AL Advising

Philanthropic and Political Consulting

AL Advising works with progressive philanthropists to create a portfolio of civic engagement, policy, and advocacy investments including 501c3, 501c4, candidate, and related political giving. We also work with organizations to help them maximize their effectiveness.

Where to Give Now: Sept 2019

Let’s get out the crystal ball. One year from now, the Democratic and Republican conventions will be over. We will have a Democratic nominee and a Vice-Presidential candidate. Strategies will crystalize as we narrow down the states in play. Turnout operations kick into high gear (although — fingers crossed! — voter contact programs have been funded and running in key states for the better part of a year, if not longer).  We are looking forward to the first general election debate (assuming our authoritarian President actually deigns to debate, and more than once). 

How do we ensure we are in the best possible position to take advantage of the upcoming year, not only for the presidential election but critical Senate, House, and state and local races? A year is a lifetime in politics (a day is a lifetime in today’s politics….) and there is critical work that needs to be done now. We cannot afford to wait until the presidential nomination contest is decided or even until the field winnows. We need to build in key states and districts, including those not on the presidential target list that have key Senate and other races.

There are several key areas that need early funding; these investments pay dividends down the road.


A more detailed overview of Senate, House, and down-ballot races can be found below. But it is important to note why it is important to give to candidates early, even those without primaries. War chests can scare off the opposition — might Sara Gideon raise enough money to force Susan Collins into retirement? Could strong fundraising by Amy McGrath make national organizations look twice at Kentucky? Candidates also get the cheapest rates for buying TV ads and, as much as it pains me, TV (broadcast, cable, and streaming) still remains a major mode of political communication. Allowing candidates to buy air time early in the cycle vs. pouring money into SuperPACs next fall, saves 2x, 3x, even 10x the money. Many of our Senate races are in relatively cheap media markets, meaning there is even higher bang for the buck.

For the full memo, contact