If you are an organization that supports state, local, and federal political candidates then somewhere in your organization there is an overworked and under-appreciated person or group of people who have the task of managing you PAC. Managing a political action committee involves tracking contributions, recording expenditures, and performing the wizardry associated with filing your state and/or federal PAC reports. You may not understand what these people do or how they do it. In fact, there are probably only three reasons you want to interact with them: 1). When there is a deadline for a state or federal report that needs your review and signature, 2). When someone realizes that with some effort your PAC can grow and you ask them for a history of contributions and disbursements to help develop a plan 3).When they are in line for the bathroom at the annual holiday party.
PAC management has historically been a back room activity. Over the past decade with stories about corrupt PAC managers, or shady contributions PAC’s have gotten a somewhat tarnished image. As a result the management of a PAC is kept to the back room and you let your folks do it without much intervention.
But, let’s get real for a minute. Without PAC’s, many candidates would not get the financial support they need to run their campaign. In the cycle of politics, if you have no money, you are not able to spread your message. So PAC money is often the manna behind local and national campaigns. For most associations, the PAC is handled as an afterthought. You ask for donations, but you do not use the information about who contributes to help you in your advocacy efforts. This is often because the PAC contribution data is managed separately from the membership data, which makes it harder to get.
Capitol Impact knows about PAC systems as we provide PAC software for many states. We have a different view of managing a PAC because we also provide advocacy software, legislative tracking software, and association membership software, and we see the PAC as an integrated part of an entire association management process. We have developed our PAC module with the understanding that first and foremost, the PAC data must be able to record transactions accurately, and produce the state and federal reporting information needed to comply with your Secretary of State’s rules on PAC’s. We base our PAC system on our membership management tools. PAC managers can create contact records for PEOPLE and for ORGANIZATIONS, then record contributions and expenditures for each. Our PAC system is web based, and password protected with our clients being able to hand out passwords to people who need to have them. The PAC system can integrate with our Advocacy tools so that you can see who of your members, has connections to legislators, and what they have given to your PAC. Or if you are using the PAC system as a stand alone module, you can look over time at how you members contribute to the PAC and how you have disbursed funds over time. Because our systems all come with blast email tools, you can email your PAC contributors to remind them of the timing for donations to the PAC. Overall we believe your PAC system should both help your staff do their work to record and file, and give you the ability to measure if your support of elected officials is enhancing the goals of your membership
Our PAC tools are easy to use, and because the software is web based, an executive director can log in and view the PAC results for any time frame whenever they want. This new world of managing a PAC turns your PAC contributions and expenditures into another information resource for your organization. PAC management no longer has to be a back room function, because there are tools that can make it a information resource instead of just an accounting exercise.