How Much To Ask? Platforms, Parties, and Suggested Amounts in Political Fundraising

02 November 2021, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


How much do political campaigns ask for contributions, and how do they vary by electoral characteristics and fundraising environments? When soliciting donations, campaigns typically present a set of suggested amounts to procure more money from potential donors. However, we know almost nothing about how campaigns make these demand-side choices. This paper builds benchmark observations and analyzes how political parties and fundraising platforms shape these decisions, using data collected from U.S. federal candidates and fundraising platforms in 2020. Candidates' average suggested amounts differ by party, state-level average income, and fundraising platforms. Ideologically extreme candidates did not solicit smaller dollars, and if anything, the opposite was documented. In addition, the representative digital fundraising platforms by party---ActBlue for Democrats, WinRed for Republicans---could influence campaign tactics such as effective, top-down adjustment for increased contribution limits. I conclude that platforms can be important, active players in the campaign finance ecosystem.


campaign finance
donation platforms
digital fundraising platforms
political parties
digital opportunity structures
campaign contributions
intermediary committee

Supplementary materials

Online Appendices
Online Appendices to How Much To Ask? Fundraising Platforms and Choices of Suggested Amounts in Political Donation Solicitations


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