Joe Biden Plans to Enter the 2020 Race on Thursday. He’s Starting With $0.

“The one race, of all political races, where money is less important is president,” Mr. Rendell said, adding of Mr. Biden, “If he wins or loses it will not be because he raised — or didn’t — enough.”

Mr. Biden re-established his political action committee, the American Possibilities PAC, in mid-2017 and raised about $2.6 million in its first 19 months.

Less than $1 million of those funds came from donors who gave less than $200. For comparison, Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign said it had raised $1 million online in the first six hours after he officially announced he was running this month.

For now, Mr. Biden retains a limited digital footprint. His PAC has not purchased ads on Facebook, where many other Democrats have been fishing for new supporters, since December. And it has spent less than $50,000 on Facebook since last May, records show. Other candidates have spent twice that much — in a day.

If Mr. Biden is to compete financially, his supporters acknowledge he will almost certainly need to establish a broad network of small, online contributors. But his team will not know how the public will respond until he declares his candidacy.

“Everyone thinks Biden can’t get small donors because he’s moderate,” Mr. Rendell said. “Baloney!”

Mr. Rendell recommended that Mr. Biden invest offline, too, pitching an old-fashioned direct mail program to reach older potential donors and tap into the “general consensus” of his electability against Mr. Trump.

“There is enough of a consensus there that those little old ladies — even if they’re a little on the progressive side — would write a $25, $50, $100 check to Joe, maybe four or five times in the next year,” Mr. Rendell said.

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