In this election season, political parties, candidates and groups are using various email schemes to get your attention – and some of your money.
Like making it seem as if a VIP – say, Hillary or The Donald – was sending you a personal message, complete with signature.
Or using the subject line to:
▪ Pique your curiosity (“You’ve seen this, right?”).
▪ Promote an issue (“If you care about our planet, I need you to add your name”).
▪ Stoke outrage (“A national embarrassment”).
▪ Issue an invitation (“Join me in Charlotte”).
▪ Or, lure you with a possible prize (“Last chance to win an AR-15”).
Rule No. 1 is to get the email to stand out from the scores of others in your in-box. The best way to do that: Make it seem like a personal message.
“Real quick, Tim,” read the top of an email from, supposedly, Joe Biden. Signed Joe, the vice president wanted me to make a “Quick Donate” of $10 or more to the Democratic National Committee.
“The attempt to personalize and individualize in our campaign environment is much like what we see (elsewhere) in our society,” said Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College in Salisbury. “On Netflix, you get an individualized suggestion on what movie to rent.”
Bitzer said political parties and campaigns are betting that such personalization might make you more willing to respond favorably to the pitch. Even if it’s by donating a few dollars.
“Candidates almost prefer for folks to give small amounts. Then they can keep going back, hitting them up for more,” Bitzer said. “Each ask would increase, and you would have to give a lot to hit the $2,700 limit.”
Here are 10 recent examples of politicians – or their ghost writers – asking for money:
“Tim, I’m asking for your help”
“We know that we can never, never allow Donald Trump to become President of the United States. Will you donate $3 or more today to keep that from happening and elect Democrats who will fight for everything we believe in?”
From: Hillary Clinton
“Thank you South Carolina!”
“We have won our second primary in a row, with many more victories to come. … The silent majority is no longer silent. … P.S. Show your support with official campaign merchandise (by buying hats and more at online store).”
From: Donald J. Trump
“Did you watch last night?”
“Gov. Pat McCrory went on The Kelly File last night. Did you get a chance to see it? The governor talked about our common-sense bathroom legislation. … We cannot stand by as out of state interests try to smear our Carolina Comeback story. Liberal special interests are pumping cash into our state and we need to stay on track to fight the attacks. Will you contribute $5 to help us reach our end of month goal?”
From: Team McCrory (for N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican running for a second term.)
“Yesterday, Governor McCrory signed what some are calling one of the most sweeping discrimination laws in the country. This is unacceptable. Roy will fight back and fight for equality for all of us – but he needs your help. … North Carolinians can’t afford these backwards policies. … We HAVE to step up and fight back. Join me and chip in $5 to help Roy.”
From: Team Cooper (for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, Democratic candidate for governor.)
“Sorry for the late note”
“I’m coming to you tonight to humbly ask for your support, prayers, and financial support. I know the toll this race has taken on both of us, but I must come to you now and ask. If you would click the donate button below and make the largest gift you can afford, Heidi and I would be so grateful.”
From: Ted Cruz’s iPad
“Anti-LGBT laws cost jobs”
“Not only did Republicans set North Carolina’s civil rights back decades, they chased away jobs, And still Senator Burr is continuing to insist that this law will not hurt our economy. … It’s time for a change. Help us replace Senator Burr by contributing $5 to our grassroots network.”
From: Deborah Ross (Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina.)
“You’ve seen this, right?”
“You’ve seen the headlines, Friend. This race is one of the toughest in the country – and the stakes couldn’t be higher. With big liberal groups pouring money into Deborah Ross’ campaign and our state, we’ve had to nearly double our fund-raising goal just to keep pace.”
From: Team Burr (For U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who is running for re-election.)
“Tim, I’m asking you to do this for Barack”
“Tim, we’ve come so far and made such a difference for people all across this country. But there’s plenty of work to do to keep building that more perfect union we all seek. And if you’re ready to continue that work, then I hope you’ll pitch in $3 or whatever you can to become an official State of the Union Donor.”
From: Michelle Obama
“THIS IS IT”
“It’s time for you to prove that you also believe in a confident America by standing up for our Republican Senate and House majority and our bold conservative reforms with a donation of just $30 or more.”
From: (U.S. House Speaker) Paul Ryan
“They’re attacking my wife”
“The establishment’s attack dogs just reached a new low by attacking my wife in one of their most recent radio ads. … So please, Tim, chip in a generous contribution at once to help me fight back.”
From: Dr. Greg Brannon (Republican candidate for North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district.)