The Obama Fundraising Machine

13 Mar

In the early 1980’s when I was about 6 years old my dad ran for County Supervisor. I remember wearing frilly dresses and going to political parties. We ordered hundreds of bright blue and neon orange signs that said “Leadership for the 80’s” and put them up in friends’ yards and on busy street corners.  We canvassed neighborhoods knocking on voter’s doors and had a phone call list a mile long with friends and family members spreading the word. He lost that race and ten years later we repeated the cycle when he ran for School Board (and unfortunately lost that election, too.) He’s not planning to pursue any more of his political ambitions; however, I’m still glad political fundraising methods have changed.

There was an article in The New York Times last week written by Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny which discussed how President Obama has created an almost corporate-like atmosphere as he pursues a second term as president. Like a well-oiled Silicon Valley techno-machine, his workers are busily scouting out past donors who gave in the beginning and are currently missing in action. “Mr. Obama’s re-election team is sifting through reams of data available through the Internet or fed to it by its hundreds of staff members on the ground in all 50 states, identifying past or potential supporters and donors and testing e-mail and Web-based messages that can entice them back into the fold” reports Rutenger and Zeleny.

President Obama, along with his Republican competitors, realizes that much of the campaigning to win the race will be done on the internet. “With the help of Web developers recruited from the private sector, [the campaign] has dedicated considerable hours creating technology that can make its Web site,, fit perfectly onto any screen, be it an iPhone, Blackberry or Droid — a seemingly small detail that campaign officials say can make a huge difference when it comes to enticing donors or volunteers to stay connected or click a ‘donate’ button” observes Rutenger and Zeleny.

Not by chance or trial and error, but through tangible reports, facts and figures is science being applied to the partnership of politics and social media. No longer are politicians from City Hall to the White House relying on knocking on doors to shake hands with the voters or passing out leaflets boasting of their past accomplishments and future goals. Today’s campaign trail is littered with crisp mailers, a path of Tweets and Facebook fodder to reach the masses and Fundly is proud to be a part of the future of political fundraising.


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