Franklin Forum Roundup: Obama Campaign Insider Shares Tips
As it centered its efforts more on technology, the campaign quickly realized the need to collect information on potential supporters. Every time someone donated, volunteered or responded to an action, it collected his or her e-mail address and as much other information as it could.
Ehrenwerth said for many of the campaign's advocacy-building events, raising money was secondary to getting individuals to come to the event and buy into the campaign. He described an event he helped organize early on in the campaign at a local Philadelphia music venue where Obama spoke. The venue holds 2,500, and tickets cost $25 each. To encourage ticket sales, the campaign challenged volunteers that if they sold 100 tickets they would get a VIP pass to meet Obama after the event. The event raised $60,000, but Ehrenwerth said it was part of a greater strategy of increasing the breadth and depth of the supporter base.
The No. 1 goal was to get buy-in from supporters, even if that just began with attending an event or volunteering.
"Build a level of enthusiasm, and then slowly ask for more," Ehrenwerth said. "It was much easier to ask for a gift after we had buy-in."
The campaign also capitalized on moments when supporters' emotions were running especially high. For example, it would e-mail constituents immediately after hot debates with messaging that tapped into the emotions stirred up by an issue that the candidates had talked about.
Ehrenwerth said the campaign also relied on a lot of behavioral science to determine how to engage supporters. Organizers realized people are much more likely to do something if they think everyone else is, so they touted volunteer and donor numbers as much as possible. They also offered donors the chance to be entered into lotteries to win things like dinner with Obama and five of their friends.