How to Catch (and keep) Contributors: A Practical Guide to Fundraising

View all blog posts under Master's in Political Management Online | View all blog posts under Webinars

Transcript

Kira: Okay, so the time is now 1pm Eastern sharp and I would like to welcome everyone. Thanks so much for joining us today for a special webinar presented by Professor Nancy Bocskor, an adjunct faculty of her Master’s in Political Management, programs online and campus at the George Washington University. Professor Bocskor’s area of expertise is in fundraising and today she will provide a practical guide on how to catch and keep contributors. So, our webinar is scheduled for 45 minutes but you’re welcome to stay for the hour during Q&A with Professor Bocskor and if we’re not able to get to all of your questions, we’ll be happy to follow up with you at a later time. So, just for logistics, your lines are currently placed on mute as this webinar is being recorded for later viewing for those who are not able to make it for the hour. Please feel free to forward any questions you may about today’s presentation or the program itself via the Q&A window and we’ll take up your questions during our segment at the end.

So, if you look at the bottom of your screen there is a yellow button; that is for you to get in touch with technical support in case there is any issue that you may face during the presentation. To view the slides, the blue icon, the second one in a row of icons there, in charge of opening up the slide window and if you have Q&A it would be the purple, the second last icon on your screen. Also, the link chain looking icon, that is for you to get in touch with our enrollment adviser. Her online scheduler is available there for you as well as the URL to our online website. Anything like that is available there so please feel free to get in touch. Now, I’d like to introduce you to our professor, Nancy Bocskor. She’s tagged as the democracy coach by a German newspaper which features citizens in the United States and internationally on how to communicate with passion to affect change in their communities. Professor Nancy Bocskor founded the Nancy Bocskor Company in 1990, she has raised money for more 100 members of congress and candidates and has trained activists and leaders in all 50 states and more than 20 countries.
The author of Go Fish; How To Catch And Keep Contributors: A Practical Guide To Fundraising. Nancy is also a professor at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management where she teaches both online and classroom fundraising courses. She also guides online students through their practicum and classroom courses. Nancy is on the Board for Running Start, an organization that encourages young women to run for office and serves on the Advisory Board for the Centre for Second Service; a program that train veterans for public service. She also served on the Board of Women’s Campaign School at Yale for seven years where she chaired the school’s Curriculum Committee for five years. A graduate of Otterbein College at Westerville in Ohio. Nancy received the 2010, the Distinguished Alumni Award for her “her passion to affect change in national and international communities, training and consulting with the nations and world’s political leaders, and commitment to educate others, particularly women, around the world.”

Nancy spreads democracy throughout the world. The lively American travels from one country to the next coaching candidates on how to win elections especially encouraging women to make it in parliament. Welcome Professor Bocskor.

Nancy: Thank you. You can call me Nancy and that’s fine. Well, welcome everyone, I’m glad you could join us today. This will be my 12th year teaching at the Graduate School of Political Management but I’ve been involved with guest lecturing and also having many, many interns and graduate assistants for most of my career, ever since the school was around. So, it’s been a real pleasure to watch them really grow in their professions. One of my students, Clayton Cox, was just named the Democratic National Committee; he’s in charge of their entire fundraising and he was just a student of mine maybe five or six years ago. So, of course, I’ve already popped him a note congratulating him on achieving that honour. So, today we’re going to talk about fundraising which is most people’s least favourite topic in the world. You give people an option; cold call someone and ask for $2700, which is the maximum you can give in a congressional race and the primaries or, go to the dentist and have all of your teeth removed, including some root canals, and have all this done without anaesthesia. Most people would choose the “Yes, just send me to the dentist.”

So, in my course and in the short course that we’re doing today, I’m really going to emphasise how to ask for money even if you hate to. My course title, Go Fish; How To Catch And Keep Contributors came about because fishing and fundraising are a lot alike. If wanted really big fish I would have to go to Florida, I’d have to get a boat, hire the skipper in Gilligan, get special bate, special equipment and we would go out and catch really big fish. But no less important than fishing or fundraising is using a net to scoop up small and medium fish as well as our small and medium donors. Everybody just gives money for very different reasons and it’s one of the topics we explore as we walk through fundraising. You have my contact information, my website has a lot of videos, a lot more information about the work I do. So, there are two things that are important in politics; the first one is money and I just can’t remember what the second one is. I don’t know if we have anyone from Ohio on this call today but Mark Hanna is a buckeye and he was the campaign strategist to William McKinley’s presidential campaign. He was also a US senator.

