Obama To Accept Contributions by Mobile Phone

The new science of winning campaigns
Aug. 23 2012 7:28 AM

Obama To Accept Contributions by Mobile Phone

President Barack Obama looks at a persons iPhone outside The Sink Restaurant and Bar April 24, 2012 in Boulder, Colo.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

This morning, the Obama campaign announced it has begun accepting campaign contributions via text message. Four mobile carriers are currently participating, and donors will be limited to total contributions of $50 per billing cycle. From a campaign press release:

OFA intends to promote this convenient new avenue of small-dollar donations when supporters are most likely to take out their mobile phones to contribute. For instance, a video screen at a grassroots event with President Obama could flash a message such as, “To contribute $10 to Obama for America, text GIVE to 62262.” A similar message could appear in a web video or on a piece of campaign literature.

The move, following new policies formulated by the FEC this summer to allow such contributions, mark a further abandonment of the home as an anchor for political activity. In the past, voters were canvassed at home, reached on home phones, targeted on their home TVs, and sent fundraising solicitations at their home address. Politics was slow to embrace what the consumer world calls "out-of-home advertising" largely because people vote near their home and the information on voter-registration records are tethered to a specific address.

The rise of both cookie-targeted and geolocated web ads began to make intellgent out-of-home political advertising a possibility—showing someone an ad for her congressman even if she works in another district. Now we're likely to see the beginning of an out-of-home fundraising movement as well.

Sasha Issenberg is the author of The Victory Lab about the new science of political campaigns.


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