This AP story hits on a few important nuggets. First, Governor Dean is the first candidate to raise $1m on the Internet in this election cycle. Perhaps more interesting is this quote:
Though many of the 2004 hopefuls have the potential to raise millions over the Internet in coming months, none has highlighted their Internet campaigning to the extent Dean has. The one-time governor, like other relatively unknown candidates before him, had little choice, said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist. …
“They can’t afford high-priced consultants. They can’t afford direct mail, which eats up sometimes 80 percent of what it raises,” Sabato said. “So they have to depend on person-to-person fund raising, and that’s the Internet. There’s almost no overhead with Internet fund raising.”
Let’s spin this another way: the money Governor Dean is raising is better money than what some of the other campaigns are raising. If the 80 percent figure is accurate, that means that a dollar raised through traditional means is worth just $.20 to the campaign (once you factor out the cost of raising that dollar).
Sabato says there’s almost no overhead to the Internet fundraising model – but let’s be conservative and say that it takes 10% of the money raised. That means for every dollar raised online, the campaign pockets $.90.
Put another way: money raised on the Internet is nearly five times more valuable than money raised through traditional fundraising.
Certainly puts the fundraising totals in a whole new light, doesn’t it?
Side note: the more I read about Joe Trippi, the more excited I am that he’s on board. More on that later.