Thursday, February 07, 2008

Red Trucks & Explosions & Money, Oh My!

Online fundraising has been explosive, yet hesitancy abounds as to what is "appropriate" in today's political climate. Michael Turk discussed a few weeks ago how the Thompson campaign waited to deploy their successful Red Truck idea, out of fear of appearing too focused on raising money. From his comments (emphasis added):

In October, we began discussions of an end of quarter fundraising drive featuring a real-time disclosure of our success. The concept was shot down over concerns that it would place too much emphasis on money. As we moved through November, we began to hear rumblings of Fredsgiving Day - a third party money bomb effort scheduled the day before Thanksgiving.

It was unclear whether the campaign would support the effort. There were concerns (voiced by many online) that the timing was off - nobody would pay attention the day before the holiday. In the event the campaign decided to jump in, we went ahead and built the little red truck to track contributions that day. It was never deployed.

It was late in December when the little red truck finally saw the sunlight. Over the next three weeks, that little red pickup helped the campaign raise 1.25 million dollars. Had it been unveiled sooner, who knows what might have happened.

I have a few ideas on this front that have been met with this same fear. Campaigns have yet to come close to pushing the envelope of what is accepted. They continue to try new things, yet they can do more. Does anyone have an example of a campaign that pushed the online envelope too far? Where does this fear come from?

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