Coming into this race, I though a lot about political fundraising. I thought about the perceived implications of a contribution. I thought about (and was reminded of) my interest in real time reporting. I thought about, what I always think about, doing things differently than anyone had ever done before.
And then, I thought about you. Sorry, I did. I thought about the fundraising feats we had already accomplished together and wondered how politics would translate.
Today, I sit about $1,000 away from a very aggressive goal we set for the campaign on June 18. My experience in fundraising is that you need to set your targets just outside of your comfort zone. It drives you to do more and push yourself just a little harder. This was no different and now we sit just a few feet from the finish line.
So what does it mean to contribute to a political campaign? Where does the money go? Why would I give money to you when I could give it to causes ending homelessness?
First, I often use "we" to describe the campaign. I think that if you get too caught up in the name on the ticket, you can lose that critical sense of humility that brought you to service in the first place. Campaigns are a team. When you contribute towards a campaign, you've invested in an outcome, not just financially, but also emotionally. I come back to that Lilla Watson quote:
"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."
I've promised every donor that they will be proud to have supported this campaign from day one to Election Day. That is more than just another promise. It is a reminder of what we set out to do in the first place: It is easier to scare than inspire, but we have a moral obligation to choose the latter.
Second, where does the money go? For us, every cent goes towards reaching voters. I have been door-knocking since June 20th, have already had to reorder materials once, and am very close to having to do so again. You will not see a candidate work harder in this race, but "sweat equity" has its limits.
In a way, contributions also buy time; time I don't have to spend asking for money can be time spent contacting voters. As another candidate told me early in this race, every free moment is considered in terms of "Do I dial or knock?" I see a third dimension. There is also time to engage, learn, and become a better candidate. I have had so many breakfasts, lunches, and coffees with so many smart community leaders over the past month and a half asking "What challenges do you face? What problems need to be addressed? What inspires you about the future?" It takes a lot of time, which is all too precious in a campaign, but is well worth the effort even if I don't end up one dollar or voter improved.
Finally, and most importantly, why not direct your money to some other philanthropic cause? That question I can't answer in my favor. If you have a certain amount of discretionary funds for contribution, I would much rather see that money go to an organization like Prepare for Success, Living in Recovery, or Grassroots. All I can say, and show, is that our passion for change and good works covers a spectrum and I truly believe my campaign is part of that spectrum.
The fact of the matter is that I will have a very hard time winning this election if I do not have your support. You know me better than most. You've read my ideas, for good or for bad, for the last month, year, or four and a half years. If that has not inspired in you some belief that we can do something big with this campaign, then I have no hope of inspiring strangers.
With all of that said, I would like to ask you to help me close that $1,000 gap. Whether you can contribute $20 or $200, every donation provides the financial and psychic boost that keeps me working hard every day. This campaign sets out to do big things, which just happens to be something you and I have some experience in.
Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!