On political fundraising

22 Mar

Last year, I donated as much as I could to political campaigns around the country–not many, because I did not have much to give there after doing what I could for friends (GFMs, ko-fis, paypal donation pages, patreons, etc). I donated to Democrats in Wisconsin and Georgia and New Mexico and Virginia and Texas and wherever else I could, every chance I got, with both hope and fear in my heart, and have celebrated every day since January 5, 2021.

I knew and expected to receive emails from those campaigns when I donated, because we live in a never ending cycle of fundraising and campaigning. What I did not expect (but probably should have) is that those campaigns share their fundraising emails lists with other campaigns.

Which, at first blush, makes sense for the party, as those running in local races in out-of-the way places need money too, and they probably calculate that their sending one email a week, or perhaps just two emails a month, may net them enough money to win that seat. It is, after all, well known that running a winning local campaign can take as little as a handful of thousands of dollars, while running a bid for, say, state senator, may cost a couple of millions.

The problem is, when a dozen local campaigns, and counting, send two to four fundraising emails a month, donors end up receiving 35 such emails or more a week. And that’s on top of multiple emails from national figures in the party, advocating for yet more local campaigns or themselves, if they are also up for re-election.

It is, frankly, emotionally exhausting.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the relentless push to donate to more and more, and yet more, political campaigns feels almost abusive. I did not consent to this constant bombarding from people I’ve never heard of, either on their own behalf or someone else’s, when I donated to the campaigns I chose to support; there was no disclosure or a checkbox to opt out.

I cannot afford to give five dollars 35 times in a week, which translates to just about $700 a month. I know very few people who have that kind of disposable income, and I know damn well most of them are already giving money to mutual aid funds, to friends and strangers in need, etc.

I don’t have a solution to the fundraising obstacles obscure local races face, but I doubt that overwhelming donors, many of whom are barely keeping themselves housed and fed, is the way to go.

I hope that now that Jamie Harrison is the DNC chair, this issue may be addressed so that national fundraising is both more equitable and effective. In the meantime, I’m grateful the email address I used for those donations is not one I use to receive important communications.

4 Responses to “On political fundraising”

  1. willaful 23/03/2021 at 5:45 PM #

    I *feel* you. It’s just too much! And being asked to give more and more after you already gave… it does feel abusive! But at least there’s the unsubscribe button.

    • azteclady 24/03/2021 at 5:56 PM #

      The thing is…it doesn’t seem to work for some campaigns? Either they just change the sender address or the systems requires me to unsubscribe multiple times before it ‘takes’

  2. ArtK 23/03/2021 at 10:33 PM #

    I hear you. I donated to several campaigns this year (something I never do) and the amount of e-mails was horrific. I wrote back to several of them and asked to be taken off. Not only were there too many, but the hysterical tone of each was ridiculous. You’d think that the world was ending.

    • azteclady 24/03/2021 at 5:58 PM #

      Exactly! I get the urgency–for many of us the world came very close to ending, and I get that the current administration is but a respite in the midst of a larger crisis (creeping fascism around the globe). But one just becomes emotionally exhausted when every communication heralds a bigger crisis than the last.

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