This phrase was not coined after Citizens United or any other Supreme Court ruling; no, it came about in 1896 – “There’s always been money in politics.” What sets America apart from other countries is truly the amount of regulations that we do have. I like to tell my students orange is not the new black, I do not want to go to a women’s prison, I don’t like structured environments, they kind of wouldn’t let me have scissors so I can’t do arts and crafts so the whole thing is not good. We really have a lot of walls with teeth despite what you read in media and many special interest groups. One of the things you will read, if you take my class, is the History of Campaign Finance in the US. A professor from Colby College wrote that as his dissertation and it’s a really great survey of how we got where we are today with campaign regulations. You can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent. Everyone has big dreams, everyone has campaigns they want to fund, non-profits that they have, you know, all this good work.
We want to buy school books for kids, we want to end cancer, we want great people elected to office. But, if you don’t have a plan it’s not going to happen. So, fundraising is a learned skill. The worst somebody can tell you is “No.” They’re not going to send you to a Gulag in Siberia. You just have to get up and ask more people. But, we really do a lot of research on who are the people we ask and how do we develop a strategy to reach them with a message that will move them from concern to passion to cash. Now, the photo you’re looking at here is in Moldova. Now, Moldova is a country and I’ve been there twice. Some people think I’m now making up countries. I first was asked to go to Moldova to teach very basic civic engagement and fundraising skills in a culture where there was not really any fundraising. Moldova is the smallest, the poorest and probably the most corrupt country in Eastern Europe of the former Soviet. A billion Dollars was missing from the treasury so the lack of civil society is just overwhelming. So, I was actually asked to go there to meet with a group of Ukrainian diaspora who live in Moldova and their goal was to just raise enough money to buy new sporting equipment for one impoverished school on the Ukrainian border.

So, I spent several days teaching them how to raise money, how to build on relationships, making sure we have – what we’re going to talk about today; trust, transparency, tithing, encouraging people to give back and making sure we have accountability. So, I was very excited a few months later – my friend Demetri who is the floating head with black shirt next to Santa Claus; he sent me this photo. Their program was so successful that they raised enough money to buy sporting equipment, not just for one school but for two. As you can see, the children have new hula hoops and soccer balls and footballs and – well, when you live in Moldova this is what glee looks like. As a Hungarian, I can just say “This is what happy people look like in former Soviet Republics. But, it really made a difference and Demetri’s wife went on to be elected to their local town council. So, we’re learning these skills in non-profit world and making them work in political world. There isn’t a money tree.

Too often candidates will call me a month before the election and go “Nancy, I haven’t been able to raise any money at home. You know, I still live in my mom’s basement and I read a lot of Ayn Rand all day and I’d be really good in congress but I don’t know anybody and I don’t leave the basement.” Well, they’re not going to raise any money. You have to grow your own money tree and that means that you have to start putting together a path to raising money. A lot of people tell me “I’ll ask anybody for money except my friends and family.” Well, if your friends and family aren’t going to support you, why would total strangers support you? So, by the way, this money tree is in Reno, Nevada. I stopped and took a photo of it but this is not the money tree you want; this is the money tree that is a quick cheque cashing place in Reno, right next to a casino. So, I encourage people to not fund their campaigns using [unintelligible 00:14:05], just a nice little tip there. The good news, you and your volunteers are already fundraisers; you just forgot.

Fundraising is in our culture. From the time we were small children, whether it is going to church and always giving back, whether it’s selling Girl Scout cookies, Sally Foster wrapping paper – we are a nation of fundraisers like no other place in the world. Now we just have to take what we’ve learned selling cookies and making it so we can raise money for our self or for candidates or organizations we work for. My computer is frozen for a moment but it will go in a second. So, what’s fundraising? Fundraising is persuading people. It is connecting, it’s being malleable, it’s helping people, convincing them, sometimes there’s an argument, sometimes it’s a debate but I like to remind people we are not North Korea, we’re allowed to have different opinions. But, at the end of the day a lot of what I teach is Sales 101. It’s how to package a product, package a candidate and figure out how are we going to sell, market, convince people to give money and to vote for that candidate. I like to say persistence is the answer and a sense of humour helps. I stumbled into fundraising back in 1990 when my former boss Congressman Newt Gingrich was running for Health Minority whip and he said “You know what Nancy, you’ll ask anybody anything, you are incredibly pleasant yet persistent, I think you should be my fundraiser.” That’s really how I launched my career in fundraising with newt as he was running for Minority whip. Of course, then he became speaker.

So, what do we need in fundraising? What are key ingredients of really a fundraising foundation? And I call it – we’re going to go back. Again, I’m sorry I’m having a little of problems with my laptop. The first one is the Three Ts. You have to have trust; trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair. As candidates, as leaders, as civic activists, you have to develop the trust aspect. When you tell people “I’m going to do this” then get it done. People like to vote for people, support people, who get stuff done and you have to be trusted especially if someone is going to give you money. With the tax law changes there’s a lot of debate on whether people will be as generous in charitable donations because of the way the tax laws are. So, people have to trust you and your organization or they’re not going to give you money. I work in countries where there just is no trust aspect. To get ahead in many former dictatorships, you know, people would turn in their own neighbour just to have a better job or heat or a better apartment.

