top of page

Sign up for our insights on how to supercharge your fundraising.

Search

2023 in Review

Updated: Jan 3



2023 was a remarkable year for Tissot Solutions and marks our third full year of helping changemakers raise money.


Each year, we’ve evolved and seen significant change as a company. On January 4th, 2021, Tissot Solutions had one team member and three active clients. Today, we have 31 active clients across Nevada & Utah and are in the process of hiring our 12th team member. Across 2023, we worked with 46 customers on their fundraising. Our 2023 revenue is higher than 2022, and we are projecting 2024 to be the biggest year yet. It will mark four years of continued annual revenue growth as a firm.


The first two years of Tissot Solutions were focused on the 2022 elections in Nevada. We had to build a company that scaled to serve the needs of 20+ clients across the state. We helped clients raise over $18 million during that cycle and set numerous fundraising records that have never been hit before in the history of Nevada.


The theme of our third year, 2023, has been about refinement & improvement of our core processes and the growth of our company. We’ve continued to make major investments in technology, automation, process documentation, data, and the cultivation of our team members. We took every lesson learned & mistake made in 2022 and have continued to build off that to create a fundraising services platform that scales, exceeds expectations, and helps clients achieve outstanding outcomes.


Through serving Nevada & Utah, our firm uniquely focuses on raising money from the Las Vegas, Reno, and Salt Lake City metropolitan markets. I remain deeply proud of our continued fundraising work in Northern NV & Reno as the only political fundraising firm in town for Democrats (BIG thanks to Riley Sutton & Changing Dynamics for our continued work together). Through a partnership with Elevate Strategies, we expanded to Utah and officially became a two-state fundraising firm. Our outstanding client results this year are a continued testament to our commitment to being the best fundraising firm for all of Nevada and now Utah.


Our work wouldn't be possible without our outstanding eleven team members working day in and day out to take care of our clients.


Alex Fuller — Associate — Start Date: 3/22/2021

Logan Cayton — Associate — Start Date: 11/29/2021

Ruby Valencia — Associate — Start Date: 3/28/2022

Noemi Cabije — Executive Assistant — Start Date: 3/28/2022

Zane Taylor — Associate — Start Date: 6/12/2023

Mhay Cornejo — Administrative Assistant — Start Date: 6/15/2023

Cormac O’Rourke — Associate — Start Date: 9/15/2023

Maya Flores — Intern — Start Date: 9/21/2023

Keaton Fox — Intern — Start Date: 9/21/2023

Ben Kutler — Associate — Start Date: 11/27/2023

Kalani Tissot — Principal — Start Date: 1/4/2021


For a full list of our staff, please view: https://www.tissotsolutions.com/ourteam


State of the Industry


Across the country, the majority of political fundraising firms are small shops with one to two Principals and anywhere from zero to a handful of staff. The industry is largely fragmented, with most firms operating in one state, and each state only has a limited number of options for candidates to choose from. Most shops are best described as freelancers or independent contractors, which differs greatly from an established company with assets, employees, and structure.


Competing fundraising shops generally do not have documented processes or standard operating procedures. They don’t have any proprietary technology or systems that they bring to the table. Their donor data is limited, with phone number quality not being that high. Ultimately, they are extremely capacity-constrained.


This is the opposite of what Tissot Solutions is and what we are building toward.


As a company, we continue to:

  • Be the only fundraising firm in America with our own proprietary CRM to provide clients.

  • Have best in-class donor data practices with extremely accurate phone numbers for Nevada & Utah.

  • Expand our documentation of processes, revisit standard operating procedures over time, and change them for the better.

  • Have a consistent operational playbook and product that we provide to our customers.

In the states we operate in, Nevada & Utah, we aim to have the best donor data and to have the best day-to-day operations to offer our clients. No competing firm will have the same data quality we can offer or the same operational playbook we use (especially for client fundraising events).


As a result, we bring company-owned assets to the table and provide consistent service to all our clients. We continue to make financial investments (CapEx) and spend significant resources on building enterprise value and enhancing the quality of our operations.


In fact, the most unique feature of Tissot Solutions is that we continue to invest. We regularly invest significant financial resources and a large amount of time into improving the business.


Very few political fundraising or consulting shops have CapEx for growth & investment. I would assume that most political consultants pull almost every single dollar out of the biz.

That’s not how we operate, and this difference is the pinnacle of our firm’s success — a commitment to building enterprise value, investing in building out a platform leveraged by technology & data, and cultivating a great team capable of going above and beyond to help our clients succeed.


The goal is to provide a defined product that is deeply differentiated from any other fundraising service offering for candidates & advocacy organizations. In short, we want to be in a category of one.


