Money In Politics – Written by: Thomas Donnelly

This semester I’ve been working with the Travis County Republican Party and Save Austin Now Political Action Committee as a fundraising intern. During my time with these groups, I have come to understand how money in politics is utilized to run effective political campaigns. Working alongside professionals has allowed me to gain a greater respect for the behind the scenes work that goes on within politics. Every decision is a calculated one that requires heaps of work to be achieved. My personal duties have been strenuous at times but have made me realize the importance of my position. Without money campaigns can’t move forward. Money allows our office to hire workers, purchase yard signs and door hangers, advertise through many different forms of media, and even buy political data. I’ve been helping run the fundraising events all around the Austin area which allows our office to accrue funds to do all the things I listed and more.

With all that being said, I would love to tell everyone about a day at my internship. I start off my day by meeting with my boss to discuss plans for the day and go over what we want to get done. I’ve got a myriad of responsibilities so my plans can change from day to day. Some days I’m given orders to work on Save Austin Now related duties and on other days I’m assigned to work more on party focused issues. However, this semester I’ve worked a lot more with Save Austin Now because of the local election that took place this year. Save Austin Now was the political organization that brought forward Proposition A, which recently failed to pass. Although it failed to pass, I learned a great deal about the real world of politics.  However, I’m getting off topic from my daily schedule. These past two months have been absurdly busy for me as I’ve had to prepare and attend multiple fundraising events at several different venues in Austin. The preparation included contacting and communicating with potential donors through emails to give them the information of our upcoming fundraising events. I must have sent, at least, a few hundred RSVP confirmations in the last few months. Once I had all the names of those attending our events, I would print out name tags for each of the guests. This took up a great deal of time throughout my day, as we had many people attending every event. However, in my free time I would help my boss with any duties that he had assigned me, whether that was logging checks, delivering yard signs, creating excel sheets with contact info of potential voters, or some other tedious tasks. When my work was done in the office, usually around 5PM, I would head out and drive to wherever the fundraising event that night was taking place. Most of our events took place at the houses of supporters generous enough to open their homes to us and other donors. At these events I would give out the name tags that I had printed and welcome people into the event. During the events I would walk around and collect funds from those that felt compelled enough to donate. At the end of these events, I would collect name tags and thank everyone for coming and the host for allowing us to use their home. And that basically sums up a day in the life of my internship.

Although it obviously doesn’t sound like very glamorous work, it has been very rewarding from an educational perspective. I’ve come to learn the ins and outs of campaign fundraising and in doing so feel more confident within my field of study. With my last few weeks of work ahead and this year’s elections in the past I look forward to learning even more about real world politics.


Fundraising Internship – Description: Photoed is myself and Congressman Pete Sessions at a fundraising event for TCRP.


One Comment

  1. Hello! Your internship position seems very beneficial, and very interesting from a policy perspective. How does working with money/fundraising change your views if at all of the political arena?

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