Sean Tevis needed 3,000 people willing to donate $8.34 to his campaign for the Kansas state legislature. Instead, he's up to 5,298 -- and still going.
He did it with a single website in the style of XKCD, the geek comic strip that has replaced Dilbert on many office doors, and a simple calculation: he needed $26,000 to run for office -- which meant 3,000 people donating $8.34 each.
He got it in 37.25 hours.
Political fundraising on the Internet isn't new -- ironically, some sources mark its starting point in 2000 when John McCain raised $500,000 in a single day -- and candidates such as Howard Dean and Barack Obama have achieved success by asking for smaller donations from a larger pool of people. And both campaigns and organizations such as MoveOn have asked for donations for a certain amount, such as adding an extra cent to a donation to indicate that it came via the Internet and to show the power of the Internet as a fundraising tool.
However, Tevis' effort is unusual in that he is a candidate for the Kansas state legislature, and seekers for state office typically haven't made such an inroad outside their own state. His success is likely due to his use of the comic strip -- labeled as an homage to XKCD -- and widespread forwarding. The forwarding is so widespread, in fact, that he has had to add a note asking people outside the U.S. not to donate, mentioning that he received $1,800 in donations from outside the U.S. he had to repay.
His achievement is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that -- as is pointed out in the comic strip -- no other candidate for state office in Kansas has ever had more than 644 donors.
Tevis' final deadline for fundraising is July 28.