You don’t need the most money to win, but you do need enough money. If you’re in it to win it, it isn’t going to happen without enough. Okay…so what is enough money? That depends on how many voters need to be reached, which depends on expected turnout (see how to figure expected turnout). If you’re the best candidate (name ID/resume/message), then it won’t matter if your opponent outspends you, so long as your targeting is precise and you have enough money to hit that target with 3 mailers and 2 rounds of door knocks, and 2 rounds of phone calls. That’s right. You can get away without spending money on signage, TV, Radio, Social Media, events, etc.
Okay…so how do you raise that money? Well, first off you should have some seed money to get you started. Invest in yourself before asking others to invest in you. And that’s right, you have to ask people for money. There is no way out of it. Sure, a good fundraiser event can help. But oftentimes, so unnecessary. One, a lot of fundraiser events flop, and two, whatever money you raised, you probably would have received with a phone call and a confident ‘hard ask’, also saving the expenditures on food and booze.
Pick up the phone! Every friend, acquaintance, and family member in your cell phone should receive a call from you asking if they would like to contribute to your campaign. Then you call a potential donor list, you know the ones always popping out on everyone’s finance reports. Have an email list of your supporters and regularly ask them to chip in whatever they can. Ask on your social media pages. Hire a finance director, someone who knows how to raise money. AGAIN. I cannot stress this enough, if you’re going to fundraise some serious dollars, you’re going to have to do some serious call time. Call time, call time, call time.