Don’t Let Hillary (or Rudy or Barack or …) Steal Your Donors
For those fundraisers who appreciated that 2006 and 2007 were relatively disaster-free, and therefore were free to pursue funding for their causes without seeing donors abandon them for the victims of a previously unimaginable hurricane or tsunami, let me be the first to tell you that 2008 will be different.
In 2008, a disaster is brewing that will hijack both the majority of the public’s attention and its funding. This Category 1 disaster is not a hurricane, but an election. This year will be all election, all the time — and if you don’t get out front and actually compete with it, Hillary, Rudy and the gang will leave your charitable campaigns in their tracks.
The 2008 presidential campaign will be the costliest in American history. Experts predict that the Democratic and Republican nominees will raise and spend around $1 billion on the presidential campaign alone. Add in all of the other campaigns, from dogcatcher to governor, and the 529s and political-action committees that circumvent campaign finance regulations, and we’re talking about tens of billions of dollars of donor support.
Millions of Americans will support candidates this year with their hard-earned dollars. Some will do it out of civic duty, some will do it because they see it as an investment in our future, and some will do it to serve their own self-interests. However, in almost every case, these people would be better off supporting one of America’s more than 1 million charities, and it is my belief that nonprofit leaders have an obligation to point this out to those considering donating to political campaigns.
It’s not unpatriotic to argue that donors should stop funding candidates and support their local charities instead; it’s common sense and good business. The time to spread the word is today, before all the available money disappears forever in a torrent of noisy campaign commercials. Here are some key points that nonprofit leaders should make to donors: