AL Advising

Philanthropic and Political Consulting

Philanthropy is like wine: good grapes plus good terroir makes good wine. Candidates and organizations are the grapes you wish to cultivate; they need care, pruning, monitoring, and yes, sometimes they need to wither on the vine. Terroir includes the resources you start with and what you can add such as mission, staff, and money.

AL Advising is the winemaker: we work with both donors and organizations to maximize impact.

Where to Give Now: October 18, 2018

Voters are voting! Many states have started early voting. (which saw an incredible spike in registrations after Taylor Swift gave them a shout out in an Instagram post) has a guide to early voting in each state along with other terrific resources for voters.

We are three weeks out, coming into the home stretch. If you are planning to make additional donations, give sooner rather than later. Budgets are being finalized in the coming days. If you are making a large donation via a Donor Advised Fund or other third-party entity, make sure they know this is a rush donation and let the campaign or organization know to expect the donation. Recommendations for candidates and organizations can be found below. 

We created an Election Night tracker, with top US House races, all US Senate races, all Gubernatorial races, key down-ballot races, and ballot measures listed by poll closing times. To view and follow along, email for access to our database.

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Where to Give Now: August 2018

Labor Day is the unofficial kickoff for the campaign season. Before the frenzy begins, it’s important to step back, take stock of donations to date, and determine giving priorities for the coming weeks.

I highly recommend giving the vast majority of 501c3 and 501c4 donations and the bulk of candidate donations before September 1. This allows organizations and campaigns to better plan staff, media, field, and other budgets. Save 5-10% of your overall budget for last-minute asks such as late primaries, surging candidates, and organizational budget gaps.

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Where to Give Now: May and June Primaries

Voters are voting! In May and June, a whopping 34 states will hold primary or runoff elections. There are numerous ways to organize the many upcoming races: House races by priority categories; all races by primary date; and priority states with “nested” races. At the end of this memo, you will see how we pull all of this data together for our Where to Give Now: Bang for the Buck recommendations.

If you would like to be shared on our 2018 Candidates spreadsheet to view all races, including Senate and other statewide races, email

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