Election 2008: Obama T-shirt as Fundraising Loss Leader

Today I received an email from the Barack Obama campaign offering a free t-shirt to anyone donating $30 or more before June 30th. Now, this offer probably doesn’t actually lose them money, but for anyone donating only $30 it probably doesn’t raise much money, either. At least, not on the first donation. One of the reasons the Obama campaign has been so successful at fundraising is by aggregating small donations from many (over 1.5 million, I believe) supporters. One of the key benefits of this strategy versus getting maximum donations from fewer donors is the fact that small donors are able to give repeatedly over the course of the campaign. obama-t-shirt promotion

So, with four months left to go in the campaign, there’s a lot of potential lifetime value in new donors attracted by this offer. The low cost and high return on the first donation make them more comfortable taking that first step towards becoming a donor. As we move towards the election, the Obama campaign is likely to receive future donations from many of these new supporters as long as they can continue to give compelling reasons for people to remain involved and keep donating. Of course, the Barack Obama t-shirt also helps them spread the word, show their support, and really feel more a part of the team.

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