GOP fundraising platform will cut fees, seeking to funnel more money to campaigns

GOP fundraising platform will cut fees, seeking to funnel more money to campaigns
© Ian Waldie/Getty Images

WinRed, the GOP’s online fundraising clearinghouse, on Thursday announced that it would lower the fees it charges candidates and political committees, a seemingly small change that it says will significantly boost the amount of money in campaigns’ accounts.

Beginning in January, the for-profit platform will charge a flat 3.94 percent fee per donation, dropping its current model that requires campaigns and committees to pay 3.8 percent per transaction, plus an additional 30 cents. 

The change may seem small, but WinRed said that it would amount to a 15 percent reduction in cost, effectively allowing its users to keep more of the money given to them through the platform. The decision was first reported on Thursday by Politico.

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Gerrit Lansing, the president of WinRed, told Politico that the change in fees could end up saving “millions” of dollars over the course of the 2022 midterm election cycle. 

In a statement, Lansing said that the decision was born out of WinRed’s “ability to achieve and maintain scale.”

“The best fundraising platform in politics will continue to expand and grow, designing and providing features and infrastructure that campaigns need to win,” he said.

WinRed launched in 2019 as the GOP’s answer to ActBlue, the online fundraising clearinghouse launched by Democrats nearly two decades ago. The platforms effectively allow small-dollar donors to give directly to candidates without having to cut a check or go through a unique donation portal for a candidate. 

The platforms have also made it easier for candidates to raise money from small-dollar donors outside their respective states or districts, effectively increasing the size of their prospective donor pools. 

In the first half of 2021, ActBlue raised roughly $374 million, while WinRed pulled in about $258 million. After fees and refunds, ActBlue wired about $337 million to candidates and committees, while WinRed sent about $200 million, according to the platforms’ filings with the Federal Election Commission.