Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dems Take a Cue from

"Someone is waiting to match your donation -- every dollar you give will have twice the impact, and you'll meet the person who's matching your gift." Governor Howard Dean, M.D.,

I get a lot of email from my party of choice. It's increased in volume, urgency and downright stridency as the November 7 election nears. Most of the emails just annoy the hell out of me, as does our ineffective party chairman, Howard Dean.

I'm beyond frustrated by our party's lack of gumption, grit, guts and gravitas. And by its lame, wishy-washy inability to stand up to the entrenched Republicans running--and ruining--our country.

The president's approval rating is still in the toilet. Scandals are rocking Republicans in Congress, the military, the intelligence community, corporate lobbyists and contributors. You'd think the public would respond with outrage.

Yet the Republican gravy train rolls on unchallenged. Their war chest is well stocked for the November election. Attack ads against Democratic candidates are fully funded. Republican candidates' campaigns amply supported. An Election Day army already assembled.

It's Republican and Bush administration politics as usual. You know, the politics of fear, intimidation and threats. We have become a nation of sheep. Swayed by slogans and lies and lots and lots of money.

How do you fight the Republican claim that to disagree with the war in Iraq is unpatriotic? How do you make the average person understand the egregious failings of the Bush government outlined by the 9/11 Commission? How do you convince voters that the criminal behavior of the Bush administration, many of its loyal Congressmen and supporters must be stopped?

And most important, how do you raise the money to send your message and get out the vote?

It's not that the Dems don't have deep corporate pockets of their own to tap. But it's just not enough to support a major comeback in Congress and at the local level nationwide.

But finally, virtually at the 11th hour someone in the Democratic Party came up with a viable idea. Dems have always been good at viral, grassroots marketing, but mostly at the street level. Now they're taking it to the Internet where the real bang for the buck can be harvested. And they've added a twist: make a donation and meet someone online.

In an email titled Something New, the Party of the People introduces a viral marketing fundraising campaign, Grassroots Donor Match, 2006. I have to admit, I'm impressed.

Here's the meat of the pitch:

You've probably gotten a message from an organization saying that some anonymous, wealthy donor will match your donation. We're going to try something different.

Right now, over 2,000 people who found a few dollars in their budget to support Democrats in this historic election are waiting to match the donation of someone who hasn't given yet this year.

They're people just like you who believe that every Democrat should own a piece of this party -- in contrast to the special interests and lobbyists that own the Republican Party (as if Americans needed another reminder of that, Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney pleaded guilty to corruption charges on Friday).

When the people fund our party, that's who we're accountable to when we win. Just choose your amount, make your donation and you'll see the name and town of the person who will match your donation. You'll even see a message from that person, and have the opportunity to reply. Make your donation now.
Well. All right. Now they're talking. As a former political operative, marketing maven and creator of online community, I have to applaud an idea which blends all three. I would only add they should spread the pitch--and the love--around, and fast.

Get Bill Clinton and other high powered luminaries to mention it on the stump. Get Democratic candidates to put it on their own web sites and in their print ads and other marketing materials. I've even got a tag line they can use (see it below).

The message I got from a woman who signed up to match my contribution, "Either all Americans must pull together to change the course we are on, or things simply won't change. Please contribute." Deborah G., Sacramento, CA

I wrote back, "Thank you for making a genuine commitment to change by putting your money not just where your mouth is, but where your conscience is too. I will urge many more to join this critical effort to save our country."

So let's do it, Gang. Make a donation. Make a friend. Make a difference.

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