So, developing a trust aspect is something Americans still have but it’s very difficult to find in many of the countries where I work. You need to have transparency, learning to love spreadsheets. You’ve got to tell people how the money will be spent. The number 1 reason people do not give is that they were never asked and the number 2 reason, they don’t know how much to give. So, I monetise everything. When I was working with the NGO in Moldova, they would go to business owners and say “Gee, may I have $50 so I can buy 10 soccer balls.” So they were very specific and very open. We have very strict campaigns, finance laws here in America but still you need to have several people minding the bank account. Money disappears. So, in other countries people are afraid to give money because they’re afraid it won’t be used in the way they have given it. So, make sure you are transparent with your dealings. We need to have – the next one is, you have to have a history of giving and tithing.

So, tithing is a religious term but it really goes back to the fact that even though only about less than 50% of Americans go to church on a regular basis. Most of our fundraising culture is built upon the fact that we are a generous country. When I was a small child I would go to Vandalia United Methodist Church and I would pull out my nickel or dime to put in the collection plate. There was always giving back. It is in our culture. Many cultures where I work, it is very difficult because there was never that culture of volunteerism or giving. Here in America we have that, now we just have to position our statements that we are raising money for either our campaigns or for our causes and it’s much easier. In Great Britain, church membership has dropped to 6% and non-profit fundraising is floundering because of that, because there is such a direct correlation. So, we do have that advantage of a history of giving and tithing. So, what does a fundraising leadership model look like? As I told you my first job in Washington, when I was 21, was with some guy name Newt Gingrich. So, I have gone in and out of Newt world many time.

Now, there’s always questions about Newt and one of them is “Is Newt crazy?” Well, yes. Newt has 6 million new ideas every day before 6am. Six are good, the rest not so much but it’s six more than most people have in a lifetime. I learned this leadership model from him which I teach and try to live every day of my life and that is listen, learn, help and lead. When you talk to donors, when you talk to voters, when you talk to activists, you ask questions and develop appreciative understanding. I used to ask college students “What’s your dream job?” Now I ask “What’s your student loan debt?” I want to understand what they’re going through. Older people are, you know, concerned about social security, Medicare, Medic Aid. They’re often concerned about their children’s future, grandchildren’s future, but you have to listen intently to the person that you’re speaking to because when you listen you learn. You process what you’ve heard, remember it and learn from it. You can’t know everything.

When you are talking to a donor, it’s all about the donor. It’s not about you. There’s a strategy that we call The Boy Strategy; Because Of You. When you listen and learn, you then figure out a strategy, how can you be the catalyst in getting something done. In fundraising it tends to be “Great, I understand you are concerned about education for your children. If I’m elected I will be able to do this and we can work together for better schools. Please invest in my campaign today.” So, we’re helping. “If you give money we can be the catalyst in getting something done.” Finally ask people, listen, learn, can help people, you will almost always be asked to lead them. Again, people vote for people who get stuff done. No-one wants to vote for the smartest person in the room, they want to vote for somebody who cares. Again, the action, that you know how to put the call. So, I go back because leaders need followers, leaders need donors, they need volunteers and they need voters and every day, if you live this leadership model, you will get all three.

Now, what is fundraising? Fundraising is all about relationships. In my life I try to create one degree of separation between every single person I meet because I ask a lot of questions. I get into an Uber and I look at the driver’s name and I go “Oh, are you from Mongolia?” and then we talk about Mongolia. But, you can do that if you ask questions and have appreciative understanding. You have to figure out what can I do, what do I have in common with this person. Fundraising; think long-term, not a one-off. It is EHarmony, it is not Tinder. Just because you meet someone once, you can’t trust that’s money that will stay. You have to continue asking for money, you have to develop a relationship, you have to act. You have that relationship after someone gives you money, you have to be in touch with that person. The number 1 reason people don’t give money again is if they were not thanked properly. So, think about this long-term and not just a one-off. So, today I’m just going to go through three quick tips when I meet with candidates, with non-profits. The thing to do to jumpstart their fundraising efforts; number 1, collect list. Who do you know? I’ve never met a list in my life that didn’t bring me a vote, a volunteer or a donation.