The changes & improvements outlined below were all made in this pursuit. And we are just getting started.


Innovation & Growth


Throughout 2023, we made major investments in technology, automation, standardized & documented fundraising processes, and more.


The use of Airtable and Zapier has been the foundation of our firm’s success since year #1, and our continued investment in using both platforms has paid dividends. The vast majority of our growth in technology & automation has been through these two tools, and we continue to maintain an enterprise-level contract with Airtable, with them being our highest-paid vendor.


Our innovation wouldn’t be possible without the work of our automation consultant — Troy Tessalone of Automation Ace. His work to take our vision and turn it into live databases, automation sequences, and more has been the cornerstone of our continued growth.


Tissot Solutions remains the most technologically advanced full-service fundraising consulting firm in America, and we are just getting started. Below is a breakdown of some key improvements we’ve made this past year.



TS Associates Base


The biggest change we made in 2023 is a complete overhaul of how we track every piece of digital copy, client donor meetings, client fundraising events, and more into one central database & ledger.


The new TS Associate Database is our central operating system that tracks everything we are working on for our clients. It has built-in automation for Asana tasks (our project management software), calendar invites (it automatically generates event & donor meeting calendar invites), and generates response formulas for our RSVP by text mobile line.


Automated Asana tasks get sent out and assigned to our Associates for every new fundraising email/SMS, donor meeting memo, event (we created a custom logic script to generate 26 different tasks with date assignments for each event), and more.


It's been an enormous improvement to how we track & manage the work our Associate fundraisers are doing to manage digital fundraising, upcoming donor meetings, and client fundraising events.


Through this database, we've also overhauled our internal management approval system. Items that need edits & signoff, such as a fundraising email, a donor meeting memo, an event memo, or something else, get added to a daily digest sent to me each morning for approval. Instead of being barraged over Slack for constant approval on different pieces, everything gets added into one digest daily. This new tool has added a lot more focus time back into my workday, and I'm really grateful for it.


We've Automated Google Doc Generation & Expanded our Template Library


As a company, we create A LOT of Google docs. This includes event memos, meeting memos, fundraising emails, SMS broadcasts, social media posts, and more.


To improve this process, we've built in automation to the above TS Associates base that does the following:

  • Creates Google Docs for emails, SMS broadcasts, social media posts, meeting & event memos, using standardized templates.

  • Fills in basic info to each doc (saves us time!).

  • Keeps us consistent with using the appropriate ActBlue page and standardized refcode for each solicitation.

  • Utilizes a standard naming convention for each file.

  • Places the file in the correct folder for each client's Google Drive at the firm.


Every memo and piece of digital copy (email, SMS broadcast, social media) that clients see from us will now come from a Google Doc that was initially automated. The goal is to minimize the time spent on document generation, filling in basic info, adherence to our systems, and maximize the amount of time spent on copywriting & custom research.


The biggest beneficiary of this new system is our meeting memo process. When a client meets with a donor in our central database, information such as their contact info, social media URLs, past giving history, and biography is automatically pulled into the memo before we even get to work on it. This saves our team a miraculous amount of time when producing meeting memos.


The one casualty is that specific logos will no longer be in our Google Docs. Unfortunately, automating image placement in documents is difficult, so we've had to forgo that in favor of the above benefits.


This improvement has and will continue to make us faster, more organized, and more consistent.


Client Digital Calendars


Before 2023, we never formally mapped out and planned monthly digital calendars for clients. Last year, we changed that.


For the clients we run digital fundraising for, we've completely overhauled how we plan out digital fundraising content ahead of time. Moving forward, ahead of each month, we are proactively communicating our digital calendar via email on what fundraising emails & SMS broadcasts (and, if applicable, social media posts) we will send that month.


Every piece of digital — emails, SMS broadcasts, social media posts, etc — gets added to the TS Associates base. Automated Asana tasks are sent to each Associate upon being added, and it has helped improve coordination with our admin team on the formatting & scheduling of every digital item that goes out. As we’ve grown in size, this system has become critical. For example, in October, we had 128 digital items that we drafted, had approved, and sent out on behalf of our clients.


Formalizing client digital calendars has improved our central planning process and is a key part of our initiative to keep being more and more proactive & intentional with our client services.


Improved Fundraising Event Calendar Aesthetic


Since 2021, we've sent event calendar invites to every attendee who RSVPs for a client fundraiser. It's been part of our core process to remind guests of the upcoming event and ensure they get all the details of what they've signed up for.


