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Never just ask for the amount you think a donor can give. Always ask for more.

Never just ask for the amount you think a donor can give. Always ask for more.

Figuring out how much money to ask a potential donor for is a difficult proposition. Even with lots of information about their past giving, current financial position and interest in your race, you’re still making a guess.

If you do a good job of pairing why you’re running and what you will fight to accomplish with the solutions they want to see enacted, there is a good chance that they’ll be generous towards your campaign.

So how much do we ask for? Your research and needs will give you an idea, but I recommend asking at the high end of the range you’ve established. The reason is simple: The likelihood that they’ll give more than you ask for is Zero.

Campaigns are full of stress. Know the negative ways you respond to stress and how to rebound.

Campaigns are full of stress. Know the negative ways you respond to stress and how to rebound.

Under pressure, we ALL react differently. Hopefully, we’re not talking about anger and losing your temper, but it probably doesn’t take much consideration for you to remember specific ways that stress alters your normal responses.

In my case, when stress and pressure mount, I put on blinders and go head down, feet forward. This is a great asset in focusing my energy and overcoming obstacles. But it also has downsides. I’ve found that I’m less likely to empathize effectively with others or recognize when I’m being overly callous. Over years of working in politics, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to deal well and poorly with stress…and I’ve done plenty of both.

I’ve also learned that the best way for me to dump stress is a one-two punch: briefly disconnect to get by myself and then get in some kind of physical exercise. The combination of peace, silence and endorphins from physical exertion do wonders for my attitude and outlook.

Knowing these potential weak points helps me avoid them though. If I hadn’t made and identified those traps, I wouldn’t be nearly as effective at combating them in the future.

Never walk into a meeting or interview without knowing the Who, What and Why.

Never walk into a meeting or interview without knowing the Who, What and Why.

When you’re running for office, you’ve got to meet a lot of people. Donors, voters, interest groups, volunteers, the media and more. It’s really easy to fall into a pattern of taking meetings without a specific purpose in mind. Or without knowing what the other party’s purpose is.

Depending on the profile of your office and available time, it’s likely not going to be possible to write up a briefing sheet for every single meeting. But at the very least, you should take a few minutes to consider who you’re meeting with as well as ask “What” and “Why” for yourself and your counterpart.

What and Why relate to what each party wants to accomplish in that situation. When thinking about a donor, you’re clearly hoping that they’ll donate a specific amount of money for a discrete cause. From their perspective, however, they want to see certain solutions, ones you ostensibly also care about, be enacted.

Never overreact. Take a breath, make a plan and stick to it.

Never overreact. Take a breath, make a plan and stick to it.

Here’s today’s tip: Never overreact. Take a breath, make a plan and stick to it.

Whether in politics specifically or life generally, overreaction can turn a benign situation into a catastrophe. As a candidate or campaign manager, your patience and attention are frequently pushed to the limit. Consequently, when that limit is passed, tempers often flare and less than judicious decisions are made.

Train yourself to feel the precursors of anger or frustration. Establish a trigger. For me, it’s often a taste in my mouth and a tightening of my chest. Perhaps accompanied by a, “are you effing serious?!” in the back of my head.

When I feel that reaction boiling up, I know that my lesser angels are jettisoning my plan and overreacting out of anger.

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