More than a third of Americans say they plan to donate to a political campaign in 2020, according to a new report from CompareCards. In fact, of those who have donated previously, more than half said they gave specifically after seeing a social media post directing them to do so.
- 49% of Generation Z and 41% of millennials say they plan to donate to a political campaign in 2020. Overall, 36% of Americans say they plan to do so.
- Just 32% of Americans say they have donated to a political campaign in the past.
- Of those who have donated previously, more than half said they gave specifically after seeing a social media post directing them to do so.
- Though 43% of those who have donated to a political campaign used a credit card for their most recent contribution, 2 in 3 Americans don’t realize that part of donations made with credit cards is typically used by the campaign to pay card processing fees.
- The most common reason given for not planning to make a donation in 2020? They can’t afford it. Thirty-nine percent said that, while 20% simply said they’re not interested in politics.
- More men said they were likely to donate than women (41% to 31%).
- High-income Americans were more likely than low-income Americans to say they’d donate. (49% of those earning $100,000 or more plan to donate in 2020 versus 30% of those earning less than $25,000.)
- And Democrats were slightly more likely to say they’d donate than Republicans (44% to 39%), though Republican donors were more likely to say they’d donate larger amounts.
Among those who do plan to donate, the top two reasons given were that they passionately support the candidate (32%), and that they passionately support their party (20%). Another 11% said their contribution is at least in part due to their staunch opposition to another candidate.
Our report found that among those who had donated in previous elections, more than half (52%) said they had done so specifically after seeing a social media post from a campaign asking them to donate. Perhaps not surprisingly, the younger you are, the more likely you are to have said so.
Credit cards are by far the most common way to donate to a political campaign, our survey found. Of those who had donated in the past, 43% had done so with a credit card, compared with 25% who did so with a debit card and about 15% who had used either a check or cash.
Just like any retailer, political parties and candidates pay fees to accept credit cards. Those processing fees are often taken out of the amount of the donation. An analysis of Federal Election Commission data done by Newsy showed that federal political campaigns paid $51.5 million in credit card fees during the 2016 election cycle. The report also shows that costs will likely go higher in 2020.
As you might expect in today’s hyperpolarized America, there’s a thread of skepticism about the state of today’s politics running through our survey results. For example,
- 88% of Americans agree that money has too much influence in politics.
- 31% don’t think political donations from the average American make a difference.
Still, despite those numbers, our survey also shows that huge numbers of Americans want to be active in the process. They want to support their candidate, their party or their cause, and they’re willing to put up their hard-earned money to do so.
As with anything involving your money, however, it’s wise to be cautious. Here are a couple of tips you can take to make sure your donation goes as planned.
- Pay with credit if donating online: When it comes to protection against fraud, credit cards are clearly the best choice.
- Read the fine print before doing a recurring donation: Before you sign up and allow a campaign or a party to charge your card on a regular basis, be sure you understand what you’re getting into.
- Trust your gut: If an ad, website or some other solicitation for money doesn’t feel right to you, steer clear. Instead, go directly to the official website for the campaign or the party in question.