New Democratic digital firm wants to make candidate fundraising less annoying

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“It’s been a joke that the only advice on how to raise more money online is to endorse the furthest left policy,” Karp said in an interview. “And for some candidates, that might be OK, but for many it’s not.”

They entered a crowded Democratic digital fundraising world where high-profile campaigns have seen immense fundraising success over the past few election cycles, with mixed electoral results. Amid that landscape is some reckoning with the ways in which the constant stream of fundraising texts and emails may have some negative impact on donor and voter morale, although such effects are difficult to measure.

Democratic campaigns have raised record sums online over the last few cycles. In the 10 most competitive U.S. Senate races in 2022, Democratic candidates outraised their Republican counterparts. But while the party’s donor base — which runs to the left of the Democratic party as a whole — has helped fuel campaigns across the country, the emphasis on raising money can also come at a cost if the tactics that may allow candidates to bring in big bucks are not aligned with those to help them win over voters in their state or district.

“What we’re aiming to do is raise money in a way that doesn’t pose electoral risks,” Carroll said.

The trio pointed to a need for greater integration between digital fundraising and other components of a campaign. Email lists, Carroll noted, should be treated not as a “piggy bank” but a list of committed followers, who might appreciate campaign updates and news clips. Donors, he added, are people who campaigns need to think of as potential volunteers and eventual voters as well.

Campaigns have a range of ways of getting their message out, including fundraising texts and emails, paid advertising and earned media. In some cases, those operations are run separately from one another. But voters and donors who are on the receiving end of constant communications do not necessarily distinguish between the ways they hear about a candidate, noted Hughes. And donors are more likely to donate to candidates who share a compelling story and build a brand, not just those who send the most emails or text messages.

“These people who are experiencing your email program are also experiencing what they’re seeing on MSNBC, they’re also experiencing the contact that they’re getting at the doors,” Hughes said. “And it’s important to treat them that way.”

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( With inputs from : )

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