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There's been a great deal of discussion over the GOP's new plan giving their online fundraisers a 30 percent cut of money raised. Some thing it's crass or unethical, but it's neither of those.

Professional fundraisers often take cuts that large, sometimes larger, in their efforts to raise money for campaigns and organizations. So there's nothing wrong in giving those same terms to their online bundlers.

But here's the key. There are two types of fundraisers --

  1. Professional fundraisers. As discussed they take a cut of money raised.

  2. Bundlers. These are known as "rangers" and "pioneers" in the world of Bush fundraising.
There is an important distinction between the two --

The professional fundraisers are engaged in a business relationship with the party. Nothing more. They have no further influence or "seat at the table", so to speak. They take their 30-50 percent cut and call it a day.

The bundlers, on the other hand, take no cut. What they get in return is that proverbial seat at the table. Their money comes with strings attached, be it specific legislation, pursuit of certain ideals, or merely the chance to play golf with presidents and congresscritters.

It's telling that the GOP wants to treat their online constituencies as a business relationship. It's clear they don't want to be bothered with whatever feedback Republican bloggers might want to offer. They just want the cash, and they're willing to pay generous percentages to get that cash.

Democratic web bundlers (ePatriots) are like Bush's pioneers, and are being taken seriously as partners by the party. Republican web bundlers are like professional fundraisers, who are paid cash and then ignored.

I like our approach better.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 02:36 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  you commie (none)
    don't you realize capitalism is more important than democracy?


    by ctkeith on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 02:40:51 PM PDT

    •  You commie muslim homosexual satanic terrorist (none)
      Don't you realize that democracy and capitalism are the same thing?!?
    •  This is crony capitalism (none)
      I disagree with Kos here, the Republicans know what they are doing.

      They know that they can get any number of right wing whackos to publish blogs that pander to their own prejudices. But getting those to mesh with the Republican talking points of the day is hard.

      The probability that J Random Blogger is going to spontaneously start pushing for Enron to be allowed to rape California or Haliburton to get a handout is not good.

      They know what their game is, if they want to create a right wing blogosphere they have to bribe their bloggers well so that their interests are aligned.

  •  Ah, capitalism! (3.00)
    Let me guess...

    Is that a subsidiary of Halliburton?

  •  It stinks.... (none)
    If political $$$ is considered "freedom of speech", would this then be "censorship" as a good chunk isn't "heard" by the "intended"?

    It's just wrong. Whoever does it.

    Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. -- Chief Seattle

    by jillian on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 02:42:28 PM PDT

  •  Does the 30% (none)
    Come out of what one can legally donate?

    Because (if so) donating on the web is easy and convenient... and I think the GOP is -- as usual, lately -- shooting itself in the foot.

    The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

    by ogre on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 02:43:08 PM PDT

  •  Well, quibble with one point (none)
    Fundraisers (even professional ones) very often DO get a seat at the table. Good ones are hard to find, and they're often fought over. Granted, they're not bundlers - but then again, an individual bundler can't realistically raise you a million or two. (think PAC fundraisers and direct mail people especially)
  •  For transparency (none)
    Progressive blogs would do all a service to publish a list of the Bush Regents or Rangers or whatever they call themselves now, as well as their business interests.  I read a while ago that the main stockholder/founder of Home Depot, for example, is a leading Bush bundler -- I now go out of the way & pay a little more to shop at independent hardware stores rather than spending money at HD.  Im sure there are other businesses I'm unaware of where I'm spending money that inadvertently helps Bush's biggest supporters.  
  •  Whoa, what? (none)
    I work in non profit fundraising.  Maybe it's different in the political arena, but I have never heard of any fundraiser taking a cut of monies raised.  Someone in my office brought it up once as a hypothetical situation and it raised everyone's hackles.  To do so would be totally unethical.  

    I see what you're saying if by "professional fundraiser" you mean a person or an outfit hired by the campaign to raise funds on an outside contractor basis (i.e. not employed by the campaign itself).  But this professional fundraiser employed by a non profit organization would never dream of it.  

    •  I used to work in non-profits, too (none)
      And remember the same thing. Basically, it comes down to a professional attitude among non-profits versus campaigns. I think it probably relates to the notion that donors to nonprofits often have no way to accurately measure what is done with their money - and often have to rely almost completely on the reports they get from that organization (ie, from the fundraiser).

      So what you have is the creation of a temptation of a fundraiser to overpromise or exxagerate to get personal compensation.

