Robert Mayer of the Tucson Tea Party shares thoughts and suggestions about funding Tea Party organizations. On the importance of merchandising:
In order to remain viable in the long term, the Tea Parties need to raise money. The only way to do this is to solicit donations and to merchandise the events. In both cases, the people will speak with their wallets. If you are meeting and exceeding expectations for your local organization and 100% of the money raised goes to that organization, then many people will have no problem supporting you.
The goals of merchandising, he says, are fundraising, publicity and advertising, community solidarity and individual investment in the tea party community. He gives explanations and examples of what was done by the Tucson organizers. One thing they did in furtherance of tea party community solidarity was decide on one color for their merchandise and designed their own logo.
It sounds a lot like something a new company would do to get itself established, and I guess that’s pretty much what tea party organizations are. They’re offering a product, specific ideas and a way to implement them, and that takes money and commitment from supporters. It’s an important read if you’re into the Tea Party campaign for the long haul.