Political parties fund their national campaigns by securing donations from big businesses and wealthy individuals. This support is not free – it comes with strings attached. Some donors expect specific direct and often corrupt favours for their donation. Others expect to have the ear of the party to influence them and the political agenda as issues arise.
The depth of support and level of influence from party donors is the best kept secret of all political parties. If we want to open up politics and reclaim local democracy then we need to ensure our campaign is transparent about what funding has been received by who and we need to raise money by as many ordinary residents as possible.
Luckily, big businesses may not see any benefit in supporting community candidates and so the problem may never arise. But we cannot avoid having to fundraise – money is not everything and much can be done with donations and volunteers but a campaign needs money to win.
We need to put together a realistic campaign budget which could include:
- Printing maps, posters, pamphlets and flyers and other campaign material
- Data and phone calls for volunteers
- Stationery, paper and printer ink
- Social media boosting
- Taxis and food for volunteers
We can raise funds in many creative ways, including online and through fundraising events but ultimately the best way is for the candidate themself to talk to individuals and convince them to support the campaign.