      Also - even nonprofits that frown on paying bonuses or commissions to on-staff fundraisers will often pay the same fees, etc. to fundraisers they retain outside the organization. (for instance, calling in a specialist to run a capital campaign)

      On the other hand, campaigns are a shorter cycle, expenses are reported. Don't know if that's a great distinction, but it is what it is.

      •  Um, Guys? (none)
        I'm a non-profit fundraiser, too.  While the model is slightly different, you ARE raising your own salary, one way or the other.  It is common in the non-profit world for a fund director to be hired with the salary paid by the institution for the first year and then decreasing amounts of the salary donated by the general fund for the next 3-5 years until all of the salary is raised by the fund raiser  at the end of the trial period.  It is the same thing, acheived a different way.  Of course the scale is different, much less lucrative in the non-profit world.
    •  I receive calls from paid fundraisers all the time (none)
      those people who call soliciting donations for the Poice youth league, the Salvation Army, and dozens of other non-profits. All of them use paid solicitors to call people

      Donate your used car to Father Joe ??? give 30% to the guys who aranged it

      Wake up people

      All this says is that George Bush can no longer promise a future payout

      Now the people collecting for George want their money up front

      They no longer believe the juicy appointments will be available

      Do you want a percentage, or flat rate ?

      Who's the Mark ?

      A guy named Doyle Lonnigan

      Flat rate

      remember your Paul Newman people

      •  Also shows GOP inefficiency (4.00)
        As usual, the GOP spends 1/3 more than the Dems because of thier higher overhead. This is just one example, but the high GOP burn rate suggests that everyone all down the line is taking a cut.  So why not the bloggers too?  The only people who really sem to believe in the GOP without being paid to do so are the shock troops, the little people.  But what's new?  They always get screwed by the GOP.

        If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

        by Mimikatz on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 04:00:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  DNC paying Commissions... (none)
      This probably should have its own thread, but here in CT, the DNC is paying people to go door-to-door, raising money for the "Swing-State" campaigns.

      The young people doing the door-knocking get a small hourly, and then they are paid significant commissions based upon the money they raise.

      There is nothing new to what they are doing. It is the GreenPeace/PIRG model which has been around for years.

      You send out van-loads of young people to affluent neighborhoods to basically "beg" for a few dollars.

      The idea is that the money raised from beating the bushes in this manner, is basically found money. What it fails to take into account are the externalities of raising money in this manner, namely the number of people who are significantly turned off by the crass solicitations.

      I could go on longer, but won't. What the DNC is doing in CT is further evidence that they have no clue.

      Two things guaranteed this November-- A Skull and Bones President, and a Republican First Lady!

      by edwardbanderson on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 03:24:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree (none)
        My reaction was the opposite when I saw the DNC canvassing in my neighborhood.  I thought, "great, they are finally getting out there and talking to people, instead of sending all that stupid junk mail."

        I believe that the same canvassers will also be used for voter id and turnout later in the season.

        •  boy do I wish you were right (none)
          But these kids are clueless and no coordination with local or even congressional campaigns is happening with this group.The girl who came to my home couldn't even tell me who the Dem congressperson was where she was soliciting(Rosa Delauro).I called their office and requested they at least have some literature to give to people but they seemed uninterested.The kids don't even have voter lists so they can target D's And Is.This whole thing pisses me off because of the lack of coordination and the waste of money.I want the best bang for my buck and we certainly are not getting it with this group.

          WE LOST, GET OVER IT

          by ctkeith on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 04:51:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sadly, you are wrong... (none)
          The canvassers aren't with the DNC. They are commission-based employees of GrassRoots Campaigns, Inc. an organization founded by Doug Phelps who runs "The Fund for Public Interest Research".

          The people wearing the DNC t-shirts are paid solely to raise money, not awareness. They have nothing to do with the DNC, and are not at all knowledgeable about local Dem candidates or local races.

          There is absolutely no coordination between their door-to-door efforts, and local campaigns.

          The whole effort is a sham. Sad, but true.

          P.S. Something like 40-50% of your contribution will go to fundraising costs, and not the DNC. Are the solicitors telling you that??

          Two things guaranteed this November-- A Skull and Bones President, and a Republican First Lady!

          by edwardbanderson on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 04:53:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not true ... or maybe half true ... (none)
            I don't know that what you're saying is true/not, but the DNC IS paying for exactly that. An intern at my office works here in the morning and is an office manager for the DNC Canvass in the afternoon.
            •  All True...(if indeed hard to swallow) (none)
              Your friend is not working for the DNC. He is a contractual employee of GrassRoots Campaigns, Inc.

              Ask him about his daily quota, ask him about his 30% bonus, ask him about what training he receives, and what message he is supposed to convey to those he solicits.

