Tandem fundraising, which allows you to fundraise for yourself and one or more other candidates or organizations, is one of the best tools that campaigns or organizations can utilize. Whether you’re a senator looking to keep your list active and engaged or an organizer trying to generate interest in your niche issue, tandem fundraising can be a powerful tool.
First we’ll get into how to set up a tandem contribution form, and then we’ll go over reasons to form a tandem fundraising coalition, as well as how to implement it successfully.
Before reading further please note: If your organization is designated as a 501(c)4 you have the ability to tandem fundraise with other 501(c)4s, political groups, or 501(c)3s.
If your organization is a 501(c)3 you can tandem fundraise with other 501(c)3s and 501(c)4s, but not with political groups.
Creating a tandem form
The group that will be sending out emails or publicizing the fundraising campaign should create the contribution form. That way it will have their branding on it and their supporters will feel at home when donating. It also highlights the fact that they’re making a personal ask on behalf of another group.
Set up the contribution form as you normally would (if you need a refresher, click here).
Once you’re happy with your page, click the Add tab in the menu on the left. You can either search for your candidate or group, or use our handy directory. If you’re raising for a candidate, make sure you check the election year and office listed, as there are sometimes multiple accounts per candidate. Once you’ve found the appropriate group or candidate account, click “Add.”
If you’re raising for a slate of candidates or organizations, continue adding them until you’re finished. We recommend sticking to a smaller group of candidates or organizations, so donors aren’t overwhelmed or confused by the splitting of their contribution.
When you land on a tandem form, you’ll see the normal amount buttons with a note underneath saying who the donation will be split among. You can still click a button to allocate different amounts to each candidate or organization, but donors are less overwhelmed when they land on the page.
Here’s an example: Kirsten Gillibrand’s Off the Sidelines PAC, which supports women candidates. The form is branded to look like the PAC’s website, and the contribution form allows you to give to one or all of the candidates and organizations.
We note that your donors will have the ability to choose one amount, which will be divided between the candidates or organizations affiliated with the form, but they also have the option to click the “Click here to allocate amounts differently” link, as you can see above, making the contribution form display a way for the donor to choose exactly how much they’d like to give to each individual candidate or cause.
Donors will receive an itemized receipt for their records with each individual contribution.
If you made a mistake or want to remove a candidate or group from the contribution form, you can return to the Edit tab and scroll to the bottom where each group is listed. Click “remove” to take them off of the form. You can add or drop candidates or groups from the form at any time.
If you’ve done Tandem fundraising before you’ll also be able to see a tab for Tandem Stats on your entity Dashboard.
Here, you can see a breakdown of your tandem fundraising contributions and you can search for contributions within a specific date range of two years or less.
Wondering when and why you should do tandem fundraising and how you make it work? We break it all down below.
CAMPAIGNS AND CANDIDATE PACS
Tandem fundraising is a great way for established candidates to keep their email lists active when they’re not up for reelection and also help out newer candidates who don't have wide bases of support yet. This will allow you to grow your list, while also growing the party.
If you’re a senator up for reelection every six years, you’ll absolutely lose your list if you don’t engage them consistently during that gap between elections. Lists need to be cultivated and kept involved, otherwise you’ll see huge unsubscribe numbers and unresponsive supporters. The problem is that it can be hard to find reasons to fundraise and stay in the conversation during your non-election years. Tandem fundraising is the perfect option.
While the average donor may not normally give to a secretary of state candidate, they do value keeping our elections open and honest. The Secretary of State Project asked donors to protect elections across America by giving to our election-protectors - secretary of state candidates across the country - and in doing so were able to build a powerful movement out of an otherwise dry and complicated issue.
You can also show your public support for other candidates by sending out a fundraising ask, while also raising for yourself. As a more senior official, you’re in a unique position to help them win their first big election.
In doing so, you’ll be building a powerful coalition, so you can continue to work for your shared values and build the party. At the same time, it gives you a real reason to ask your base for donations for your campaign or PAC during a quiet period or off year. That means you’ll be more prepared when your own election season rolls around. And your small dollar supporters get to join you in the party building.
NONPROFITS AND CAUCUSES
Slate fundraising (where an organization, caucus, or committee fundraises for a group of candidates, or an organization fundraises for themselves and other partner organizations) is a great way to put your issue front and center and generate funding for the groups working on it. It’s also a way for organizations to partner with other groups in their space to raise money collectively. Like tandem fundraising for candidates and PACs, you'll be growing your own list while building up partnerships with other groups who do work you care about.
Slate fundraising organizes campaigns, candidates, or organizations in a way that helps donors understand the value of a contribution. For example, a large environmental group could pair with smaller local groups working on specific environmental issues, so resources are split among groups working toward a shared goal.
This strategy can work for organizations across the board. Are you part of the progressive caucus in your state senate, or are you running the women’s caucus? Ask your supporters to give to the women working on passing fair pay laws. It’s a more tangible and compelling goal than getting 5 women from a range of districts elected. It’s a great opportunity to bring in fundraising dollars and to educate your donors on your issue.
Go forth and build coalitions!