Campaigns have fundamentally changed over the last twenty years and are more people-powered than ever! While candidates still need compelling ideas, the ways supporters get involved with a campaign have totally changed. The barrier to entry has been lowered, and there is space for more people to be involved in the political process. Technology has greatly contributed to this shift, bringing candidates and issues right to a person in a way that works for them — mainly through email! This means that campaigns are spending more time talking to you.

Here at ActBlue, we are all about strengthening the horizontal relationship between campaigns and their small-dollar donors. There’s no denying that during an election cycle, our inboxes can be full of emails from different candidates and organizations encouraging us to get involved. However, behind every email there is a purpose, and it’s not always to get a donation! Many email programs are centered around cultivating a real relationship with their subscribers. Email provides a direct connection between candidates and supporters, creating an accessibility that simply wasn’t there before email programs and digital fundraising became popular. Here are some emails you might recognize!

Messaging Emails:

Running a grassroots campaign means candidates have to authentically and regularly keep supporters informed and engaged with their campaign. Messaging emails are centered around updating their supporters on what is happening on the campaign trail, a new policy rollout, big moments in the news cycle, and other important topics that subscribers might want to know more about. These emails give supporters an opportunity to learn more about a candidate and why they deserve support. And sometimes, messaging emails are about hearing from you! Many campaigns will ask supporters to share their stories, give their input via a survey, or sign a petition regarding a specific policy.

Grassroots Fundraising Emails:

Small-dollar donors are essential to the infrastructure of grassroots campaigns. Fundraising emails are used to bring more supporters into the fold, giving them a stake and a voice in important races. Campaigns can be expensive, and candidates need money to pay their staff, travel all over to meet the people they are hoping to represent, and cover many other expenses.

More and more candidates are looking to supporters to invest in their campaigns so they can build an inclusive movement that has the community support it takes to win. Here’s what Laticia, a small-dollar donor from Florida, has to say about fundraising emails:

I never gave to campaigns, but now I’m contributing regularly, albeit in small amounts. I feel connected with the candidate when I contribute. I receive their emails of gratitude and notes of campaign progress. I appreciate the honing of their ideas into policies and can witness the strength of their campaigns. By giving small amounts through ActBlue, I remain connected.

These relationships with grassroots donors also free candidates from big money and having to spend significant amounts of time courting one or two mega-donors. This means candidates can spend more time connecting with and serving constituents! Small-dollar donors have made our political landscape more representative and diverse than ever before, and this movement is only going to continue to lower the barrier of entry to politics! But don’t take it from us — check out what other grassroots donors across the country have to say about why they chip in.

Organizing Emails:

Grassroots campaigns rely on more than just small-dollar donations — they need people-powered support in every aspect of their campaign. Organizing emails let supporters know about opportunities to get involved in the campaign through events, canvassing, and phone banking. There are endless ways to support a candidate, and organizing is a great way to create a community within a campaign and meet other people who are passionate about the same issues as you!

Emails are an important way to stay informed about a candidate and the causes they care about. Every campaign email you get has a specific purpose, and that is to provide you with information and opportunities. That being said, if your inbox is overwhelming or you are no longer involved in a cause anymore, you can always unsubscribe. Campaigns want their supporters to feel excited when they get an email, and passionate supporters are the key to a healthy email list! It’s also important to note that ActBlue does not send fundraising emails (or texts) on behalf of any other candidates or groups.

Accessibility to a candidate is integral in ensuring they are fighting for you, and email is breaking down barriers between supporters and campaigns. We know how important it is to include all people in the political process and make sure everyone can be engaged and informed. So the next time you get an email from a campaign, take a moment to remember how far campaigns have come and the progress that has been made to ensure transparency and inclusion in the political process!

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