The Power of Message Driven Fundraising

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

A U.S. presidential primary is a long campaign. Way before the first vote is cast, there is the so-called money primary. Candidates have to show their viability by raising tons of cash. They need money for logistics, travelling, campaign staff and, most importantly, advertising. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the race a few days ago. It is likely that it has something to do with his disappointing fundraising numbers. He was able to raise (and blow) record sums of money for his run for Senate last year, but his presidential campaign never really took off. During the third quarter, he raised a meager 4.5 million dollars. Speaking of the third quarter fundraising numbers, it is interesting to note that the two most leftist candidates raised the most money: Senator Bernie Sanders with 25.3 million dollars, and Senator Elizabeth Warren with 24.6 million dollars. If you combine the two, that is almost 50 million dollars of liberal grassroots money. It goes to show what message driven fundraising can do. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the establishment candidate. One would assume that he can rely on a network of big, wealthy donors. Yet he came in fourth with 15.2 million USD. He finished even behind South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who raised 19.1 million USD. Fundraising is obviously an aspect of a campaign that is deeply rooted in the political culture and legal framework of a country. I nevertheless think that campaigners around the world will start to look at, and try to emulate, the way U.S. candidates raise their money. Success usually inspires and one learns by duplicating. For message driven fundraising one needs the following ingredients (among others): First, well, a message that is tremendously appealing and inspiring. Second, one needs good data to target potential donors. And third, it takes a tremendous amount of work to repeatedly ask for money and make it happen.

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