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Vote of Confidence

Fundraisers on both sides of the presidential campaign are hoping supporters will put their faith in technology to add to their candidate's of choice war chest.

November 2012 by Katie Kuehner-Hebert
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President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are employing increasingly sophisticated tools to get more people to donate to their campaigns. From text donations to sending e-mails encouraging supporters to buy T-shirts to using online video games to attract supporters to displaying actual Facebook friends who have "liked" the campaign — the candidates are counting on the "cool" factor to lure new donors, particularly Gen Xers and Gen Yers, experts say.

But the verdict is still out on how many people actually feel comfortable with the brave new world that technology — particularly mobile technology — is birthing.

For example: Both campaigns now have the capability to allow supporters to send money to them via text donations. The service for both campaigns is actually provided by payvia, a Los Angeles unit of m-Qube that was launched in July.

"The ability to donate by texting directly increases conversion rates because it is so easy to use," payvia President Darcy Wedd says. "Conversion rates depend on the type of product, but they generally range from three times to six times the conversion rates with credit cards."

Wedd explains why: When donating using a credit card, a supporter has to type in his or her credit card number, address, expiration date, and three- or four-digit security code. But with text donations, payvia just needs a short code to do the transaction.

Supporters can start payvia's process either through their mobile devices or online using a personal computer or a laptop, he says.

Using their smartphones or tablets, Obama supporters can text "Give" to donate $10 to the president's dedicated short code, 62262; Romney supporters can text "Give" to his code, 37377. (For other amounts, supporters can text Give5 to give $5, Give15 to give $15 and Give20 to give $20.)

Supporters are then prompted to reply "YES" to confirm the contribution, and the donation is charged directly to their carrier bills.

They also can start the process online by entering their mobile phone numbers on the campaign site's mobile opt-in page, Wedd says. Their contributions are authenticated using a unique, one-time, four-digit PIN sent to the users' mobile to authorize the transaction.

 

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