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Obama’s campaign gains millionth online donor

24 March, 2008
By Allison Orr

Senator Obama’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination reached a milestone by securing its millionth online donor.

Online donors have been at the centre of Obama’s fundraising campaign, utilising an email list of supporters.  Unlike other campaigns which have targeted big donors, Obama’s campaign has focused on getting lots of small donations, largely through the Internet, forging a new path for political fundraising in the US. 

In January 2008, 90 per cent of those who donated online gave $100 or less and 40 per cent gave $25 or less, yet a total of $28 million was raised online during that month.  Of the donors that month, 200,000 were first time givers to the Obama campaign.  By tapping these small donors, Senator Obama has been less tied down to taking time off the main campaign trail to chase major donors and hold lots of big fundraising events.

The difference is starting to show.  Says Anne Davies in the Sydney Morning Herald: "If Hillary Clinton wants to know why she is likely to be beaten by Barack Obama to the Democratic nomination she need look no further than the announcement by his campaign that it had secured its millionth donor online."

In addition to the fundraising aspect, these online donors have become integral to the campaign’s grassroots movement.  The email list of donors is also used to enlist volunteers for on the ground tasks and phone banks.   The campaign hopes to be more than just about raising money.  Said Senator Obama in a recent email to his supporters: "One million people like you own a stake in a grassrootsmovement that is not just competing, but thriving, in a political process that’s been dominated by special interest for far too long."

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