Business Politics

Do You Need Money to Run for Office?

Aspiring for a seat in government is something not to be taken lightly; it needs to be seriously contemplated on. For one, a good candidate must meet the basic qualifications. You must have enough experience in public office or at least you must a history of being active in community gatherings and functions. You need to have an organization that helps you out all through the process, a successful fundraising plan, and a message that not only clicks but one that the public can deem as pertinent. As much as you need support from people around you, you also need to raise money so you can have the financial arsenal to support your entire election campaign — considerable resources are needed if you are to maximize the probability that you will win in running for a seat in government. Although having large funds is no guarantee that you can win, having insufficient funds won’t let you win either.

A number of people will be involved in working on your campaign. You will be depending a great deal on people who will help you with polling, research, advertising, writing speeches, developing positions, planning counterstrokes against your opponents, and arranging your timetable. Thus, you need to hire several people to work with and for you on your campaign. In most cases, a large fraction of your expenditures goes out to paying your people. You need to employ a good campaign manager who will aid you in the coordination of all aspects of your campaign, from organizing volunteers to raising funds and identifying issues. You also need to hire a treasurer to make sure that all campaign finance reports are filed properly and punctually. You have to hire a scheduler who will handle all requests for your appearance in certain events as well as determine which affairs are worth attending. Additionally, you need to get a fundraiser who will help you develop a useful strategy for your fundraising. A fundraiser generally demands a charge upfront for the preliminary legwork that he or she will be doing for you, followed by a percentage off the top for all the fundraising that he/she will have helped you with. You will also need to organize volunteers who will disseminate letters, do door knocking, hand out literatures, and make and answer calls for you. You will certainly need a volunteer coordinator who will recruit these volunteers.

Commissioning a public opinion poll can be pricey too. The majority of candidates for Congress expend from $10,000 to $20,000 for their polling. A political poll is important because it is a way for you to find out how many voters know about you and how many of them are willing to vote for you. Through the poll, you will be able to know what issues the voters are most concerned about; thus, you will be able to plan out effective strategies for your campaign.

You have to invest on advertising too. It may really be very expensive but advertising is one of the most helpful tools in getting good exposure for your campaign — and yourself — giving out a striking and memorable message to the public. You need to spend money on putting up events too in order to put on a good show for the media and your supporters; by themselves, events can also be good avenues for raising funds.

A lot more can be added to the list of expenses: travel, food, rentals, supplies, postage, equipment, and many more.

Indeed, running for office does not come cheap, whether you’re running for Congress, for the Senate or for Presidency. The higher the level, the longer your expense list becomes. In the case of 2008 Presidential Candidate Barack Obama for example, his total expenditures so far amount to $154,767,643 (as of February 29, 2008). $59.3 million was spent on broadcast media, $3.4 million on Internet media, and $2.3 million on print media. Around $25.9 million went to salaries and benefits and $14.3 million was spent for travel. Another presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, has a record of total expenditures amounting to $135,828,257 (as of February 29, 2008), with $33.6 million spent on Broadcast media, $18.7 million on salaries and benefits, and $17.8 million spent for travel.