Issues & Insights

Ads for Political Candidates, PACs, Ballot Initiatives And Charities Are Changing — Forever

I know it sounds bold to assert that ads for causes are fundamentally changing forever, but I believe that is exactly correct. Why? Because, a company which I co-founded, is going to make certain that that is the case. 

The digital advertising platform turns every ad into a social campaign by allowing those who see it to donate directly to that ad with the click of a button. Every ad launched via is “refillable” or “refuel-able” by those who see it, resonate with it and want to make it “louder.” is already being quietly used by the first U.S. congressional candidates, PACs and 501C3 organizations to embrace it. And they’re increasing their ad reach by 10% or 20% or more … without spending one dollar more. And that could be a game changer in close races. 

About two years ago, my co-founders and I noticed something dramatic and, to my mind, profoundly regrettable about digital ads promoting candidates and causes, including charities:  They end. The organization pays a certain amount, the advertising platform places the ads, impressions are achieved and, well, that’s that. That’s the nature of an ad, right? One, and done. Well, no. Not any longer. has spent years and a lot of money building and filing lots of intellectual property to protect technology that marries a call to action to the end of any ad. The ad becomes “clickable.” And when people see the ad and click it, they are transported to a landing page where they can instantly contribute to the budget of that ad – whether $5 or $50 or $250 or more. That funding – from a potential army of supporters we like to call ADvocates – automatically increases the budget of that ad, so the ad can keeping going on and on and on.

The way I like to tell it, ads have been rocks thrown in a pond to make a splash. But ads should be like stones skipping across a pond, going further and further because people resonate with them and put their money where their minds are.

For political causes or not-for-profit causes, the ADvocates are potential new supporters of the overall organization launching the ads. Those new and obviously very committed supporters can be retargeted to give to the general campaign fund. And that means that doubles as a donor acquisition tool. 

How could the political and not-for-profit worlds have been paying, we wondered, billions of dollars for advertising and not getting more mileage out of those ads than the gas they themselves were putting in the tank? How could all that messaging not trigger more action in those who received it than passively looking at it and listening to it and, hopefully, internalizing it and acting on it? Why not let the audience claim those ads as their own, fund further dissemination of them and, thereby, lay claim to a whole new way of expressing themselves?

There’s no reason, in fact. People are already doing it, via, and it is extremely gratifying that our hunch that they would turns out to be dead on. 

It isn’t lost on me, as a someone deeply entrenched in data analytics, that the platform will also give rise to whole new insights about voters and those who champion any cause – political or charitable. Because being willing to contribute money to help fund a topic-specific, issue-oriented ad means that a person is very committed, indeed, to the idea behind the message. And that means that folks in one city or state who support a candidate, for example, might well be willing to fund similar ads for candidates in other cities or states.  We foresee a day, in fact, when political contributors will peruse ads on from candidates around the country and become ADvocates for as many of them as they like.

My co-founders and I like to joke that we’re like people who first put wheels on suitcases (which is one reason our second hire was an in-house intellectual property attorney who has filed a slew of utility patents). You don’t see many people lugging suitcases around the old-fashioned way, now do you? Someday, we don’t think you’ll see many political ads that can’t be funded by those who believe in them, either. People deserve ways to express themselves, and we believe this is one whose time has come.

William Gorfein is the co-founder and CEO of, headquartered in New York City.

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