April 3 Flashback: Cha-ching

April 3 Flashback: Cha-ching April 3, 2022

From April 3, 2013, “Manhattan Declaration Direct-Mail Fundraising Inc.“:

The Manhattan Declaration — a 2009 anti-gay manifesto by right-wing persecuted hegemons — collected half a million names and addresses.

That’s quite a mailing list. More importantly, it’s a mailing list of reflexively fearful white Christians who have already proven they can be easily manipulated by scary stories about the Big Gay Menace, the Satanic baby-killers, and the evil secularists threatening Christian America.

And that was the whole point of the original declaration.

A list like this is a money-making machine. Quarterly fundraising letters sent to a list of 500,000 scared donors. Plus the usual guarantee of grant money from the right-wing donor machine — the DeVos, Koch, Scaife, Ahmanson, Bradley, etc., foundations that have, for decades, taken a throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach to reactionary capacity-building. You’re looking at, potentially, a $5 million annual budget with no expenses except compensation for staff, conference travel, and the seed money for all that lucrative direct mail.

The primary function of groups like this is fundraising. Manhattan Declaration Direct Mail Fundraising Inc. will push to get media appearances for its staff, and it will pretend that such appearances have something to with advancing its purported agenda of defending America from the scary secular gay abortionists. But those media appearances only exist because better name-recognition boosts the rate of return on those quarterly direct-mail solicitations.

That’s why the insular, preaching-to-the-choir nature of such media appearances — guest spots on Fox News or Christian radio — is a feature, not a bug. They’re not trying to influence the broader culture by getting their message and their arguments out to the widest possible audience. The widest possible audience has already heard that message and those arguments and is, correctly, unimpressed and unpersuaded. The fundraising organizations’ main focus, instead, is just on fleecing their base of conservative, fearful, anxious, white Christians.

One challenge for MDDMFI is that it’s entering a crowded market — one that seems like it’s already saturated with more than enough third-tier fundraising scams targeting the same niche of scared white Christians. Milking that niche is also getting harder every year, since this fundraising base, first tapped back in the 1980s, is quite literally dying off.

But then the market isn’t actually as crowded as it seems. It’s like when the new Taco Bell opens in the same block as the KFC and Pizza Hut. That may look like a lot of competition for the same fast-food dollars, but really it’s just three different faces of the same conglomerate.

Read the whole post here.


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