College Democrats and College Republicans at Miami have different operating budgets based on disparities in revenue, reflecting different philosophies around how to handle money.
Bobby Adler, treasurer for the democrats, said the club tries to keep their costs as low as possible.
“We really try to keep things low budget because we don’t really have a need for a lot of money,” Adler said. “What I imagine we would use the money for would be to get marketing materials or advertising but we kind of rely on using work of mouth, having an attractive brand.”
The only consistent outside funding the democrats receive is a monthly $5 donation from a lawyer in Hamilton, President Charles Kennick said.
The democrats also don’t receive any funding from the College Democrats of Ohio or the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP). Adler said the club has never received any money because the democratic party doesn’t usually allocate funds to any college chapters.
“It’s been a grievance among college democrats for a while,” Adler said.
Their relationship has with ODP has been strained for a while, but it became more so when they endorsed Sen. Joe Schiavoni for the Ohio gubernatorial race, not the candidate ODP unofficially endorsed. OPD can’t officially endorse a candidate, so as an extension College Democrats can’t either. However, Kennick said the rule is unfair and stands by their decision to endorse Schiavoni.
Caleb Stidham, chairman of College Republicans, said the club has received about $2,000 in donations from politicians, campaign funds, personal donations and other outside donations since last April. Just this month, the Ohio Republican Party donated $300 to College Republicans to fund a conference in Columbus.
While both clubs receive money from Associated Student Government (ASG), Stidham said the amount they request and receive varies each year. This year, the republicans received $600 in funding from ASG while the democrats, who applied for $140 for buttons and stickers, only received $60.
The republicans also require $40 a year in dues for those who want to be an official member of the club, though anyone is welcome to attend a meeting or event without having to pay dues. The club currently has about 135 due-paying members, Stidham said.
“We are an organization that prioritizes providing members professional opportunities across the state, and what we spend money on reflects that,” Stidham said. “Taking members to CPAC [in Washington, D.C.] every year, driving people to volunteer events and making [College Republicans] an organization that people can be proud of being a part of.”
The democrats don’t collect dues at all because Adler said they don’t want to put up financial barriers for people who want to join.
“We’re trying to bring people into the democratic party and get democrats elected,” Adler said. “I think the most effective way to do that is to be as all-inclusive as possible. I think that it’s kind of attractive, like ‘Hey, you can come be a part of our group without necessarily needing to make that contribution.’”
Kennick said club members would rather pay for supplies, food and transportation themselves than to go through the hassle of applying for ASG funding when their costs are already so low.
Adler added a low budget also reflects how a grassroots political movement should operate. CD relies on word of mouth and the dedication of its members without expensive campaigns or marketing materials.
“Inherently, democrats have less money, and democrats have to make up for that with their willingness to work harder than the opposition and I think that’s inherent to our values as a club and our party in general,” Kennick said.