Previously, our calendar invites were rather dull, and we've overhauled them with a brand-new design. Moving forward, all of our client fundraising events will emulate this formula, and they are automatically generated each time we add a new fundraising event to our TS Associate Airtable base.


Example of our new Invite:





We've added a Three-Day Event Email Reminder for Fundraising Events


After thinking through our fundraising event procedures, we realized that we do a lot of communication with new attendees when they RSVP (we send them a calendar invite!), and then we also communicate with them the day of the event with an email and a text message reminder. This system needed more communication between when someone had confirmed they were attending the event and the day of the event.


To improve this — we've rolled out a new event email reminder that gets sent out to every fundraising event attendee three days in advance of the fundraiser.


Below is an example of this that we sent out for Councilman Brian Knudsen's Holiday Party fundraiser on December 8th.


We aim to accomplish the following with this email reminder:

  • Provide any parking or security information to access the event (we also include this in the same-day email and SMS reminder).

  • Encourage guests to donate online ahead of time.

  • Let guests know which staff member to see at the sign-in table and give their contact info.

  • Provide social media URLs for the campaign.

  • Ask guests to let us know if they can no longer make it and encourage them to still donate if that's the case (we will update the guest list & headcount).

  • In the P.S., encourage guests to invite a friend or two to the event and help us grow attendance.

  • Reduce the number of people who say they will attend the event and then flake. The flake rate continues to be a significant problem when organizing political fundraisers.


Subject Line: [Details] Upcoming Holiday Party Fundraiser for LV City Councilman Brian Knudsen


Dear FIRST NAME,


Thank you for confirming your attendance to the upcoming holiday party fundraiser for LV City Councilman Brian Knudsen on Friday, December 8th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM at The Home of Brian Knudsen & Brian Eagan on (omitted for the blog post). We look forward to welcoming you to this special event.


There is a guard gate to enter the neighborhood. Let them know you are there for Brian Knudsen at (omitted for the blog post). Drive straight past the guard gate and take the second left onto (omitted). Valet parking will be provided to all guests.


When you arrive at the event, Alex Fuller will greet you at the sign-in table. We ask that all guests sign in, grab a name tag, and make any donations at the door.


We encourage all guests to make their donations in advance of the event. Checks can be written to Committee to Elect Brian Knudsen and left with Alex Fuller at the sign-in table. Online donations can be made here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/fr-holiday23


Ahead of the event, here is more information on Councilman Brian Knudsen’s campaign:

If you are no longer able to attend this event, please let us know by replying to this email, and we will update your status. Donations made in lieu of attending are encouraged and help power us forward.


If you have any questions, please email us here or contact Alex Fuller at (317) 319-1475.


We look forward to welcoming you on Friday, December 8th,


Committee to Elect Brian Knudsen


P.S. Have a friend who may be interested in joining us? We’d love to have them attend. Please share our online link for them to RSVP: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/fr-holiday23


Fundraising Email Digest


We launched our firm’s fundraising email digest in June of this year: https://emails4fundraisers.com/


It’s been a tremendous resource to our Associate team for providing inspiration & ideas for how we craft our digital fundraising for clients at the firm.


What started as an internal product to help our Associates write better fundraising emails has expanded into a micro-service that other fundraising professionals can use to monitor what’s trending in political fundraising emails.


This product has also inspired me to think of other "microservices" we can build for our company and offer a paid version for other fundraisers, campaign committees, and organizations. I aim to build on this and launch a new product in 2024. More on this soon.


Using DocuSign for Legal Contracts & In-Kind Contributions


2023 was the year that Tissot Solutions fully embraced Docusign. It's been a game-changer for sending client contracts and better tracking In-kind contributions made to clients.


Previously, I'd email a PDF contract as an email attachment for all client contracts and ask folks to sign it, scan it, and email it back. This setup was a tedious process that we've now fully replaced. It also goes against our core value of hospitality and ensuring we do as much as possible to make things easier for our clients. This change has sped up our contract process and gotten us to formally sign contracts with every client we work with (a big improvement of the handshake email arrangements we had in our first year in 2021).


One of the most common small mistakes that political fundraisers make is not following up with an event host for details about any in-kind donations made at an event. I'd estimate that most in-kind donations made to candidates at fundraising events are not reported or tracked. For federal candidates, the FEC has a $1,000 hospitality limit per donor, making it easy to skip reporting most event expenses. For state & local candidates, this is not the case.


To make this easier on our team and make us more organized — we've created a new system that uses DocuSign to record all in-kind contributions. Here's how it works — our team fills out a quick form in the TS Associates database with the donor's name and email. The donor then gets an email asking them for information about the donation with the option to attach receipts. Once that's complete, we get a notification of the completed document, a task in our project management system to add it to the client's CRM, and the completed letter gets automatically added to the client's In-Kind Contributions folder in our Google Drive.


