Conservative “RainMaker”

January 29, 2013 | By Lauren Day

“Money really is the mother’s milk of politics,” Leadership Institute graduate Fred Cooper said. “Regardless if it’s a candidate or an organization, outside of some well-crafted ploys for earned media, you absolutely must have the resources necessary to market and get your message out to your target audience in order to sway opinion.  You can’t do that without money.”

Fred is the political accounts manager for The RainMakers Organization, a conservative fundraising firm located in Springfield, Virginia. His division raised $5 million in 2012 for political organizations and candidates.

The RainMakers reach out to major donors, fundraise for DC and congressional leadership PACs, organize and host major donor events, and also conduct online fundraising appeals. 

“Unlike many traditional Republican fundraising firms, we are very selective in our clientele and only work for the most principled conservative candidates and organizations,” Fred shared.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was one of their clients this past cycle. Fred supervised The RainMakers’ political accounts division staff that were responsible for her national fundraising campaign. Their work “helped her to set a new record for fundraising in a cycle by a candidate for the House of Representatives,” Fred said.

Congressman Steve King (IA-4) hired RainMakers with Fred as his DC PAC director. Fred said he helped Rep. King “double his PAC fundraising from the previous cycle, which was vital to him winning his targeted race in an otherwise difficult Republican year.”

The RainMakers were hired in October 2011 as the national fundraising firm for Richard Mourdock’s U.S. Senate campaign to help build his appeal nationwide with major donors outside of the state of Indiana. Fred was the campaign’s national finance director.

“We were instrumental in helping turn Senator Dick Lugar into ‘Barack Obama’s favorite Republican’ and in making that race the premier conservative versus establishment Senate battle to large-scale conservative donors across the country,” Fred said.

“In a campaign where no one in the mainstream political world thought was possible to win just a few months prior, we played a vital role in Richard’s primary defeat of Dick Lugar, which proved to be the largest primary defeat of an incumbent Senator in United States history, 61 percent  to 39 percent,” he explained.   

“All told, we raised $1.5 million for his primary and general campaign from out-of-state conservative and establishment donors, increasing the percentage of money raised for his campaign from out of state donors from 11 percent to nearly 45 percent.” 

Fred supervises account managers at The RainMakers as they write direct mail solicitation packages for Members of Congress and conservative public policy and activist organizations. Additionally, he manages logistics for fundraising events and maintains relationships with high-dollar donors.

“Whatever area of interest a young conservative might have to be ‘salt and light’ in the political world, the Leadership Institute offers it,” Fred said. “There are a lot of organizations that might talk a big game, but LI without question is the most effective, and has been for a very long time.  Lovers of liberty and our founding principles across the nation owe a great deal of gratitude for the work the Leadership Institute has done over the years, and continues to do.”

“The movement would not be the same without LI’s influence on countless thousands of activists not only in our country, but across the globe.  I have and will continue to highly recommend LI to any conservative interested in acquiring the knowledge and information necessary to have a positive impact on their political system.”

Fred was raised in Mansfield, Ohio in a Christian and conservative family. He said, “My faith has always been the central influence which guides me in all things, including my political views… Just like Indiana Governor Mike Pence, I am a Christian, and thus a conservative, and (if I have to pick a political party) a Republican, in that order.” 

At age 15, Fred stayed up all night “nervously awaiting” the results of the 2000 presidential election.  He went onto major in political science at the University of Toledo, where he joined College Republicans freshman year, and “had the benefit of cutting my political teeth in the swing state of the 2004 presidential election.”

In college, Fred interned for Congressman Mike Oxley (OH-4) and Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), and in 2006, he became president of the University of Toledo College Republicans, where he increased “the club’s presence as the only conservative voice on campus by increasing the its membership five-fold.”

The Leadership Institute’s field representative in Ohio met Fred on campus, and helped him set up LI’s Student Publications Workshop.

“This workshop helped give us the tools necessary to launch a conservative alternative to our school’s liberal newspaper,” Fred said.

During his final semester of college, Fred worked 60 hours a week as the campaign manager for the winning race of Judge Michael Goulding, a Republican, in the city of Toledo.

The district “has a 3.5 to 1 Democrat to Republican advantage,” Fred said, so “because of the success of that that race which was highly targeted in an off-election year, I was subsequently hired on as John McCain’s Northwest Ohio Victory Coordinator for his 2008 Presidential campaign (while serving as coordinator, my office led the nation in voter contacts on numerous occasions), a position I served in until August of 2008.”

Fred’s next stop was working for the Leadership Institute as a field representative in the fall of 2008.

As an LI field rep, Fred worked with college students in Indiana to help start Second Amendment, pro-life, and liberty-minded groups on their campuses and provide them with the resources necessary to make an effective and meaningful impact on their campus.

“As conservatives, we must be resilient and use every tool necessary to take on the left’s negative impact on our country and supplant it with the conservative principles we know which are tried and true.  LI teaches you, as my Pastor says, to not ‘hate the player, but learn to play the game,’” Fred said.

Fred has taken seven Leadership Institute trainings to help him “learn the game.”

“One specific example that I learned at LI’s Online Fundraising Workshop (which has benefitted me in my current position and is true in any area of sales or marketing) is that you have to give the donor you are targeting a clear and concise reason why they should give to your organization or candidate, and why it is essential that they give now.  Our opponents aren’t slacking or taking any time off, so we literally can’t afford to either.”

“The Lord has used the Leadership Institute to open up so many doors for me in personal and professional life,” Fred shared. “Because of the contacts and relationships I built with other LI field reps, I was able to move to D.C. and land my current job with The RainMakers.”

“I am still in touch with, and am working together with many of my fellow field staffers from LI to help advance the cause of liberty,” Fred continued. “I will always be extremely grateful to LI for the opportunity they gave me to work for them and for the intricate role they served in helping to advance me both in my personal and professional life.”

Check out LI’s 2013 training schedule here.

LI is hosting the Comprehensive Fundraising Training March 4 -7, which will include three of LI’s famous fundraising schools—High-Dollar Fundraising School, Online Fundraising Workshop, and the Direct Mail School—in a full week of training.

“The Leadership Institute is without a doubt, the most effective and comprehensive educational and training tool in the country for activists of any political persuasion,” Fred said. “I have often said that I cannot think of an organization in greater DC or around the country which has benefitted the conservative movement in more long-term and meaningful ways than the Leadership Institute.  Nearly every conservative activist and those with influence on our side of the fight whom I have met has taken classes at or has been impacted in some way by LI.” 

Please welcome Fred Cooper as the LI’s Graduate of the Week.

“I have learned that as long as you can help a cause which motivates you by raising them money, you’ll likely always have a job, and also find fulfillment in doing it.” 

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member to be featured as LI's spotlight of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Day, formerly Lauren Hart, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.