So, when I work with candidates we do, for the lack of a better term, we go through a data dump. Tell me who you know, where did you go to school, where did you go to college? Do you go to church, what church do you go to? Are you in a civic organization like JC’s or Lion’s Club or Rotary? Are you in the Chamber of Commerce, are you in a union? Are you a veteran? Great because that spirit of influence can be the BFW American Legion. Fraternal organizations like The Eagles or The Elks. But I sit down and I figure out who do you know and we map it out because I want to create a team. I do this by occupation; if you’re an independent insurance agent I will know that you will know almost every independent insurance agent in the world. So, I sit here and figure out relationships and who has contacts with those relationships. Remember people are twice as likely to do something if they’re asked by a friend. Again, when people go “Oh Nancy, I can’t ask my friends” I go “Well, who’s – strangers aren’t going to support you.”

We don’t have time for this but there are a lot of studies that back up this; people are twice as likely to do something when asked by a friend. So, we will go into that deeper in the course. Second stuff is create a finance team. A finance team is when you get your friends, neighbours and colleagues to help agree to raise you a set amount of money as in an achievable goal and you give them a deadline. This is like multilevel marketing, it is like selling Amway products or the new thing is Rodan & Field that everybody’s selling on Facebook. But, it really sits there and you figure out who do you know, through a spirit of influence that we can ask to help us. A good finance committee can help you raise 60% or more of your overall budget. It is that powerful. Because, as a candidate you can’t do it all yourself. You have to have a sales force out there and what occupation makes the best finance chair, I always go “Somebody in Sales.” Give me an insurance agent, stockbroker, real estate agent – my personal favourite, car dealers, used car dealers because people in Sales know how to negotiate. They don’t take no for an answer and they’re incredibly resilient.

A 26 year old yuppie insurance agent has no problems calling 100 people and if three people say yes, they get out a bottle of champagne. Most other people – if that many people said no, they’d get under their desk in a foetal position and never come out again. So, let’s continue. Again, in class we really outline how the recruiter finance committee – I actually have a finance committee sales package that we put together because we need to train people how to do this. How they can help us raise $10 000 in the next three months. I was in 4-H Club so everything’s a project for me. Now, let’s go to the next slide. Third step that you need to learn how to do better is . . . and that is how to do a fundraising event that actually raises money. It is probably my biggest challenge especially in non-profit world. In political world we keep our overheads to 12 to 15%, in non-profit world the industry standard is 40% but I’ve seen way too many people who, at the end of the day, they start adding all their cost up and they lose money.

So, in class we spend an entire time on how to do a fundraising event that actually makes money. So, what do we need to do? Well, you have to sit down and write a plan because if it’s not documented it’s not going to happen. This is a roadmap to follow. I have a finance plan template that the students use in class so they can put together that map for their own non-profit or their political campaign or for a political organization. This is a roadmap that can be changed. It is a living breathing document but it helps you outline how much you think you’re going to raise from direct mail, the political parties from PACT, from the internet, from asking people for money. This is what I call the Pyramid of Fundraising Nirvana. This pyramid helps you understand why people give. What motivates them. We don’t have a lot of time to go into detail but at the top of any pyramid are people who will only give money if they’re personally asked. Those tend to be our big donors and I lovingly say they have big egos. You are not going to get $5400 in a congressional race unless you go see that person and have a conversation.

You are not going to get $5400 in a piece of direct mail. It’s cost effective that’s why it’s at the top of the pyramid. In the middle of the pyramid are people who go to fundraising events. These tend to be my mid-Dollar donors. These are people where they want some value for their donation. So, a mid-Dollar may be someone that gives $25 to an ice-cream social, $100 for a barbecue to $54 to a cocktail event. You have to determine what a major donor is in your own campaign. Again, it’s in the middle because I keep the overhead to between 12 and 15%. Finally, at the bottom of that pyramid are people who really respond to direct mail and telemarketing and these are people who tend to be low dollar donors. There’s a lot more of them but it costs me more money, it can cost me 40 to 80 cents for every Dollar I bring in. But, keep in mind that a lot of money comes from direct mail. Still, about 85% of all money raised in the United States for non-profit and political campaigns comes via the mail.

You go to the mailbox and ask for money. It is not the internet. People ask me “Where’s the internet on your pyramid?” Well, digital – the average campaign raises about 10% and the only reason it’s 10% is because of Bernie Sanders in the presidentials. There are 513 000 elected officials in the US and so, if you’re running for Clerk of the District Court, there’s not going to be a lot of digital fund raising. Let’s go to the next slide. ‘Big Donors Give Because They Want Access’. I’m certainly not selling anything, I am very ethical, I can look at myself in the mirror everyday but I do know that major donors want to see you as the candidate, they want to see the person running the non-profit, they want a peer to ask them. If I have a fundraising event I’ll schedule a second tier where it’s 5 o’clock, there’s an exclusive cocktail party with a photo op and you can go to that for $1000 that’s followed by the $100 barbecue at 6 o’clock. But these are people that I provide, as my friend says, ‘concierge service’. Mid Dollar donors tend to be your most social donors. People who go to fundraising events tend to go because well, their friends have asked them. This is where friend to friend, neighbour to neighbour, colleague to colleague, fundraising comes into play.

