June 8th, 2010
Well, in a sense — fundraising via SMS is still difficult, despite its success around the Haiti earthquake earlier this year, but a piece of techology called Square (developed by one of the founders of Twitter) physically plugs into a cell phone and lets someone use it to make a payment as though they’d swiped a credit card. Square wasn’t developed for politics, but it’s being adapted fast — it formally debuts as a political tool at a DC fundraiser tonight for Democratic Congressional candidate Tommy Sowers, though a couple of candidates have already been using it according to TechCrunch.
For political campaigns, Square has the potential to replace paper checks collected at fundraising events, easing transactions and simplifying reporting in the same way that online donations do. But note that we’re still talking about in-person fundraising, not something done remotely, so I suspect it’ll do more to streamline the process than to transform it. But it’s another step along the road to entirely wireless political fundraising, something that will likely be common within the next few years. While we’re on the subject of cell phones and politics, also note that Twitter’s hiring a DC rep; update those resumes, kids.
[Note: title pun fully intended]