Getting the most out of #GivingTuesday

The end of 2017 is rapidly approaching, and with that comes holidays, shopping, and something that’s likely on a lot of fundraisers’ minds right now: giving season. Giving Tuesday (November 28th), the official kickoff to giving season, has become a prominent, global day of generosity, falling immediately after big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s the start to an end-of-year period when people are driven to give back. In 2016 on Giving Tuesday alone, nonprofits raised over $168 million globally, up a whopping 44% from 2015. And the giving won’t stop there — 30% (!!) of all nonprofit giving happens from Giving Tuesday through the end of the year. That adds up to a whole lot of groups making appeals for support on the same day, and a crowded marketplace as you work to hit your fundraising goals.

Folks tend to be feeling generous as the year comes to a close, and some have likely even planned ahead to make charitable contributions in the last month of the year. That’s why nonprofit fundraising teams should plan ahead as well, so you can have a strategy in place to reach those excited supporters multiple times during giving season, when they’re already inclined to chip in.

The more prepared your organization is, the better. If you’re a nonprofit fundraiser, you’ll find our top tips below for preparing your giving season fundraising campaign. As you make progress on your plans, we’re available to answer questions or talk strategy at AB Charities, so let us know how we can help. And if you’re not set up to use our tools yet, there’s still time — most organizations can get set up within a day or two!

  • Decide on a goal and make your donors feel like they’re invested in helping you hit it. You should focus on a measurable, realistic goal that you know your supporters can help you reach — and you should let your donors know about it! When there’s a tangible goal in mind, donors feel more motivated to give and help you succeed.

  • Outline, write, and prepare your content ahead of time. You’ll want to be prepared for both Giving Tuesday and the larger end-of-year push that comes afterwards. Having one or two emails prepared likely won’t be enough content to help you hit your goal. Take some time to brainstorm with your team and think through the different stories you want to tell and what fundraising emails, graphics, social media content, or blog posts you’ll need to get those messages across. And remember that above all, you want to tell a compelling story and incorporate urgency and emotion. Let your donors know why they should care about your work right now, why you need their contribution, and what you’ll be able to do with their donation if they give. You can also prepare thank-you text to send out to donors. AB Charities will send out a receipt automatically when people donate, but you can easily customize that language to thank your donors and add it to your fundraising page ahead of time, so every time a donor contributes they’ll receive your note.

  • Brand your contribution forms for Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday has become a way for supporters to feel like they’re a part of an incredibly large, global movement for positive change. When you brand your contribution forms to show donors that you’re asking for their support as a part of your Giving Tuesday campaign, it can help donors feel even more motivated to make a contribution that will help you reach your goals. Using AB Charities, it’s quick and easy to add a branding to your forms that fits in with the look and feel of your Giving Tuesday campaign. If you have questions about creating a branding find more info here or contact Kiersten from our advocacy team at arnoni [at] actblue [dot] com.

  • Connect with folks in your organization’s community ahead of time and invite them to participate in peer-to-peer fundraising. If you have supporters who are willing to put in a little work for your cause, you can make them an AB Charities contribution form and encourage them to organize their networks by emailing or posting on social media to help broaden your reach. Those folks who are already engaged in your organization’s work can offer compelling appeals for support by telling their personal stories or offering unique perspectives as to why your organization needs their donation. You can also get board members involved and make them their own fundraising pages, so they can keep track of fundraising goals and help you hit them. Your organization’s staffers can log in and check on the progress of the peer-to-peer and board fundraising pages, saving your team a ton of time!

  • Include a pop-up donation ask on your website. With so many donors planning on giving and researching causes they want to support, it’s common for charitable groups to experience high traffic on their websites from Giving Tuesday through the end of the year. Building a pop-up ask into your giving season campaign is a great way to meet your donors where they already are. Using AB Charities, ActBlue Express users can give easily with a single click on your pop-up. This will make it especially simple for donors who access your website via their phone or tablet — no typing in their credit card number to complete a donation.

  • Make a recurring ask to seize the momentum of Giving Tuesday and keep supporters engaged long-term. Many groups focus on bringing in one-time contributions to hit their goals, but we recommend asking for weekly or monthly recurring contributions. Recurring contributions are a great way to capture the excitement of giving season and turn it into long-term success. When you know you have a certain amount of money coming in each week or month from recurring donations, you can budget and plan ahead for the future. With AB Charities, you can set a deadline at the end of the year so donors can contribute a small amount each week from Giving Tuesday on, or you can set recurring contributions to run indefinitely every month, so you can keep the momentum going into the new year. Donors will feel invested in your work and you’ll be able to rely on a steady stream of donations even as giving season comes to a close.

