Mar 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DNC moves to Zoom for a virtual fundraiser amid coronavirus crisis

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, video conference tool Zoom has become the go-to app for bringing home everything from work to school — and now it's being used for political fundraising.

What's new: On Tuesday, Silicon Valley technologists used Zoom to host the Democratic National Committee's first virtual fundraiser, which featured DNC technology chief Nell Thomas and Deck Technologies founder Max Woods. 

  • The event was initially planned to be in-person, but like so much else, went virtual, co-host and venture capitalist Roy Bahat tells Axios. 

What they're saying: "We've hosted a lot of fundraisers since 2016, and it was better than a lot of them," says Bahat of Tuesday's video call. "It's way easier to get the expert to you … all the guests could come from wherever." 

  • At its peak, about 75 people were tuned into the event, which featured a presentation from Thomas about the DNC's tech infrastructure. 
  • The hosts posted a link for submitting payments into the Zoom dashboards and directed participants to it. Bahat said that made it much easier to actually collect donations than at in-person events.
  • Bahat hasn't received fundraising results from the DNC yet, but says that with this first Zoom-hosted event, the hosts were more focused on getting every participant to donate than on the total amount. 

The big picture: Campaigns have been increasingly using tech over the years to reach voters and coordinate activities, but the coronavirus pandemic could force fully virtual measures like social distancing to remain in place for months. The presidential election is a little over seven months away.

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