Donors can now tweet political contributions to campaigns.
In the wake of last week’s decision by the Federal Election Commission affirming political donations via text message, the tech company Chirpify has launched tweet-to-donate software aimed at campaigns.
Chirpify CEO Chris Teso says while the company has talked to the campaigns of both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, neither has committed to using the platform just yet. However, several campaigns on the state and federal level will be integrating the firm’s software so they can accept donations via Twitter. And, says Teso, the process is fully FEC compliant.
"Total campaign contributions would be monitored by the campaign," Teso tells C&E. "We're just another channel for them among several, so the aggregation total would be known and maintained by them."
In order for a campaign to access donations received via Chirpify, it must sign up for the platform. Once the campaign does that, it can use Chirpify’s dashboard to design a tweet that specifies a contribution amount. Provided a donor is also signed up with Chirpify, they’ll just need to tweet the word "donate" in response, and the transaction will occur for the amount the candidate stated.
One potential hang-up: tweeting anything other than "donate", or even adding an exclamation mark on the end, will invalidate the donation.
If you’re new to Chirpify, you’ll be prompted to sign up before the transaction goes through. But once you've registered a PayPal account, Chirpify won't require you to return to the site. Once the donation has been made, the campaign will also get valuable data—the user's Twitter handle, email address and default billing address.
Teso says Chirpify takes a 4 percent cut of a donation to a basic member of the service. Should a candidate upgrade to Chirpify’s paid membership, the company won’t take a cut of donations.
The company has also launched tweetlection.com, allowing donors to contribute to the Obama or Romney campaigns an amount of their choosing. The site will aggregate donor statistics for all to see and will notify the campaigns when contributions are made. If the campaigns establish an account, those donations will be immediately transferred.