You might have a fundraising event at somebody’s house. We want to go to somebody’s big house. Even introverts like to go to fundraising events as long as they observe and not have to like participate. So, you go to somebody’s house and you want to go “Hey, who’s Kira’s date tonight?” “I don’t know” right? Or, if it’s a big house, “What’s in the medicine chest?” People like to go to other people’s homes but the second reason this is a social event is that people who go to fundraising events tend to want something of value. Never underestimate the power of [unintelligible 00:34:25] in a campaign; it’s why we have donor clubs. I used to work for congressman Jon Kyl when he was in US congress. We had 400 people in the Jon Kyl coffee cup club. Every quarter they would each give $25 to come to a breakfast and for that $100 they received an exclusive coffee cup that we designed every year. That’s 400 people, about 95% would bring their exclusive mug with them. It’s just like ‘Feel the Burn’ t-shirt; people like to be part of a campaign. Finally, those low Dollar donors are your most issue oriented donors.

Older people; average donation by a direct mail to the Democratic and the Republican Party are in their 70s. People in their 70s tend to watch news all day whether they are watching Fox or MSNBC, they’re very politically aware, they still read the newspaper and they’re also thinking that the world is going to hell in a handbasket for their children and grandchildren. So, these are people where again, we collect list. These are people who pro-gun, anti-gun, they might be home school teachers, they may be pro-abortion, anti-abortion, but they tend to feel very strongly on issues and that is where we target them. Again, my overhead, about 40 to 60% for everyone I bring in but they’re also very consistent donors. So, what are lessons learned from the pyramid? If every potential donor, no matter how big or small, the opportunity to invest in your campaign. People don’t want to ask, your own mother is not going to give you money unless you ask her. Conspicuous; consumer consumption does not equal contributions.

I always laugh – I think there are more millionaires in Omaha, Nebraska, than any place in the world but people in Omaha do not live in multimillion Dollar homes, they drive beat up Fords just like Warren Buffett. When I lived in Omaha used to, you know, he bought his suits off the racks and he’s lived in the same house since the 1950s and he’s one of the richest men in the world. So, just because somebody lives in a big house doesn’t mean they have a $100 in their bank account. You need to see what is in people’s hearts. Every day you read a story where somebody who lived in a manufactured house and ate Ramen noodles everyday dies and left $4 000 000 to a library. The little old lady who sent you a Dollar in a direct mail piece is going to be the first one to vote for you on election day. She’s got skin in the game, she has invested her hard earned Dollars. I worked on a – it was a lieutenant governor’s race of Nebraska and raised him from school board days so I did five races with him. One day out in rural Nebraska and a little old lady with a cane walks in with a crisp $5 bill and says “David used to shovel my snow when he was a little boy.” Keep in mind that story telling is the fibre of relationship building and she had told everyone that story.

What makes democracies grateful? Little old lady and Mr Big each have one vote on election day. I work in places where that’s hard. It’s the great equalizer that’s America and as I said earlier, boy, it’s all about the donor, because of you. It is not about you as the candidate. If you go see a restaurant owner you’d better be talking about minimum wage because unless you know that person who cares about abortion, not their issue. I’m going to skip over this. As I told you story telling is the fibre of relationship building – Jerry Panas, we read two of his books in class – he calls himself the maniac and chief of new ideas. He’s in his 80s and he considered the top non-profit fundraiser in the world. He receives award after award and I’ve taken many of his fundraising classes and he really, of all the things I learned, it was telling the story, listening to other people. We’re going to skip through these slides because of the lack of time. Yeah, you can see we talk about a good story can’t be the buy, it has to be distilled.

But, let’s get to the heart because we only have a few minutes left in our webinar. And that’s how we ask for money. Why do we ask for money in person or via phone, it’s the most cost effective way to raise money, it is the use of your time but not a lot of other resources and the result is immediate. If someone says “I’d like to give you $1000 today” you can say “Great. Would you be using your credit or debit card?” Technology has changed everything and the acceptance of credit cards – there’s no more “The check’s in the mail.” So, let’s talk about making the ask. People ask me what the secret to fundraising successes and this is it; if you don’t believe in yourself and the cause you represent, no-one else is going to. You have less than 20 seconds to make the first impression so you’d better be walking in like you’re Olympic star. I want your head held high, I want eye contact, a firm handshake and I want you to be glad to be there. Attitude is everything. We don’t have time but let’s just say that I tell a great story about what does Dale Carnegie and the beagle have in common?

