How we do it

published on 13 August 2021

"Smile & Dial" fundraising is dead.

Spam filters, unknown call blockers, sketchy donor lists, plus a relentless barrage of p2p text and email campaigns has made a generally arduous task - major donor fundraising  - even more difficult. This is especially true for inexperienced candidates and those making the jump to a higher office.  

Prospector users are making meaningful connections with hundreds of targeted, capable, and active major political donors every week to fuel their operations. The campaigns, PACs, and non-profits using our tools have found a way to navigate the roadblocks, break through the noise, and secure large donations from high-dollar political donors. Some top lines: 

How do we do it?

You've probably guessed that our data and technology play a part here. That's true, but our client's success has as much to do with process as it does with our product. 

Focus on Major Donors 

Major donor fundraising is (still) the lifeblood of political campaigns. There is no replacement. The vast majority of any successful campaign's total raise will come from major donations, i.e. $1,000+.

Don't take our word for it. We've brought data to prove it.

In the 2nd Quarter 2021, Prospector user's performance data shows that 63% of all funds raised came from $1,000 donations. Historical political fundraising data shows the same breakdown. Major donors contribute the lions share of campaign's total raise.

NOTE: Certain factors like candidate name ID and the office being sought will impact number of small dollar donors. "Household name" candidates with national notoriety tend to raise more from small dollar donors.

For example, the two candidates below were both first time congressional candidates in the 2020 cycle. Candidate A was quite famous while Candidate B remains largely unknown outside the district. Candidate A raised more money from small dollar/digital efforts, comparatively speaking. Even still, $1k + major gifts accounted for more than half (52.79%) of all dollars raised from individual donors. Most candidates are not well-known, and the breakdown will be much closer to Candidate B's 79%. 

The inconvenient truth here is that major donor outreach (including call time and events) is really the only way to fund a winning campaign. If you were hoping for a Get Out of Call Time Free card, you won't find it here. 

Focus on Consistency 

 Our experience - and our client's performance data - have shown that consistently has a much greater impact on fundraising success than total volume. In other words, a  methodical, disciplined process applied to a smaller number of prospects will yield better results than a disorganized, haphazard process applied to a much larger number of prospects. This can be frustrating for those seeking instant gratification, but the results speak for themselves. 

Consider the following (real Prospector user) example.

The chart below displays the cumulative funds raised over the course of a single quarterly fundraising period. 

Total funds raised, by day, in Q2 2021
Total funds raised, by day, in Q2 2021

You might notice the major spikes that took place around 5/19 and 6/24 and think "What happened here? What did we do differently on 5/19 and 6/24 to produce these big spikes in campaign contributions."  The truth is, nothing. Nothing special happened on those days. There were no big events or new sexy tactics that directly contributed to influx in donations. What this chart actually shows is that consistency always (eventually) pays off. 

This is why "connect rate" - or the % of meaningful interactions that result from a batch of prospect outreach - is our North Star metric.

If we can facilitate real, meaningful interactions with ~27% the donor prospects in our prospector user's pipeline, then we can practically guarantee results. 

Focus on Quality 

The key determinants of your team's fundraising success are: 

  • The quality of your donor prospects. What is their capacity, propensity to give? 
  • The quality of your data. How rich, accurate, and current is your prospect data?
  • The quality of your appeal(s). How compelling is your pitch? 
  • The quality of your process. How efficient, effective is your program? 

Better data produces better connect rates. Better targeting gets you better pledge/donor conversion rates. Better copy, language, and assets generates better interactions. And finally, better processes ensure your valuable time is well spent. 

One of the primary challenges faced by political teams is figuring out how to scale their fundraising efforts. Quality is a necessary requirement that enables scalability. Through their client portal and reporting metrics, Prospector users have visibility and access to insights that allow them to monitor quality over time. This is what makes fundraising with Prospector different from the tired, broken, and outdated "Smile & Dial" system. 

Ready to jump start your fundraising? 

Schedule a demo or contact us at to learn more. 

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