A Minnesota lawmaker is seeking campaign donations with a side of emoji.
State Sen. Matt Little announced this month that his re-election committee is accepting contributions via Venmo, the social payment app.
The Lakeville Democrat, 34, sees the fundraising pitch as a way of encouraging people who “can afford $1 or $3 or $5” to participate in the campaign.
“We’re always looking at new ideas and new methods to make it easier and easier to contribute,” he said.
There’s a benefit for the campaign’s bottom line, too. Little said processing costs for traditional online fundraising systems can undercut the impact of small contributions. Venmo offers direct deposits to his campaign with no fees for the committee or the user.
The approach is already resonating with some backers. Little, a freshman Democrat running in a district that President Donald Trump won in 2016, has taken in about $1,000 in Venmo payments so far. Many donors post public messages of support — including emojis — along with the cash transfer.
Little is the first elected state official known to accept donations using Venmo, according to Campaign Finance Board Executive Director Jeff Sigurdson. The practice is allowed as long as the campaign collects names and addresses for donors giving more than $20 and deposits earnings directly in a campaign account.