Cover Story: Political Direct Marketing 2004
Moskowitz, who directed the Democratic National Committee’s Coordinated Campaign in 2000, which focused on voter contact and overall Democratic turnout, says the Internet has done just that, both for grassroots organizing and fundraising.
But, she cautions: “Reaching out to any group of voters is only as good as what they’re willing to do. Having their name on an e-mail list doesn’t do you any good if they’re ultimately not engaged with you.”
Earlier this year, to keep constituents energized and involved, the Kerry campaign sent out a Web-based petition castigating Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for his handling of the Abu Graib prisoner-abuse scandal in Iraq. The initiative received more than 400,000 signatures, 200,000 of which were new to JohnKerry.com.
“The e-mail alerts help people understand what our thinking is, what we need to be doing and why we need their support,” Eiring says.
Bush gains online, but can’t overtake Kerry
Bush-Cheney ‘04, by comparison, does not rely as heavily on the Internet as a primary fundraising tool but has found success in engaging constituents with localized campaign communications. Through June 2004, the Bush campaign raised a total of $8.7 million on the Internet, $1.1 million in the month of June alone.
“We have set up a very sophisticated e-mail operation so that we can target our e-mails to specific counties in different states,” says Mike Turk, e-campaign director for Bush-Cheney ‘04, which currently sees an average online contribution of $100. “If there’s a voter-registration drive going on in Albuquerque, N.M., we can let people know in that county and surrounding counties without doing a mass broadcast.”
For President Bush’s recent bus tour through Michigan and Ohio, campaign canvassers distributed flyers urging people to donate time and money to Bush-Cheney ‘04; the materials featured special “sign-up” landing pages that coincided with the specific event (day, time and city) the individual attended. Turk says the strategy was effective in spurring online traffic and providing an option for people who might have been reluctant to sign up on the spot.