In the age of Go Fund Me, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo it’s not uncommon to see fundraising efforts from regular everyday people. People raise money for birthdays, events, ideas, projects, weddings, honeymoon, and other various profit and nonprofit causes. My first adult fundraising experience was raising money was during my sophomore year at Albany State University in Georgia. I was a member of the school’s Gospel Choir and we were going on tour to New York. My parents helped but I had to supplement the rest and I did that by asking for donations. I can remember seeking donors at my church, former high school teachers, family members, and others. Ultimately, I raised approximately $1,000 which was the amount that I needed to participate in the tour, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought. One of the biggest lessons that I learned from that experience was the amount of time and energy to include money it takes to fundraise.
But politicians are no strangers to fundraising. It was reported in the Washington Post that Clinton raised 1.4B while Trump raised 957.6M. Clearly, it takes money to officially throw your hat in the ring to run for the highest office in the land and by the looks of things, Senator Kamala Harris is off to a great start.
Politicians receive support and money from several sources such as Super PACs, party and joint fundraising committees, and the campaign. But for now, let’s focus the campaign. When it comes to political campaigns FIELD WORK is key and this is where Harris is winning so far.
- TIMING. On January 21, 2019, the nation paused to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. As the nation paused Harris strategically announced her democratic 2020 presidential nomination on MLK Day. Some would question the timing. Did it work? I think so. The announcement was brilliantly timed and intricately woven into our day of reflection and hope on MLK Day. News and media outlets quickly covered Harris’ campaign for president and the symbolic connection between Harris and Shirley Chisholm. Specifically, 47 years ago this week, Shirley Chisholm became the first black person and first women to run for President in a major party. I believe that Harris intentionally captured the moment even sharing the same red and yellow color scheme as Chisholm’s presidential buttons, and became a part of history this week when she said as much in her announcement speech.
“Today, the day we celebrate Dr. King, is a very special day for all of us as Americans, and I'm honored to be able to make my announcement on the day that we commemorate him," she said.
- SOCIAL MEDIA. According to The Hill, Harris spent more than $100,000 on Facebook ads. Remember it takes money to make money and it appears as if her investment paid off. Before 7:30 p.m. the campaign reached 1 million dollars and Harris’ email supporter list increased by 20%. According to Market Watch, the campaign claims it’s the most individual online donors in the first 24 hours of a presidential campaign in history. Approximately 2.6 billion people use Facebook and 1.45 billion people log onto Facebook daily. So, in the end, it’s a numbers game and Facebook brings the numbers.
- DONATION AMOUNT. The average person may believe that only huge donations are needed for political campaigns but that’s not true. The numbers are in and the average donation amount for Harris’ campaign was $37 from approximately 38,000 donors. Pew Research says that Americans are now more likely to contribute to political candidates and parties than they were two decades ago and around 55% reported donating less than $100. What difference a few dollars can make when a message reaches the masses. I agree with Mike Nellis, the campaign’s digital aide when he said that the numbers reveal a campaign that is powered by the people supporting Harris’ vision of an America that works for the people.