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The unique challenges of state-level fundraising education

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As a battleground state, Nevada has attracted attention from national organizations and donors interested in investing in competitive campaigns. Their support is much needed, but these national operators are often unfamiliar with the state laws that regulate how donations are made.

For example, national stakeholders are familiar with federal campaigns and FEC regulations that affect the amounts and types that federal candidates can receive. But when you start supporting candidates running for state and local office, you’ll come across over 50 different rules that govern how you can contribute to campaigns.

Fundraising education is a unique challenge, especially if you are a national stakeholder who wants to participate in state or local campaigns across the United States. Nevada is a perfect example of this.

For state and local campaigns in Nevada, donations are capped at $10,000 from any legal entity. This is split between a $5,000 contribution to the primary and his $5,000 contribution to the general election.

But unlike federal law, Nevada campaigns can accept a $5,000 reserve contribution after the primary election has taken place. This dynamic will allow state and local campaigns to collect major donations through November.

I am currently working on educating several country partners, allies, and donor advisors about Nevada’s unique state and local donation limits.

This case first occurred on GiveGreen, a donation platform used by the League of Conservation Voters to highlight the most popular candidates for donations, when incorrect restrictions were displayed to clients. That’s when I realized I was there. We have received several of his $5,000 donations on their platform for two of his statewide clients.

After exchanging emails with GiveGreen staff, they quickly fixed the donation limit. If you visit their website, you’ll see that Nevada candidates are currently donating up to $10,000.

Another issue is on ActBlue’s community page. Our team checks all newly created community pages weekly to ensure that they correctly represent donation limits. One page, in particular, had her $5,000 donation limit for Attorney General candidates. I immediately emailed the author of the page and the page fixed this.

Another national stakeholder came together to put together a few checks for $5,000 for one of our statewide clients. After talking to them, I realized that they made the wrong request to the donor (not to mention I am still very grateful for their help).

We also had several discussions with donor advisors across the country. One of them referred to guidance from the National Conference of State Legislators suggesting the Nevada candidate could not receive all of her $10,000 after the primary election. After a quick email exchange, they were able to correctly educate the client about our state restrictions.

With each cycle, basic knowledge gaps negatively impact state-specific funding. Hiring a good fundraising consultant who is familiar with state laws and local regulations is key to keeping everyone abreast.

Kalani Tissot is a political fundraiser and consultant based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Through his company, his Tissot Solutions LLC, Kalani raises money for Nevada’s democratic and nonpartisan candidates and causes.