The latest technology to be adopted by the Obama campaign—Square. The mobile payments device is now being used by the Obama for fundraising, says the company. Staff, fundraisers and others are being equipped with the card reading devices, says Square, enabling the campaign to take donations on the go via Android devices, iPhones or iPads.
“Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, running for president or local assembly, Square makes it easier than ever for candidates, organizations and volunteers to fundraise for their cause,” said a spokesperson for Square.
There’s no doubt that using a mobile payments device from Square makes fundraising much easier. With traditional forms of fundraising, if you want to donate money at a fundraising event, you often have to fill out a form and hand over a check or cash at the event. If you don’t have your checkbook or cash handy (which, many of us don’t), credit cards are the only option. You can write down your credit card number and info for fundraisers to charge at a later date, but you have to trust that the fundraiser keeps track of that information and paper.
With Square, there is both a convenience added for both the payee and fundraiser. The donation is instantly processed, and Square will send the receipt via SMS or email to the payee. Of course, political contributions and donations are a little more complicated because of the reporting requirements associated with donations. We’re told the same processing fees (2.75 percent) apply for use by non-profits and political campaigns.
Similar to the way Square created a special platform for the Salvation Army, the company has also worked with the campaign for a tailored way to take campaign donations. The special app for accepting Square payments for the Obama campaign is currently being used by staff but will be available to the public soon. We’ve embedded screenshots below.
Square has been used for campaigning and fundraising at political events for the past few years. For example, in 2010, Square was used for the state assembly campaign of Silicon Valley VC Josh Becker, and for Reshma Saujani, who ran for Congress in New York’s 14th district.
Considering that the Obama campaign raised $42 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, that’s a lot of potential money that could be flowing through Square’s platform. And the marketing exposure is also a bonus for the mobile payments startup to scale even further.