Fundraising is the backbone of any political campaign in the United States of America says veteran campaign manager Natasha McKenzie. Her expertise spans over 24 states in the Southern United States as well as the Midwest, raising over $14.5 million dollars over the course of her career – one that has just begun!
“Whether a candidate is running locally or nationally, campaigns cost money and resources to run. With the current state of the economy and creeping inflation, operating costs are only going upwards,” she adds.
According to Natasha McKenzie, even though the political fundraising arena is a highly competitive one, following the right blueprint can help budding campaign managers reach their objectives.
“Political fundraising is a game of consistency and persistence, there will be days filled with rejection as well as days filled with joy. Keeping steady is crucial,” says the political fundraising expert who in her recent role as Statewide Finance Director, raised over $3.5 million dollars.
She believes that it is important for any political campaign to build a strong grassroots foundation. The next important step is to set a realistic fundraising target. Natasha McKenzie thinks that budding campaign managers would do well to review the data from winning candidates of previous elections in their constituency to get a good estimate.
“It is important to sub-divide your budget for each strategic goal of your campaign to maintain the coherence of your plans,” she says.
When it comes to strategies, there is no one size fits all for Natasha McKenzie. She believes that campaigns must take the time and make the effort to understand their constituents. This will help it budget well for their goals as some creative strategies might be cost effective and work better than others for their campaign.
Having a strong organizational structure is another key feature separating mediocre campaigns from successful ones. The political fundraising specialist believes that having a calendar of events, deadlines, assignments, and timelines helps keep teams accountable and motivated.
“Regardless of the event, teamwork will get your campaign places. Be it a phone-a-thon, p2p fundraising, direct mail operations, you need to keep your team motivated,” opines Natasha McKenzie.
As a Black woman of color, Natasha McKenzie feels blessed to be able to make an impact on the complex political landscape in the United States. She believes that campaign managers are at the forefront of making a real change in the way countries are run. She thinks that more young people should involve themselves in the political process and joining political fundraising campaigns can give them valuable experience as well as develop a multidisciplinary set of skills.
Over the course of her career, McKenzie has taken a wide variety of people under her tutelage.
“I see myself in them,” says McKenzie who wants to make the system friendlier to new talent. Being there for people gives her an immense sense of satisfaction and she hopes to continue to make an impact.