In contrast to Cao’s lunch, Hasegawa’s re-election campaign party at the House of Hong this Sunday was a blast. What lessons can the Vietnamese Chamber take away?
1. Reach out to the entire Asian community. Don’t just invite Vietnamese people. About 150 people attended Bob’s function. It was a diverse group of Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Blacks, and whites.
2. Get big names on the support group and publicize them. Some powerful names in politics in the Asian community are Ruth Woo, Velma Veloria, and Kip Tokuda. If they give, others will follow. Invite them to come and they will bring a flock of friends.
3. Pre-commitment is important. Several of Bob’s donors committed amounts of $800 and $100 before the event.
4. Sell to both Republicans and Democrats. In Cao’s case, his values are pretty much like those of Democrats, except for abortion. He’s also the only Republican congressman who voted for the health care bill.
5. A personal call is better than e-mail. After e-mailing, call your friends to attend and give. It can make a world of difference. If they cannot come, just ask for money.
6. Reward donors. If people agree to come and donate, give them something in return. The least that the organizers could have done was to offer donors a photo with Cao.
7. Organizers need to set an example. If you want others to give, each organizer or board member needs to set an example to give. The organizers can challenge their friends to match what they give. Peer pressure works. Persuasion is a must.
8. Create a buzz with the help of Asian media. The more coverage for a candidate, the more folks know about him. After all, he’s an outsider. He needs people to push him forward.
The Vietnamese Chamber should not be discouraged. Every time you do something, you gain valuable insights and learn to plan better for the next project. ♦