Taking the steps above will help you have a solid plan in place and will set you and your team up for success. AB Charities allows you to track the performance of your contribution forms and how donors are responding to different content, social media asks, or email pitches in real time.

If you’re interested in learning more about our tools, have questions about preparing for Giving Tuesday, or want to run a test between AB Charities and your current platform, just let us know. You can drop Kiersten a line at arnoni [at] actblue [dot] com. We wish you good luck during giving season, and can’t wait to see your fundraising campaigns in action!

Ted Cruz thinks we’re big money

Last night, Ted Cruz mentioned us in a debate about the tax code on CNN with Bernie Sanders. Perhaps not surprisingly, Cruz got his facts wrong. When talking about big money in politics, he compared us to the Koch brothers — some of the biggest Republican mega-donors in the business.

As a nonprofit fundraising platform for the left dedicated to helping small-dollar donors speak truth to power, we were caught off guard by his mistake — and so were the people in our community.

 

Ted lying

 

It was actually kind of funny how wrong he was:

 

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In case Ted Cruz is still confused, here are some tweets that explain what we do from some of the amazing small-dollar donors and grassroots activists who use ActBlue:

 

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Better luck next time, Ted.

 

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In the meantime, we’ll be actively empowering small-dollar donors so they can fuel the organizations and causes they care about and power Democrats to victory in 2018, 2020, and beyond.

Q3 2017: Unprecedented engagement across the board

2017 has been a huge year for fundraising on the left as more Americans make fighting back against Trump and the GOP part of their daily lives. We knew there was a lot of momentum going into Q3 but wondered if the summer would slow anyone down. The numbers show the resistance is still going strong. We helped raise $108,108,700 for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits doing hurricane relief work — nearly double what we helped raise during the same period in the 2016 election cycle — from 3,178,688 contributions.

Organizations large and small worked tirelessly to respond to Trump’s DACA repeal and congressional Republicans’ attempts to replace the ACA, and an historic number of folks decided to run for office. All of this work was powered by small-dollar donors giving to the causes and candidates they believe in. As a result, a record-breaking 5,225 groups raised money on ActBlue in Q3 — more than ever before in our history.

This surge of activity helped break another record. By the end of Q3, campaigns and organizations using our tools had raised over $350 million since the beginning of the calendar year, despite the fact that midterms are still more than a year away. The only other time we’ve handled $350 million in an election cycle was in the most recent election. We hit that mark in March 2016, 13 months into a very active presidential race. Donors are participating at unprecedented levels, and candidates are laying the groundwork they need to run strong campaigns up and down the ticket in 2018 and beyond.

Topline Numbers

Q3 ’13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
Contributions 637,923 1,785,889 3,178,688
Total amount $23,154,693 $57,200,756 $108,108,700
Unique campaigns, committees,
and organizations
1,826 2,259 5,225

The number of unique groups using our platform more than doubled from Q3 2015 and even increased by 21.7% from Q2 of this year. Specifically, more candidates are jumping into the ring earlier than ever before and focusing on raising money from small-dollar donors to fuel their campaigns. We’ve seen growth at all levels of office this quarter:

There were 658 local candidates and committees raising money on our platform in Q3, which is 4.6 times higher than Q3 in 2013 and more than double our Q3 2015 total. Our team has been busy clearing local jurisdictions so that more candidates for offices like city council and school board can run people-powered campaigns and make a difference in their communities right now.
1,026 candidates for governor, state house, and state senate used our tools this quarter. That’s nearly double the amount of candidates compared to this time in 2015.
A total of 804 candidates for federal House and Senate seats were raising money from small-dollar donors in Q3, three times as many as in the last two election cycles.

And progress isn’t limited to elections: 293 (c)4 advocacy organizations raised money this quarter. The following graph shows just how many more groups were raising in Q3 than at the same point in the last few election cycles.

Daily Running Total of Campaigns, Committees, and Organizations Using ActBlue

This trajectory shows us that people are extremely engaged, and at ActBlue we’re working hard to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. Our integration with Account Updater, which we offer at no additional cost, is one of those tools. If a donor has a recurring contribution on ActBlue and loses their card or their credit card company issues them a new one, this feature updates their card information automatically.

