The Great 2012 Political Fundraising Debate
“Presidential elections are atypical of general nonprofit and political fundraising because people like to be a part of a movement, and they like to be a part of something where they feel like their activity is going to make a difference,” Cubine says. “There is no other opportunity better than a presidential election year to do that.”
Secondly, people have much more opportunity to give these days because there are multiple channels.
“People aren’t just sitting home waiting for a direct-mail piece. They might get a direct-mail piece, and then they’re going online and might actually give their gift online,” for example, Cubine says.
Cubine says panelists from both the left and the right had two main things in common: A multichannel donor is two to three times more valuable to an organization than just an online donor or just a direct-mail donor, and a direct-mail donor has a higher donor value than an online donor.
Further, both sides agreed that they will raise much more money using direct mail and telemarketing than they will using the Internet in the coming year — but online giving and activism still will play a role.
“As organizations are trying to make decisions about where to place their money in their budget, they need to look at their budget holistically. Online is not off in its own little world. Mobile is not off in its own little world, Facebook either,” Cubine says. “They’re all channels that feed into one another.”
So it’s not wise to ignore any useful channels, however, “don’t take money away from channels that are going to drive the predominate focus of your revenue in the coming year,” Cubine says.
In this case, that means direct mail and telemarketing. Both parties expect the mail and phone to bring in the majority of funds in 2012, especially larger gifts and donations leading up to the election. However, the last 30 days and especially the last two weeks of the election cycle are expected to bring the largest amount of money online.