Two contradictory thoughts …

1. If you didn't do this long ago, you must make a small online donation to Barack Obama, just to get on his list and learn what aggressive online fundraising is all about.

2. I'm sick of getting online fundraising appeals from Barack Obama!

I just read the last 50 emails I've received from the Obama campaign … emails from Michelle Obama, John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, various campaign staffers, even Barack!

These 50 emails stretch back to November 15. I have nearly 150 in all … I signed-up in February 2007, then made one small contribution in March 2007 to really get the fundraising juggernaut rolling.

Of my last 50 emails, TWO deal with issues. One forwarded a video link to Obama's speech to Martin Luther King's church this past January. The other was a video link to Obama's response to Bush's state of the union.

Of the remaining 48 emails, about two-thirds are specifically fundraising appeals, and the other third are organizational (make calls, attend events), though many of these contain a secondary fundraising message as well.

So let's not get too romantic about the role of the Internet in the Obama campaign. It's all about motivating donors and volunteers. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

But if you were expecting to be communicated with on the issues, forget it. Yes, you can find plenty of issue material online if you seek it out … including from better sources than the candidates' own sites. Just don't expect the candidates to initiate an issue-based dialogue with you. They're too busy for that.

One can't even pretend that the fundraising appeals are grounded in issues. They are all driven by “urgent” goals to meet by this primary or that caucus, or to impress the media, or to trump what the other candidate is doing.

I don't mean to be picking on just Obama here. I'm sure that analysis of emails from Hillary Clinton or John McCain would show the same pattern.

However, he is the guy who supposed to be giving us a vision, no?

Right now, the only vision I'm getting from his online communications is of dollar signs.

Tom

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