Friday, November 21, 2008

Can We Get the Donors Back?

Contributions to the Michigan Republican Party are apparently down. One might ask why. What happened to cause a decline in contributions?

I was in sales and marketing for 15 years before spending 7 years in the non-profit business and six years in full-time elective office. I learned some valuable lessons in my sales career. One of those was that you can be a very good salesman, sell products at a very competitive price and deliver the goods on time, but if your product was inferior, before long you would lose the business to a competitor. It is important to deliver the product as it was represented and keep the quality up.

In my travels around the state over the last year while running for US Senate, I talked to hundreds of loyal Republicans. Many expressed frustration with "product quality." One donor I talked to told me he was very frustrated with Republican elected officials who voted to raise taxes and spend more money. As he put it, "I am not mad at the Democrats, they told me they would raise taxes and spend more. I am angry with the Republicans because they said they were for low taxes and less government." To paraphrase another large donor who stopped giving, "Why should I give to the Republican party? I can get the same thing from the Democrats for nothing!"

No question about it, we must improve the quality of our "product". What does that mean for the Republican party in Michigan? I believe it means we must clearly define who we are and what we stand for and then recruit candidates who will "sell" the product as represented and "deliver" the product when the order is placed.

Another lesson I learned in sales, it is much easier to sell the product when the customer trusts you. For the party this means we will raise money much more effectively and easily if we keep the pledge to our constituents to represent those core principles that made the Republican party so successful in years gone by.

My pledge to you as your State Party Chair is to rebuild the party into one with a top quality product that is delivered as it is represented.

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