What to send a Contribution to your Candidate? Be Careful responding to Direct Mailing
Direct making firms are used for charities even political candidates. But does your money really get to the charity or candidate you wrote out that hard earned check for? You may be surprised that a small portion may only be getting to that candidate and the marketing firm getting a large portion of the proceeds.
Lets us Candidate X. He is a a Republican from California. He raised $443,230.00 from direct appeals through the mail for fund for his primary campaign. He actually received $9, 652.00 which is 4.592% of the money raised. Lets flip the percentages a bit. If you gave Candidate x $ 100.00 he would receive $4.59. The firm who solicited the money got $95.48.
So when you want to reply to a a mailer via mail for Senator McCain or Senator Obama, are you sure you want to give a PR company 95 cents on the dollar and 5 cents to your candidate?
Best way to support your candidate is to send a check directly to the candidate or give on line. The overhead is lower as many are processed by Volunteers.
These Candidates Must Have Been Going Postal
Capital Eye reported recently on a direct-mail fundraising firm that often keeps most of the money it raises for candidates to pay for postage and printing—and as profit. The direct-mail business as a whole has inherently high overhead, and regardless of which firm a candidate employs, it’s likely that when a donor responds to a piece of mail soliciting campaign funds, a good chunk of the donation goes toward paying for the letter that asked for money in the first place.
Below the Center for Responsive Politics has compiled a list of 65 candidates who ran for Congress in 2006 and spent at least 65 percent of the money they raised on postage and the services of directmail firms. While the firm that's been getting press attention recently, BMW Direct, focuses exclusively on fundraising—meaning the money that candidates paid the company did very little to get votes--many of these candidates who spent heavily on direct mail were likely employing the technique as a voter-outreach tool, as well as a fundraising method; it's difficult to discern from the vague descriptions of their expenditures that campaigns report to the Federal Election Commission.
The good news for thrifty politicos is that since the 2006 cycle, expenditures in electronic media have exploded, enabling candidates to raise money online with very little overhead—no stamps to buy, for one thing. Those candidates who have embraced the Internet have been able to do more with their supporters’ money than simply return it to the companies that helped raise that money.
The chart below shows the 2006 House candidates who spent the highest percentage of their fundraising from individual donors on direct mail, the districts or states they ran in, and whether they won their primaries and the general election. Again, some of their spending on direct-mail may have gone toward advertising—flyers in voters' mailboxes—as well as fundraising solicitations.