Andrea Ramunno has launched a boutique fundraising shop after helping Sen.-elect John Fetterman’s campaign raise more than $75 million as the Pennsylvania Democrat’s national finance director.
But she wants the focus of Rise Political Strategies to be more on people than numbers.
That’s because Ramunno sees campaigns in 2023 and beyond being hit by “an intense staffing shortage,” which she can help alleviate by setting up the “structures and systems that you can teach a fundraiser.”
“Fundraising is all about the little minutia and details,” Ramunno explained. “Do you have a call time follow-up procedure where you follow up every time someone makes a pledge? How do you look at a list for the first time — what is [a donor’s] capacity to give? Why do they care about your candidate?
“It’s working with some of these folks who have never had to do that before.”
It’s rare that a firm offers to both service a campaign or organization while also helping build up that client’s internal capacity. Still, Ramunno notes that her firm isn’t just about training a client’s fundraising team.
“It’s balancing both — there’s still going to be that traditional model,” she said.
But that traditional model can’t simply be a carbon copy of races she’s previously worked on: “People just assume that consultants have a magical list.” Even if she did, Ramunno added, “it’s not going to produce $75 million just because it did that for John.
“You can look at somebody like John’s race as a model. You can see things that they’re doing really well. But I don’t think there’s a boilerplate template for every candidate.”
The training element to Ramunno’s practice stems from her time climbing the ranks of finance departments. She previously served as Pennsylvania finance director for Sen. Bob Casey (D) in 2018, and as finance director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in 2016 — the year Philadelphia hosted the DNC. She also held various political fundraising roles going back to a post-college local race before that.
“Managing other people is really a skill,” she said. “I try to be the manager I wish I had in my 20s — not just telling somebody to do a job, but helping them understand how that one thing fits into the rest.”
She also wants to help the industry retain talent, particularly as staffing remains an issue for many in the industry.
“How do you keep people in this [industry] past their 30s? You’ve got to be more accommodating of the fact that there is more to life than just our jobs.”