How fundraising can help Irish politics.

Interesting Youtube piece below from President Obama’s campaign manager about fundraising. In Europe, we tend to sneer at the effect money has on US elections, and how raising money is as important as getting actual votes, but there is a very positive side. In the US, it is very easy to donate money to candidates you support, and something that is done by millions of people as a very clear declaration of support.

In Ireland, giving money to candidates is sneered at as being almost corrupt. I’ve met people who cannot comprehend why you would give money to a politician if you weren’t getting something in return. The other side of it is that many people who do feel enthusiastic about a party or candidate are embarrassed that they can’t afford to donate a large sum of money, and so don’t donate at all, and that is something that candidates need to address. Thousands of small online donations should be the lifeblood of Irish politics, not a novelty. I can only recall one candidate (John McGuirk) in the last election who openly pointed out that he would be grateful for small donations.

The other side is that when you do donate, the candidates should have the decency to acknowledge it. I donated (very modestly) to a number of candidates in the last election. Some did not even acknowledge it, whereas one wrote back a handwritten letter thanking me and addressing the points I raised in my letter, and bear in mind that I had donated a very modest amount of money. Not only will I donate again to him in the future, but he was also elected.


One thought on “How fundraising can help Irish politics.

  1. Did some reasonably organised multi-pitch & multi-platform fundraising for the last campaign I ran, which was fairly successful (given comparator of not doing any real fundraising). But because fundraising isn’t taken seriously here (and there are generally plenty of nay-sayers when you want to try it), there isn’t a skills base within the parties or campaigns.
    I did make sure that the candidate at least emailed everyone who sent an electronic donation and wrote to everyone who sent one by post. But like you, that’s something I haven’t always seen when I’ve donated.

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