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Hosting a political fundraiser is a great opportunity for you and your friends, family, and colleagues to show genuine support for a member of Congress or candidate for office. Fundraisers provide a unique opportunity to build relationships in a casual setting, and help you become vested in the outcome of elections.

Why are fundraisers so effective? The fact is, running for public office is an expensive proposition. Candidates must rely on the help of supporters in their communities. Fundraisers are not only appreciated by candidates — they're a way to help draw a candidate's attention to important issues.

While it's true that a good fundraiser takes time, effort, and work by many individuals. . But the rewards can be more than worth the effort.

Here are some tips to help facilitate a fundraiser in your state.

Steps for Planning and Executing Your Fundraiser

Get started.

  • Select your candidate and reach out to APTA.
  • Contact Michael Matlack, director of congressional affairs, to find out whether a candidate supports physical therapy in your state. Mike can inform you of campaign finance rules, etiquette, and protocols. If possible, collaborate with your state chapter or district in hosting the fundraiser .

Invite your candidate.

Write an invitation letter to the candidate's campaign office and follow up with a phone call. The invitation should be sent out as far in advance as possible. During campaign season, the candidate's schedule will fill up fast.

Get help.

  • Form a small event committee to develop a potential donor list and help with logistics and planning . Include committee members who have experience in fundraising, who know many prospective donors, and who can complete the bookkeeping for the event.
  • Committee meetings can be held by conference call and should adhere to an agenda. Here's a sample committee agenda.
  • You can always reach out to the PTPAC staff for assistance with questions.

Create a timeline.

Creating and adhering to a timeline will help ensure the success of your event.

  • Allow at least seven weeks to plan the event.
  • Review this sample timeline.
  • When it comes to the event itself, respect the time demands on a candidate and aim for an event that's no longer than two hours.

Select a location.

Where you host a fundraiser depends largely upon the size of the event and the ambiance that you want to create; however, most fundraisers are held in private homes or a business office.

Invite your guests.

  • Printed invitations add prestige to your event.
  • Follow up your invitations with a phone call to prospective donors.
  • Invite physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, other health care providers, neighbors, friends, and business associates who support physical therapy and the candidate. The candidate will appreciate a large turnout.

Host your event.

A fundraiser is a simple reception. Here are a few tips for hosting a smooth event.

  • Review a sample of event flow for a fundraiser.
  • Allow ample time for the guests to arrive before the candidate.
  • Introduce the candidate to your guests and provide time for the candidate to address the group.
  • Collect political contribution checks from your guests.
  • In most cases, try to limit the event to no more than two hours.

After your event.

Follow-through is extremely important to the success of your event. You should:

  • Write thank-you letters to the donors and to the candidate for attending.
  • Follow up on any outstanding commitments.
  • Prepare an accounting of the event.
  • Deliver the outstanding commitments that you collected to the candidate.

Have questions on how to get started?

Contact our PTPAC staff at ptpac@apta.org.


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