August ’15 Recap

On August 26, 2015 — just 238 days since the 2016 election cycle began — ActBlue passed the $100M mark for the cycle. And we’ve sent checks or wired funds to more than 2,750 different campaigns, committees, and organizations across the country. The chart below shows the incredible fundraising pace we’ve seen this cycle compared to the previous two:

Topline Numbers

Aug. ’12 Aug. ’13 Aug. ’14 Aug. ’15
Contributions 309,826 155,552 686,476 529,324
Total Amount $12,774,047 $5,673,931 $22,766,476 $15,013,856
Average Contribution Size $41.23 $36.48 $33.16 $28.36
Committees 1,980 1,305 2,244 1,636

Recurring

Aug. ’12 Aug. ’13 Aug. ’14 Aug. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $1,044,821 $482,101 $3,459,814 $4,469,346
% of Total Volume 8.2% 8.5% 15.2% 29.8%

Express

We’re up to 1,610,413 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue.

Aug. ’12 Aug. ’13 Aug. ’14 Aug. ’15
New Express Users 50,377 12,972 59,465 74,288
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
42.3% 44.6% 57.4% 59.4%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
46.2% 51.4% 64.0% 64.3%

Mobile

Aug. ’12 Aug. ’13 Aug. ’14 Aug. ’15
% Mobile 7.0% 9.6% 27.5% 29.8%
% Mobile for
Express Users
9.4% 13.1% 29.6% 32.5%

If you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out at info@actblue.com.

Contribution Forms: Easier Access = (Even) Easier Fundraising

Contribution Forms: Easier Access = (Even) Easier Fundraising

Campaign season is picking up quickly as we march on toward 2016, and we’re always working to make things as easy and efficient as possible for our users.

That’s why we’ve made some big changes to the way Contribution Forms are managed — and now it’s better than ever. We’ve made it so you can access your campaign or organization’s forms (with or without money raised) all in one convenient place. Plus, we’ve got a bunch of other new features to make managing your forms easier than it’s ever been.

Just head over to the By Form tab from the left menu on your campaign or organization’s dashboard.

tab

 

Once there, you’ll see a detailed breakdown of all your Contribution Forms.

table

 

They’re listed in descending order by default, starting with the most recent form that was created. But just click on any of the headers and you can toggle the table to sort it how you’d like.

With this update you’ll be able to simply glance at the table and get a clear picture. You can quickly scan through the slugs (or page names) you gave your forms, the number of contributions they received, the amount of money they raised, and whether or not you chose to brand your forms. You’ll also be able to duplicate a form from this page, with just the click of a button.

Further, if you’ve got a form from a few years back that you know won’t be getting sent out to donors, simply hit the Archive button in orange at the right of the table.

If you choose to archive a form it can no longer be viewed, which also means it can no longer receive contributions and you won’t be able to edit it. However, we give you the option to archive rather than delete your forms, so that you can Revive a form if you need to. If you’ve archived a form it will turn grey, as you see below, but it will still be listed in the same spot in the Dashboard as it was before it was archived.

 

revive

 

Just click Revive at the far right of the table and the form will become active. Anyone with access to the Dashboard will have the ability to visit and work with the form again.

You’ll also notice that there are two tabs at the top of the page, one for Managed Forms and one for Community Forms.

tabs

The Managed Forms tab provides a breakdown of forms that were created by any user with access to your campaign or organization’s Dashboard.

The Community Forms tab provides a breakdown of forms that were created by a third party. For example, a volunteer decided to create a form to raise money for your candidate or organization. You won’t have the ability to edit these forms, but you can collect data, just like you would from a form created by yourself or another user with access to the Dashboard.

Just below those tabs you’ll also have the option to Download a contribution form CSV report. This report will give you an even more detailed breakdown of each form, including info like whether or not the form was set to public or private, as well as the pre-set contribution amounts you chose for the form.

csv

 

Finally, you can now search for a form by page name. Simply type in the name you gave your form in the box at the upper righthand corner of the table.

search

 

If you have any questions or comments about this update, please don’t hesitate to reach out at info@actblue.com.

What’s it like to intern at ActBlue?

Our (paid) interns are an integral part of our operations here at ActBlue. They’re given significant pieces of work and an opportunity to learn from every department.

Every summer and semester we have a new group come in to answer donors’ questions, assist staff with various projects, and just observe/ask questions from the staff. It’s even served as a talent pipeline, with three people on our staff who are former interns.

