Does this bring in money or votes? Newsletter 2

Welcome to the second edition of “Does this bring in money or votes?”, the DNC Mobilization team’s official newsletter! I’m Christen Sparago, our Sustaining Donor Manager, and I’m writing this issue. I’m so excited to be sharing a bit about our monthly giving program with you!


The Mobilization team created the Sustaining Donor Manager position to manage our monthly giving program, the Grassroots Partners, in early 2019, as a part of our broader focus to provide the eventual nominee for President with programs that are sustain-able (sorry) and easily transferable. 

One of the things I love most about this program is that it is truly cross-channel: our monthly donors give through the mail, telemarketing, ads and SMS, and (of course) email. As a result, I get to work with almost every pod on the Mobilization team, and a big part of my job is thinking about ways we can make the donor experience cohesive and integrated. 

In May of last year, President Obama partnered with the DNC to unveil the Democratic Unity Fund. Since then, emails focused on messages of unity have brought on the most sustainers when compared with any other topic -- even when we’re not asking specifically for monthly gifts. When Barack Obama is the sender of a Unity Fund email, the average sustaining donation spikes from our program average of $18 to $45. 

Across all channels, we’ve had the most success recruiting new sustainers from donors who have made more than 2 gifts in a single year -- these donors are committed to the DNC, and being able to ‘set-and-forget’ their support by starting a monthly gift is a low-lift way for them to have a huge impact. We saw strong results last month with this segment in telemarketing campaigns conducted to ask donors to either become a sustainer, or to ask current sustainers to increase their monthly giving.

Our monthly donors are digging deep to support the DNC’s goals, but keeping our sustainers engaged -- and getting them back when they stop donating -- is an evergreen project. In April of last year, I began peer-to-peer texting donors who had cancelled their recurring gift within 48 hours of their cancellation. I learned that simply asking donors to reconsider pulling their support works about 10% of the time, and nearly 70% of the donors I’ve messaged have responded and have been willing to engage in a meaningful conversation about the DNC’s goals (higher than I expected). For those who reply no, an ask at 60-70% of their original monthly gift + a reminder that the DNC is building the eventual nominee’s campaign right now (and that Trump has had a 3-year head start) has been most successful with these folks. And, bonus: those who sign up again increase their giving by about 12%!

In past cycles, we’ve had some difficulty with donors cancelling their donations shortly after each election: 

Here’s a snapshot of monthly gift revenue from January 2016 through March 2017. Can you tell when the election happened?

...ouch. So one of the problems I’m tackling in 2020 is: how do we keep donors invested in our programs after major landmarks, like elections or even ends-of-quarter. (If your organization has a monthly giving program and you’d like to chat about this very problem, feel free to email me at!)

Job opportunities: 

We are about to launch a BRAND NEW paid fellowship program at the DNC called Operation 2020! As such, we are looking for digital organizing fellows that we hire  part-time in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Fellows will receive an extensive weekend long boot camp followed by weekly enrichment activities. We especially need more Pennsylvania applicants, so if you or someone you know is from Pennsylvania, please share! 

Operation 2020 Digital Organizing Fellowship, Remote

🧵Thread we think you should read (and retweet) 🧵


Thank you so much for reading! Stay tuned for the next edition, and in the meantime, don’t forget to forward this to any Democratic digital friends, or friends who work with monthly donors!

265 days until the weekend,

Christen Sparago