September 18th, 2009

A Knotty and Extremely Focused Problem in Netroots Karma: We Need To Raise Between $500 and $800 By Monday To Buy Locally (Now With New “Almost There” Update)

by Philip Baruth

Hard to know where your money goes, when you contribute to a political campaign. But as I’ve said before, online campaigns with a strong commitment to transparency work differently: I believe that the more you know about this campaign for the State Senate, the more invested you’ll feel, and the more help you’ll feel comfortable giving. As a result, your ideas, your expertise, and your contributions will structure the way the campaign can be run. Simple.

Here’s today’s focused campaign problem: we need to order bumper stickers so that they can be printed in time for the campaign kick-off, on Tuesday night, September 29. Nothing fancy, just a rendition of the campaign logo, but very necessary as a way to deliver message in a far-flung county like Chittenden.

Two basic options available: we can have an initial run of 1,000 bumper stickers printed out of state, maybe even out of the country, for $442.71 (386.07 + $56.64 shipping to deliver on the 28th).

Or we can have them printed locally, in Chittenden County, for $577.58 with no shipping charges.

The difference isn’t huge, but it’s a fairly large percentage of what we’re spending. The truth of globalization is that whatever a campaign needs can be produced cheaper elsewhere, even with stiff shipping costs.

But regardless of what seems initially to be the bottom line, my thinking is always this: buy locally wherever and whenever possible, because the intangible benefits will accrue the more of it we manage as a society. Not to mention that we opt out of the race to the bottom that keeps wages and benefits low elsewhere in the world.

But that begs the question: Can this particular State Senate campaign afford to buy locally?

My answer: you tell me.

I’m wondering if we can raise the second total between now and Monday, online. If so, that’ll allow the campaign to shop locally, which is to say that supporters will be shaping not just the policy structure of the campaign, but the actual nuts and bolts as well.

So that’s 577$ to buy 1000 stickers locally, at a minimum.

But for $802.o2 we can buy 2,500 stickers locally, and for $1206 we can stock in 5,000 stickers and not have to worry about this sort of thing for a good long while.

The Act Blue link is here. Just click this link, and the whole process will take under three minutes.

You tell me what’s possible. Contribute if you can, and if the local economy is something you care about and want to boost. And we’ll go from there. I’d love to able to write a long, satisfying piece on Monday saying that the will and the way exists. Out there, somewhere.

Where you are.

Upbeat Mid-Saturday Afternoon Update, 9/19:

A wonderful response so far: 10 contributors, for a total of nearly $400. At that pace, we can certainly shoot for the higher end of the goal by lights-out on Monday. Remember, this is about buying locally and buying in bulk, as much as possible: being a smart Vermont shopper, with a conscience.

So if we can double the low-end total and raise the $802.02 mentioned above, we can make the best use of everyone’s precious resources.

One last note: a significant portion of the help so far is coming from those who already gave once, or even twice, earlier this past summer. And that’s a beautiful thing; those people have serious heart, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

But I am hoping we can convince others to make their first contribution now, when there’s time enough for the effects to be leveraged and multiplied. That’s the way I think of this first shipment of bumper stickers: a year’s worth of advertising at pennies on the dollar.

Pennies on the dollar spent locally, where it’s needed most.

Monday Morning Almost There Update, 6:25 am:

Picked up three more contributors over the weekend, bringing us within closing distance. We need $300 more, over the space of a single Monday, which is admittedly not the day anyone feels most optimistic or idealistic [Cue Boomtown Rats, “Tell Me Why/I Don’t Like Mondays.”]

Another way to look at it: we reached 100 donors to the campaign back in July, but a good chunk of those were traditional, check in the mail donors. So our Act Blue donor number has been below 100 to date, but it now stands at 95.

Love to push that to 100 today as well. Click here if you can help.

So if you were one of those kids who liked to watch 6 numbers roll over on the odometer at once, when you were off on a car trip with the family, maybe you can help us out for old time’s sake.

Monday Semi-Final Lunchable Update, 11:47 am:

Brilliant. We’ve crossed the 100 donor mark on Act Blue, but we’re still just 150$ or so shy of the 800$ mark. With five hours or so to go. Many, many thanks to those who have kicked in so far. Heroes, one and all.