Small-dollar donations to Trump and the GOP are way down since 2019 and 2020.  Why?  According to GOP insiders from a recent Washington Post article, the main culprit is they don’t treat their donors well. 

Loyal readers no doubt recall Roger’s many exhortations about self-inflicted wounds on the Democratic side.  He cited lots of evidence, none as pithy as this NYT article in Fall of 23′ titled “Where Has All the Left-Wing Money Gone?”.

And they say bipartisanship is dead…

Glass houses have a funny way of turning into neighborhoods and from there, entire cities as we copy what “works”.    Tragedy of the Commons is perhaps only a lesson we learn after all the grass is eaten and you’re knee-deep in the sh@! piles that are left.

What has the most recent canary in the coal mine surfaced?  This from the Washington Post article,

  • Sending eight emails a day
  • Using fake/artificial matches
  • When anyone would raise concerns about too many pitches going out, the retort was always that they could send fewer solicitations, but they’d get less money
  • When response softened, they sent even more appeals
  • They started renting lists and selling names
  • Donors had been sent “too many messages that guilt them into donating,” or were “being duped” into donating to candidates they didn’t know
  • Too many people trying to get money from the same donors
  • Too many consultants “are very comfortable going to the same donors over and over” then complain when it doesn’t work as well as it once did
  • Small-dollar fundraising consultants getting paid based on how many emails or texts they send out
  • The best candidates are the ones who invest in it and have their own unique group of donors

Either you believe people give because we ask or you don’t.   The bipartisan abuse of donors suggests a red and blue, full throated endorsement of this belief, which necessarily begets more asking.

If only it were that simple.  Knowing the real reason someone gives isn’t the same as a fully optimized fundraising program with years of sustained growth but it is a necessary precondition.