WAIT! Just any campaign?
NO. Just like buying anything, before you ever put any money or resources into any campaign, talk to the campaign or at least be aware. Blind giving is something large scale donors can do, but many small donors, well, giving money to a campaign is a sacrifice. Make sure you give to a campaign that will effectively use those resources matters.
That last sentence is incredibly important. Even if you agree with a campaign on the issues 100 percent and you like the candidate, do your research. Campaign finance reports are easily available. If your candidate is running for State or Federal office, you can generally find out how they have utilized the money coming into their campaign. If the candidate is unopposed, with a fair amount of cash on hand, it is hard to justify donating to that campaign, viewing that inner ring as “strong,” and stepping back your donations to the next candidate on your list.
On the other hand, if you feel a campaign is not effectively using money, even if local, feel free to ask how they would use your donation.
I’m a small donor. Do I matter?
YES. Now more than ever, small donors are critical for our party to succeed. While large institutional donors are also important, of course, small donors are often the ones who can tap and support campaigns and bring them to the attention of others. A lot of small donor interest helps encourage large donor interest.
Candidates who put effort into small money fundraising secure votes early; especially in down ballot races. Someone who invests even $1 in a campaign is someone who is a hardened vote for that candidate. The moment you give any amount to a candidate, a candidate KNOWS you are a vote for them.
What about advocacy organizations?
Supporting our advocacy partners, whether it is Sierra Club or Moms Demand Action, well, those are important gives. Think of advocacy organizations a bit like squirrels—putting away resources until they are most effective. Giving to these organizations in off years in your state gives them the means to use it effectively once candidates appear.
Many Democratic donors give at all times to the organization or cause of their choice. If that isn’t you, take time in your off year, when you aren’t giving money to candidates, to commit to $10 or $20 a month to a cause you care about. GIving to the PAC arm of these organizations is a way for the progressive left to help build up the infrastructure to combat the constant messaging of large money on the right.
Next Week on Nuts & Bolts: State Conventions!