September was a particularly good month for Account Updater, with 17.4% of recurring contributions being updated with a new card. (For comparison, we usually update around 1% of recurring contributions per month.) Updates in September alone ensured that $859,466 worth of small-dollar contributions made it to the campaigns and organizations donors wanted to support, at no extra cost to those groups or donors. In the graph below, you can see the total amount of money saved by Account Updater since we started using the integration.

Cumulative Total Saved Through Automatically Updated Credit Cards

Major Moments

Q3 was full of difficult days for our nation. From natural disasters to crises created by Trump and the GOP, small-dollar donors channeled their sorrow and disgust into action. The graph below shows our daily fundraising totals for the quarter, along with the biggest news stories of the last three months.

The biggest days of the quarter were the end of each month and the end-of-quarter deadline, which are traditionally the most important fundraising days of the year. But the health care fight in July also led to an uptick in support, as did the hurricanes that hit at the end of August and September. Supporters who had previously given via ActBlue forms were able to quickly give to disaster relief organizations on AB Charities through Tandem forms, which allow donors to split one contribution between several groups. We saw a steady bump in traffic in the days following those natural disasters as more and more news came out about relief efforts. Overall, 31,448 small-dollar donors gave to charities through Tandem forms and 274 charities raised money on AB Charities in Q3.

ActBlue Q3 Daily Fundraising

ActBlue Express

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
Total ActBlue Express users 644,425 1,740,943 4,199,621
New ActBlue Express users 63,481 266,885 189,331
Total ActBlue Express dollars $10,200,369 $34,240,878 $64,516,271
% of total contributions via ActBlue Express users 51.9% 66.4% 66.3%

Making giving as frictionless as possible is crucial to the success of fundraising campaigns. ActBlue Express enables more than 4 million small-dollar donors to give to any group on our platform with a single click, and its importance is reflected in this quarter’s numbers. ActBlue Express users raised $64,516,271 in Q3, almost double their haul in 2015. There were also 189,331 donors who signed up for ActBlue Express this quarter.

Recurring Contributions

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
% of total contributions via recurring 13.4% 43.5% 46.3%
Total recurring dollars $1,554,307 $13,715,929 $24,984,209

Recurring contributions help campaigns and organizations plan for the long haul. This quarter, 46.3% of total contributions came from recurring donations. After the devastating hurricane season, we were heartened to see people ask for recurring donations to support relief efforts. Donors often want to give in those moments, and a recurring ask can create a more sustainable recovery effort.

Mobile

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
% of contributions via mobile 14.4% 30.4% 41.0%
% of contributions via mobile for
ActBlue Express users
17.6% 33.1% 42.4%

41% of all contributions this quarter were made via mobile, and because ActBlue Express donors can easily give on any device, 42.4% of ActBlue Express contributions were mobile as well. Additionally, 5.4% of all mobile contributions were made via Apple Pay (70,490 contributions in total). It’s clear that anyone doing digital organizing today needs to be using a mobile-first mindset. With a president who likes to govern by tweet, mobile optimization is more important than ever.

Q3 was a true success thanks to the emerging deep bench of Democratic candidates and passionate organizers around the country. We’re thrilled to help so many people-powered movements fundraise online. And we expect Q4 to bring even more small-dollar donors into the fold, with campaigns continuing to build for 2018, state elections in Virginia in November, and Giving Tuesday just a few weeks later. If you have any questions about our tools or need advice on how to use them, contact us at info@actblue.com.

August ’17 Recap

Small-dollar donors didn’t take a summer vacation from the resistance. Instead, they doubled down on grassroots fundraising for timely causes and future elections — literally. The total money donors gave using ActBlue’s tools in August 2017 was more than double the total we handled in August of the last election cycle.

Even more exciting, more campaigns, committees, and organizations used our tools last month than in any other month in our history, with over 4,000 groups raising money in August.

To top it all off, as of August 28th we’ve already helped candidates and organizations raise over $300 million for this election cycle. This is the first time that’s ever happened in an off-year! It took 663 days to pass $300 million in the 2014 cycle; 426 days in the 2016 cycle; and only 240 days this cycle!

Check out all the highlights for August below:

Topline Numbers

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
Contributions 155,517 526,028 1,019,563
Total Amount $5,818,391 $15,370,889 $32,205,903
Avg. Contribution Size $37.41 $29.22 $31.59
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,305 1,632 4,021

Candidates and organizations raised over $32 million in August from over one million contributions. The number of contributions nearly doubled from August 2015 to this year, but the metric we’re most inspired by is the breadth of candidates and organizations using ActBlue’s tools compared to past years. Now more than ever, Americans are organizing for a brighter future.