Obviously, we’re pretty proud of the program and are honored to give several of this summer’s interns an opportunity to share a bit from their experiences.

Tyler:

So what’s an internship at ActBlue actually going to look like? What are you really going to take away from your time here professionally? ActBlue is a startup and a non-profit that has had such success that it now has the resources and benefits of working at a larger organization with the fun upbeat nature of a smaller organization.

What does this mean? You know basically everyone in the office, the staff is small enough to have weekly meetings, and interns are much more involved than the coffee runs they might otherwise be doing at a large firm. However, ActBlue’s size affords departments the resources for no shortage of projects, presentations and wisdom on a variety of topics including but in no way limited to: marketing, outreach, technical services, security, operations, compliance, business, how to be a person 101, etc. What this meant for me personally was a variety of interesting presentations and projects on what it takes for an organization to run smoothly.

Part of why I took this job to begin with was to learn about working at a non-profit. In pairing me with projects, my intern supervisor was extremely attentive to this. In general, the intern supervisors at ActBlue are very accommodating and supportive and actively work to make sure that when you walk away from your time here, you do so satisfied, with relevant experience under your belt.

Tim:

Having the opportunity to work somewhere that is a major force for the causes I’m passionate about and genuinely cares about its employees has been amazing, and the fact that it’s paid is the icing on top.

At ActBlue, I’ve been able to make a real impact supporting progressive politics. ActBlue is a small organization, and as a result interns play an integral part in day to day work. Whether it’s by interacting with donors and campaigns, researching potential candidates, or collaborating with the marketing team, I saw the direct results of my work constantly.

Since day one, ActBlue has made interns’ professional growth a main concern, and developing an understanding of how each team functions is just a part of that. They have pressured me to hone my career aspirations, and challenged me to become a better employee.

Anastasia:

Having had past internships with campaigns and a state political party, I felt that interning for ActBlue would give me that third perspective that I was missing: who is behind the success of a campaign? We constantly hear about the innovation that the internet has brought to political campaigns (cough Obama 2008 cough) but what is the structure behind the success of democratic campaigns across the country? I discovered that the structure behind a large portion of the success is a 40 person-staff office in Davis Square.

Of the many positive attributes of this internship, one that I especially appreciated was the reminder of the role that the interns play in the organization as a whole. Each staff member of ActBlue constantly sought feedback from the interns on the projects that we were working on and the experience that we were having with ActBlue. They also asked about my interests and what I found interesting in this field.

The office culture of ActBlue has set the standard for my future careers fairly high: A comfortable workplace with coffee (critical), an open concept workspace for conversations, and an appreciation of current affairs. This office space is inhabited by young, progressively minded individuals, all working to improve the current political sphere. ActBlue brings the same friendly, helpful attitude they have with donors to their staffers (including interns!)

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at ActBlue. I was able to work with a revolutionary non-profit that is changing the landscape of online political fundraising, build valuable working relationships, live in Davis Square for the summer, expand my LinkedIn network, and most importantly, discover more about myself and my desired work environment for the ever daunting and quickly approaching “real world.”

We look for new interns year-round. For more information, email opportunities@actblue.com.

Mobile giving just got a whole lot better

Mobile giving just got a whole lot better

Introducing the ActBlue Express Pass. Built for a mobile-first world.

ActBlue Express Pass

We’re always trying to improve our Contribution Forms — that means eliminating inefficiencies and making them more user friendly on every device. And nothing has seemed more inefficient to us than typing in 16-digit credit card numbers with your thumbs on a mobile device.

That’s why we’re introducing ActBlue Express Pass, built with our 1.5 million Express user pool in mind. It lets Express users with a mobile phone number bypass the form by simply clicking a link in a text message to give. Express users are donors who have saved their payment information with ActBlue and can give in a single click.

Here’s how it works: If an Express user starts filling out a Contribution Form on a device that doesn’t have their information stored and they have a mobile number associated with their account, we’ll offer them an Express Pass. Users fill in an average of 111 characters on a form, but with Express Pass they only have to enter their email address.

Why this feature? Why now? Mobile is the way of the future for online fundraising. Over the last two years, the percentage of ActBlue donations made via a mobile device has jumped from 9.1% to 29.1%. That can spike to around 67.7% on nights and weekends when people are away from their computers.

