Social Media Fundraising and the 2012 Presidential Election | npENGAGE

Social Media Fundraising, Obama and the 2012 Presidential Election

By on Oct 3, 2012


presidential campaign fundraising

President Barack Obama raised nearly $410 million dollars through individual contributions in 2008. And he’s continuing on that path in the 2012 presidential election.

To put it in perspective, none of the presidential candidates (other than Obama) from the 2004 or 2008 elections surpassed $260 million.

How’d President Obama do it?

The Obama campaign leveraged the micro donations, online fundraising, social networks and social media.

  • Fifty-eight percent of individual donations we’re under one thousand dollars with thirty percent of the total being under two hundred dollars.
  • Six and a half million donations we’re made online by three million donors.
  • Eighty-dollar average online gift size.

But why did the Obama campaign rely on social media for fundraising? Here’s four reasons based on data from a number of sources.

Social Network Users are More Politically Engaged

A lot of social network users on Facebook seem to have politics in their blood. Or maybe they’re just the ones willing to speak up.

Regardless of why, I’d bet cold hard cash that you’ve seen something about the Obama campaign or the 2012 Presidential campaign from a friend or family member in your Facebook timeline over the past month or two. Am I right? I know I have. Daily.

But the data backs what we see up. Facebook users vote two times more than non-internet users and are three times more likely to try and influence a friend or family member to vote. [Tweet It!]

Social Network Users are More Politically Engaged

Social Network Users are More Active Users

It’s probably not a surprise, but social media cause supporters are five times more likely to recruit their friends to join them in their efforts to make a difference in the world. The Obama campaign benefited greatly because of this. [Tweet It!]

As with seeing political comments, photos, opinions, etc in your Facebook timeline, you’ve probably also been asked by a friend to support a cause they love.

Social Network Users are More Active Users

Social Network Users are Well Connected

It’s hard to think that there are people out there who don’t use the Internet, but it’s true and the difference from a non-internet users to a social media users is pretty big.

For instance, those not on the internet have about 506 personal connections while people on Twitter have 838 personal connections who, like them, are probably more active in sharing their thoughts about the Obama campaign with friends and family online. [Tweet It!]

If you were a presidential candidate which audience would you focus on?

Social Network Users are Well Connected

Social Network Users Raise More Money

That’s right, social media can have a direct impact on fundraising results.

Those who used social media as part of their fundraising outreach vs. those who didn’t use social media at all saw up to a forty percent increase. Yep, I said forty percent. [Tweet It!]

This data comes from Blackbaud’s research into how social media impacts fundraising in the peer-to-peer fundraising category. Although it’s not directly related to political fundraising on social networks, it does demonstrate the impact social can have when people who are active on social networks use their network to generate more donations.

Your Turn

Do you think social media is and will continue to play a bit role in the 2012 presidential campaign? What have you personally seen working or not working?

Hat tip to MGD for the great infographic!


Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

Comments (1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *