August 27th, 2009
Also published on techPresident
A quick correction to “Learning from Obama” — roughly two-thirds of Barack Obama’s online fundraising in 2007-2008 came in directly via an email solicitation, meaning that the money was donated by someone clicking on a link in an email. Let’s think about what that implies, which is that EVERYTHING else that the campaign did to raise money online basically just supplemented their email program.
In the original version of the e-book, I’d misremembered the stat and made the claim that the campaign had raised three-quarters of their donations via email, which is even more impressive but also unfortunately wrong. The bug’s now corrected, thanks to comments at our Netroots Nation panel, but if you have an original version of “Learning from Obama,” hold on to it — it’s sure to become a collector’s item…
And for political communicators looking at the landscape for 2010 and 2012, the lesson is clear — for all the explosion of online tools over the past decade, the combination of an email list and a fundraising website STILL blows every other channel out of the water as a dollar-raising tool, assuming at least that you’re running a competent email fundraising operation. You should go where your audience is, obviously, which may well put you out on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and every other venue imaginable, but you’ll ignore the basic tools at your own peril.