GOP takes a page from ActBlue’s playbook with WinRed donation platform


For well over a decade, the liberal left has had a secret weapon in the world of political fundraising:  ActBlue.

The non-profit fundraising platform works exclusively with democrats and left-leaning charities in order to streamline the donation process.  The idea is to put enough capital into research and development so that the return on investment increases exponentially, thanks to simpler, faster access to donor and their cash.  The groups spends much of their time working to make donating more appealing and more profitable, often steering users toward recurring, monthly, small donations.

Now, after years of dominance in the fundraising game, ActBlue has a true competitor over on the right side of the aisle.

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Last week, Republicans launched a new online fundraising tool called WinRed. It’s a platform they hope will close the gap between the GOP and Democrats, even though the digital highway is littered with their several previous failed attempts.

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WinRed, backed by President Trump’s reelection campaign and Republican Party committees and congressional leaders, has the party’s imprimatur in a way previous efforts did not. The effort is a partnership between Data Trust, a nonprofit clearinghouse for Republican data, and for-profit payment-processing firm Revv, and Republicans say the “green wave” of money that Democrats rode in 2018 will provide momentum for their own efforts.

It’s unclear whether this latest gambit will succeed, with political committees just starting to phase in WinRed. Even if it succeeds, it will certainly take time to catch up to ActBlue.

Why copy the left’s homework?  Because it worked.

ActBlue and Democrats “built an ecosystem that helped everybody,” said Josh Holmes, a Republican strategist who was heavily involved with discussions about what to do in the wake of the 2018 election. “They could fundraise off of each other, and they could come to a centralized platform that ultimately lifted every single boat, and Republicans just frankly didn’t have it.”

And the timing couldn’t be better, given how phenomenally Donald Trump has performed with small-dollar donors.

With WinRed in their corner, 2020 could very well be one of the strongest showings by the republicans in some time.

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