President Barack Obama’s small donor fundraising in 2011 outpaced all of his Republican opponents combined ($56.7 million to $38.1 million). In fact, Obama’s haul from small donors (ones whose contributions aggregated to $200 or less) was more than the $56.3 million that Mitt Romney, the leading GOP fundraiser, received from all donors combined (see Table 1). Because small donors can give again, and may be willing to serve as campaign volunteers, successful small donor fundraising can serve a political purpose that goes well beyond the reported dollars.
It is important to note that the Campaign Finance Institute has calculated and is reporting the aggregate amounts from the same donor, adding up multiple contributions that are shown to have come from the same person. The percentages therefore will be lower than those in reports that talk about contributions (not aggregated) of $200-or-less.
The President has been able to capitalize on the 13-million person mailing list he assembled in 2008 to launch into small-donor fundraising at a much faster pace than four years ago. At the end of 2007, Obama had raised only 22% of $96.7 million from donors whose contributions aggregated to $200 or less (see Table 2).