And it really comes down to this; be glad to be there because people who look like this cat don’t raise a lot of money. People who are afflicted with RBF and since it’s been in the new York Times, people afflicted with Resting Bitch Face are not particularly good fundraisers. As my friend the speech coach says “You can tell when people are smiling when they’re on the telephone.” So, attitude is critical. How do we make an ask? Well, God created Google so you can find anything you want to know about anyone in the world so I make sure we do data research. In class you have to prepare a major donor research memo; what is that one degree of separation? So, we prepare scripts, 30 second, 2 minutes, 5 minutes because everyday someone’s going to go “Why are you doing this? How are you going to win and who is going to vote for you?” So, we talked about the importance of that warm greeting, be glad to be there. Small talk, how do we make that personal connection? The more I know about a donor, the better chance I’m going to have of getting money.

It may be that we went to the same college, we were in the sorority, whatever it is. It’s like when I talk to my Uber drivers “Oh, I’ve been to Mongolia three times. Let’s talk about Mongolia.” The sales pitch, being able to articulate why you’re running, how you’re going to win and who’s going to vote for you because if you can’t do that your campaign’s in trouble. Too many people when asked “Why are you doing this”, it looks like deer in the headlights. “Well, I’m doing this because um, I haven’t spoken to my husband in years, the kids are in college, the dog died last year . . . Wait, I want to give something back to my community.” I need something from the heart. And finally, you have to close the deal. No-one is going to jump up and go “Here’s my check for $5400.” You have to ask for a specific amount, “$1000 will help us buy 10 radio spots.” Be specific. People like that ownership. As we are running out of time, if I can get the next slide, I’d like to say God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Again, when you go see a donor you listen twice as much as you speak. This isn’t about you, it’s you listening, learning, helping and leading. I have replaced cold calling with warm communication, your ability to make personal, emotional connections with potential donors can move them from concern to passion to cash. Meet Saheed. Saheed is a tour guide in Istanbul, Turkey. He was – I went to Istanbul to train 20 women from the Middle East on how to run for parliament. I had one day off. I go to the Sultan’s palace and there’s a really long lines and everything is in Turkish and Arabic, so here was this nice looking young man with a sign that says “I speak English.” So, we negotiate and I hire him to take me through the palace. First thing he says is “Miss Nancy, what do you do for a living?” and I said “Well, I’ve worked for more than 100 members of congress but my real passion is helping women achieve success in public service.” “Miss Nancy, that’s amazing because I work for a member of parliament here in Turkey. I just do this to earn extra money.”

We immediately have something in common. Saheed’s great, he cuts me in front of all the lines. Trust me when I tell you my type A personality comes out if I have to be like in the back of a line on an airplane. So, Saheed cuts me in front of the line so I can see the second largest diamond in the world and the sword encrusted with emeralds and he’s telling me about everything because I love knowledge. Then Saheed goes “Can I get you some water?” and I said “Well, can you find me cold water, no gas?” Yes, he finds me cold water, he finds me a western style bathroom. You see where this is going? He also got me into an exhibit that was closed for the day so I could see an exhibit on the clothing of the Sultans because I like to do arts and crafts. He then says “Miss Nancy, my uncle has the finest rug store in Istanbul, he will be very angry with me if I don’t show you his store.” So, of course, I end up going to the store. We go to the store, I’m greeted by six men, the uncle goes “Welcome Miss Nancy to my store.” We go up the steps, the uncle says “Tell me Miss Nancy, from what country to do come?” “If I told you I am Hungarian.” If I would’ve said I’m from Budapest I’m sure he would’ve said “Oh, Hungary, beautiful country” but no, I said “I’m an American.” He says “Oh, I love America. I have lived in New Orleans and Charleston, such beautiful cities and my brother, he owns a rug store in Seattle. You should go see him. So you see, we all love America.”

I go sit on the giant couch on the second floor, my feet don’t touch the ground, here comes the baklava, here comes the tea and men are doing rugs. You know, here are the cotton rugs, here are the wool rugs; rugs, rugs, rugs, and the guy starts chatting me up “What brings you here to Istanbul?” So, I tell him it’s working with women. He asks me if I’ve ever seen rugs being made and I went “Well, yeah, I’ve seen them made in Egypt. They call it Vocational Ed. In America I call it child labour.” He goes “Oh, Egypt, bad rugs. We have beautiful rugs.” On and on and on, asking me questions. I finally go “Listen, you keep showing me these rugs but my house is pink” and all of a sudden here comes the pink rug and he says “Oh Miss Nancy, your eyes are twinkling, this rug it speaks to you. You have amazing taste. It is not just silk, it’s double silk. The back is beautiful, it’s the front – ” I go “Yeah, I don’t need a rug.” I’m in there an hour and a half. Finally he says the magic words, “Miss Nancy, it took a woman eight months to make this rug and she’s a widow with many children.”