We already knew that when we roll out features that improve on-the-go donations, we see astronomical gains. When we launched our mobile-responsive Contribution Forms back in September 2013, we saw mobile numbers jump from 9.6% to 20.5% over one month. Still, no matter how mobile-optimized your form is, it’s a pain to type in information on a mobile phone, so we decided to take that step out of the equation for Express users. It’s the next step toward our goal of making mobile donating as easy as desktop giving.

Donors are already coming to campaigns and organizations via mobile, but if it’s not an easy process, some will abandon that donation. We’re meeting users where they are, and tailoring the donation process to their devices. We’ve crunched the numbers and Express Pass was associated with a 4.7% increase in conversions for mobile Express users, a statistically significant result.

The benefits are two-fold: Users can donate quickly and easily with Express Pass, and the next time they donate on a mobile phone, they’ll already have their information stored right there, so they can give with just a single click. That’s going to a major investment as we get closer to the critical 2016 election.

But the best thing about ActBlue Express Pass? It feels intuitive, and it fades into the background in the best possible way. It just works like it should, while bringing in more conversions for every campaign and committee.

User Experience & Implementation

The gif above gives you an idea of how the Express Pass steps work, but we’ll break them down for you below.

The user selects a donation amount, types in their email address, and moves on to fill out the rest of the form. But before they can do that, we check and see if they’re an Express user, and if they have a mobile number associated with their account (half of all Express users do). If both of those things are true, we show them a popup that reminds them they’re an Express user and offers to send them a text message where they can finish their contribution.

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2

Next, they click yes, because easy = awesome. Donors receive the text message, click the link, and their contribution goes straight through. If your campaign has chosen a post-contribution action like a pop-up recurring box or customized redirect, Express Pass users will enter that flow like any other user once their contribution processes. Otherwise, donors will see the thank you page like usual.

ActBlue Express Pass will significantly improve donors’ experience when giving on-the-go, and it makes it even easier for campaigns and organizations to collect donations at in-person events.

Express Pass is automatically turned on when Express Lane is enabled for a campaign or organization. Applicable donors will see Express Pass on single entity and tandem forms, but not on event and merchandise forms. Those require extra info and will still get the regular mobile treatment for the time being.

With ActBlue Express Pass, we’re not just looking to scale forms that were originally built for the desktop into mobile devices. We’re coming up with a whole new way to give. That’s what the future of fundraising tech will be about — solutions that work for every device, wherever your donors are.

July ’15 Recap

Last month was ActBlue’s fifth $10M+ month in a row. And we’re just shy of the $90M mark for the cycle. More impressively, we’ve sent checks or wired funds to over 2,500 different committees, campaigns, and organizations this cycle. The chart below displays the aggregate growth of committees over the past three cycles:

Topline Numbers

July ’12 July ’13 July ’14 July ’15
Contributions 200,193 162,587 692,494 470,221
Total Amount $8,342,099 $5,727,922 $19,703,696 $13,483,297
Average Contribution Size $41.67 $35.23 $28.45 $28.67
Committees 1,836 1,230 2,175 1,522

Recurring

July ’12 July ’13 July ’14 July ’15
Total Recurring Volume $821,714 $477,517 $2,694,123 $3,890,724
% of Total Volume 9.9% 8.3% 13.7% 28.9%

Express

We’re up to 1,536,116 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue.

July ’12 July ’13 July ’14 July ’15
New Express Users 38,685 13,806 75,571 67,118
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
43.4% 44.3% 56.9% 60.2%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
48.3% 51.7% 61.3% 63.9%

Mobile

July ’12 July ’13 July ’14 July ’15
% Mobile 6.8% 9.1% 29.2% 27.8%
% Mobile for
Express Users
8.9% 12.5% 31.5% 30.4%

If you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out at info@actblue.com.

Our second biggest day ever: Q2 Analysis

Not only was last Tuesday the fourth largest quarter in ActBlue’s history, the last day of the quarter was the second biggest day in ActBlue history, clocking in at $4.6 million and 106k contributions!!

And Democrats and progressives weren’t the only ones taking notice that day — we tweeted that we were already at 42k contributions before noon (thanks mostly to all the recurring donations that ran that morning!), and the NRSC seized on it and sent an email to their list claiming we were “flaunting it.”

Bragging about the power of small-dollar donors using ActBlue? Absolutely. Heck, we even sent out an email about it.