              And it is not a canvass in the traditional sense. They are not asking questions nor soliciting opinions, nor educating voters. Instead they are "begging" for donations, and soliciting e-mail addresses/snail-mail addresses for future solicitations.

              There is no coordination with Senate/House, or local Candidates and races, because the Hit Squad in reality has nothing to do with the DNC, or the Democratic Party.

              It is all about raising money for McAuliffe and Co., and nothing to do with voter education, voter identification, party-building and the like, you know those things you tend to identify with true "GrassRoots" action.

              If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself. I am not being critical just for the sake of being critical...

              Two things guaranteed this November-- A Skull and Bones President, and a Republican First Lady!

              by edwardbanderson on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 05:36:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Grassroots" (none)
                 "Grassroots" campaigns have job postings on  craigslist all the time.

                  People would be better off donating directly to the DNC or a candidate online.  And their strategy is pretty clueless.  I've seen several standing around trying to register voters in a really bad location and not registering anyone.

                 For a real voter registration campaign, they would get voter roles and go to addresses where people aren't registered.  And just focus on registering people, not raising money.

                  I've always thought the left's canvass operations were destructive.  They take idealistic kids thinking they are doing something good and try to make them into fundraising machines.  Someone who is really good at getting signatures on a petition or letters written, but not good at raising money will get fired.  And most donors don't know how much of their contribution goes towards the fundraising expenses.    They should pay them a decent hourly rate not based on how much they raise.

                Before the internet, I questioned them.  Now they really shouldn't be needed.  Money can be raised online and the field operation can do real organizing.

                  With online fundraising, only a small percentage of donations should go to expenses.  Certainly not 30%.  

                •  You're right ... (none)
                  Those individuals and the candidate, group, etc would be better off if people just joined online. Unfortunately, most people don't do that. If candidates or organizations want to go beyond that particularly resourceful few, they need to go out and find them. There are a number of ways to do that - direct mail, phone solicitation, door to door canvassing, street canvassing, and fundraising events are the principle ways. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and none of them are inherently worse than any of the others.
                  Online fundraising is by far the cheapest form of fundraising, phone solicitation is by far the most expensive. Of course, mail and phones get far more efficient depending on the quality of your list.
          •  I asked the kid (none)
            if they would be out doing this for the DNC if they weren't getting paid. He said no. He didn't even know who McAuliffe was, or that the Kerry campaign was seeded by AIG's Hank Greenberg, a Bush pioneer, or that Ken Lay was an intimate friend of Heinz-Kerry and sat on the board of her "environmental" NGO.

            I thought he was going to drop his clip board and run.

            Sad, I could almost imagine this skinny little guy without his dreads and shaved clean in a brand spankin new army uniform after the draft is shoved down our throats after this "election."

    •  Its different for non-profits (none)
      Because what they usually use outside fundraisers for is the initial donation/membership - to start the relationship, then we hit them up over and over again for more money.
      They're lucky if the initial donation is a net $0 - but, usually we're paying 6-15 dollars per individual.
      ie, usually they give the fundraiser 100% of what the raise + extra $ + costs (materials, etc)
    •  contract fundraisers for the arts get a cut (none)
      My girlfriend is a choreographer, and is hiring a fundraiser to get grants, corporate, and rich-people donations to her non-profit dance company. The fundraiser will be hired on a contract basis, for a limited time, and gets 10% of the proceeds.

      Seems OK to me...

    •  Please (none)
      Do not call my house, especially during dinner!



  •  A Thought (none)
    It's not surprising that bundlers (and, often, bunglers) have a seat at the table.  But it didn't occur to me before that for those of us Dems who get our contributions bundled we (as individual contributors) should choose wisely in who we let bundle.  Don't lend mojo lightly.

    This aggression will not stand, man

    by kaleidescope on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 02:55:13 PM PDT

  •  Buying the Blogosphere (4.00)
    Excerpted from The Angry Chicken:

    By tying a bloggers revenue directly to the fate of the national party, the RNC has helped to bring conservative bloggers further towards the party's politics. This is especially noteworthy at a time when most Right-wing bloggers are Libertarians before Republicans. This is a way to buy the bloggers' loyalty.

    Before I hear the argument that dKos already take advertisements from Democrats; please consider that he gets paid regardless of whether his ads inspire donations. This program takes the next step.

    •  asdf (none)
      It's not the next step though, we (bloggers and the Democratic party) are not going there. In fact, I think it will be a monumental non-started. but what it does do is bring the RNC into the blogosphere, and gets them started in taking money from the rightwing voices. They've finally learned that attacking it only gets them further behind from starting themselves.
  •  there should be disclosure, either way (none)
    I think that web fundraisers should prominently disclose whether they get a cut or not. After all, if Blogger A takes 30% off the top, and Blogger B gives all the money to the political campaign or charity, then those who care about the cause will give through Blogger A.

