The need to reinvest such a high percentage of donations into raising even more money suggests that Trump is having difficulty getting contributions from his existing base and so is working to expand his reach to other small-dollar donors.
No other presidential campaign sets up a separate fundraising arm for grassroots donations, so a comparison to other campaigns is difficult. But TMAGA had more success not only in 2016, but earlier this year. In 2016, TMAGA spent 37 cents for every dollar it raised, and in the last 18 months, it spent on average 47 cents for every dollar it raised. The third-quarter numbers show a sharp drop in return on investment for fundraising spending.
After a string of good fundraising months in the spring and summer, Trump’s campaign saw its total receipts drop to $61.8 million in August, down $10.3 million from the previous month. Transfers from Trump MAGA to the campaign, which made up more than half of its fundraising in July, fell to $11.8 million.