Here’s a breakdown of topline numbers for Q2 2015. Keep in mind, the best comparison here will be to 2013, since it’s our most recent off-year…it’s easy to forget we don’t have an election coming up when you see numbers like these.

Topline Numbers

Q2 ’12 Q2 ’13 Q2 ’14 Q2 ’15
Contributions 625,485 529,607 1,215,395 1,281,922
Total Amount $27,151,235 $21,740,509 $46,245,990 $47,296,765
Average Contribution Size $43.41 $41.05 $38.05 $36.90
Committees 2,472 1,610 2,807 1,976

Yep, that’s right. We still raised more this quarter than we did in Q2 last year, a mid-term election year.

We also hit a major milestone this quarter — we’ve raised more than $750M online over the last 11 years. At this pace, we’re well on our way to one. billion. dollars.

But it’s not just that big number that’s growing so quickly. In the last quarter alone we saw a jump from 1,731 committees raising money to 1,976 committees.

Here are some fun stats for you: 7PM on June 30th was our fifth biggest hour for newly created contributions (i.e. not an hour when recurring contributions were running), clocking in at 7,288 contributions. How much credit can we give the leap second? Unfortunately, not much. And we followed that up with our ninth biggest hour at 8PM with 6,926 contributions.

With Republican presidential candidates flooding the airwaves with campaign announcements and Democrats at all levels jumping into races, it became clear during this past quarter that the 2016 cycle is well underway.

People are paying attention to politics again and we’re seeing an increase in participation across the board. With $47.3 million raised this quarter, the growth over past cycles is astounding. That’s the power of small-dollar donors in action.

Compared to Q2 2013, when the average contribution size was $41.05, Q2 2015 saw an average size of $36.90. We love to see that, but we were also excited to see more than double the number of contributions. In Q2 2013 we processed 529,607 contributions, but this past quarter we handled an amazing 1,281,922 contributions. This just goes to show that there’s more power in (small-dollar) numbers. It’s more apparent than ever that the grassroots movement is in full swing!

Recurring

We had our biggest hour ever thanks to recurring donations. It was June 30th during the 4AM hour, and we raised $355,410 from 20,300 contributions. We run all of our recurring contributions at 4AM, so the website doesn’t have to handle all of that traffic during our busiest hours.

With almost $10M from recurring contributions, Q2 2015 was the third quarter in a row that recurring donations represented more than 20% of the total volume.

Recurring donations help campaigns build strong infrastructures that will power them to victory in 2016. And since we’re still 16 months out from Election Day, those are going to bring in tons of money. Right now, we’ve got over $53 million pledged to campaigns and organizations site-wide.

Express and Mobile

There are now 1.5 million donors using ActBlue Express. We added 196,452 new Express users this quarter alone (that’s the second most in our history), compared to Q2 2013 when we gained 43,242.

Express users are donors that have chosen to save their payment information, so they can contribute with just the click of a button.

And the power these donors wield is no joke — Express contributions made up 57.1% of the total dollars raised this quarter. That translates to almost $27M.

It’s numbers like these that prove small-dollar donors are recognizing the importance of their participation this cycle. They’re not only making more individual contributions than ever, but they’re committing to the candidates and causes they support like never before.

We’re also continuing to see mobile giving increase. Last quarter the percentage of contributions made on mobile devices was 24.7% and this quarter we’re up to 27.2%. And that’s up from 8.8% during Q2 2013, our most recent off-year.

The number of contributions made on mobile devices has tripled in the last two years. And Express user growth and mobile contributions go hand in hand. The percentage of contributions via mobile jumps to 29.2% for Express users. That’s because they can skip the mobile form altogether and just give via a link or button in an email.

While our forms are already mobile-optimized, it’s important to always be thinking of ways to optimize your program. Pay attention to the readability of Contribution Forms on all devices, work toward increasing numbers of Express Users, and build a recurring donor program as early as possible. You’ll see a huge payoff next November.

And when you do, we’ll be ready to handle all of those contributions, no matter how big these end of quarter deadline days become.

Any questions? Leave us a comment or reach out at info@actblue.com.

June ’15 Recap

Topline Numbers

June ’12 June ’13 June ’14 June ’15
Contributions 268,794 185,983 540,530 531,961
Total Volume $11,624,085.19 $9,037,904.36 $20,444,771.98 $21,507,416.82
Mean Donation $43.25 $48.59 $37.82 $40.43
Committees 1,866 1,215 2,151 1,514

Express

We’re up to 1,468,998 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue.

