Read ‘em and weep: Obama’s effective email fundraising strategy

Wed, Sep 26, 2012


Is the Obama campaign the most effective, sophisticated and powerful Internet-based money machine in history? I don’t know, but having been bombarded with gracefully crafted appeals for contributions during the last several months, I’m impressed – even dazzled.

Here are a few examples, starting with two or three of a score of “Obama dinner sweepstakes emails,” an email from Beyonce and a forwarded letter from a contributor.


 John —

My favorite campaign tradition started five years ago — check out the email below.

It’s just incredible how much we’ve grown — from 100,000 individual donors at that time to more than 3 million in this campaign alone — and how much we’ve accomplished together.

Tomorrow night, we’re selecting the guests for the last dinner of my last campaign. I’m looking forward to closing out this tradition the way it started: with supporters like you.

Make a donation of $25 or whatever you can, and you’ll be automatically entered for dinner with me.

It’s bittersweet, but this is the last time we’ll do this on this campaign. I’d love for you and your guest to be there. As always, your flight and hotel are on us.


John —

We’re already figuring out the seating arrangements for the last Dinner with Barack of this campaign.

Thanks for being a supporter — at this last dinner, two of these seats could be yours.

But only if you enter.



John —

You, President Obama, a table, chairs, and some grub.

Donate $25 or whatever you can, and you’ll be automatically entered for the chance to join the President for dinner:

It’ll be pretty awesome — we’ll even fly you (and a friend) out for the big night.


Obama for America

P.S. — This is the last Dinner with Barack of the campaign


9/13 – from Beyonce Knowles

John —

I usually don’t email you — but I have an amazing invitation I have to share.

Jay and I will be meeting up with President Obama for an evening in NYC sometime soon. And we want you to be there!

Until midnight tonight, if you pitch in $25 or whatever you can, you’ll be automatically entered to be flown out to join us.

I’ve had the honor of meeting President Obama and the First Lady a few times — and believe me — it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Don’t worry about the airfare and hotel, it’s taken care of. And you can bring a guest.

But the countdown is on — this opportunity ends at midnight:

Can’t wait to meet you!



And here’s the most recent, a letter forwarded to millions of potential Obama contributors by the campaign. Read it. If you’re at all inclined to vote for Obama, it’ll make your eyes mist over, loosen your purse strings, and have you walking precincts for the President this weekend. If you’re a die-hard Romney supporter, it’ll make you gnash your teeth, swear and howl at the moon.

PS – don’t show this to Paul or Mitt; they’ve got enough to worry about!

PPS – send this to Adelman and tell him they need another $50 million!


9/25 (forwarded from the Obama campaign, with the author’s permission)

Dear President Obama,

I’m writing to tell you about the $15 my family just donated to your 2012 campaign.

It was $15. That’s really all we could give.

My husband Steve is currently a student at Temple University. Since starting his degree, three years ago, we’ve been living considerably below the poverty level (I keep forgetting which percent … does it matter?). But we aren’t complaining. Two healthy daughters; dusty, well-travelled backpacks in the basement; a house full of memories — a future full of hope. We’re the lucky ones.

So — we’re currently “poor on money — rich in life” (as we like to say). It hasn’t always been like this. My husband spent most of his life doing what he loved — playing or coaching basketball. Born in SE Iowa, he was an Academic All-American and once-upon-two-good-knees-ago, the “local town hero” of his small town — after bringing home the State Championship during high school, followed by NJCAA National Championship years later as a coach. He’s a big a fan of yours by the way … as a player, father and president … not necessarily in that order.

But this really wasn’t supposed to be a letter about him.

It’s about this year’s campaign. It’s about wanting to say that $15 means something these days and deserves a moment of pause (and some words on paper) for this girl and her family of Obama fans.

— $15 is a special pizza dinner at our local pizza stop (Poppi’s in Wynnewood).
— It’s 1 1/2 tickets to see the newest film at the old-school cinema we walk our daughters to.
— It’s getting fresh fruit, instead of frozen; fresh veg, instead of canned.
— It’s tickets to the Franklin Institute in the heart of Philly. (We’ve never been.)

It’s all these things to a family like ours.

I’ve listened with curiosity, mostly frustration, as the nation debates Citizens’ United and the string of new laws that now allow the bellowing voices of private interest to drown out the sounds of tiny voices (like ours/mine). Our pebble-in-the-ocean support feels almost pointless. “Leave the campaigns to the rich,” I think to myself, “Get your daughters a pizza instead.”

But I refuse to allow new laws to stop us/me from being A PART of this campaign. After all, I will never be a “player” (in the political sense), but I still want to believe I can play a part.

Then, out of the blue, there you are — shooting a jumpshot on my (Facebook) wall — and asking for “players” to join you on your home court. I had to smile, and then I couldn’t resist. And so, I have relinquished those $15.

Please know that they count. To us. Please stay in Washington. Do, in this second term, what you were not assisted/supported to do during your first term. Get this country moving/working/hoping again.

Please continue being a champion for the middle class — I’m hoping the next pizza will be on you.

Wishes to your brave wife and beautiful daughters from another brave wife with two beautiful daughters.

All good things,

Sandy & Family, PA

Sandy, Barack, Beyonce – ok, ok, I give up! I’m a journalist – I can’t contribute. But contact my soft-hearted spouse, who’s a supporter – and meanwhile, keep those emails coming.

I’ll forward them to Jeff Crank.

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