Natasha McKenzie worked her way up through the political field before recognizing her love for political fundraising and working on that skill. We spoke to Natasha McKenzie to learn more about her achievements and advice on becoming a successful political fundraiser.
Natasha McKenzie says, “I began my career in politics working for the DC Democratic Party, eventually becoming executive director. One of the things I loved about the job was handling the fundraising aspect of it. I enjoyed managing the budget, raising the money, and working directly with my boss a DC Councilmember. So that’s how I started out in political fundraising.”
Through working with a DC Councilmember, Natasha McKenzie received the chance to foster community and professional relationships, which helped her continue to grow her career. “From there, I went to work at the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee). I worked with about 24 states in the Midwest and South. I did direct fundraising for individuals and the 2020 cycle, raising over $11 million. Recently, I finished being a statewide finance director on a campaign. And I raised over $3.5 million,” says Natasha McKenzie reminiscing on the early days of her career.
Throughout her journey in building her career in political fundraising, she learned the tips below. First, Natasha McKenzie shared the best method to get started in fundraising. She says, “When it comes to fundraising, I have a few quick tips. The first is to talk directly with the candidate and get to know them and their donor base. For example, some candidates are big on climate, some are big on education, etc.”
By understanding the candidate and their donor base, you have the knowledge to begin working on the financial aspect of the job. According to Natasha McKenzie, the next step is to build the candidate’s financial plan. “This just breaks down like how we’re going to do it. And the plan type, for most financial plans, include call time for calling people for money and events. Some candidates do digital, which is raising money online through social media through text messages, through email, and those are like the big buckets for people to raise money,” says Natasha McKenzie.
However, donations don’t necessarily always or only have to come in the way the financial plan states. Natasha McKenzie describes that sometimes contributions can come in unexpected ways. She says, “Sometimes you just have random money that comes in from a mailer or packs and different wards that decided to give to the candidate as well.”
Natasha McKenzie’s biggest tip for promoting your success in political fundraising is perseverance. “It’s essential that you take the time to be persistent and also understand that you’re working directly with people that are going to be helpful towards the entire operation,” says Natasha McKenzie. When looking toward the future, she hopes to continue to nurture her political fundraising skills by working for a firm or creating one herself. Natasha McKenzie says, “For my future, I would love to one day be at or running a firm for candidates running for statewide office. I would love to especially focus on candidates of color, to help them raise money from a diverse donor pool so that they feel like they have all the tools to win and be successful.”