Twitter has teamed with Square on a service that allows donors to give money to a campaign through a tweet.
The social media company, which has seen its stock price plummet in recent months, made the announcement ahead of the second GOP presidential debate set for Wednesday at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
While the timing is seemingly tailored for Republicans to kick start their online fundraising programs, consultants working that side of the aisle haven’t been enthused about their donation prospects on social media. That’s because, they say, the demographics of the users don’t lineup with their donor base.
Some consultants were receptive to the new tool-albeit with a caveat. "For national and statewide candidates with a large fundraising reach, Twitter fundraising certainly a net positive: it's a cost effective platform that can connect campaign with new donors and spread their message to a diverse audience," said Kirsten Borman, a GOP fundraising consultant. "However, fundraising by tweet will only be as effective as the campaign's overall fundraising strategy — if you don't have a narrative that is connecting with voters in 140 characters or less, then tweeting a link to a donation portal isn't going to make money fall out of the sky."
Still, some of the candidates quickly launched a #cashtag Tuesday. Rand Paul’s campaign tweeted: “Stand With Rand by chipping in a few dollars to support the campaign!” together with a unique #cashtag.
John Kasich also got in on the action tweeting: “Chip in $5 or more today and help us continue our #Momentum.” While the Clinton campaign also adopted the tool, Jeb Bush had yet to send a #cashtag tweet by Wednesday morning.
“When you see a Tweet containing a candidate’s $Cashtag and hit the ‘contribute’ button, the Tweet will enable you to select a donation amount and add your debit card and FEC required information,” Twitter said on its company blog. “This is the fastest, easiest way to make an online donation, and the most effective way for campaigns to execute tailored digital fundraising, in real time, on the platform where Americans are already talking about the 2016 election and the issues they are passionate about.”
Candidates can sign up for the service through cash.me and once they’re verified “can Tweet a unique URL, or $Cashtag, to request donations from supporters.”
Twitter isn’t the first to enter the social media-campaign fundraising space. Facebook has long had a donate option. Total-Apps recently launched a service that lets campaigns raise money while a video plays on Facebook or through a Twitter link.