June ’12 June ’13 June ’14 June ’15
New Express Users 59,901 16,450 63,492 88,033
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
42.3% 41.6% 54.7% 56.4%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
42.3% 50.2% 59.9% 64.3%

Mobile

June ’12 June ’13 June ’14 June ’15
% Mobile 6.4% 9.1% 25.2% 29.1%
% Mobile for
Express Users
8.4% 12.7% 27.7% 31.8%

If you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out at info@actblue.com.

Three quarters of a billion dollars

ActBlue has now processed $750 million in grassroots donations in 11 years, from over 16 million donations at an average of $46.47. It’s incredible.

We’re on an amazing tear. Look at this growth chart:

31% of our total amount raised has come in the past year alone. And here’s why:

ActBlue is now the fundraising software of choice for nearly all Senate and House Democratic candidates, along with the DCCC, DSCC and the DLCC. And an increasing number of c4 non-profits use us. But one of the biggest factors for our meteoric growth? Organizations and campaigns are simply raising more grassroots donations.

And we can take a little credit for that. With 1.4 million Express users and counting, constant optimization testing, and ridiculously good uptime and load times, we’ve been working hard to ensure our clients raise as much grassroots money as possible.

Together, we’ve built a powerful force in fundraising that has propelled thousands of Democrats and advocacy groups to victory.

Who wants to take bets on when we hit ONE BILLION DOLLARS? And yes, quite a few Dr. Evil impressions have been heard around the office this week, given that we’re in a presidential cycle and the trajectory of our growth it won’t be long!

May ’15 Recap

Topline Numbers

May. ’12 May. ’13 May. ’14 May. ’15
Contributions 234,077 173,541 353,376 434,223
Total Volume $10,041,299 $6,343,911 $13,863,938 $15,668,756
Mean Donation $42.90 $36.56 $39.23 $36.08
Committees 1,854 1,068 2,053 1,428

Recurring

May. ’12 May. ’13 May. ’14 May. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $495,859 $425,153 $1,108,624 $3,137,503
% of Total Volume 4.9% 6.7% 8.0% 20.0%

Express

We’re up to 1,380,961 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue.

May. ’12 May. ’13 May. ’14 May. ’15
New Express Users 44,646 12,627 38,049 79,704
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
39.9% 43.4% 52.3% 57.7%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
44.6% 54.3% 58.4% 62.0%

Mobile

May. ’12 May. ’13 May. ’14 May. ’15
% Mobile 3.8% 9.3% 23.0% 25.4%
% Mobile for
Express Users
4.8% 12.8% 25.5% 27.3%

Recurring projections using a predictive model

Contributions from recurring donors are growing by leaps and bounds. Right now there are $46M pledged over the next 18 months from over 203,000 donors, across all of ActBlue.

That’s a huge revenue source for campaigns, and it helps them with long-term budgeting. But we know that some donors won’t fulfill their full pledge, despite all of our best efforts to retain them. That’s why it’s crucial that campaigns and organizations are able to effectively predict how much money is going to be coming in month over month.

We’ve built a new predictive statistical model to run this projection for you automatically. Just go to your Dashboard, click on recurring, and then click on the tab that reads “Recurring Projections”.

You’ll see something that looks like this (this is the current ActBlue monthly projection chart):

And here’s the daily projection chart:

This pane shows both the aggregate and daily amount of revenue we expect you’ll bring in from currently active recurring contributions over the next two months. These expectations are based off a predictive model that takes into account the historical performance of recurring contributions. We provide both the exact estimate and a confidence interval between which you can reasonably expect your revenue to be. You can hover over the chart to find the exact estimate as well as the high and low estimates.

If your committee has received enough recurring contributions to make a statistically sound prediction, then the model used to calculate the expected value of your recurring contributions is unique to your committee. Otherwise, we use a model based on data we see all across ActBlue. In either case, this model is recalculated daily to ensure your data is accurate and up-to-date.

Here at ActBlue we’re committed to providing infrastructure that gives cutting-edge tools to groups large and small.

Not every campaign or organization has the resources to build a predictive model for their program or the data to power it. We’re able to leverage the power of site-wide data to build these models and make them available to every organization, so we can all make smarter, more informed decisions. That’s the power of ActBlue.

As always, if you have questions or want advice on building your recurring donor program, just drop us a line at info@actblue.com and someone will be in touch.