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Scott Detrow reports you can donate to candidates on Twitter.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: If you're into politics, you're probably not going to watch tonight's debate empty-handed. Many people will have their phones, tablets or computers out and will be tweeting away while the candidates tussle. That's exactly what Twitter had in mind when it launched this feature, says Jenna Golden, the company's head of political sales.
JENNA GOLDEN: We think that there's a huge opportunity for candidates to use these tweets that have the donate functionality in the midst of these key moments, to allow people who are feeling passionate that exact moment in time to donate right then and there.
DETROW: So how does this work? It's not quite as simple as writing out a hashtag - at least not yet. Campaigns get a specific link, the so-called cashtag that they'll tweet. When you click on it, you're simply asked how much you want to donate. That first time, though, you'll have to enter personal information - your debit card, your name, things like that. But from then on, Twitter says, it's a matter of one or two taps. Twitter is promoting this as a way to get people more engaged. And it may most help candidates like Democrat Bernie Sanders, who are getting the bulk of their money in small donations.
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BERNIE SANDERS: It's not just that I'm one of the few candidates for president who does not have a super PAC and does not want a super PAC.
DETROW: The Sanders campaign was using Twitter's new tool within an hour of the company's announcement. But not every fundraiser is buying the hype.
NANCY BOCSKOR: There's always going to be some shiny, bright new thing that tries to enter the world of fundraising.
DETROW: Nancy Bocskor is a fundraising consultant. She also teaches at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. Bocskor says despite the success of a few big-name candidates, online fundraising still trails old-fashioned phone calls and direct mail pitches when it comes to bringing in cash.
BOCSKOR: I've always advised clients, you're not going to text or tweet your way to millions.
DETROW: In order to be successful, Bocskor says campaigns will always need to talk to and collect checks from real, live humans. Scott Detrow, NPR News.
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