This was especially apparent when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana at the end of the month. Candidates and organizations around the country jumped into action to support the relief efforts before the storm even ended. Elected officials from Massachusetts to California, progressive organizations, and nonprofits asked their supporters and friends to contribute to slates of local nonprofits in the affected areas by using Tandem Fundraising. This ActBlue feature lets donors split a single contribution among several groups, like humane societies, diaper banks, and community foundations.

We were excited to see how easy Tandem Fundraising made giving during the crisis. Our Outreach Team quickly connected with organizations responding to the storm and helped 32 charities raise their first dollar ever on ActBlue through Tandem forms. The surge in Tandem donations can be seen in the graph below. Additionally, four of the five highest-grossing contribution forms across ActBlue for the last week of August were Tandem forms supporting local nonprofits doing Harvey relief work.

Proportion of ActBlue Charities Raising on Tandem Forms
 

ActBlue Express

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
New ActBlue Express Users 13,026 74,798 60,618
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
45% 59.8% 60.7%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
 53.0% 65.9% 66.5%

It was a big month for ActBlue Express. Over 60,000 new users signed up for the time-saving feature, which allows donors to give to any campaign or organization with a single click. Almost two-thirds of all contributions sitewide were made by ActBlue Express users last month, showing how important the tool is to donors and organizations alike.

Going deeper into our data, we found that 65.6% of all new donors in August became ActBlue Express users, the highest percentage since January (67.3%). This conversion is very encouraging because summer months are typically slower than politically charged moments like the inauguration.

New ActBlue Express Sign-Ups in August 2017 by Day
 

Mobile

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile  9.4% 29.8% 41.0%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
12.6% 32.4% 42.1%

Recurring

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
Total Recurring Volume  $502,669  $4,557,742  $8,095,870
% of Total Volume  8.6%  29.7%  25.1%

We processed more than $8 million in recurring donations in August. When donors make recurring contributions, they enable campaigns and organizations to plan for the long haul. People who signed up for a recurring contribution in August to help hurricane relief will be supporting that crucial work for months to come, even when the headlines have moved on.

Customer Service

August ’17
Total Incoming Calls 6,167
Email Conversations 19,151

Our Customer Service Team handled an average of 198 calls per day last month. Their dedication is one of the many reasons why so many new groups continue to sign up to use our tools.

It might be hard to believe, but we’re officially more than halfway through Trump’s first year in office. The good news is that small-dollar donors and the organizations and campaigns they believe in are not slowing down. We can’t wait to see what they achieve with all of their hard work by the end of this quarter. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments about our August recap, you can reach a member of our team at info@actblue.com.

ActBlue interns weigh in on their experience

We hire a team of paid interns every semester at ActBlue, who are interested in everything from politics to law to writing and marketing. They come to us from varying college majors, hometowns, and backgrounds, and they bring unique perspectives and ideas to the ActBlue team. It’s our goal to help them learn the ins and outs of ActBlue and show them what it’s like to work in politics, as well as within the larger grassroots movement. Perhaps most importantly, they’re able to explore how their own interests and skills can play a role in their political work.

I can speak to the intern experience first-hand, since I myself started interning at ActBlue in 2014. The work I did was extremely rewarding — I knew that every task I completed played a part in the larger mission of ActBlue, and I also knew that I was gaining some great experience to take with me after college. I started as an intern during the summer before my senior year of college as a writing and literature major. I knew I wanted to write, but I also had a passion for politics and I had no idea those interests could intersect so perfectly. Before I started with ActBlue, I didn’t know that the job I’m currently doing existed. When I thought about working in politics, I only thought about actually running for office or working on a campaign. I didn’t realize the scope of the work being done, or how fulfilling that work could be, but my internship introduced me to a host of new opportunities and ways I could make a difference.

Since I graduated, I’ve been a full-time staffer, working with our Marketing Team and building a career in digital organizing. That means I’m now on the other side of the internship program, and it’s been amazing to see how excited our interns are about Democratic politics and how inspired they are by the strength of the small-dollar donor movement. They’re the kind of enthusiastic, passionate activists that are going to play a big role in all the work we’ll be doing on the left in the coming years and we’re grateful we can be a part of their stories.