Moving forward, we will use this new system after each event, allowing us to track in-kind donations made by event hosts more diligently.


We've Officially Hired Bravo Schrager LLP


Earlier this year, leading Nevada political attorneys Bradley Schrager & Daniel Bravo left their previous law firm and started their own. As of December 1st, 2023, Tissot Solutions has them under a monthly retainer for general counsel services. This is a huge first for our company!


I'm excited that we have expanded our company's access to legal resources and expertise. Political campaigns are heavily regulated entities, not just by the FEC or a State agency but also by the IRS. Keeping our clients in compliance with ever-changing regulations is essential to our fundraising service. For example, Tissot Solutions is one of the largest filers of C&E Reports for candidates of any entity in Nevada. Daniel & Bradley are excellent to work with; their expertise is an immense value add to our client work.


We've already started improving our legal documents and have a fully outlined list of items, contracts, and more that I want us to get squared away as Tissot Solutions continues to evolve as a company.


Expanding to Utah!


Starting June 1st of this year, we officially expanded our client services to Utah through a partnership with Elevate Strategies. We started with an initial group of six clients, and today, we've worked with over 18 political candidates throughout the state.


Working in Utah has been an incredible experience. I've enjoyed the many trips to Salt Lake City that I've made this past year and the relationships that I've started to build with the Utah political community.


Becoming a multi-state political fundraising firm has made Tissot Solutions far better. It's forced us to re-evaluate our standard processes and approach to donor data and make continued investments that allow us to grow & scale our services. As a result, our company is one of the only few full-service political fundraising firms that operate in more than one state.


To our partners at Elevate Strategies — thank you for your trust, faith, and belief in our firm's ability to help great candidates raise money. This expansion wouldn't have been possible without you, and our team is so excited to continue being a part of the incredible work you are doing in Utah.


Non-Profit Fundraising


2023 also marked our foray into raising money for charities and non-political non-profits.

Ultimately, we found that the fundraising needs of a standard charity are drastically different from those of a political campaign or an advocacy non-profit. To serve the needs of traditional non-profits, you need different systems, different data, different processes, and relationships with different allocators. It’s also significantly easier to represent and make solicitations on behalf of elected officials & candidates than it is to ask for money on behalf of multiple direct service non-profits.


As our company has continued to grow, it’s become more important to narrow our focus to serving two specific types of customers — Political Candidate Campaigns and Advocacy Non-Profits. We are political fundraisers at heart, and everything we do has to be about solving problems and serving the needs of these two different groups. Narrowing our customer focus is key to the continued success of our client services.


I’m proud of the work we did in 2023 for charitable non-profits. Working with them was an incredible experience that I remain deeply grateful for. Years from now, we may consider re-opening this door in the future, but until then, we have a lot of work to do to master the level of service we provide to our candidate & advocacy clients.


For our advocacy clients — The Nevada Conservation League, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, and the Children’s Advocacy Alliance — thank you for your continued partnership in what we are building together. Nevada does not have an active culture of giving to these types of organizations; together, we are working to change that.


Company Finance Improvements


On the company finance side, we opened our first business line of credit with Chase & improved our company's access to working capital. During this process, I learned that companies that serve political campaigns are excluded from various SBA financing products, such as SBA Express. Interestingly, Congress has built in specific regulations to the SBA that limit companies that help serve their re-election campaigns from accessing capital typically offered to small businesses.


The folks at GetMayfair generously gave us access to their business cash management account with an interest rate of 4.72% on our balance. Daniel & Matthew, thank you for making an exception and letting a business of our size on your platform.


Conclusion


This month, Tissot Solutions begins our fourth year of business. To our valued clients, team members, donors, and friends thank you for your continued partnership and belief in our company. The well for innovation and continued excellence in fundraising remains deep, and I continue to be extremely energized about our company's path forward for 2024 and beyond.


One final note — a quote that resonated with me last year came from Ryan Petersen, the Founder of Flexport, who wrote out an all-staff letter as he re-assumed the CEO role for the company:


“I can’t promise we won’t make mistakes or that we know more than everybody else, but I guarantee you we will learn faster and care more.”


This sentiment sums up my exact feelings about the continued success of our company. We learn fast, we improve our systems, and we are deeply invested in our client outcomes.


Here’s to 2024; we can’t wait to get started.


~ Kalani Tissot

Principal & Founder, Tissot Solutions LLC

163 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment


Great update! Congrats on your success!

Like

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page