That's all Barack Obama and Mitt Romney want from you today, knowing full well that wresting that paltry sum from your wallet could convert you into a larger-dollar donor, likely voter and potential swing-state volunteer, offering up your time and labor for nothing.
Hence both candidates' relentless late-in-the-game plays for small-dollar donations, blasting out incessant emails, staging nonstop meet-the-candidate contests and peppering their campaign advertisements with pitches to contribute $10 via text message.
Open your email inbox and there's a message straight from the president: "While the other side leans on corporate donors and million-dollar checks, we're doing this the right way," Obama says, imploring you to donate $5 in exchange for entry in a decidedly fixed raffle to join him for dinner. "I want to win," Obama pleaded in another missive Sunday as September campaign finance books closed.
But wait: Mitt Romney's son Tagg emails you about "a unique opportunity" to join Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on the trail and hopes you'll "throw in a few dollars for a chance." Perfect for those who missed Romney's recent offer to fly on his campaign plane. Or those who didn't heed Romney's Sunday night request to "donate $15 or more to make sure we have what it takes to defeat Barack Obama."
Obama fires back with a contest offer to meet not just one, but two presidents: Donate at least $5 and you'll be automatically entered to join him and former President Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. Clinton himself follows up to explain that a donation today could go "toward hiring an organizer in Akron, Ohio," who'd "have more time to do her job and reach more voters."
To be sure, the money from the small donors is easily matched by billionaires writing big checks. And, of course, the money itself is important: Someone who makes an initial donation of a few bucks will often donate exponentially more by the time an election is over.
But the greatest value of these late-stage contributions, which wouldn't have been factors during the era of publicly financed presidential elections, is arguably the personal information campaigns collect.
Campaigns may use it to call the donors, canvass their houses, urge them to volunteer, even target their Internet browsing with personalized ads.
This is particularly crucial in swing states such as Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Nevada, where Obama is banking on the strength of his ground game to catapult him to a second term.
"The money is not peanuts, but the email address and information is worth much more than the few bucks," said Michael Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, which published a study concluding that Obama's recent small-dollar donor efforts are trumping those of Romney.
Obama's campaign raised about $25 million in August from people contributing $200 or less. Romney's campaign? A comparatively anemic $9.4 million.
More than 2 million people have donated $25 or less to Obama this election cycle through August and more than 1.46 million have made multiple donations, the campaign said. Romney has not released comparable figures.
The Obama campaign has received 10 million donations in 2012, it announced Monday via Twitter.
While both Obama and Romney have criss-crossed the country hunting for big dollars at traditional fundraisers, it's Romney who's more heavily relied on contributions of more than $200 to fill his coffers.
"It's very typical of Republican candidates -- Romney supporters tend to be more well-off and tend not to be donating through the Internet as much," said Gary Feld, principal at political intelligence firm PowerBase Associates and former director of statistical analysis for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "Obama is uniquely good at this, although Romney may be finding his big donors tapped out and is trying to expand his base of donors now."
The Romney campaign declined to discuss its small-dollar donor strategy, although Political Director Rich Beeson wrote in an email Sunday to supporters that a modest donation "bolsters our pivotal ground game, which is essential for a win ... these are sacrifices you're willing to make in order to invest in your children's and our country's future. And we can't even begin to tell you how grateful we are."
For Obama, his online, small-dollar fundraising operation represents a new level of sophistication, says Joe Trippi, who pioneered many techniques while running Howard Dean's 2004 campaign.
"We sure didn't have the ability to know that someone has 'liked' the Ocean's 11 Facebook page, so you then have George Clooney sign the Facebook message that we're sending to you asking for money," Trippi said. "This stuff works; it's worked for Obama; and after a while, Romney finally figured it out and has been playing catch-up."
Obama's September dinner contest, which he advertised as "the last dinner of my last campaign," was promoted unlike any other.
Since Sept. 17, his campaign sent out more than a dozen emails, including three from Obama himself, with Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Obama for America Chief Operating Officer Ann Marie Habershaw, National Finance Director Rufus Gifford and Deputy Campaign Manager Julianna Smoot each sending separate come-ons.
"We wouldn't be sending the emails if they weren't working," an Obama campaign official said of the efforts.
The official, who would speak only on background, declined to say either how many people have donated money because of the dinner promotions or texted a contribution. "People who donate become more likely to volunteer, so this is all part of a broader effort to engage people in the campaign and let them own a piece of it however they can," the official said.
Obama's campaign is hoping for a repeat of September 2008, when about $100 million of the $150 million the campaign raised came from online sources.
In his 2009 book, "The Audacity to Win," Obama adviser David Plouffe said aggressive online advertising played a critical role in the president's 2008 fundraising efforts.
"The result was highly unusual," Plouffe wrote. "Customarily, organizations are paying several dollars just to get someone to sign up on their list, only to see many people decline to take the next step of involvement, like contributing ... whenever I checked our fundraising performance online, it was like watching a volcano erupt."
The Gazette now offers Facebook Comments on its stories. You must be logged into your Facebook account to add comments. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal page, uncheck the box below the comment. Comments deemed offensive by the moderators will be removed, and commenters who persist may be banned from commenting on the site.