Jess, Deb, and Monika worked on our Customer Service, Marketing, and Outreach teams. They’re moving on from ActBlue to new adventures in the fall, so we chatted with each of them to hear about their experiences.

 

 

Jess:

It’s been extremely rewarding to see the incredible ways ActBlue’s platform has been able to support the resistance. I’ve seen first-hand that people are not sitting by and letting this country fall at the hands of Trump and the GOP. They’re running for office. They’re donating to really great candidates. They’re starting PACs and advocacy organizations, and they’re building powerful networks of small-dollar donors who can respond to attacks on things like our healthcare within hours. It’s been really eye-opening to see the power of grassroots organizing and it reminds me that all hope is not lost.

Deb:

During my internship, I had to juggle multiple projects with different demands and time commitments. I got to expand on my abilities to prioritize and multitask, while also learning how to design projects on my own. But my favorite part of being an ActBlue intern was the exposure I got to the national political landscape from right here in Somerville, Mass. Each team at ActBlue plays a unique part in the political process, and I’m so grateful to have been able to see things from different angles throughout my time here.

Monika:

When I started interning last year, I wanted to find a workplace where I could play an active role in Democratic politics in the months leading up to the election, while still being able to develop my personal and professional interests. I’ve been exposed to so many different organizations and individuals who are doing really great advocacy work throughout the country. I’ve been able to expand my view of nonprofits who work in this space, but I’ve also been able to develop my own intentions and ambitions as I move forward in my career.


The energy and drive we see in our interns every semester is inspiring to all of us, and a sure sign of all the great activism and work that’s going to be done in the upcoming years.

We’ve already completed the intern hiring process for the fall, but should be accepting applications for spring interns in mid-to-late October. If you’re interested in applying, we encourage you to check back. Aside from all the great experience they receive, our interns are paid, provided with a transportation subsidy, and all the snacks and coffee they need to get them through interning and taking classes. If you have questions about our internship program, drop us a line at internships@actblue.com.

 

New and improved daily update emails

At ActBlue it’s always been our mission to help people across the country run the most effective small-dollar fundraising programs. One of the ways we do that? We make sure the groups using our tools have easy, real-time access to their fundraising data, so they can budget, plan, and strategize.

If you’re an ActBlue admin user you’ve probably gotten used to receiving a fundraising update from us every morning. And you might have noticed that we recently gave those fundraising updates a makeover. We want to hit your inbox every day with stats that make the most sense for you and your team because we know it’s critical (especially right now) that you have meaningful, actionable data to work with.

The change that’s probably most noticeable in your inbox is the new subject line for the update emails. We switched out “You’re making a difference” for the total dollars the group or groups you work with raised on the previous day. You can see an example of the new subject line in the screenshot below. Rest assured, you’re still making a difference — we just won’t be telling you every day.

 

subject-line

 

With the new subject line, even if you don’t have time to open your email during a busy morning, you’ll still get an important topline stat in the notification you receive first thing — your most recent day’s fundraising total.

Here’s an example of what the daily update email will look like once you open it up:

sample-email

 

Your daily update email includes data like month-to-date fundraising stats, the percentage of contributions that came in via specific payment methods — including ActBlue Express, Apple Pay, and PayPal — as well as a table listing each of the groups you manage, the percentage of contributions that were recurring, and the percentage of contributions that came in via mobile.

Please note that the stats you receive in your daily update email will vary depending on the number of groups you manage on ActBlue.

At the bottom of your daily update email, you can click on “Get Help” to send us an email if you have questions about your recent fundraising, or if we can be of assistance in any way.

contact-us

You can also click on the link just below that to change your email preferences.

email-settings

You can choose to receive daily update emails every morning, or opt out of receiving them altogether. If you want to receive an email every morning, choose “Nightly” in the dropdown menu next to Site Activity Emails. This means that our system will analyze your fundraising activity every night, compile the data and send it out to you in the morning. If you don’t want to receive any updates, just choose “None” in the dropdown.

We hope you and your team will find these insightful, and that the new data we’ve incorporated will help you hit the ground running each day! If you have questions or comments about the daily update emails, you should feel free to drop us a line at info@actblue.com.


 
 
 

July ’17 Recap

Even though we’re still more than a year away from the mid-term elections, millions of people are engaging with ActBlue’s tools and making small-dollar donations as a way of fighting back. Organizers are mobilizing supporters to fundraise for progressive causes, support local races, and stop harmful legislation from passing.