    Also, if our guys are raising funds on a volunteer basis, we should brag about it: we raise money because they care, they raise money because they get 30%.

  •  Multi-level marketing (none)
    Earlier this year, Matt Bai wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine about the GOP's organizing strategy, and how it resembles multi-level marketing companies like Amway.

    This is taking the MLM concept one step farther.

    In politics, sometimes the jackasses are on your side.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 03:22:41 PM PDT

    •  Ugh (none)
      I probably wrote some of the software they're using. :(

      I knew I hated working there for a reason.

    •  Amway (none)
      is a huge GOP contributor, one of the biggest. This is strange to me. Does anyone really buy Amway? Do you buy your cleaning supplies out of someone's garage? I may just be out of loop, but, I have never known anyone to buy Amway products. Is it a Mid West thing like wearing a cheese wedge hat?

      If you look at who has more smaller contributors, Bush was second only to Dean. Edwards had the least.

      The Democratic Party had no interest in online anything until us Deaniacs made it pay. Remember the point in the Primary when Kerry "enveloped" the Dean message, all the while getting his shady cohorts to run smear ads?

      All of a sudden the phony populism of the corporate contolled Kerry campaign has given us a "seat at the table?"

      I love your sreen name.

      The DLC/DNC wants the country back, but, won't tell us what the heck they are going to do with it after they take our money and we get more lies. If its anything like the Clinton years we should be wary. Democrats lost seats, governships and local races under Clinton at an alarming rate.

      Not to mention the integrity our party lost by turning a blind eye to Clinton drug smuggling ties and money laundering. The Clinton presidency was the most corrupt of any presidency ever. It hurts me to say that having voted for the guy twice and defending him staunchly during MonicaGate. The evidence, however, is too glaring to overlook and the effect on the party too serious to whitewash.

      When crises such as the phony war on terror force us to sacrifice our best and brightest and bravest like Cynthia McKinney ... like a Governor Dean, it does not bode well.

      Fighting corruption and those that profit from death means abandoning the party line. I think that is sad, and dangerous as it smacks of fascism and cover up.

      I'm taking my table back.  

  •  Pro Fundraisers (none)
    when a candidate files a report, do they file the Gross take or the Net Take?  and if it's the former, in what manner (title, line item, etc.)do they report the commission?
  •  It's the people, stupid (none)
    Democrats realize that there are so many people - voters - behind our bundlers.  I'm glad they're paying attention, instead of just taking our money.

    "I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians."~Charles De Gaulle *CHEERS to blogs!*

    by spyral on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 04:02:14 PM PDT

  •  If no one loves you, buy some (4.00)
    The bottom line message on this program is that the Republicans don't have any real e-roots.  Because their message is fundamentally a dishonest con, it can't propagate itself through an e-roots network the way a real set of memes can.

    They don't have a movement, so they're trying to buy a simulation.  If they raise lots of money this way (which I doubt they'll do), they'll pitch it to the press and say "see, we can do the web just as well as the progressives."  And some members of the press will buy it, even though it won't be true.

    Prostitution and marriage have some characteristics in common, but that doesn't make them the same thing.

  •  OT: Ditka to not run (none)
    Local evening news in Urbana, IL just reported that Mike Ditka announced in an interview with a local radio station that he is not going to run for the Senate seat.

    My guess is that he figured out it was going to be a pain in the ass, at the end of which he was going to lose big time to Obama anyway, and where the heck is the fun in that?

  •  It's all what you see in people: (none)
    "This is an impressive crowd: the haves ... and the have-mores.  Some people call you the elite; I call you my base."

    ~~G. W. Bush  


    by GOTV on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 04:52:54 PM PDT

  •  Some raise funds, some attack (none)
    Whoopie gets the can from Slim Fast after a GOP E-Mail/Phone blitz condemning her performance at the Fundraiser.

    She was a saint compared to the horrific things the GOoPers said about President Clinton and his family during their stay in the White House.


    •  Whoopi responds (4.00)
      "Ask me if I care. Those shakes gave me the shits anyway. and they tasted like pulped cardboard."

      Gosh, do you suppose Whoopi's hurting for money because of this?  I say we have bigger things to worry about.

      But if you insist...maybe we can get Michael Moore to publicly lose 50 lbs using a competitor's diet product.  That'll show 'em!

