Clinton's Big Money
From Small Donors
It is no surprise that Hillary Clinton's media team found a way to maximize the headlines for the campaign's third quarter fundraising numbers.
What was a surprise was that the numbers reflected a shift in the way Clinton is gathering that money. She is still clearly raising plenty of money from big-dollar donors who can write $4,600 checks-- the maximum donation--that not only sustain Clinton's primary bid, but will fuel a general election effort if she becomes the nominee. But she also has finally figured out how to draw money from the grassroots.
For the first time since she launched her campaign, Clinton's money success appears to have turned much more directly on the support of small donors -- a domain that Obama, and to a lesser extent Edwards, had been dominating during the first six months of the year. She reported receiving money from 100,000 new donors this quarter -- double the number she recruited during the first three months of the campaign.
Clinton's grassroots organizer, Peter Daou, said the campaign raised $8 million online during the past three months -- " definitely our best quarter online."
How did she do it? For one, the campaign was far more aggressive pursuing donors online, borrowing several ideas from the Obama campaign. Among them -- a series of contests that offered to reward internet contributors by providing them the chance at spending time on the trail with Clinton, or the chance to watch a debate and munch on chips with her husband, the former president. The campaign also held many more low dollar events -- another strategy Obama had been employing with great success -- that drew thousands of people in to large rallies. Names of those attending were collected and added to Clinton's e-mail list.
Daou said the growth in grassroots support has "part of a continuum."
"From the Internet perspective it was a matter of, you're building trust, you're building a relationship, you're giving and sharing information, and it builds on itself," he said. "Eventually, it pays dividends."
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