According to the results of a new study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than half of Democratic campaign donors have contributed to a campaign through a politician’s official site or an email link. Specifically, fifty-seven percent of Democratic donors are comfortable with online contributions while only 34 percent of Republican donors contributed through the Web this year. Alternatively, eighty-seven percent of Republican donors contributed to campaigns via direct contact, over the telephone or through the postal service. Just fifty-seven percent of Democratic donors contributed through those methods.
In total, approximately thirteen percent of American adults contributed to a political candidate during the election season this year. Of that group, ten percent of the respondents donated money to a campaign utilizing a text message or a mobile application on a smartphone.
Similar to digital contributions through the Web, approximately fifteen percent of Democratic donors were comfortable with sending a contribution through a mobile phone while only six percent of Republican donors sent money to their favorite politician using that method.
The results of the study clearly indicate that Republicans are more comfortable giving money through offline channels while Democrats are more apt to embrace digital methods through computers, tablets and smartphones. However, contributing to a campaign using a text message is a relatively new process. While non-profits have been able to accept donations through text messages for several years, political campaigns didn’t gain this ability until a few months ago.
During June 2012, the Federal Elections Commission approved a change to campaign finance law that allows an American citizen to text a specific amount of money to a five digit number specified by the campaign. Working with the mobile phone providers, the donation is charged to the next bill. The Federal Elections Commission also put a cap on text message donations at $50 per billing cycle.