarterly reports on an ongoing basis
4) if you do raise significant funds beyond the norm, your fellow campaigners in a municipal race may see you as overly aggressive, which can be off-putting (these are people you may have to work with) — some advice I’ve gotten on this is to just be up front with them about it; talk to them about your goals and why you’re doing this level of fund-raising / campaigning
5) if you have larger ambitions long-term, for a more high-profile race, and hope to get the Democratic (or other) party behind you, they’ll be looking at your fundraising to see if you’re someone who can potentially raise larger sums (money makes money, sadly, in all kinds of ways)
6) if you raise more money than you need to spend, it can be rolled over into the next campaign; if there won’t be a next campaign, you can close the account and donate any leftover funds to a non-profit
7) I don’t know for certain if I’ll be running for anything else down the road. The library board is a four-year term; if I win it, in a few years, I’ll be thinking seriously about whether I want to shoot for school board, village administration, or something at the state level. To be perfectly frank, this campaign is a testing ground for me, to see if I like campaigning (and am any good at it), and if I like serving in public office (and am any good at it). The library seems a natural fit for me right now, given my work (English professor and writer) and my passionate love for libraries. Down the road…we’ll see.
8) I need about 6000 votes to win this election. My name is first on the ballot, which helps, and I’ll be going door-to-door with my little clipboard, trying to convince people to vote for me. But door-to-door is quite hard in Oak Park, because most people work, so they’re not home during the day, and of course, at dinner time, people are busy and often don’t want to take time to chat with strangers at their door, which I totally understand.
9) To that end, we’re planning on a direct mailer, the main cost of which will be postage. 6000 pieces of mail will cost roughly $3000 – $4000. And there are a host of other smaller campaign costs, from pizza for the volunteers, to the cost of a P.O. Box for taking donations, to buying clipboards, to making buttons, etc. and so on. I’d like to raise $5000 as an initial goal. I have about $1300 donated so far.
10) That’s it! Any questions?