Fundraising is as much a part of politics as oxygen is a part of deep-sea diving, which is to say that without it, you will see candidates abruptly stop talking and sink to the bottom. But raising money for political campaigns is just half the battle. Failing to report those donations in a timely and appropriate way can lead to outcomes much worse than losing elections. The south side of FEC violations is all about hefty fines and sometimes imprisonment.
To get the obvious question out of the way, why does the FEC have such strict requirements? In short, the FEC has strict rules to keep anonymous funds from flooding the political system, to keep both donors and recipients accountable for every dollar they receive or spend. Do these rules work? It doesn’t matter. Ignore them at your absolute peril.
The simplest way to break down FEC penalties is to divide offenses between accidental and willful. Accidental breeches in reporting protocol will get you a warning and probably a fine. Willfully defrauding the FEC by covering up or failing to report donations can lead to a bright orange jumpsuit and several years of writing letters with a crayon.
But you just run a local campaign or a nonprofit. You aren’t looking to break the law or hurt anyone. What does this have to do with you? Well, quite a lot actually. One of the gatekeepers in American politics is the reporting requirement. Hiring professionals to adhere to these rules can sink a new organization before it leaves the harbor. And depending on yourself to learn and implement these rules can be a time-consuming and potentially costly mistake.
So what is the answer? Several years ago, there was no clear solution to the reporting problem. Now there is Raise The Money, an online platform for processing contributions to political campaigns, nonprofits and other organizations of all types. Raise The Money takes care of the heavy lifting by documenting your contributions and depositing them, keeping a record of your donors, and easing the process of reporting donations to the FEC. But most of all, Raise The Money does this without upfront costs. Simply pay a small percentage of each transaction and rest easy knowing that even if you lose the election, you can avoid the orange jumpsuit.
Learn more about the ins and outs of campaign contributions at RaiseTheMoney.com.