We received more than 766,000 donations over our last fundraising quarter—thanks to the efforts of grassroots fundraisers like Meri, who won first place for number of donations in our national grassroots fundraising challenge.
A humanities and English professor in Tallahassee, Meri has been a steadfast supporter of the campaign since 2008.
"I've been in it since then," she explains. "I got on the website and started fundraising—a lot of us got involved that way."
As for why she's remained involved:
"[President Obama]'s accomplished a lot. I trust him, and I think he's an intelligent, patient, and creative man. Education is very important to me, and so is the work he's done to help the middle class work toward their goals. I admire his inclusiveness, and his positions on moving toward equality for LGBT people. I'm working to help get this jobs act passed, and I just agree with him down the line."
Working to re-elect the President is family affair, says Meri.
"The really exciting thing is that both my sons have been involved, too. My son worked here in Tallahassee since he was young, organizing the high school kids for Obama, and he's kept that up."
Her son's hard work is about to be rewarded in a big way—with a phone call from President Obama.
"He's a really hard-working young man. He's at the University of Virginia studying Middle East policy, and he's the vice president of the Young Democrats group on campus. He's worked so hard for the campaign, from rallying young students to going door to door. He's just one of those young people who are working toward good things—I'm so proud, both as his mother and as an American citizen. Plus, he just had his 21st birthday. He's going to freak out. This is such a great birthday present."
The secret to Meri's success, she explains, was rewarding every donor—regardless of the amount they contributed.
"Every time someone gives, I send them a haiku. I teach haiku writing to my students, and I noticed how much they loved them. I've noticed that donors do, too."
Meri's advice to other grassroots fundraisers is simple: just get started.
"If you're thinking about getting involved, I would encourage you to do it. My philosophy is that it's built $3 at a time. It's a people's movement, and you don't have to go for big amounts. It willbuild up, it'll reach a lot of people eventually—it just kind of circles out. Start small, and just keep at it."
Check back later for more on the winners of our grassroots fundraising challenge.