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Going onto the Joe Biden website, it's currently asking for donations for his presidential election campaign and potential legal action. Some of the options seem to be quite random though:

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For those who can't see the image, the options are $15, $32, $50, $100, $250, $500, $2800, and OTHER.

Most of these are nice round numbers which is understandable. Looking at this question, the $2800 is due to being the maximum contribution that an individual can make. But why $32? Is there a reason for this not being a round number like the rest?

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    My guess for the reason is that the average of 15 and 50 is 32.5 which was rounded down. Nov 4, 2020 at 20:20
  • Perhaps this was the average donation amount he received when the donation options were created.
    – yeah22
    Nov 4, 2020 at 20:22
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    Huh? It's actually the only round number in the list </binary mode>
    – Glorfindel
    Nov 4, 2020 at 20:26
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    I'm with @Glorfindel on this one. All of the other numbers look off to me. This reddit thread from two months ago doesn't look like they got to the bottom of it. Nov 4, 2020 at 20:37
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    @TheSimpliFire ahh that would make sense. I was thinking too much of the political answer, and ignoring common sense. Maybe I should become a politician... Nov 4, 2020 at 21:29

2 Answers 2

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The addition of the $32 option was made on 28 July 2020 (archive 1, archive 2).

The average donation around that time was also $32, shown by this promotional email sent, which quotes that figure for April, and this Facebook post, which was posted on the 6th of August, just a few days after the addition of the option, which repeats that figure.

Considering this, I think that it is reasonable to assume Biden added the $32 donation option because it was the average donation at the time -- rounded, of course, for simplicity.

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    All makes complete sense, thanks! I was assuming it was going to be like the charity adverts you see on TV, "donate £X and you can fund a vaccine/water/school for 10 people" type of thing, and was wondering what $32 could buy in a presidential election! Nov 6, 2020 at 17:14
  • @crazyloonybin No problem! Glad you found the answer helpful!
    – yeah22
    Nov 6, 2020 at 19:58
  • If true, that's very smart. I wonder if they made it $33 instead of $32, if they would have eked out another $1 from donors or if fewer people would have contributed. Said another way, I wonder if their revenue would have increased or decreased if they had chosen $33 instead of $32. Dec 13, 2021 at 6:52
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It's probably a "stretch" tier. Obama small donors in 2008 often gave less than $25

Dozens of Associated Press interviews with donors and an AP financial analysis show how contributions that make only a soft ka-ching by themselves, arriving in increments of $10, $15 and $50, have collectively swelled into a financial roar that has helped propel Obama toward the Democratic presidential nomination.

And

Ninety percent of his donors give $100 or less, and 41 percent have given $25 or less, according to the Obama campaign. Overall, he has raised 45 percent of his money in small contributions.

$32 is about 2/3 of $50, and only $7 more than the logical $25 tier. And in 2016 Bernie Sanders said his average was $27 (actual numbers vary somewhat)

And yet, Sanders still regularly mentions the same stat: His average donation is $27.

Sanders had a $27 tier on his website instead of a $25 tier. As such, this is likely an attempt by the Biden campaign to convince Sanders donors (and others) to contribute more by skipping the $25 tier. The average Biden contribution was $44

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  • Interesting to see the uplift from $32 average in May to $44 In October across the two answers here. Though there is probably no way to know how the introduction of the $32 donation teir affected that.
    – Jontia
    Nov 5, 2020 at 7:06
  • Thanks for the information, makes sense what you've said skipping the $25 option to try and gain a bit extra. Chosen the other answer as accepted, because they found a Joe Biden email stating the average donation was $32 which seems the likely reason why that exact figure was chosen, but thanks for the info and useful links! Nov 6, 2020 at 17:17

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