Trump Starts Email Blasts To Make Up For Massive Fundraising Gap

Donald Trump AFP/Getty Images/Oli Scarff

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter
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Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump launched his email fundraising campaign Sunday after pressure from party leadership and supporters to raise more money.

This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign, that’s right, the FIRST one!” Trump boasted in the first campaign fundraising email.

The emails netted the Republican candidate $3 million in donations, the same amount Trump took in in the entire month of May. The campaign sent out another four emails throughout the weekend.

Seventy-four percent of the emails went straight into a spam filter. A paltry 8 percent of recipients actually opened the email. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign experienced a 14 percent open rate, consistent among her other email campaigns.

Despite the limited reach, Trump still managed to blow through his previous month’s numbers with a single email push. Industry insiders state he could have done much better with a more artistic approach.

According to research firm Return Path, the Trump campaign is getting better. Researchers cited the fact that the Trump campaign recently changed how it sends out emails as the main reason there was a high spam rate among the first round of emails. The most recent email push resulted in only a 3 percent spam rate. According to Barry Bennett, former Trump advisor and former presidential candidate Ben Carson fundraiser, “if they really focus in on it, they could make $300-$400 million online very easily.”

This is not the first online fundraising of the general election season. The Republican Party sent out dozens of fundraising emails over the course of the past two months. The key difference with those emails is that the party gets 20 percent of the funds that are raised through those methods.

Trump took to Facebook to plea for more money last week, freely admitting he largely self-funded his campaign. Trump went on to add he wasn’t used to fundraising, but couldn’t beat Hillary without supporters’ help.

Trump’s finance chairman Steven Mnuchin added that the campaign was “overwhelmed” with the support from the email fundraising. “This is now going to become a daily effort.”

Trump borrowed a lot of his fundraising ideas from Democratic presidential challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders. The emails focus on small donations from everyday people, a long-time hallmark of the Sanders campaign. Perhaps that adaption is a result of most of the large donors not yet investing in the Trump campaign, but the small campaign style still plays well with the everyday Trump supporter.

Trump donor Dale Ranney talked to reporters about Trump’s new approach to fundraising. Ranney, who donated $125 in the email push, told reporters, “grassroots supporters will give what they can because they believe so much in him.”

Fundraisers also floated the idea of Trump raffling off a flight in his plane, or some other experience as a way to draw interest in donating to the Republican front-runner.

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