How to organize a political campaign with limited funds?

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How to organize a political campaign with limited funds?

Access to funds is a huge impediment to many women around the world seeking to become involved in politics especially in developing countries. How can I organize a political campaigns with limited funding?

Ameena Alrasheed

This is a very important question that relates to politics election, political campaign, and regulation of political parties and elections rules. One of the tenacious democratic shortfalls throughout the world is women’s lack of influence in politics.

When it comes to political campaigning and funding, and In relation to political parties the voice of women in decision-making remains insufficient, or non-existent, and the lack of appropriate measures and rules that regulate the election procedure harms women the most. Pertaining to the existing imbalances in wealth distribution, and economic opportunities, women are lagging behind financially and hence politically.

We understand the importance of the role of money in politics; especially the funding of political parties and election campaigns, and this has recently become a topic of increased interest and concern.  There are current more debates about regulating the financial conduct of political parties; these debates rarely focus on the gender implications of political campaigning or party funding, as both affect women and men differently.

There are a number of factors and conditions that favour or hinder the involvement of women in political life, including socio-economic development, patriarchy and cultural setting, tradition and social stereotyping.

Electoral finance is an increasing obstacle to women’s election to parliament and other representative institutions. This is because women have traditionally been relegated to the private, domestic sphere, and thus have neither the personal financial resources nor the financial networks been available to allow them to compete effectively in electoral politics.

There are as well many studies that highlights the Psychological Barriers for women in asking for money, as not being part of their cognitive structure, the networking strategies would help women boosting their abilities to raise money for political campaigning.

Another important issue when women have limited funding, the time of using such limited fund is crucial in determining the nature of their campaigns and the probability of them getting seats in democratic institutions, early money, is crucial for women, it enables them to establish name recognition and reputation.

Institutionally, there are many measures taken that help in facing obstacles of limited fund, as for example the calls for a quota system ensuring a minimum representation of women in parliament on the basis of direct election, is a mechanism used to secure women’s places in politics.

In many developing democracies the lack of money to pay even modest candidate deposits can exclude women from the election process. In principle there should be a sound plan of actions that allows women and also men candidate with limited access to fund to be able to assume seats for the merits of their political programme not for the merits of their finances.

There are few measures we can site to ensure women’s access to political/parliamentary seats as:

  1. Plan of Action to correct present imbalances in the participation of men and women in politics.Public funding can be regulated in such a way as to ensure that parties nominate a certain percentage of women candidates for election. The parties’ decision on who competes determines who governs; this was called affirmative actions, adopted in many countries to help boosting women’s chances in politics.
  2. Limiting electoral campaign expenses by limiting campaign spending in primary or nomination contests.
  3. Regulating the expenses of the nomination contest and provide early money to women contestants, as limited as it is.
  4. Building women’s fund-raising organizations, which have huge effect on the flow of money to women candidates.
  5. Establish networks for the financing of women’s electoral and nomination campaigns. This is particularly important for women in systems where there is no access to public funding.
  6. On the side of the political parties, it is significant that a provision of incentives through public funding: The amount of funding a party receives could be linked to or dependent on the number of women candidates it puts forward for election.

Given all the above factors related to the limited campaigning fund, the political campaigns timing should be crucial in making more space for recognition and eventually the probability of securing seats for women: and it worth noted that without the above mentioned measures that tackles socio-economic political and intrinsically patriarchal structures of our societies, the chances for women to enjoy fair and accessible spaces in politics remains limited. More discussion is needed on issues of networking, techniques of political campaigning, fundraising, and political parties funding, to foster more effective measures that allow women to effectively run a political campaign.   


Dr Ameena Alrasheed Nayel.

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oyungerel's picture

Expert: Oyungerel Tsedevdamba

The short answer for your question is HARD WORK. I work doubly hard in order to reach more people. Read, learn and think about some topics that are most crucial or most interesting or totally ignored by other politicians. Speak for the young people, and other social groups of your constituency. Give lectures, go on news hours with your knowledge and ideas that will help improve your community. It can be about how to study foreign language, how to fight with new virus, or how to understand your important cultural heritage etc. For example, I studied paleontology that was long ignored by politicians (although my background is totally not related to it) so that Mongolians can learn and appreciate about our invaluable dinosaurs. My dinosaur related works made me more popular than any other topics I dealt with in my 25 years of career. To see my examples, you can google “oyungerel tsedevdamba, dinosaurs”


Monbey's picture

Thanks, Dr. Armeena, this is all very good on paper. The reality is different. Men will always spend a lot of money and in developing counties where people are poor, the emphasis is on the money. How can international organizations that cater to women get more women elected without money?

Amina Alrasheed Nayel A Professor's picture

Dear Monbey

You are absolutely right, the men use money no matter what, and we dont want to make women's access to politics is an issue of money, then it will be critical as we all know women are poorest. But if we are to treat this issue institutionally we need to remember that overall men are acquiring the most of the wealth around the world, and we are faced with such structural and institutional inequality and we will continue to see women as the face of poverty.

The UN talked in many of its documents on MDGs about the feminization of poverty. Poverty has a feminine face and it is very significant to develop strategy that can impact women’ s access to fund. Now women cannot assume the ownership of wealth in a glimpse of an eye, but we can lay down structural and institutional measures that allow them access to politics, money and share the economy.

Without restraining the political campaigning finances, the outcome will always be men are dominating powerful and rich, particularly in developing countries. 


I talked also about having strategy within the limited money, allocating the money for early use could make a difference, and having strong approach and programme in elections might help boosting women’s chances. Thus how you use this limited fund, when and where could make a difference.


In a last note I would really say: Why limited fund in the first place?

Feminization of poverty, lack of access to finances, to education, lack of liberties for women, all these are few of the product of the societal structural patriarchal system, and we need to work towards changing the structure that does not allow women accesses. There is no one answer or method that can help women taking good places in politics, campaigning for women among women might help as well and in many areas you may find that women eligible voter are far more than men, here a strategy could be used to secure women voting for women. Depending on the circumstances and specificity of each and every case of women struggling to take place in politics, women themselves can innovate approaches and strategies that can suit the circumstances and help them in their way to politics. Fundraising is one suggestion and you may mention many other approaches to raise fund for women inclusion in politics. I hope I help in stimulating minds in thinking on strategies and approaches the we can use, not only with the limited fund but also with the strategy that unpack the patriarchal structure.

 Thanks a lot


Cindy Lawrence's picture

Elections form the foundation of the modern democracy, and more elections are scheduled every year in the United States than in any other country in the world. Candidates campaign and launch efforts to convince voters to support them, precede most elections. In recent years campaigns have become longer and more expensive, sparking a demand for campaign finance reform.