Bernie Sanders Fundraising 2016

The Bernie Sanders fundraising machine has raised $16,426,081 to date. Most Bernie Sanders fundraising comes from small, individual donors. The Bernie Sanders fundraising engine is largely a grassroots effort. Only 20% of the funds come from large donations.

Bernie Sanders Fundraising Comparisons

  • Bernie Sanders fundraising: $16 million.
  • Bernie Sanders fundraising vs Hillary Clinton fundraising: 3 times less
  • Bernie Sanders fundraising vs Jeb Bush fundraising: 1.4 times more
  • Bernie Sanders fundraising vs Ben Carson fundraising: 1.5 times more
  • Bernie Sanders fundraising vs Carly Fiorina fundraising: 7.5 times more
  • Bernie Sanders fundraising vs Donald Trump fundraising: 8.6 times more
  • Bernie Sanders fundraising vs Joe Biden fundraising: 191 times more

Bernie Sanders Fundraising DataThe Bernie Sanders fundraising campaign brought in $16,426,081 as of July 30, 2015. That’s about 1/3 of Hillary Clinton’s fundraising efforts at $47.5 million. It’s 1.4 times more than Jeb Bush’s fundraising at $11.4 million. Ben Carson’s fundraising team has brought in $10.6 million. That’s 1.5 times less than the Bernie Sanders fundraising team. Sanders has raised 7.5 times more than Carly Fiorina’s $2 million and Donald Trump’s $1.9 million. Finally, the Bernie Sanders fundraising machine has pulled in 191 times Joe Biden’s $85,880. Biden has not said yet whether he’ll run for President.

2016campaignAlso see: Bernie Sanders Net Worth

Does Bernie Sanders Fundraising Matter?

Bernie Sanders Fundraising Facts

Image credit: Juli Hansen /

Presidential campaign fundraising has traditionally let candidates spread their message to the masses. In the 2012 race, Obama raised $632 million to Romney’s $389 million. In 2008, Obama’s campaign raised $745 million to John McCain’s $368 million.

Bernie Sanders fundraising efforts certainly matter. The more money a candidate raises, the more ads they can buy on TV, radio and internet. Bernie Sanders fundraising will also let the candidate reach voters through robocalls and canvassing. However, there is at least some feeling in the media that fundraising may not matter as much now as it would in the past.

The Social Media Candidate

Bernie Sanders Fundraising FacebookThe Bernie Sanders fundraising engine has its work cut out for it. At about 1/3 of Hillary Clinton’s fundraising totals, Sanders’ campaign has a long way to go. However, Sanders does seem to have caught the zeitgeist, giving him the advantage in social media. Sanders’ message of inequality and a living wage seem to have struck a nerve. The candidate’s popularity has surged as his videos and soundbytes have been passed around Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Calls to “feel the Bern” and admonitions that “He can win if you vote for him” reverberate through social media.

Also see: 5 U.S. Senators Worth Less Than Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Fundraising Still Matters

No matter how popular Sanders may be on Facebook, the fact remains that the candidate who raises the most usually wins. However, that may work in Sanders’ favor. More popularity means more grassroots fundraising. In other words, the more people jump onto the Sanders bandwagon, the bigger Bernie Sanders’ fundraising can grow.

Bernie Sanders Fundraising

Where Does Bernie Sanders Fundraising Come From?

Bernie Sanders Fundraising SourcesBernie Sanders fundraising is largely a grassroots effort. Of the $16.4 million collected by Sanders, 91%, or $14.9 million, comes from individual donations. Of those individual donations, $11.3 million, or 69%, are small contributions to Bernie Sanders fundraising efforts.

Another $3.5 million, or 22%, of Sander’s individual donations come from large contributions. The other 9% of the Bernie Sanders fundraising total comes from PACs, self-financing and other sources.

Bernie Sanders Fundraising vs Hillary Clinton Fundraising

Comparing the grassroots Bernie Sanders fundraising effort with Hillary Clinton’s fundraising drive is revealing. Candidate Clinton has raised $47.5 million: three times what Sanders has raised. 99% of Clinton’s fundraising comes from individual contributions. However, 82% of that amount or $38.8 million comes in large donations. That means fully 81% of Clinton’s fundraising comes from large contributions. Compare that to only 20% of the Bernie Sanders fundraising total.

Bernie Sanders Fundraising Corporations Money

Also see: Hillary Clinton Net Worth

David and Goliath?

The Bernie Sanders fundraising picture becomes clearer when we look at the source of the money. The chart below shows the top donors to both the Bernie Sanders fundraising effort and Clinton’s. Nearly all of Sander’s top donors are unions and employee associations. The Bernie Sanders fundraising list is full of names like the Teamsters Union, National Education Association and the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Bernie Sanders Fundraising vs Hillary Clinton

Looking at Clinton’s fundraising, there’s a big difference from Bernie Sanders fundraising numbers. Clinton’s donors include a large number of corporations, financial institutions, Wall Street firms and monopolies. Clinton’s list includes Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse. Interestingly, at least one of Clinton’s top donors, Corning Inc., also paid her a $225,500 speaking fee on July 29th of 2014.

It certainly seems like the biggest part of Bernie Sanders fundraising dollars comes from individual Americans. The lion’s share of Clinton’s campaign money comes from corporations.

Bernie Sanders Fundraising vs Republican Fundraising

bernie sanders fundraising vs republicanOn the right side of the aisle, things aren’t quite keeping pace with the Bernie Sanders fundraising drive. While Sanders has raised $16.4 million, Jeb Bush has raised only $11.4 million. Things dwindle from there with Ben Carson at $10.6 million, Carly Fiorina at $2.1 million and Donald Trump at only $1.9 million.

A case could be made that the wide Republican field is splitting the campaign money. Even so, total Dem fundraising stands at $64 million so far, with GOP donations lagging far behind at $26 million. This could be evidence that progressives have found more to get excited about in their candidates, while conservatives find their choices a bit thin.

Also see: Jeb Bush Net Worth

Bernie Sanders Fundraising and Position in Polls

bernie sanders fundraising pollsOne common phrase leading up to any election is, “If the election were held today.” The idea is to get a sense of where each candidate stands. In some ways it’s an empty proposition. What really matters is how things stand when the election is actually held. However, polls do figure in to the Bernie Sanders fundraising discussion.

Money vs poll position is a valid area of concern. We analyzed seven recent major national polls. A loose look at the results puts most current candidates in a dead heat, with Joe Biden leading the pack and Bernie Sanders trailing. The reason this matters for the Bernie Sanders fundraising discussion is that Biden isn’t running yet. If Biden does run, that could change the Bernie Sanders fundraising outlook. Much of the money currently funneling to Clinton and Sanders could be siphoned off by a Biden candidacy.


The Center for Responsive Politics