A few months ago I wrote about the need to donate to women candidates. If we want to be better represented we need to support each other as candidates. I have pledged time and again to give more to women candidates. So last week I made my first donations of the 2012 election cycle, and I realized something important. I don’t make enough money to give my usual donation to every woman I find worth supporting financially.
It got me thinking about what an appropriate amount is, and how will I determine who these other candidates are I will give to. I spent my first few years out of college working in politics – campaign fundraising to be precise. To work for a candidate you have to find someone you agree with on most issues, and you are sure you will be willing to promote, give to and vote for! I decided to apply the most important part of that to my quest to donate to more women candidates.
You will never, I repeat, NEVER agree 100% of the time with any candidate but yourself! (In you find yourself not agreeing with any of the options, maybe it’s time to consider running yourself.) When looking at who to support it can be daunting to read about them, their take on issues, how well they will support issues important to you. In any candidate, I want to know they will advocate for women’s issues, and work to increase opportunity and equality for women. When the candidate is a woman I expect to see that come through more than ever. Certainly there women running for office at all levels, who I may not agree with, and women who I do not believe will be a true advocate women at home, around the country and around the world.
Deciding how much to give can be difficult. Giving $20 to $50 to every woman you want to support can be a hurdle. Get realistic and don’t try to break you bank account, or budget. Giving $5 or $10 is a big deal, and is still an investment. I immediately realized with my first two donations, that I was much more willing to give more to one candidate over another. How many women will I end up donating to by next November? I’m not sure. So I don’t want to go over board now, and I want to feel like I can give again in 2012.
Keep your budget in mind, and figure out what you are comfortable with as a high end and a low end. Think about if you would like to attend a fundraising event later, which will inevitably cost more than you would think to give at first. If that’s the case, wait for that, or give a small donation now, get in the loop and on their list of donors. You’ll be more likely to know when events are happening and be prepared to give a larger donation if you want to and are able to.
There are several organizations that support women and promote their campaigns. Some are nonpartisan, most target either Democrat or Republican candidates. Pick your poison and join their email list you may have the opportunity to donate to several women you support through their site, by doing several donations at once.
Determine what issues are most important, what ways you prefer to give (either through an appeal asking for donations or an event), and what dollar amount you are comfortable with within the limits you set for yourself. When you find those candidates you want to support – you’ll be ready to make that donation.
We need to support each other if we want to see more women in elected office. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I hope you’ll join me!
Photo credit: From NOW.org