You’re supposed to make your emergency plans before there’s an emergency, so I thought we might want to take a look at our fundraising for this cycle now – before we know the outcomes.
So if you’re interested, let’s take a minute and look at what we’ve been up to.
How We Got Here
DougJ and I talked on the phone after the 2020 elections and the 2021 Georgia runoffs. We were both thrilled with how much we had been able to raise on Balloon Juice, we had the House and the Senate, and we didn’t regret for a second the nearly $900,000 we had raised for Georgia!
But what about some of the other races we gave money to, when it turned out that those candidates really didn’t have a chance, and some of them had unspent money after the election was over?
So we wanted to try something new. Starting in 2021, giving mostly to boots on the ground organizations – early money! That money does help candidates, and it builds a bridge to the future, even if this or that particular candidate doesn’t win.
That was in February of 2020, I think, maybe early March. Voces de la Frontera was the first group I reached out to. And so it began.
How Much Did We Raise, and Who Did We Raise It For?
Broad strokes? Beginning in May of 2021, we helped raise over $800.000.00.
$450,000 of that was direct donations, and $350,000 was match money that organizations were able to raise because we contacted them and said “we’ll raise you this much if you can match that”. And so the matches and double-matches, and Balloon Juice Angel matches were born.
Boots on the Ground
Our boots on the ground organizations were in these states: AZ, GA, MI, NV, WI. (Plus TX – $10k to the Democratic Party.)
$300,000 of our Balloon Juice fundraising went to boots on the ground organizations.
$350,000 of our external match money – all of it – went to boots on the ground organizations.
Taken together, we put $650,000 into the hands of boots on the ground organizations.
$154,000 went directly to candidates, but even so, all of those funds were targeted.
$21,000 of that went to just 3 candidates for flash fundraising because they really needed a boost right now: Charlie Crist right after he won the nomination, Catherine Masto-Cortez when she was really struggling, and Cisco Aguilar just last week when word on the ground from NV was that they needed help now for that critical race.
$73,000 of that went to 20 House races that were very close, or were considered toss-ups. (Even though the polls are mostly worthless this year, that and word from folks on the ground are all we have to go on, so you use what you have.)
$40,000 of that went to our Election Protection thermometer. 5 Attorneys General in key states where opponents are election deniers (AZ, GA, NV, TX, WI). 4 Secretaries of State in key states where opponents are election deniers (AZ, GA, NV, WI). Two governors in key states (AZ and NV). 7 judicial candidates running for their state Supreme Courts (MI, OH, NC). All those candidates protecting our rights in 2022 and who, if elected, can hold the line for democracy in 2024.
$19,000 of that went our proof-of-concept experiment: that contributing to down-ballot candidates can not only support people who are running for state races, but can also help with turnout and can trickle-up to the people toward the top of the ticket.
So, knowing what we know now – because in making choices we don’t have the advantage of hindsight – let’s take stock of where we put our fundraising money for 2021-22.
Do we mostly feel good about where the money went? Or not so good? Can we identify opportunities that were left on the table?
Let’s start the conversation now, before the results are in.