For the past two weeks, I ran a Facebook ad that targeted people I supposed to be patriots all over the Unites States. The ad led to a video of a sales pitch: $5 for liberty. If thousands of people nationwide saw the video and agreed to donate five dollars to my campaign, I have little doubt that I would be the winner of the next congressional election. If those same people did the same thing for a few of their candidates in surrounding states, those candidates, too, would win their elections. I told myself I would give the ad about two weeks to run, curious to see how many people viewed it and how many people would put up the money. I offered a refund if only a small handful of people donated.
Today I checked the PO box, and it was utterly stuffed. With junk mail. And two checks. There were some people who donated online, but I got word of those donations throughout the two weeks as they came in. There was an air of suspense surrounding what might have been waiting at the post office.
I said in the video that I would post the names of the donors along with how much they donated. Here they are, along with some statistics:
Barry Broome: $5
John Clarke: $16
Bill Collum: $5
Lawrence Fine: $25
Corey Gilmore: $5
William Henggeler: $20
Rory McTear: $25
Darnell Parnass: $5
Trudy Roland: $10
Patricia Schroeder: $5
Joette Springer: $10
Michael Wright: $25
There were 12 donors, whose total contributions added up to $156. The ad cost some $500 and garnered 1092 clicks (with at least 1150 unique views). All but two of those who contributed were complete strangers (one I know personally, and the other I know from online).
Considering what's at stake and the potential gain, I'm a little bothered by some of the results. This was a venture with zero risk for anyone who liked the liberty message- I said in the video that if this thing didn't take off, the money would be refunded. Today, refund checks were mailed to the ten people who donated online, and I will shred the checks of those who donated by mail. Since the money was given on the premise that this was an experiment, I cannot rightfully keep it (though if those checks aren't cashed before the new year, I'll assume they won't be cashed, and I'll put the money toward paying the expense of the ad).
I also said in the video that I would withdraw my candidacy if the ad flopped. That part was a lie. There's going to be a liberty candidate on the ballot in my district one way or another. People need to know there is at least someone who will come forward and be a small government representative.
Though it does feel funny saying that coming off the tail end of a failed campaign strategy. The way I saw it, I was a preacher advertising to the choir. The ad was directed only towards people whom were already fans of the liberty message. We're on the same team. So now I'm here thinking....if I can't get support from people who are already on board, where will the support come from? I know these people are out there. I see droves of them picketing the Capitol Building. What happened?
I have two questions.
What was it about the video that made people decide $5 wasn't worth the effort?
What was it about the video that did get some people to donate?
My guess is that some people went to my website and found too many of my planks with which they disagreed. I also got several messages about PayPal (to which YouTube wouldn't let me respond), but it seems that the credit card donation option was just as convenient. I know sitting down and writing a check is something not that not a lot of people want to be bothered with.
And as far as the people who donated go, you have my utmost thanks, and the implicit thanks of anyone who wishes to live in a free country. Understand that I am not a professional politician; I'm a man with a job and bills and problems just like anybody else. You don't know how gratifying it is to get a donation, even if it is $5, from a total stranger just because she wants to make a difference in the same way. If people like us aren't going to make the change, then the change isn't coming.
I do have one last favor to ask of the people who gave. If you came across my ad from Facebook, please drop me an email to let me know which key word of yours the ad detected. It was set up to target people with Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Campaign for Liberty, Libertarian, 9/12, Judge Napolitano, etc. somewhere in their profile. I want to know if all those who decided to give had the same key word, so I can narrow my focus in the future.
Thanks again to everybody. I hope you also gave donations to some other candidates around the country who so desperately need it. In the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition, liberty dies hard. Keep it up.