Yes, he cracked open my chest, pulled out my heart and held it in his hand. So, my friends, we negotiated, he wanted $1200 for the rug. I finally negotiated and this is what a rug looks like in the next slide. We’ll progress. My friends, this is a $600 rug. Yes, it is the size of a place mat. That is my cat, the closest she’s ever been to the rug. Now, I know you – those are the cats that are fighting in the background just because I think they knew their picture was on the screen. So, you have questions; “Nancy did you see the rug before you bought it?” “Yes, I saw the fricking place mat sized rug.” “Nancy, did you wash the rug and it shrank?” “No, I haven’t washed the rug, I bought a fricking place mat sized rug.” “Nancy, is there a big rug at home and this is the sample?” “No, I bought a fricking place mat sized rug.” We go downstairs, I get a Christmas card from the Muslim carpet dealer every year which is Santa on a camel. For ten years he has remembered to send me a card that says “Miss Nancy, thank you for buying the beautiful double silk pink rug.”

That’s what you do when fundraising. It’s all about thanking. Last summer I found the certificate of guarantee for the $600 rug from Turkey. So again, if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. As I leave you here, your heart is closer to your wallet than your head. Most fundraising is an emotional decision, it is not one that’s intellectual. With that finally stop as we come to an end. Thank your donors, it’s why donors stop giving. For more information here’s my information. That’s me in front of the White House when I’m three years old with my dad and there’s my dad wearing a tie as we’re visiting the White House. With that, thank you very much for joining me for a really speed fundraising because in real life it takes me more than 45 minutes to say hello to everyone in the room. So I am happy to take some questions. Kira, thank you so much for setting this up, I went three minutes over or two minutes, but in my world that’s pretty doggone good.
Kira: You did amazing Nancy, it was like so much wealth of information. I do apologise that we don’t have more time so that we can go into every single slide here in detail. I know our audience has been really, really engaged and, you know, trying to follow through the slides. So, as you know, this webinar is being recorded so if there is anything that we kind of skimmed over because of the time limitation, you can always go back and, you know, just revisit the slides and the content and any question obviously, you know, please reach out to Nancy with this contact information here that’s on your screen. I really thank you Nancy for reserving the time to do this and providing your insights. I know you’re like the queen of fundraising and I’ve decided to invite you to conduct this webinar just because through speaking with our students within the program, the Master’s in Political Management and, you know, graduates of the program.

They always recall that the fundraising is one of their favourite courses and it’s so valuable and they are able to take it into what they do be it within politics or outside with the non-profit organizations. So, there’s just so much application to this and I feel that’s a very important topic and while we are going through some of the program information in case you’re looking for more information about the program, please feel free to also provide your questions so that Professor Bocskor can check them during the Q&A. So I know we have a couple of questions coming in already so while that’s happening I’m just going to mention very quickly that with this program you are able to complete everything completely online within about two years or 24 months. It comprises of 12 courses so the four core courses and then after that you would go into your specialization clusters and there’re three to choose from. There’s electoral politics, advocacy politics and applied proficiency cluster. Of course, you can also take part in the Washington residency or the applied research project.

The Washington residency is just a wonderful experience where you spend a week in D.C. and, you know, really rub shoulders with the best and the leaders within the political arena and, you know, meet with your professors. Also, there’s graduation on campus, the program is identical to the campus program so you’re invited to attend as well. Yeah, so we are currently accepting applications for the upcoming summer semester which happens May 15th and to apply you would need an application form. There’s the fee, statement of purpose, résumé, three recommendations and of course, your transcripts and the GRE is waived for those who have a 3.0 GPA or higher. On the screen you see a few of our notable alumni and yeah, they happen to be all female. So, it’s a real nice change that we see in politics and I know Nancy is an advocate for women running in politics and I know Nancy, you mentioned that there’s going to be an event that you are hosting this coming Saturday or is it the next Saturday? Do you want to talk about that for women running . . .

Nancy: Yes Ready To Run is the signature program created by Rutgers Centre for American Women Politics. It’s a one day boot camp for women running for office and so I’m so excited that GSPM is going to host it on campus on March 3rd. It is from 8.30 to 6.30. We have amazing women speaking including Jennifer Duffy who is the senior political editor of the Cook Report. I have elected officials including state rep Kristy Pagan from Michigan, another former student of mine who’s been elected. Deb Sofield is an amazing executive speech coach. I have people from Facebook but it’s a one day course to get you prepared to run a campaign or run for office yourself and it’s especially designed for women. I would love for you to come, we have a student discount of $75, I’m happy to give that to you. Just e-mail me and I can help you. With that I’ll –

Kira: Okay, perfect. So, the first question is; are membership renewals good mail fundraisers?
Nancy: Yes, they still work every January. The Republican National Committee that I know of sent out the membership card package “Please rejoin” and they sent at least two reminders. Now, many of us who become jaded in politics go “Are you kidding me?” Do you know the number of people I’ve sat next to on planes in my career who have whipped out their wallet, picked out their wallet and have showed me their Republican National Committee membership card. People as human beings like to be part of organizations and yes, it can work, it just has to be done strategically and frankly, if you don’t have a phone call follow up it does not always work.
Kira: Right and what role does recurring donations play in the overall donation pyramid? Especially small donors?

