The statistics are telling us that this past American election was the most expensive ever in terms of how much the parties were spending on their campaign. There were millions of dollars going into making sure people were hearing the platforms of both sides in the form of commercials, rallies, and posters. If you were reading a newspaper then you likely read that some were saying that one side was trying to buy the election in terms of how much they were spending on the campaign. But, even if you're not trying to win a national election, no matter what side your own, you're going to need some money.
Campaign finance refers to any money that is raised to be used for the purpose of getting a message out to voters. This is not just something that is spent when it's time for you to choose the next president or prime minister. If you're someone who works in a factory then you could care about a referendum about the environment. Others might be focused on spending when it comes to a local election or some other party event. It is any money spent in order to promote that party, leader, or opinion in some way.
There are many things that this money is needed to do. The first is to get the message out to the right people. If you want to advertise then you won't have to spend a lot to get people interested and excited. But, you might have to do a little bit more to get the average citizen interested in an issue related to food labeling or to put yourself above the rest when it comes to a local election of counselors. You can get the message out with advertising, canvassing, and events that are meant to encourage people to vote and have their voices heard. There are also many parties that are now focusing on online framing of their campaign to get the message out.
It takes a lot of people to run a successful campaign and you want to make sure that they are being compensated for their effort. While many people are volunteers who offer to put up signs and canvas, the management staff is paid to shape the candidate's message and get them elected. These salaries come out of campaign finances as well as all of the costs that go with running an office. You might need to pay for catering for a big event or will need to pay for travel to get your team to the next stop on the election trail.