For the People, By the People
By Gina Christo, Senior Consultant Associate
At Rivera Consulting, Inc., we work with candidates who represent the largest Democratic voting block - American Rising Electorate (unmarried women, people of color, and millenials), both in their identities and political platform. Due to their professional and personal experiences, our candidates are uniquely poised to lead systemic changes in how our communities and country are governed. But with this unique positioning comes the challenge of navigating a political system that is set up to be exclusive to those with privilege. At Rivera Consulting, Inc., we build relational and traditional paid voter contact campaigns to target the American Rising Electorate and frequent voters. This year, through municipal elections, we had the opportunity to re-engage Boston’s growing electorate, and built campaigns that could expand racial and gender parity in our local government.
Political relationships on movement building campaigns are more than just endorsements, they are the heart. They allow us to acknowledge community leaders who seek the same structural change as our candidates. Without the collaboration and input of activists, business owners, and community leaders who have paved the way for candidates like Councilor Kim Janey or Alejandra St. Guillen, there is no victory.
Hiring a seasoned campaign team and fundraising often pose the biggest challenge for non traditional candidates. They are also intimately tied because those who run on a platform of systematic change are normally ignored by traditional white male donors base. To address this challenge, Rivera Consulting creates fundraising plans where no contribution is too small and low dollar fundraising events are critical to reaching political milestones. In 2019, we are building off our historic victory of Ayanna Pressley, by taking the tools that made her campaign successful. Our scope of services for this type of engagement include fundraising plan, a prioritized political call list, and social media training for staff, all to elevate our candidates ability to raise money from donors of all levels.
For Alejandra St. Guillen, candidate for At Large Boston City Councilor, this meant spending 20 hours a week calling through her phone book asking for as little as a $25 investment in her campaign. Although fundraising calls are time consuming at the beginning of a campaign, taking the time to build relationships with donors leads to a more sustainable fundraising stream. When donors feel personally invested in campaign milestones because of their support, they are more likely to continue to give donations as time goes on. Valuing low dollar donors as important relationships is the key to sustained campaign financial growth. As a result she has received donations from over 500 donors, with an average contribution $110, and continues to gain momentum.
This people-centered approach similarly applies to how our candidates build coalitions within their own community. For an incumbent like Boston City Councilor Kim Janey, that means inviting leaders from Roxbury —the Boston neighborhood at the heart of Black culture and community — to all fundraising events without the expectation of a contribution. It means using black-owned businesses and vendors for all of her events. It’s about demonstrating that the values the campaign espouses are fulfilled before election day, that folks will lift as they climb. As a result she has raised over $70,000, and continues to lead the conversation on equity in Boston.
Candidates like Alejandra and Kim are critical not only because of what they represent as women of color, but also because of their shared belief in a local, diverse and intersectional campaign staff. Through the stewardship of Rivera Consulting, both campaigns hired qualified women of color to run their races. Both were chosen because of their professional and lived experiences that allows them to deeply understand the unique path to victory Rivera Consulting has created for their campaigns.. As movement building professionals, we see municipal elections as an opportunity to build the bench of staff from the Rising American Electorate. In doing so, we can continue to harness movement building campaigns that deliver change-agent leaders that create structural change within our government.
Alejandra St. Guillen and Councilor Kim Janey need support before the September 24th preliminary election. To support Alejandra’s campaign, click here to sign up knock doors and click here to donate. To support Councilor Janey’s first re-election, sign up to volunteer and click here to donate.
PS. Check out IN THE NEWS pages to read about the momentum both Kim and Alejandra are gaining as Election Day approaches!