REPORT: What Major Donors are Thinking About

published on 28 February 2023

Since the end of the 2022 election, our Head of Strategy, Ryan Del Mastro has been in contact with major donors across America, talking with them to thank and gain some insights into the decision making process. Here are some of the interesting things he found:

  1. Donors are tired of the emails (we are too). Phone calls are still the #1 way to effectively communicate with the people who give.
  2. Donors are looking for a candidate or candidates who can communicate a clear, effective plan to win and demonstrate results.
  3. Donors want to win and hold negative views on the national Republican Party for not winning the last 3 election cycles.
  4. Donors are operating independently of one another - even if the donor attends fundraising events, is part of a campaigns’ steering committee, or hosts a candidate/non-profit themselves.

We listened and want to address some of the major themes of agita you told us about.

Wasting my time and money: We spoke to many donors who expressed a want to pull back on how much they plan on giving in future elections because many Republican candidates are unfavorable. The #1 reason why a major donor decided not to contribute (at all or not as much as they may have wanted to). The next biggest reason was that they felt that their money was not being spent wisely but the establishment Party and many conversations focused on the leaders of the Party (McDaniel, McConnell, McCarthy, etc.).

Lack of enthusiasm: We also heard extreme dissatisfaction with and lack of enthusiasm for the current slate of candidates. Many felt that the campaigns are run by the consultant class who make bad judgement calls and take too much money out of the pockets of campaigns.

Inability to motivate the base: Many surveyed also expressed a fear that Republicans cannot effectively get the base out to vote early or on Election Day. This fear was expressed in several ways, including a belief that the party was not reaching out to the younger voters, suburban women, and minority voters effectively.

We heard a resounding call that the Party needs to do a better job playing by the same rules as the Democrats. Notably, many donors told me that they are disappointed in the Party (state & local) for giving up on absentee and early voting. (Good news! There is an organization ReThink GOP, who’s sole mission is to turn out Early and Absentee Republican voters in 2024).

Encouraging collaboration: Last, but certainly not least, many donors expressed a desire to work together to build an organization around fundamental issues that you all care about. There is a desire to unite voters behind a platform and attract more people, especially young people, to the cause

Overall, the major takeaways from donor conversations are that major Republican donors want to be part of a winning team and are looking for strong candidates who can demonstrate results and have a clear plan to win. They have concerns about their money being wasted, a lack of enthusiasm at the grassroots level.

We would like to ask if these observations match your experience. If not, please let us know! We want to gain a better understanding of where the party stands and adjust our efforts to ensure that Republicans do not repeat the same mistakes of 2018, 2020, and 2022.

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