Welcome to the Donor Doctor with your host James Newberry. On today’s show, James interviews Vernon Robinson Helped Raise $12MM for Ben Carson.
The City Councilman
Vernon’s first fundraising began in his bid for city councilman. His initial efforts were going to friends and family to raise money. Fortunately he was running against a naturalist and there was not much opposition.
Vernon Robinson then ran for Congress. He worked with James on this campaign. He raise $3 million which is a lot for a congressional campaign in 2004. He outraised every candidate except the members of the leadership.
It was a tough race for Vernon. He was going against a state senator and a member of the Broyhill family. Vernon came in first but then lost in the run-off.
Vernon raised money through direct mail and email but he was also very good at upgrading people. He had a lot of $100 donors but could not differentiate between those that could give more and that was the max they could give.
There are two types of $100 donors. There are retired postal employees that do not have any more money and then there are people who are whales and gave a lot more to someone else. If that someone else is not a relative, those are the targets for upgrading.
In his effort to differentiate, Vernon hired a 16 y.o. black high school student access to the donor database. He asked her to search for $100 donors and then match those $100 donors against Open Secrets. 6 of the 26 that she initially screened gave more money.
The Boiler Room
Vernon has found that getting people to talk to you on the phone can sometimes be difficult. Some donors want to talk to the candidate they just donated to and some won’t answer the phone.
To find more success in upgrading with phone solicitations, Vernon developed his Boiler Room technique. He created a boiler room of pleasant young ladies that would call the house file.
To hear the rest of Vernon’s successful tips for fundraising, download and listen to Vernon Robinson Helped Raise $12MM for Ben Carson.
If you’re short on time, here are the highlights of Vernon Robinson Helped Raise $12MM for Ben Carson
Who is Vernon Robinson? (0:33)
How did he raise money for his bid for Congress? (3:20)
A candidates biggest waste of time? (7:33)
What does Vernon say about the draft committee? (11:42)
What does Vernon say about clammering? (16:20)
Fixing a broken $3 million airplane (17:43)
Uncovered pearls? (20:13)