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Obama campaign chooses Payvia for SMS donations

People can now text "GIVE" to donate up to $50 a month for the Obama re-election campaign

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
August 30, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/29d2

With the race to the White House in full swing, organization and donation technology can mean the difference between winning and losing. 

About a month ago, the Obama campaign released the iPhone app that synchronizes with Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS, as well as a web app, Dashboard, on the OFA website to keep its thousands of volunteers on the same page. 

The app includes events and actions tabs to let people RSVP for nearby events, register yourself to vote, help register other voters, become a volunteer in a local “team,” and even canvass your neighborhood.

The canvass section is the most interactive feature for the app. It lets you load a list of households to visit in your current location, get information on individual voters (including first name and last initial, age, and registered political party) and load a script to refer to during the whole interaction process. And you can enter people’s responses directly into the app in real time, then send it back to VoteBuilder, a voter database tool used by the Democratic National Committee.

Now, the Obama campaign is using a tech startup Payvia to collect donations via mobile devices.

Payvia is the exclusive vendor to power the campaign contributions for Obama for America group, making this is the first time politicians have been able to receive donations this way – something that was made possible by the FEC’s ruling in June that authorized this grassroots method for political fundraising.

All supporters have to do is text “GIVE” to 62262 for those on Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. AT&T will be on board in the soon, according to a press release put out by the campaign. Donations, however, are capped at $50 per month, and $10 per text, per FEC rules.  

Mitt Romney’s campaign has not announced a precise time it will be live for their supporters, but word is that it will be soon and the text code will be “GOMITT” or 466488.

Payvia was spun out from m-Qube, which started a transaction and carrier billing network in 2004, and is now competing with Boku, Zong, Bango, Netsize, and others.

Considering the hundreds of millions that the Super PAC allow companies and individuals to donate, the ability to send small amounts so easily from your phone does redistribute some power to the individuals that can't build a Super PAC. 

“Accepting small donations by text message will help us engage even more grassroots supporters who want to play a role by donating whatever they can afford to the campaign,” campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement.

One area that is still unclear is how much the wireless carriers and third-party processors will charge campaigns for collecting these text donations. It is not unheard of that these fees could swallow up as much as half of the total in some commercial transactions. An Obama official said the campaign will “pay the most competitive rates available in the marketplace to ensure our supporters have the greatest impact with their contribution,” but declined to provide details, according to the New York Times.


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