Budgeting & Financial Compliance - National Democratic Training Committee

Budgeting & Financial Compliance

By Valerie Martin
90 min

What You’ll Learn

  • How to create your campaign budget
  • How to track your campaign’s expenses and incoming donations
  • How to write a compliance plan for your campaign

Why This is Important

To make sure you don’t run out of cash before Election Day, your campaign needs a budget and a system to track donations and expenses. This course helps you build all of those systems, providing templates and tools to make it as straightforward as possible — even if math wasn’t your favorite subject in school.

Key Resources

  • Budget Template (and Reference Guide for the Template)
  • Sample Campaign Budget
  • Common Campaign Expense Price Estimates from The Arena
  • Expense Tracker Template (and Reference Guide for the Template)
  • Contribution Tracker Template (and Reference Guide for the Template)
  • Example Compliance Plan
  • Getting Started Checklist — Includes many of the early steps to get your campaign set up

Related Trainings

  • Calculating Your Vote Goal — You’ll want to calculate your vote goal, or how many votes you need to win, ahead of budgeting, as it will influence many aspects of your budget
  • Building Your Network — If you haven’t already, we recommend that you take this course before “Budgeting & Financial Compliance” so you can assess the giving capacity of your network and have a ballpark estimate of what you can fundraise
  • Writing Your Fundraising Plan — This course will help you to figure out how to raise all the money you’ve budgeted to spend

Valerie Martin


Co-Founder & Partner, Silversmith Strategies

Specializing in fundraising, campaign management, and media, Valerie Martin has spent seven election cycles working on competitive campaigns across the country. For the last six years, Valerie worked on national campaigns to create television advertising, provide media trainings for candidates, develop campaign plans, and offer strategic advice. She is now the Co-Founder and Partner at Silversmith Strategies, a full-service media and consulting firm.

Previously, Valerie managed two U.S. Senate races, including the 2010 open-seat U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire. Valerie raised money for a governor’s race in Georgia and Claire McCaskill’s 2006 upset victory in Missouri. McCaskill was one of six new Democrats who tipped the balance of the Senate toward Democratic control in the 2006 elections. In 2004, after serving as Finance Director for several Congressional races, Valerie led Allyson Schwartz’s finance team in her successful open-seat bid in PA-13, raising more than $4.6 million in that hotly-contested race.

A native of San Diego, California and a graduate of the University of Dayton in Ohio, Valerie currently resides in Chicago.