How To Guide: Candidate & Special Guest Fundraisers

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Let’s take advantage of the ease and access of virtual fundraising events! This 45-minute agenda proved to make planning and execution a breeze; having everything at a glance, planned and prepped, leaders are able to focus on enjoying the event and celebrating the success after the call wraps!


We want to flag elements of the Virtual Fundraising Step-by-Step Guide and provide additional suggestions for you to consider, as follows:

  1. Give your team 4-6 weeks to plan, produce and promote the event
  2. We suggest watching this recording of a 45min event in this model to help you visualize & plan: State Bridges Apr 7 2021 46min
  3. Make a copy and edit this helpful working doc and sample agenda
  4. Plan for leaders to cover these roles at Candidate and Special Guests fundraiser events:
    • We suggest leaders with speaking roles only take on other roles if absolutely necessary
    • Speaking Roles:
      SDP & Team mission/story
      Introduce guest speakers
      Facilitate Q&A
      Make the fundraising ask
      Make next steps asks (e.g. join our next phonebank)
      Monitor & report on fundraising total
    • Non-speaking Roles:
      Sharing screen for slides
      Sharing links, answering questions, and generally activating the chat
      Muting participants
      Security – chat, stop video, remove attendee
      Waiting Room attendee (if needed)
  5. Try making the ask after candidate remarks but before Q&A and follow up with a final ask after Q&A. For more on making the ask, see Case Study: Rachel Madan Making the Ask at the 2021 SDP Summit
  6. We recommend that the candidate or special guest begin speaking about 5-10 minutes after the official start time of the event. Candidates, in particular, should speak for 7-10 minutes with 5-7 minutes for Q&A, for a total of about 15 minutes. Keep this in mind when making your candidate appearance request!
  7. How to Introduce a Candidate or other special guest

    In advance, use page including the dossier to pull together a 30sec-1min introduction. That intro needs to thank the candidate for their time, provide context on the race and some bio info on the candidate, help fire people up, and instruct very clearly for how Q&A will work. 

    e.g. Crawford Introduction

    “It is my pleasure to introduce our special guest North Carolina State Senate candidate Sarah Crawford. Sarah was raised in Eastern Wake County and attended NC State. She’s a working mom and has dedicated her career to serving the people of Wake and Franklin Counties through her work in nonprofits, working with organizations in higher education and health and human services. Sarah plans to prioritize clean energy, and expanding resources for NC families like access to healthcare, education, housing, and food. Sarah is poised to flip the last Republican held senate seat in Wake County, it is crucial that Sarah wins if we want to flip the Senate. We are so thrilled to have Sarah with us – Sarah, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us. If you have questions for Sarah, please put them in the chat – we’ll have a few minutes of Q&A and I’ll select questions to ask Sarah. Please join me in welcoming Sarah Crawford!”

  8. Q&A

    To avoid event sag and sub-optimal questions, do not invite attendees to go off mute and ask themselves. Instruct attendees to put questions in the chat. The leader facilitating Q&A should cherry-pick good questions from the chat and/or supplement with one or more of the following questions all candidates will be prepared to answer and be one to verbally ask those questions of the candidate. These are good questions that any candidate can answer and put their best foot forward: 

    1. Why are you running for this seat?
    2. What is the most compelling contrast between you and your opponent we can share with your voters on our phonebanks? 
    3. What are the stakes for voters in this election?
  9. Activate chat during donation time (i.e. “I just donated!” “Check the fundraising total again, I just gave!”)
  10. Make sure you have language for how your guest speaker wants to be introduced (if candidate, work with your Field Manager on this and also three questions the candidate wants to be asked to help with Q&A)
  11. Make sure your guest speaker has the Zoom link to join the call (if candidate, work with your Field Manager on this)