Best electoral bang for my buck?
October 27, 2012 10:30 PM   Subscribe

What's the most effective way to donate to Obama this late in the game?

Let's say it's a week from election day, and you've got, I dunno, $100 to donate to aid President Obama's re-election. Where will your cash do the most good, and how do you get it there? (I've seen this question about down-ballot races; but I'm specifically interested in the Big One.) I know donating to the Dem party machine is the best default option, but I'm talking about the equivalent of buying a hobo an Egg McMuffin: I want to know exactly where my donation goes. So please tell me about a grassroots group in Ohio that's raising Kickstarter funds to rent vans to take seniors to the polls, or Floridians mobilizing to counter True the Vote thugs -- that kind of thing. I want to know my money is making a difference, not paying off the bill for a balloon drop.
posted by turducken to Work & Money (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Give it directly to the campaign. They will know the most effective way/place to spend it because they have access to information no one here does.
posted by lunasol at 10:59 PM on October 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

Unlike a hobo, campaigns have to report what they spend their money on. Knowing that we can keep an eye on their spending would be enough to fork $100 over to the party machinery, even if I don't know exactly where that money will translate into a piece of a field organizer's salary.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 10:59 PM on October 27, 2012

This is a savvy campaign. Give to Obama Victory Fund and they will make it count. Also, you can call for them. Person to person always makes a difference.
posted by bearwife at 11:12 PM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

I know practically all the staff down at the OFA/Dem office, and I can say that they are doing about as well as any campaign in a battleground state near the wire could be. Smart kids. (We're trying to deliver Paul Ryan's hometown for Obama; we tend to vote 55-60% blue overall, but that's also been his margin in his Congressional election victories.) Today we got lit-dropped by a small army (maybe 9) of young people I didn't recognize. (I admit we haven't actually early voted this week like we planned, or they would have skipped us.) Anyway, I concur that the top-level campaign is probably the best place to put your cash, since it's the most easily moved and redirected of any campaign resource. Maybe it will go to last-minute TV ads in Virginia or GOTV in Ohio or some such -- the campaign will know from its internals where that money is most needed.

But that's not what you asked.

Ryan's opponent could always use cash -- Rob Zerban.

If True the Vote is a big concern for you, maybe give money to the Election Protection Coalition.

The only other place I might consider giving cash would be one of the kickier-assier labor PACs such as Priorities USA -- their series of ads (including the devastating "Stage") is excruciatingly effective.

Stuff like vans and grabbing grannies* and early voting is all really better handled by the parties and much of it is organized locally, more a question of volunteers than cash. I did canvassing and GOTV for a 527 in 2004 and it was very strange being outside the party process, and I don't think a lot of voters really trusted us.
One of my friends has what he calls a "knock-and-drag" operation where he finds a potential Obama voter, goes to their house, and tries to get them registered and voted all in one swell foop. This is distinct, he says, from the "troll-and-pull", but I'm not entirely certain how.
posted by dhartung at 12:45 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Canvassing in swing states. This campaign is about getting out our supporters. I work for a union and we have have spent the last several saturdays knocking low propensity voters (identified by their voting in '08 but not in '10) and making sure that they know where their polling location is, have a plan to go vote, have a ride schedule if need be.

Your energy is probably more effective here than by yourself because pro-Obama organizations, like unions, have already paid for the technology to create priority canvassing lists and so fourth. They're keyed in to where to spend volunteer hours and cash.
posted by sb3 at 11:26 AM on October 28, 2012

One other idea - if you actually want to literally see the result of your money, and you're absolutely opposed to giving to the campaign, spend the $100 on a bus ticket/gas money to go canvass in your closest swing state this weekend.

Looks like you're in LA - Nevada's not too far.
posted by lunasol at 5:06 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lunasol is exactly right. Just got to Ohio ourselves.
posted by rdn at 7:21 PM on October 28, 2012

Thanks for all the interesting info, and especially to dhartung for answering my question (and for understanding that giving a hobo an Egg McMuffin may not be the best way to help him).
posted by turducken at 9:00 PM on October 28, 2012

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