Organizing for Action’s fundraising drops by a third

In May, Organizing For Action -- the non-profit continuation of Barack Obama's 2012 campaign -- announced that it would stop soliciting donations from large contributors in order not to distract from the 2014 campaigns.

It worked. The number of donors giving to the group for its activist work dipped by 34 percent from the first quarter of the year. Overall fundraising fell from $5.9 million in Q1 to $3.87 million in Q2. That's the lowest haul in the group's (short) history.

It continues a trend. In three of the last four quarters, fundraising has dropped. In two, the decline has been more than 20 percent.

OFA

The good news for OFA is that the number of donors is still significant. In the second quarter of 2014, over 100,000 people gave an average of $38.40. It was almost 20,o00 fewer than in the first quarter, but better than the group's low point in the fourth quarter of 2013.

But big donors were down significantly. The number of people giving $5,000 or more fell from 49 to 28. The average gift was down from about $47,000 to about $33,000. Taking out the big donations, over 124,00 people gave an average of $28.73 a piece in Q1. In Q2, the average donation amount from smaller donors fell to $27.56.

In May we wondered how long the OFA experiment will last. It seems unlikely that fundraising will pick up between now and the end of the year, given the combination of the election and the holidays. That makes Q1 of 2015 -- when the 2016 presidential election is likely to gear up and Barack "the Bear" Obama becomes a lame duck -- a critical moment for the organization.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He previously wrote for The Wire, the news blog of The Atlantic magazine. He has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Daily, and the Huffington Post. Philip is based in New York City.
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