As a candidate, [Donald Trump’s] riches confer independence. If he ends up the Republican nominee, he certainly has the ability to self-fund his White House campaign without building a base of donors, whether big or small-dollar. But could this financial freedom actually hurt him?…
The imperative to raise money online forces campaigns to build infrastructure that has a strategic value beyond the immediate cash-on-hand. The people and technology behind a presidential-level fundraising program help win elections in other ways. A good email team, for example, keeps supporters engaged and involved, primed to volunteer, vote or caucus. It also tells them when and how to do it.
Online engagement also yields data in the form of responses to messages and fundraising appeals. This information helps the campaign in ways ranging from identifying potential grassroots leaders to understanding the themes that resonate with the base. Moreover, someone who’s donated is invested, quite literally, in the campaign’s success.
Liberal Democrats might think that’s a nice problem to have… but the lesson is just as applicable to much poorer parties and campaigns. Building lists of engaged supporters ups your odds of political success. Barely communicating with members in-between election times doesn’t.
For more on how to do all that well, of course, see 101 Ways To Win An Election.