For $1,100, you can talk to Michael Ignatieff at a cocktail reception and then sit really close to him at the dinner that follows. Pay $500 and all you get is the rubber chicken.
This latest Grit tactic is being employed for the Leader's Dinner, a major Liberal Party fundraiser being held at the swank Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto on April 1. More than 1,000 people are expected.
Taking the middle ground, you're looking at around 750 thousand minimum for this type of fundraiser, a staggering figure by Liberal standards.
We also get some indication from Rossi, that this quarter has been a good one for the Liberals:
Mr. Rossi, the party's national director whose background is fundraising, predicted yesterday that total donations for the first quarter of 2009 "will be significantly better than the first quarter last year, despite the recession ...The Liberals raised $846,000 in the first quarter last year"
There are two important factors to consider here. Obviously, the aforementioned CASH, what that means to a party, desperate to compete with the Conservative machine. However, maybe just as important, in terms of free media and positive frames, this idea that the Liberals are on the move under Ignatieff. We've all seen how previous fundraising numbers have been used to promote negative storylines, cementing the sense of a weak alternative to the Conservatives. Robust fundraising, relative improvement, creates more buzz for the party, it keeps a fickle media onside. As an extension of that sentiment, packed rooms validate the sense of a reinvigorated party. In addition, improved fortunes can spook the Conservatives, who see a more formidable opponent, capable of counter. We don't have to match the Conservatives at this point, just demonstrate a positive trend. Hard not to be cautiously optimistic.