Building Your Political Home - Fundraising 2024
The Maryland Forward Party is looking to create a credible, viable, durable political party in the state of Maryland. Our three core values are Free People, Thriving communities and Vibrant Democracy and our current focus is on Voting Systems Reforms (e.g., Ranked Choice Voting), Open Non-Partisan Primaries, and Independent Redistricting Commissions. With these changes, we hope that it will create better incentives for candidates and elected officials to better represent the communities that they serve, for independents to be allowed to participate in the selection process, and for people to choose their politicians free of gerrymandering. Our website contains information about our principles, priorities, team, events, petitions, candidate endorsements, and much more.
Maryland Forward Party 2023 Summary
As a newly formed 527 non-profit organization in April 2023, we immediately began laying the groundwork for forming the party. In 2023, with just under 20 volunteers, we :
- Collected over 1,100 signatures by meeting people across the state at 13 events from the Eastern Shore to Western Maryland,
- Raised over $11,000 for our operational fund and had continued growth of monthly donations throughout the year,
- More than doubled our regular volunteer base,
- Garnered over 600 followers on Twitter/X and over 1200 followers on Instagram,
- Gathered almost 500 self-identified supporters on our website,
- Celebrated James Kole, our first Forwardist being elected to local office,
- Endorsed 4 other candidates for office with more in the pipeline, and
- Hosted 2 workshops with multiple local elected officials in attendance.
To continue our work at the Maryland Forward Party we are looking to raise $114,000 over the next year. Our major planned expense is a signature collection firm to satisfy the signature requirements to form a political party in Maryland. Also included in that budget is funding for more in person events across the state, digital advertisements to spread our message, as well as printed materials and other operational expenses.
II. Fundraising Plan
Current Fundraising and Budget
2023 Fundraising for MD FWD Party:
Plan for 2024 Fundraising
With the use of our website, we will look to leverage email and social media to drive small dollar donations to our website. In addition to direct email asks, we can also leverage social media to promote “Giving Fridays” where we will try different methods to generate excitement around the donations (i.e., fun polls where the side that donated the most “wins”).
Phone and Direct Mailings
As we increase our presence and look for other avenues to reach people, we will be including a link to our fundraising site with any communication that we will be sending out. Followup phone calls to interested people should also mention our fundraising campaign and how to find it on our website. In 2023, we contacted over 1100 people in our database via email or telephone and plan to extend that effort in 2024.
Partnerships and Collaborations
Using and growing our network of partnerships is vital to our growth and success as a party. Having these partnerships will be valuable for us to learn from groups that have raised money in the past, and identify what is working for them and to avoid strategies that will not bear fruit. We currently have an advisor partnership with a professional fundraiser that is helping to craft our message.
Identification and Curation of Major Donors
Find and grow our exposure to major donors that align with our values and can help us grow. Groups that are already in the political reform space are essential networking opportunities to connect with major donors. In addition, using tools such as DonorSearch and other fundraising tools we can identify major donors that have already expressed interest in the Forward Party.
To encourage donors, we will establish Membership Plans. Membership can be obtained through direct donation or by raising money through a personalized, dedicated link on the Maryland Forward Party website.
Friends of Forward ($1-$500)
Francis Scott Key Club ($500-$1000)
Edgar Allan Poe League ($1000-$5000)
Thurgood Marshall Society ($5000 +)
Financial Regulations and Transparency
We are committed to transparency on spending and will be providing regular updates on the state of the budget as we go through the year as well as regular updates to this Fundraising plan. Funds raised will be shown on the website with daily updates. Funds spent will be detailed in regular Board meetings and available upon request.