Just had a nice chat with a rep. from CrowdPac who had asked to set up a time to talk about how my fundraiser was going. Kickstarter / Indiegogo — take note — this is a nice service, and should pay for itself if you can help people raise more money.
He approved of what I was doing, and mentioned that so far, about 8% of the people who looked at my CrowdPac site had donated, which he said was actually really high, that usually it was a 3-4% conversion rate. So I’m going to take that as an encouraging sign, that people are actually pretty interested in supporting my run for office. 🙂 Thanks, folks!!!
He also suggested, beyond what I was already doing, two other methods that they’d seen to be successful at fundraising. One was direct messaging on Facebook (esp. since it’s hard to be sure how many people Facebook is showing your posts to) — pick 20 people and send them a DM about your campaign. Then do it again, with another 20 people.
It honestly hadn’t occurred to me to do that, and I’m still mostly nerving myself up even for the calling / e-mailing close friends part of fundraising, so I’m not sure I’m going to be doing a lot of DM’ing to more casual friends….but maybe? The election book I’m reading now says fundraising is the hardest part of being public office, and I think that may be emotionally true, although it kind of bothers me too, because I think the hardest part *should* be thinking through difficult problems and trying to find the best solution for your community.
The other thing he suggested was asking people who had already donated to consider sharing my campaign to their own Facebook / Twitter / etc. feeds. That, I think I can do in good conscience, so I’ll probably be using the update function in the next few hours to send a note to all the donors along those lines, and after that, I’ll ask Franki to include that request in the thank-you notes we’re sending.
Fundraising really is tricky. It’s relatively easy to ask for money for a social issue you really believe in — aid to refugees, for example, would be high on my list. It’s much harder to ask for money for an arts project — there’s more of a sense that if this project is good enough, maybe you ought to be able to just sell copies / tickets / etc. Although sometimes good art isn’t necessarily commercially attractive — when I fundraiser for Jaggery, it’s with an awareness that I think it’s important to support marginalized voices, so there’s a social justice component to that too.
Fundraising directly for myself is…well, it’s just weird. Especially because it’s not as if I’m running against anyone evil for the library board — I’ve met the other candidates, and I like them, and I think they all want to do a good job. I just think that with my background and experience, I’d be a great fit for the board, and that I can bring some aspects to the table that would really strengthen our library system. Is that enough to convince people to contribute to my campaign, and to vote for me? Well, I guess we’ll see.
In the end, I think most people who have contributed to my campaign have done so not because of any specific policy position I hold regarding the library, but because they like and believe in me. A humbling thought.

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