Virtual Fundraising for a Senate Campaign

by Emma Lerner

I worked for Sky Advisory Group over the summer which is a developmental firm that focuses on nonprofit and political fundraising. I interned for the political fundraising department which is in the midst of working with Governor Steve Bullock on his Senate race in Montana. My daily duties included: donor prospecting, donor outreach, call sheets, and briefings for zoom events. I also regularly worked with NGP which is the database that democratic candidates use for fundraising. The most exciting part of the internship was participating in zoom fundraising events and listening to the interactions between the donors and Governor Bullock. When I started the internship, I expected that the campaign finance sector would slow down because of the Coronavirus. However, it was the complete opposite and there was a large influx of new donors who wanted to begin following politics. As a result, my days were extremely busy and were constantly changing. I often had to make several last minute changes to fundraising conferences for example, adding new attendees and updating briefings. My problem solving skills and work ethic improved immensely because of the fast paced environment of this job.

My favorite part of the internship was getting to know Governor Bullock on a more personal level. People generally only know politicians’ political life and not their life outside of politics. I enjoyed witnessing what a day in the life of a politician looks like, in addition to the amount of work and employees that contribute to a successful Senate campaign. I did not realize that the several of the skills that I learned at Wheaton transferred directly to this job field. For example, this internship required significant research skills and Microsoft Excel proficiency which I learned directly from Political Science Research Methods. Political Science courses and Wheaton classes in general place a heavy emphasis on class participation and presentations which gave me confidence when participating during staff meetings. After working for Sky Advisory Group, I have decided that I am going to join the campaign trail after graduation and pursue a career in campaign finance.