Nancy: Well, with recurring, that really is direct mail and telemarketing. We do try to get small donors that, once they give, we have a little checkbox on the reply card that says “Yes, I would like to give $10 a month” right, or $25. So, we certainly work that into the strategy because then, you know, most people forget to renew, they just keep doing it and it works really well.

Kira: Thanks Nancy and just so you know, our audience are really enjoying this and they’re very grateful for the information. How do you pick a candidate you want to work with?

Nancy: You know, when I was younger I was all Team Republican, right? You’re a Republican, you’re running, I’m going to help you. As I had gotten older and, some say, wiser – although my college roommate still kind of question whether there’s wisdom. You know, I look at – I have to like the person. We’re not always going to agree on everything. As I keep saying, you know, Newt Gingrich and I don’t agree on a lot these days but I wouldn’t get to do what I do today and help people learn and mentor them if he had not taught me and mentored me when I was rising in my career and opening doors for me. Again, my new mantra everyday – I should have a sweatshirt made that says “We’re not North Korea” we do not all have to agree but I do have to have some passion. I mean if I’m going to help an organization – I raise money for the Nebraska Society because well I used to live in Nebraska and I still love those Cornhuskers and I raised quite a bit of money for animal rescue groups and of course, all of the young women’s activism and leadership programs.

Kira: What was the name of the author who writes about storytelling? If you can recall that.

Nancy: The book – Jerry Panas. P-A-N-A-S. He has so many – and you can e-mail me, that’s fine. You can Google Institute For Charitable Giving. It’s out of Chicago. He has at least a half a dozen books. We use two of them as text books in my class as well as the book I’ve written called Go Fish: How To Catch and Keep Contributors.
Kira: What are the courses you teach within the Master’s of Political Management program Nancy?

Nancy: Well, I do teach fundraising in the 4th quarter. I teach it online in the summer and I am now teaching a new class – thanks for asking but we are going to launch this summer on campus called Women – it’s basically women advocacy and democracy and we’re going to do it. It’s called Women Democracy and Global Politics. It’s the new class we’re offering this summer. In fact, I was in the middle of writing the syllabus this morning. It’s all about GSPM today and we’re going talk about what women are doing in other countries, what we can learn from them, but also talking about how we can develop – my students will create their own activism plan using a template I helped create for a project in the Middle East that I still use as guideline for helping women activists around the world.

Kira: Perfect. Thank you so much. So I know that we tentatively booked for about 45 minutes for this webinar so we’re a little bit over time. Thank you so much for your patience and for attending today’s webinar and to Professor Bocskor for sharing your insights with us. It’s been invaluable to many of us. So, we look forward to having you contact our enrollment adviser, you know, with any question you may have about the program. The number here is 1888-989-7067 extension 3212. You can also contact the team through the online scheduler to book an appointment to speak with our team members and obviously, you know, any question you have for Professor Bocskor please feel free to e-mail her and we look forward to having you join our cohort this coming summer and once again thank you so much. I think there is one more question that came in and . . . yeah, so one more question before we wrap up today’s event. We’re still within the hour sort of. So, have you found that individuals who have worked in fundraising and campaigns and have been political candidates or is there no correlation?

Nancy: Well, you know, what I find, anybody who’s done fundraising which people are truly petrified of – some of the Fortune 100 people hate to ask for money. If you can learn sales, know how to ask, you’re going to be a better candidate because you understand, but you’re going to have to spend, you know, 40 to 50% of your time raising money and it has to be built in your schedule every day. In a political campaign often the first person hired is the fundraisers, not the campaign manager because remember you can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent. Did I lose you?

Kira: I’m sorry. I was on mute. So, thank you so much. That was just the perfect wrap up to our presentation today. Do you have any final thoughts for our audience Nancy before we wrap up?

Nancy: No, please. I’m just – pop me an e-mail. I also have a page on Facebook where I post a lot of fundraising, leadership, different things like that. If you have any questions just let me know and I’m happy to help. I would love to have you in the program.

Kira: Wonderful. Thank you so much everyone. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Nancy: Okay, bye bye.

Kira: Bye now.