July 18, 2014

It's the Simple Things in Life, Like "When and Where"

BUILD-PAC is, at its core, fundraising. 

The old, but meaningful quote “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” is relevant when it comes to BUILD-PAC. Strong arming or placing someone in a position that they have no choice but to contribute is NOT the way to achieve a healthy PAC. Understanding how to make the connection between industry needs, engaged members and gaining the attention of federal legislators is key in helping other non PAC contributors to become investors. Strong-arming may gain a contribution for today, while awareness through conversation gains investments for the member’s association lifetime.  

We can be very serious about our PAC efforts and adding FUN in FUNdraising can make the event less serious and more FUN. It's the simple things in life like "when and where,' isn't it?
The New Jersey BUILD-PAC trustees did just that! Trustees Dean Mon and Len Sendelsky held an event at Dean's home in Sea Girt, NJ, a three minute walk to the Atlantic Ocean, for a very simple, yet profitable, fundraising event for our national PAC. The event, "Summer at the Jersey Shore" had Jersey Boys and Gals from all the locals gathered in Dean's backyard enjoying conversation & cocktails and hearing words of gratitude and praise from BUILD-PAC's Chairman, Greg Ugalde. Greg drove "down to the Shore" from Connecticut but confessed, enthusiastically, that he has spent quite a few great trips on the Jersey Shore. Len Sendelsky, "The Godfather of BUILD-PAC," and Dean Mon, exemplify the perfect trustees; they get it, they share it and then they earn it, all for NAHB.

Left to right: Dean Mon and Len Sendelsky, NJ BUILD-PAC trustees,
Greg Ugalde, BUILD-PAC Chairman & Mike Kurpiel, event chairman 

NAHB’s BUILD-PAC trustees in each state are required to hold one fundraiser a year. Sometimes something as simple as opening up your backyard for casual conversation, as Dean Mon did, is all you need. 
The national PAC works in two year cycles, with each state assessed a dollar amount that is based on housing starts per state. New Jersey's goal for the 2013-14 cycle is now at 135%. The last three BUILD-PAC cycles, 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2013-14, have averaged 131% of New Jersey’s set goals. I may sound like I'm bragging (I am). New Jersey members understand that fundraising is not a once in awhile phenomenon or a "look at me" promotion. It's 24-7, 365 of low pressure, but persistent influencing of our members to invest in our national PAC. I would like to ask other states within NAHB to have something similar as New Jersey has done; just a simple, fun event. As an example, a horse shoe tournament, backyard barbecue, libations and a few folks who know how to influence others are the ingredients for a FUNdraiser. Don't think of a fundraiser as one that needs to raise tens of thousands of dollars. Think of it as an event that brings members together and enlightens them as to the value of an active national PAC. I challenge other states to not only meet their goal but to exceed their goal, with the overage as a direct benefit back to the state or local HBA in the form of a “split back.” What’s a split back? BUILD-PAC established the split back program to encourage states to exceed their election cycle fundraising goals.  Once a state has exceeded their two year cycle goal they will receive half of all additional funds raised back to their state. 

I will caution you to understand that in the mix is the balancing of our national needs with our state and local needs so we have to pick and choose where we "compete for investments." States have PACs as well, as do some locals, and all locals are raising money that goes towards the financial health of the respective local. 

Balance, timing and revealing conversation is all it takes to have a BUILD-PAC event that is appealing, non-threatening (to other fundraisers) and a willing host. Thank you, Dean, for sharing your home with our fellow New Jersey members. Great time, great fun, great conversation!

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

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