02/04/20

Small Dollar Donors Making Big 2020 Impact

As the 2020 elections begin to heat up in Texas, much of the focus will certainly be on the money flowing into the candidates’ war chests. If early numbers for this election cycle are any indicator, small dollar donors will have a big impact on the upcoming elections.

The prevailing narrative in recent years has included a heavy focus on megadonors, with concerns about some individuals “buying” influence in Austin. However, the data in the past has consistently shown small donors have a substantial impact on the funds being raised by candidates. In 2018, 98 percent of contributions reported came from small dollar donors who made contributions of $1,000 or less. Even with relatively small individual totals, those contributions made up 33 percent of the total raw funds raised during the election cycle.

The 2020 numbers are again in line with this trend, with small dollar donors having a big impact on the campaign dollars raised during the most recent reporting cycle.

98% of Donors Gave $1,000 or less

For the most recent reports filed, 98 percent of donations were equal to or less than $1,000. While this is a big statistic alone, there is even more to be learned from these numbers. Considering just raw totals alone, contributions of $1,000 or less made up an even larger share of the total funds raised than in 2018. This year’s reports show over a third of the total funds raised during the most recent reporting cycle came at $1,000 or less, totaling $69,693,961 or 37 percent of all funds raised. 

Number of Unique Donations:Total Amount of Donations:
2020 Election Cycle1,122,294$ 187,441,300.54
Donations Less Than or Equal to $1,0001,104,472$69,693,961.61
Percent of the Total98%37%

With small dollar contributions equalling a larger percentage of the total amount of funds raised versus two years ago, there seems to be plenty of interest among voters in the upcoming elections. It is still to be seen if the uptick in the small dollar percentage equates to an uptick in voter turnout in 2020. However, the number of contributions candidates report before the election can often be an indicator of overall interest in the race and the candidate’s campaign. If voters are willing to make a contribution, they are more likely to show up to the polls on election day.

Bottom Line:

Voters and politicians alike have plenty of reasons to be enthused by these numbers for 2020. With an overall increase in small dollar contribution impact in Texas, these totals make one thing crystal clear: small contributions matter. 

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