Liberal Political Donors
By Paul Barbagallo
As the Bush administration continues to inspire fear in the hearts of America's liberals—enough to get them to ink up a fat check to the democratic cause of their choice—the albatross of characterizing this donor market persists for left-wing fund-raisers.
Unlike conservatives, who are typically affluent, family-oriented, well-educated and suburban, liberals are more pervasive throughout society, thus difficult to encapsulate with a quick snapshot.
"For the most part, the conservative donor market is a very cut and dry group of individuals. The liberal market [however], is very large and very hard to pinpoint," avows Bart Loring, president and founder of Loring Direct Response, a list brokerage and management firm based in New City, NY. Loring's company manages Leading American Liberal Donors, a file of individuals who have donated to a wide range of liberal causes including humanitarian, ecological and political appeals. "[Liberals] could be urban, suburban or exurban. You really can't compartmentalize them."
Even age is difficult to generalize, Loring asserts. There are young executives fresh out of college as well as slightly older, moderate liberals. And one cannot forget the vintage New Left liberals—the imaginative dissidents, flower-children and anti-war activists left over from the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
What They Stand For
Direct mail authority Ed Burnett has always maintained that some fund raising, for given objectives, must operate within a distinctly segmented marketplace.
Such is the case for mailers to liberal lists, who chart the territory from middle-of-the-road to extreme left on the political spectrum. And once specific ideologies are fleshed out, the target segment grows finer.
"Activity" and "single issue" lists—files that contain activists for specific liberal causes—will help find donor prospects that are germane to a given target group.
An example is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) membership file, managed by American List Counsel.