Let’s be honest, all of this work requires money to accomplish anything. Yes, you can volunteer your time in all the ways we’ve discussed and it really does make a difference, but charity organizations and politicians running for office all require funds to be able to do the daily work at hand.
Running for a North Carolina House seat costs between $150,000 – $400,000. Senate seats are even more expensive. Democrats tend to be underfunded as they are competing against out of state money and Al Pope. Ultimately, if we want solid, regular, honest people – retired teachers, business owners, etc – to run and win we need to help them achieve their fundraising goals.
This requires very personal decisions as to how much you can afford to donate. Most candidates are happy to take small amounts from a large number of donors, so don’t feel like you have to make big donations to make a difference. Have some fun with it. Graig Meyer suggested $17 for 2017 as either a one time or recurring donation. Maybe look at the 17 local candidates you want to support in 2017 and make a $17 donation to each of them.
If there isn’t a specific candidate you have in mind, but you would like to support highly competitive candidates in the closest races, consider donating to the NC House or Senate Democrat funds. These funds are set up to make the strategic decisions of which candidates have the best chances of winning and funds those campaigns.
What if you want to play a bigger fundraising role? Maybe hosting or planning an event with others? In those circumstances, reach out to the candidate you are interested in supporting and ask directly how best you can support their campaign.
With distrust of politicians at an all time high, many people prefer to donate to organizations that are helping disenfranchised communities. For some, this can be a regular ongoing donation to causes that are near and dear to their hearts. For others, news headlines can drive action and have a real impact. After the 2016 Election both Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union both reported record donations in the days and weeks following the election. The most powerful way for any activist to effect change is to be one voice among many. Individual people collectively came together and made a huge difference for those organizations.
When making a charitable donation don’t forget a couple of key items. Check with your employer to see if they do matching donations. Most large corporations have a charity matching program and as long as the employee of the company (you or your spouse) makes the donation, most companies will match a percentage of it. Don’t forget to keep your receipts from these donations for your tax returns as well. Donations made to political candidates are not tax deductible, but those made to charities are.
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