The Minnesota Majority, which rose to prominence backing photo ID, sent out a dire fundraising plea on Tuesday.
“Minnesota Majority has one week left to operate,” it said. “If we don't raise $20,000 by the end of the week, Minnesota Majority will have to cease operating, for good.”
Email pleas tend toward the hyperbolic -- the well-funded Obama re-election campaign hauled in $2.5 million from an email with the subject line, “I will be outspent” – but the small political nonprofit’s president said the over-the-top cry for cash is based on real needs.
"It’s true. We need money immediately or I’m going to have to close," said Dan McGrath, the conservative nonprofit's president.
McGrath said that this year malaise has taken over conservative donors, the usual big donors are sitting on their funds and several conservative non-profits are struggling as a result.
"We are not the only ones in this boat," he said.
In recent years, Minnesota Majority operated as a political nonprofit with annual income between $200,000 and $250,000.
But last year, as the main organization campaigning to pass a voter ID requirement, it ramped way up. Doing business as ProtectMyVote.com, it raised $1.5 million to campaign for Minnesota voter ID ballot question. Most of the money came from a single donor. Joan Cummins, a self-described homemaker, married to businessman Bob Cummins, gave $1.3 million.
In part because it grew, McGrath said that the group now needs to spend $10,000 to $15,000 to get a professional audit. But there are other expenses as well.
“Rent, utilities, database administration, grassroots education, advocacy, lobbying, advertising, printing materials, lawsuits, accounting, media, events, exhibiting in county fairs and the State Fair all costs money," the fundraising plea said. "And we've run out."
The desperate request for cash may have worked. McGrath said donations have started rolling in.
But, he said, "we’re not there yet. We’re waiting to see."