As a battleground state, Nevada gets attention from national organizations and donors who are interested in investing in competitive campaigns. While their support is greatly needed, these national operators are often unfamiliar with state law that regulates how you can donate.
For example, national stakeholders are deeply familiar with federal campaigns and FEC regulation that affects how much and what type of money federal candidates can receive. But when you start supporting candidates running for state or local office, you run into over 50 different sets of rules that affect how you can contribute money to their campaigns.
Fundraising education is a unique challenge, especially when you’re a national stakeholder who wishes to engage state or local campaigns throughout the United States. Nevada is the perfect example of this.
For state and local campaigns in Nevada, the maximum contribution limit is $10,000 from any legal entity. This is broken down into a $5,000 contribution for the primary election and a $5,000 donation for the general election.
But unlike federal law, Nevada campaigns can accept a $5,000 primary contribution after the primary election has occurred. This dynamic allows our state and local campaigns to collect primary contributions all the way through November.
Now, I’ve been working on educating several national partners, allies, and donor advisors on Nevada’s unique state and local contribution limits.
This instance first occurred when we noticed that GiveGreen – the donation platform that the League of Conservation Voters uses to highlight top-endorsed candidates to donate to – had the incorrect limit shown for our clients. We received a few $5,000 donations on their platform for two of our statewide clients and wondered why some of these national donors weren’t doing the full $10,000?
After an email exchange with the GiveGreen staff, they promptly fixed the contribution limit. If you go to their website, you’ll see that Nevada candidates now have a donation maximum of $10,000.
Another issue we run into is with community pages on ActBlue. Our team checks all newly created community pages weekly to ensure that they correctly represent our contribution limits. One page, in particular, had a $5,000 donation limit for our attorney general candidate. We promptly contacted the page creator over email, and they fixed this on their page.
Another national stakeholder had come together to bundle a few $5,000 checks for one of our statewide clients. After speaking with them, they realized they had made the wrong asks of their donors (needless to say, we are still extremely grateful for their support).
We’ve also had several conversations with national donor advisors – one of whom referenced guidance from the National Conference of State Legislators that implied Nevada candidates couldn’t receive the entire $10,000 after the primary. After a quick email exchange, they were able to correctly educate their clients on our state’s limits.
Cycle after cycle, there’s a detrimental impact of basic knowledge lapses on state-specific fundraising. Hiring a good fundraising consultant who’s deeply familiar with state law and local regulations is key to ensuring that no one misses a beat.
Kalani Tissot is a political fundraiser and consultant based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Through his firm, Tissot Solutions LLC, Kalani raises money for democratic & non-partisan candidates and causes in Nevada.