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The 2016 political race is already heating up. Adding to the heat, Twitter has announced it will create a feature allowing users to donate to political campaigns right from the platform.

Twitter announced on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 that their users will be able to make campaign contributions while in the platform. This feature creates an easy, seamless transaction.

“Every day, voters, politicians, and government officials all over the world use Twitter to communicate in creative ways that enrich public discourse and increase government access and accountability…We’ve upgraded tools through which citizens can raise their voices to champion causes and candidates they support.” (Twitter Blog)

How it works for campaignsbernie cashtag

  • Candidates must sign-up for an account through Square, an online payment processing center, by visiting and notifying Square of the registration.
  • Square then verifies the account for the campaign.
  • The Campaign can then Tweet a unique URL, or “cashtag”, to request donations.
  • The Tweet will include an image with a “contribute” button.

How it works for donors

  • Users who see a Tweet with the “cashtag” and “contribute” button may click on the button.
  • Users will then be able to select a donation amount and enter in the payment information.
  • Users can then Tweet out the “cashtag” to their followers, if they chose.

Square will charge a 1.9% processing fee, but Twitter has reported they will not take a cut of the donation.

This is big news for political campaigns. Campaign-finance reports do not detail online donation totals, but it is not a significant portion of all contributions.

Though according to the Campaign Finance Institute, Bernie Sanders’ and Ben Carson’s campaigns “lead the field in small donations.”

75% of Sanders’ campaign contributions are $200 or less. 66% of Carson’s are $200 or less.

The advantage Twitter has over Facebook is that users tend to Tweet more during events. “Many campaigns make Twitter their social media first priority during debates.” (NPR)

For more information about how to set-up an account or how to donate see the Twitter Blog.

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