About the North

We’re a creative, quirky, and effective consulting firm that focuses on electing progressive candidates and advancing progressive issues. We raise money, build campaign organizations and field programs, and train progressives to win.

We offer some of the services and things you’ll normally find at political firms, include: fundraising and finance consulting, field/GOTV consulting, direct voter contact,  general consulting and campaign management.  When we ta these on, it’s with a fresh approach and the perspective of getting things done.

We are also working to offer a range of services that focus on building campaign organization to help meet some needs that we feel are missing in consulting. Those include: our campaign start-up package, campaign and fundraising audits, our legislative organizing package, and a fresh perspective on training.

We chose “The North” as our name because Minnesotans have organized a push to call themselves The North” as opposed to the Midwest (or plains, or “fly-over country” as our friends on the coasts like to call us). Were proud of Minnesota’s quirkiness, history and traditions of great progressive leaders and the different approaches – and we want that style to come through in our approach to campaigns.

Below please find information on some of the services we offer, our partners Sarah Helgen and Dan Kelly, and resources to learn more about us.


Raise Money

Fundraising Consulting:
For better or worse, fundraising is a crucial component to any type of campaign. Strong plans, the right targeting, and a well-organized finance operation are the foundation of any campaign effort. Without resources, progressive democratic campaigns can’t communicate or organize. That’s where we come in. We help you build your fundraising operation, from setting goals and expectations to designing your plan and guiding implementation.  

Low Dollar Fundraising:
Several states have switched to clean elections programs that challenge candidates to raise significant amounts of small dollar contributions. In return, this system rewards campaigns with state funded grants. It is a unique approach to change how big money operates in politics. Just a few states have implemented this statewide, but more will follow. This type of fundraising requires a dynamic hybrid: field and finance, the organization of a GOTV program, and the psychology of traditional fundraising. To help campaigns meet that challenge, we offer a small dollar fundraising program that develops targets and programs to help candidates running in clean elections programs.


Two Month Start Up Package:
Our two-month start-up package helps campaigns launch the right way – from finding staff to contracts, compliance to communications, social media to political call-time – and we keep the focus on what matters. Fees range from $2,500-$7,500/month, and varies depending on the level of staff support and time on the ground.

Campaign/Political Party Audit:
Many campaigns hit roadblocks and realize they aren’t on track to reaching their goals. Our campaign audit provides big picture analyses of your campaign organization and end with a detailed report and presentation to your team on what the campaign can do to move forward. There is a one-time fee that starts at $2,500, with larger programs that incorporate public opinion research..

Campaign Management and General Consulting:
There are scores operatives who want to talk strategy but far too few that want to build real plans to get things done. That is Dan’s passion. As a campaign manager or general consultant, Dan works with your team to help build a winning strategy and help translate the campaign’s strategy into specific daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Fees start at $2,500/month and $2,500/quarter in slower campaign periods. .


Paid Canvasses:
We offer two approaches: full-service canvass management, consulting, and a one-time canvass quick start package. For full-service work, we charge monthly retainer with no mark-ups on doors or canvassers. For the Canvass Quick Start package, we build plans for modern and disciplined canvass operations and develops the materials and systems they need to launch their canvass, all for a flat fee of $2,500. We work with your team to develop plans and targets, set goals, build systems, and set structures to launch a professional and disciplined canvass operation. If you need something in between, we offer packages that are a mix of the two. 

Grassroots Legislative Organizing:
With the legislative session already underway, we’ve been thinking of ways to help organizations that may not have the funds for a large grassroots operation, but still have the capacity and an interest in influencing legislative decisions. The North is partnering with Ben Olson of Olson Advocacy to offer a Legislative Grassroots Campaign Package, tailored to groups looking to build grassroots capacity around the legislative session.

Integrated Voter Contact:
Campaigns invest in two types of communications: mass (TV and radio) and direct (field, phones, targeted digital ads and mail). We run integrated direct voter contact programs that efficiently move voters. Advocacy, public affairs and local campaigns are well served to run one integrated voter contact program to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and increase the effectiveness of their programs. Fees depend on cost and volume.

Live Calls:
We bring real-life campaign experience to live call programs, having been the people on the ground designing universes and effective scripts. For all projects, we spend time managing and monitoring all call programs (and invite our clients to join us). This ensures high quality calls and the ability to adjust the call program if needed. You’ll end this experience with more than just an excel spreadsheet of data. We’ll provide you a personalized report on progress, including our analyses and suggestions on next steps. We offer paid calls at a flat fee of $27/hour with a $150 set-up fee (waived for call programs over 200 hours).  


Training Design or Assessment:
On the democratic side of the aisle, we have a training problem. Too many trainers take the same presentations they’ve used for years and recycle irrelevant and outdated content. Unfortunately, most trainers whom haven’t set foot in a campaign office in years, don’t understand the mechanics of campaigns and are not in a position to teach operatives what is really important. Our team designs relevant and results oriented training programs that are grounded by real campaign experience. Fees vary with discounts to nonprofits and local parties.

Training Facilitation:
And if your team has already identified training needs, the North… Our model includes baseline agendas to help us tailor our training, guides and reference materials for participants to use after training, a good mix of formats to keep participants engaged, evaluations, and post training follow ups. Fees vary based on the length and time of the training, with discounts given to nonprofits and local parties.


About Sarah Helgen
Sarah Helgen is an experienced fundraiser with over a dozen years of political fundraising experience in local, state, and federal elections. After cutting her teeth on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign during the Iowa caucuses, she went on to help raise millions of dollars for candidates and party committees across Minnesota and beyond.

Sarah has worked for a wide range of progressive clients in5cluding R.T. Rybak’s campaigns for Mayor and Governor, the Minnesota DFL, and the DFL House Caucus, all which posted record fundraising totals during her tenure. She leads Congressman Keith Ellison, where she recently managed a finance operation that raised over $1.2M in three months for Keith’s race for DNC chair.  

As a fundraiser Sarah understands the components of both high-dollar and grassroots fundraising operations. A hands-on fundraiser, she believes in building strong plans that are grounded in reality and developing a fundraising operation that can produce results. 

Originally from Edina, MN and a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa in Economics, she brings a track record of hard work – and a quirky sense of humor – to all of her projects

About Dan Kelly
Dan Kelly is a top U.S. campaign manager and consultant who has helped candidates, political parties and advocacy clients in eighteen U.S. states and seven countries. His experience includes management of nearly three hundred full-time staff, responsibility for budgets as large as $9M, and a track record of winning difficult races. Outside of electoral politics, Dan has led successful issue campaigns for top corporate and advocacy clients, including national lobbying efforts for Social Security and Medicare issues, public health campaigns and campaigns for corporate clients including a top rideshare app.

Since 2012, Dan has worked with international clients, organizing successful political campaigns, advising national candidates and political parties, and providing high quality training and consultation to campaign teams. In his international work, he advised political parties and candidates for President and Prime Minister in seven countries.

Outside of politics, Dan is a realty investor who purchases and restores properties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  He is an avid traveler who has visited 51 countries and a martial arts practitioner with black belts in two martial arts.


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