      George Bush's body is marching on, but his truth lies a-mouldering in the grave.

      by AdmiralNaismith on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 05:18:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No Surprise (none)
    Why should they treat their own staff with any more respect than they treat America's veterans?

    George Bush's body is marching on, but his truth lies a-mouldering in the grave.

    by AdmiralNaismith on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 05:13:14 PM PDT

  •  Two ideas (none)
    I have two ideas:
    1. Don't you think that someone should take it upon themselves to contact everyone doing fundraising for Bush to remind them that they will have a tax liability of 30% of all the funds they raise?  I mean, some people might forget that they have to report this to the IRS -- a friendly reminder would really be going them a big favor.
    2. For those people raising funds and not taking the 30% -- for instance the Pioneers and Rangers -- don't you think that the 30% they are foregoing ought to be treated not as part of the original contribution, but as a contribution from the bundler?  That would mean both that the bundlers would have an increased liability (their part of the contribution not being tax deductible), but also that they would be limited to bundling about $7,000 each -- because any more and their 30% would take them over the $2,000 individual contribution limit.
    Just a couple of thoughts. . .

    George W. Bush -- It's mourning in America.

    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jul 14, 2004 at 06:48:31 PM PDT

    •  gee, larry (none)
      does that mean we should require Kos to itemize each post (or comment, for that matter - that signature could cost you!) as an in-kind donation?

      Or maybe we should force every volunteer on every federal campaign to file a report on the market value of each envelope they stuff?

      Oh, and Larry - political donations aren't tax-deductible in the first place. Happy to help in the education.

      •  Wow. . . (none)
        Does that mean we should require Kos to itemize each post (or comment, for that matter - that signature could cost you!) as an in-kind donation?

        Or maybe we should force every volunteer on every federal campaign to file a report on the market value of each envelope they stuff?

        Oh, and Larry - political donations aren't tax-deductible in the first place. Happy to help in the education.

        Wow!  You missed every single important point in my post!

        First off, no, Kos would not have to itemize each post, because posts are not campaign contributions.  

        Secondly, Kos would not have to account to the IRS for his share of the funds he raises here because only the Republicans offer their web fundraisers the 30% commission.

        Third, you are required to account for stationery you donate to a campaign and the value does count against your $2,000 maximum contribution limit.

        Finally, my post only makes sense because the contributions are not tax deductible.  If they were tax deductible, an individual forgoing the 30% commission would not be liable for tax on it, even if it were deemed to be a contribution to the campaign.

        Sorry to be so snarky, but, in this case at least, it's not my education that needs contributing to.

        George W. Bush -- It's mourning in America.

        by LarryInNYC on Thu Jul 15, 2004 at 06:46:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  whoa! (none)
    do i get a hat tip for hashing out that distinction with you?
  •  Considered unethical (none)
    I'm a little late to the party here, because this is my first post.  I've been lurking for months and learning a lot, and this is the first time I felt I could contribute meaningfully to the discussion on a topic I'm sure about.  I have been a professional fundraiser for 16 years.

    The Association of Fundraising Professionals states in its code of ethics that fundraisers are not to accept a percentage or cut of donations as payment for services.  It's absolutely NOT an option for real professionals.

    Yes, there are client organizations who will offer those terms, and yes, there are fundraisers who will accept them.  But both are considered distasteful and a little slimy.  A well run agency will pay its fundraisers from its operating budget.  Fundraisers on staff receive a specific annual salary, with raises, benefits, etc., just as other agency employees do.  They may receive a budgeted, specific bonus (say $5,000) if they achieve their annual goal, but it may NOT be calculated as a percentage of the amount raised.  The only way in which a professional fundraiser's salary is tied to his financial performance is that he may very well lose his job if he consistently cannot reach his goals.

    In the case of an outside consultant who works on a specific campaign or project, an ethical professional will agree to work a specific number of hours for a set project fee, or will contract for a per-hour fee.  This arrangement protects the professional as well as the agency, because there's a LOT of rejection in fundraising.  A fundraiser can spend a great deal of time on a proposal or campaign and do everything perfectly, but the appeal may be declined by the donor for any number of reasons.  The professional should still be paid for his work.

    The bottom line is that a real professional fundraiser must act with absolute integrity to maintain the trust of the donor.  Donors epect that their gifts will sustain and expand the agency's programs and stated mission, not line a hired gun's pockets.  In fact, most corporate and foundation funders will not accept a proposal that includes a fundraiser's fee percentage as a part of the program's budget.

    Sorry to disagree with you, kos, but I couldn't overlook your assumption that all professional fundraisers are paid by percentage.  Definitely NOT TRUE!

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