On December 1st, the New Organizing Institute and the Center for American Progress hosted a discussion among four participants in campaign 2006: Benjamin Rahn from ActBlue, Megan Matson from Mainstreet Moms Organize or Bust (a grassroots group), Tom Matzzie from MoveOn and Jessica Vanden Berg, Jim Webb’s campaign manager. Shortly after the event, I wrote up Jessica Vanden Berg’s take on how the campaign spread the Macaca story, but the participants covered a lot of topics of value to anyone doing online politics. Let’s look at the discussion point-by-point, with my comments in [brackets].
As would make sense when you’re dealing with political professionals, much of the talk focused on fundraising. The consensus: online fundraising rates are going up, with the Webb campaign receiving almost half of its funds through the Internet as a good example. Fundraising pros are even switching high-dollar donors online, often walking them through the process over the phone, which both guarantees that the donation will actually be made and also cuts back on the administrative work needed to process checks. Some additional observations: