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Small-donor fundraising for big change: how Sumar is rallying Spaniards

Emily Pfiester

Yolanda Diaz for Sumar campaign poster
Sumar Facebook page

Amidst a highly intense campaign, Yolanda Diaz’s Sumar party has harnessed the power of small-donor fundraising to ignite engagement and support. Through direct communication with their supporters and digital organizing tactics, Sumar breaks down traditional barriers to political involvement, empowering people to actively participate in the upcoming election on 23 July.

It’s heating up in Spain. Snap elections will be held on 23 July and campaigning is in full force.

The current administration in Spain, the progressive coalition led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, has made great strides to introduce legislation to protect the LGBTQ+ community and promote women’s rights. This left-leaning coalition has also consistently supported investment in fighting climate change and voiced opposition against climate change deniers. With the elections happening in a few weeks, the platforms touted by the conservative and far-right parties in Spain are threatening social values in Spain. In response, the progressive parties have united and are led by Yolanda Diaz’s bid for president under the Sumar platform. Sumar faces the daunting task of convincing Spaniards to come out and vote on 23 July to defend their social rights.

Following Yolanda Diaz’s bid for the presidency, her team wasted no time in launching a campaign urging people to join her cause through small donations on the Sumar platform. While fundraising is a crucial aspect of any political campaign worldwide, small-donor fundraising is just beginning to emerge as a tactic employed by political parties in Europe.

The success of small-donor fundraising in digital organizing hinges on the fact that you are asking people through your messaging online, to perform a physical action online. By donating online, supporters have the ability to meaningfully contribute to a campaign in a very short amount of time. This ease of participation empowers supporters to feel part of a movement and encourages broader engagement with the campaign.

The importance of small-donor fundraising in digital organizing lies not only in its economic impact, supporting a party’s goals and message dissemination, but also in its ability to reach out to the same group of people multiple times. In countries like Spain, where electoral laws set maximum donation limits (e.g., €10,000 per person), parties can request multiple small donations, such as twenty, thirty, or fifty euros, enabling supporters from diverse economic backgrounds to participate while facilitating ongoing and frequent communication with their base.

For grassroots and smaller organizations, small-donor fundraising is essential in involving individuals in people-centric movements that prioritize organizing and empowering people at their core. By encouraging people to become small donors, you not only invite them to support the cause financially but also to actively participate and have a voice within the movement.

Yolanda Diaz and Sumar have effectively leveraged small-donor fundraising during the campaign, mobilizing individuals to safeguard their social rights and participate in the movement. Taking a look at Sumar’s strategy from the perspective of a supporter, the ingenuity of their approach to small-donor fundraising in digital organizing can be broken down as follows:

  1. Timing- Capitalizing on the intersection between organic news and paid messaging.

  2. Consistency- Maintaining a clear, consistent call to action.

  3. Messaging- Focusing on the importance of small donors for the campaign’s success.

Sumar’s current success in rallying support stems not solely from employing unique tactics, but rather from their adept use of timing, consistency, and messaging. While their emails reflect the traditional format seen in political parties, adapted for the Spanish landscape, they clearly outline the stakes at hand in the upcoming election and how donations can make an impact on the issue. Sumar stands out as a professional and clear political party through its strategic utilization of timing, consistency, and messaging. Specifically:

Timing- Yolanda Diaz’s announcement to run for president and subsequent conversations on TV, in the news, and on social platforms were cleverly leveraged by her team to launch the small-donor movement immediately. The call to action for people to donate and get involved was immediately evident from a visit to the official Sumar website or their social media pages. The organic conversation that prompted people to search for more information about Sumar and Yolanda Diaz online was readily prepared for by the party in their messaging and digital touchpoints for people to learn more and get involved.

Thank you page for signing up to support Sumar campaign
Sumar website

Consistency- Sumar sends out consistent emails, about 1-2 times a week, in line with traditional digital fundraising campaigns. These emails ask supporters to donate and support the movement and the party. They also reflect the current news, party events, and suggest opportunities to get involved. It’s evident that they are using professional, high-level digital tools to craft and send out communications on a regular basis. The messaging remains constant, providing updates on the campaign’s progress, donation status, and ways people can help.

Messaging- from the start of Yolanda Diaz’s campaign, Sumar’s messaging on social media and in emails has focused on the fact that the movement they are building is for the people, by the people, and largely funded by the people. Sumar emphasizes that physical action, through donations, is essential for supporters to participate and support the cause. Yolanda makes it clear to her supporters that direct involvement is crucial for her election.

Instagram post to donate to the Sumar campaign
Sumar Instagram page

By harnessing the power of digital organizing and engaging supporters directly, Sumar empowers individuals to play an active role in shaping their country’s future. The success of their small-donor fundraising strategy lies in its ability to connect with people online, prompting them to contribute and take action. This approach not only ensures economic support for the party but also enables ongoing communication with its diverse supporter base. While their tactics may not be groundbreaking, Sumar distinguishes itself as a professional and forward-thinking political party through its adept use of timing, consistency, and messaging. By leveraging these elements, they have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, rallying support and shaping the discourse surrounding the upcoming elections.

In the face of a formidable threat from the right, Yolanda Diaz and the Sumar platform have united progressive left-leaning parties, focusing on the need to protect social issues in Spain during the upcoming elections. Their approach to relying on small donor fundraising reinforces the importance of community building and creates a sense of involvement among supporters. In many European countries, the potential impact of an effective digital campaign centered on small-donor fundraising is often underutilized. However, it may be the fuel that the movement needs to combat the right on 23 July.

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