Twitter made buzz recently about their plan to profit off of the upcoming elections. According to a blog post by their Head of Political Advertising Sales, Jenna Golden, this is “the most effective way for campaigns to execute tailored digital fundraising, in real time, on the platform where Americans are already talking about the 2016 election and the issues they are passionate about.” Truthfully, this new “$cashtag” clumsily allows supporters to send money to campaigns through the cashtag associated with the campaign. Wired Magazine mentions that this new tool being used by the likes of Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders “offers candidates a prime digital fundraising opportunity,” I’m not so sure. Sure, they will be able to push fast and easy fundraising through yet another social media vertical. But the concept could actually be doing more harm than good.
Twitter touts that the new fundraising partnership with Square (coincidentally whose co-founder, Jack Dorsey, is newly promoted CEO of Twitter) will increase fundraising. You would think the whole concept of a $cashtag would be similar to a #hashtag. Actually, no. A #hashtag allows for anyone to search using that hashtag for similar tweets. A $cashtag does not allow you to search for campaigns using the cashtag. So, you can’t just search $BernieSanders and find a way to donate; you have to see the actual tweet in real time. According to their press release: “With Twitter, Square Cash “is” the fastest, easiest way to make a campaign contribution online. Whether you’re a presidential candidate or running for local government, Twitter and Square Cash offer tools to make it easier than ever for campaigns to reach more donors and meet their fundraising goals.”
Those are pretty bold statements. Misleading at best.
It Depends Upon What the Meaning of “is” Is
Square boasts that their product “is” the fastest and easiest way to contribute online. But, according to Law Street Media, although “Twitter is trying to streamline the whole money-transfer process, a prospective donor will be re-directed from Twitter to Square’s website.” So, basically this is nothing new. The donor is still re-directed to another browser, which alternate contribution platforms do as well. It is not the fastest.
It’s The Law, Stupid
Square claims that their fundraising solutions will be useful for every type of campaign from President of the United States to candidates running for local government. According to Wired Magazine, the Twitter users will be required to “input their donation amount, as well as personal information required by the FEC, like their names and addresses.” If only compliance reporting was that simple. While federal requirements are the same, state requirements vary by all 50 states. For instance, Kentucky state law requires that candidates file the contributor’s name, address, occupation, employer, spousal name, spousal occupation and spousal occupation’s address. So, candidates using $cashtag will not be in compliance because they will not have the correct legal information to file their campaign finance report. Instead, in order for them to keep the donation, campaigns must contact donors for missing information thus losing efficiency.
Here is the Election Finance Statement for a candidate, campaign or a committee running in Kentucky: http://kref.ky.gov/Candidate%20Campaign/Election%20Finance%20Statement.pdf
Below is the only information required by Square to make a donation:
As seen above, local candidates cannot use the $cashtag.
$Cashtag = $DebitCardOnlyTag
Square also claims their tools allow campaigns to reach more donors than ever. That is not true. Contributors can only use a debit card to donate. No credit cards or electronic checks. Twitter is not expanding the campaign donor list. Alternately, the campaign is missing out on two-thirds of the total payment methods available. “Twitter’s attempt to enter the political payment space is cheap. It’s clunky, slow and contributors can only give with a debit card, cutting out two-thirds of contribution methods available. Twitter is going to lose this ballot box,” said Chris Stewart, CEO of RaiseTheMoney.com.
Law Street magazine boasts that Square and Twitter’s partnership is “a smart move for politicians to utilize Twitter’s crowd-funding capabilities.” The reality is that it’s no different or more effective than true political payment platforms.
RaiseTheMoney.com has already perfected the art of capturing donors through social media. RTM’s link to secure contribution form can be tweeted out and sent via Facebook, Instagram, email and other social platforms. The link opens in the Twitter app just like Square’s app does. RTM accepts all major credit cards, including MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Visa as well as electronic bank transfers. Sign up takes less than 5 minutes and most accounts are approved in 24 hours. Our customizable contribution form allows your campaign complete creative control to customize your contribution form to match your campaign’s needs, even your state’s election requirements. We have all 50 states’ voter data prepopulated. All you have to do is select the state. Our Crowdfunding feature helps donors interact on a personal level with the campaign of their choice on ALL social media platforms, not just Twitter. Contact us today and let’s get your campaign started raising the money needed for your next election!
Raise the Money, Inc. (“RTM”) is an online fundraising platform that allows political candidates, churches, non-profits, and social causes to accept and manage their online contributions. Please email all questions and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact RTM at 1-866-935-0302.