General Question

janbb's avatar

When is a good time to donate money to a candidate?

Asked by janbb (57156points) May 4th, 2015

I was not going to give any money in this election but a candidate has entered the race that I can support. I doubt s/he has a chance of winning but a strong show of money early is probably a help. OTOH, if I donate too soon, I run the risk of being hit up again and again. I don’t want to make this question about specific candidates or parties – y’all can probably guess who I mean. I’m more interested in donation strategy. Also, would you give just once and say that’s it or would you dribble it out?

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16 Answers

filmfann's avatar

When Bill Clinton became President, he valued the early $1,000 contributors more than the later $10,000 contributors, because the early folks kept him in the race when he struggled.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The issue I have is that campaigns sell and share mailing lists. Even if I like candidate F today, you can be sure that I will get dozens of solicitations from Candidate F in the future – as well as from the 25 additional mailing lists that candidate F has sold my name to.

MY personal two cents is that it is too early.

janbb's avatar

@elbanditoroso I have started giving a defunct e-mail address when I sign petitions but I take your point.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
johnpowell's avatar

Might be a good time to go to their website and see if you can buy a t-shirt. If not have one made with their logo. That way you might be able to help raise awareness and strike up conversations about the candidate with people in your daily life. You know, real grassroots shit.

If you want the candidate to know about your efforts and support simply email them.

Response moderated
stanleybmanly's avatar

The way to avoid your name being passed around and the resulting deluge of begging letters and emails when donating to ANYTHING is to mail in the donations using money orders and your own envelopes,

hug_of_war's avatar

I would think earlier is better, as minor players often drop out during the process.

ibstubro's avatar

I never donate money to a candidate.
There was a fairly recent election where the local party headquarters was having a hard time getting materials. I knew I could get car magnets made with the candidate’s names for, like, 75ยข each. I bought and donated them in $20 bundles. You might try something like that?
A sign company or a printer should be able to make them for you…shop around.

janbb's avatar

But there again as mentioned, I’m not really asking for opinions on whether to donate the money or not. I have made up my own mind on that.

ibstubro's avatar

Well, I donated money in that I paid for campaign materials out of my own pocket and donated them to headquarters for the candidates party. I think that would be a great thing to do just now, as the candidates are just declaring. I know when I see a bumper sticker (mine were magnetic) that says “Pat in 16” I wonder where they got it, and, if the candidate is unfamiliar, who and where they are.
If Martin O’Malley were to declare, I would be tempted to have 60 magnets made, as a start.
I also like this plan because the money is spent locally, and 100% of it is spent on materials that reach the public. I believe the time I did it, other people started giving me money to turn into magnets.

janbb's avatar

Yeah – I see what you are saying. Good idea.

ibstubro's avatar

It was considered genius when I did it here, @janbb. The headquarters wanted to charge for the magnets, as that’s what they were used to, given the scarcity of campaign materials.
Dammit. That was my whole point. Free advertisement, call me when you need more, and I’ll bring them in.

Now you have me fired up. I might be sporting the only “Martin O’Malley” sticker west of the Arch this week.

JLeslie's avatar

I would suggest donating some now and some later. I have no idea what supposedly really helps a candidate. I guess there is information out there on the best timing. It’s just a gut feeling for me that some money early on helps kick start the campaign, and money later can help give the final push. I also think I would not trust campaigns to kitty money, so a big chunk if money in the beginning might get blown through fast, and possibly not the best course of action.

The amount of money spent in political campaigns is disgusting, but that’s a different topic, and won’t be solved soon.

gondwanalon's avatar

If you donate be prepared to be asked to donate regularly and frequently. I get calls all the time for political donations and they don’t like “no” for an answer. They’ll talk my ear off for a few bucks. But I sometimes tell them that I have a budget and I will have to evaluate it before I make a decision to donate. Nevertheless they keep calling and mailing me donation requests. It’s such a pain.

janbb's avatar

@gondwanalon Agree. Been there – done that.

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