Friday, November 9, 2007

Ron Paul Demonstrates the Power of Online Fundraising

I'm not here to speak about politics; this is neither the time nor the place to discuss the relative merits or disadvantages of Ron Paul as a political leader. But I do want to talk for a moment about his absolutely amazing fundraising feat on November 5 and what it could imply for the validity of the use of social media and online efforts for fundraising campaigns.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

On Monday, an independent effort by Paul backers raised a stunning $4.2 million for his campaign, nearly all of it online. At the rate Paul is going, he will have a fourth-quarter funding total that rivals or even surpasses the top-tier GOP candidates.

Now how the heck did he do that? Well, it is true that "Paul backers tied their Nov. 5 fundraising effort to Guy Fawkes Day – which commemorates the day in 1605 when the British mercenary tried to blow up Parliament and kill the king" and has most recently been brought to the attention of the public through the 2005 film "V for Vendetta," starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, but it's also true that "Paul had established a formidable Internet following even before Tuesday's fundraising coup."

The LA Times reports:

He has substantially more supporters on MySpace and Facebook -- two social networking sites -- than any other Republican. His videos have been viewed more often (nearly 5.9 million times) on YouTube than those of any other candidate, of either party.

Like many Internet advances, this week's fundraising bonanza was powered by Paul supporters rather than by his paid campaign staff.

Yep, that's right: viral marketing and person-to-person campaigns can be effective. Ron Paul seems to be the proof. Last week he was the longest of the long shots for the Republican nomination, but, thanks to Monday's efforts, commentators now believe that Paul's credibility has been enhanced and that the media should take him seriously. I'll be curious to see how other candidates respond, if at all, and I hope that nonprofits are paying attention!

Thanks to the tip off about this incredible story to Don't Tell the Donor.

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