Obama's $750 Million Juggernaut
Mr. Olin asked me to "put out a letter and raise a million dollars." We mailed approximately one million letters, and we cleared the million dollars that Mr. Olin asked for. We were able to do this because we had amassed a list of dependable contributors to whom we could turn in our hour of need, and because we were able to make an emotional appeal on a very personal basis, which offered the reader an opportunity to do something nice and be somebody important!
Unfortunately, Spence Olin's tenure as chairman of the Republican National Committee presently came to an end, and he was replaced by a new "expert."
This man came from the old "fat cat" school of fund raisers. His first act on assuming office was to call his staff together and deliver a challenge.
"The only way to raise money is eyeball-to-eyeball solicitations of large sums from big donors," he announced. "Direct mail is wasteful and expensive and only brings in piddling little contributions that are not worth fooling with. If anybody here thinks I'm wrong and he's right, speak up. No takers? OK—from here on, no more direct mail."
And that, for the time being, terminated my active relationship as a fund-raiser with the Republican Party.
Walter Weintz spent World War II as a junior officer aboard a minesweeper in the Pacific. He began his career as a copywriter, working on accounts like Book-of-the-Month Club, Charles Atlas, and Doubleday. As Circulation Director for Reader's Digest, he created some of the most successful promotions ever mailed, including one which mailed over a hundred million pennies as an attention getter. He formed the Weintz Corporation in 1958 and served clients like the Boys' Clubs of America, Rodale Press, Harvard Business Review, Time Inc., the Republican National Committee, American Express, the New York Times Magazine Division, World Book Encyclopedia, Prudential Insurance and many others. Walter Weintz was active in both local and national direct-mail industry affairs over almost half a century. He died in 1996 at the age of 81.