The participation we’ve seen — from both donors and organizations — is astounding. Together they raised more than $27 million last month, fueling an enduring movement that remains strong as we get closer to 2018.

Check out all the highlights for July below:

Topline Numbers

July ’13 July ’15 July ’17
Contributions 162,588  466,691  975,412
Total Amount $5,876,154 $13,732,983 $27,587,441
Avg. Contribution Size $36.14 $29.43 $28.28
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,229 1,517 3,680

The fundraising total for last month was more than double the total for July 2015, and that increase came from a nationwide effort. We’ve seen growth across the board over the last two years, but there’s been a remarkable increase in fundraising in states that don’t typically have as much early engagement. For example, fundraising increased by 178.5% in Ohio, 209.6% in Michigan, and an incredible 238.8% in Iowa in 2017 as compared to July 2015.

As you can see in the chart below, there’s been a huge spike in engagement in all corners of the country, as donors work hard to fuel the resistance nationwide.

 

nationwide-resistance

 

ActBlue Express

July ’13 July ’15 July ’17
New ActBlue Express Users  13,842  67,260  52,120
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
 44.8% 60.4% 61.2%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
 53.0% 65.6% 66.9%

In July, we saw the steady flow of new donors continue. More than 52,000 people became ActBlue Express users and saved their payment information with us, and ActBlue Express users made 66.9% of all contributions sitewide. When donors don’t have to re-enter their payment information and can donate with a single click, they’re more likely to keep supporting the organizations and causes that are fueling the resistance.

Mobile

July ’13 July ’15 July ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile  9.0% 28.4% 41.4%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
12.2% 31.1% 42.7%

Mobile contributions made up 41.4% of July’s total contributions, making mobile fundraising a powerful tool for the organizations fueling the resistance. As you can see below, donors are especially active on their phones in the mornings and in the evenings.

 

mobile-by-day-and-hour

 

Last month, 42.7% of contributions made by ActBlue Express users came from a mobile device. These are donors who can contribute with a single click right from their phones, and they save time because they don’t have to enter their payment information. That helps organizations bring in more contributions to fuel their crucial work.

Recurring

July ’13 July ’15 July ’17
Total Recurring Volume  $497,940  $3,914,565  $8,093,123
% of Total Volume  8.5%  28.5%  29.3%

Recurring contributions allow donors and organizations to fuel powerful movements for the long haul, and keep momentum up throughout the course of a campaign or push for change. Donors can sign up and make a commitment when they’re fired up, and the organizations they support can carry on the important work they’re doing well past that initial contribution. July’s recurring numbers remained steady, with almost 30% of all dollars coming from recurring contributions.

Customer Service

July ’17
Total Incoming Calls 7,294
Email Conversations 18,933

Our customer service team works around the clock to make sure donors have the best experience possible when donating through ActBlue. Team members cover every time zone from the east to west coast so that donors can access the support they need as soon as possible. This past month we answered more than 7,000 phone calls and responded to over 18,000 emails, in addition to helping donors via social media.

Donors and organizations are putting in the hard work everyday to fight the efforts of the Trump administration and our Republican-controlled Congress, and we’ll continue to be right there with them. If you want to tell us how you’re helping the movement, or if you have any questions about our July recap, let us know at info@actblue.com.


 

Finding your active recurring donors just became really easy

Recurring fundraising programs are important because they allow groups using ActBlue to budget, plan, and build for the future, so they can do more (and better!) organizing work.

Recurring fundraising benefits donors, as well, because they can commit to supporting your work for the long haul and really feel like they’re investing in the movements and causes they care about.

To make the most of a recurring program, campaigns and organizations need to be able to figure out how much recurring money is slated to come in. And a part of that process is being able to answer the question, “who are my recurring donors?” That’s why we now have a CSV available to every group using ActBlue that provides them with the data they’ll need.

How to download a CSV of active recurring contributions:

Navigate to the Recurring tab of your Dashboard menu, where you’ll see an option to “Download active recurring contributions CSV report.”

download-csv

Our system will generate a CSV with a detailed look at your currently active recurring contributions, including info like the date of the initial contribution, the date of the most recent recurrence, and the amount. Please note that for most groups, we expect the spreadsheet will download quickly, but if a group has a lot of active recurring contributions, it could take a few minutes to download (and it could take ~30 minutes for an especially large recurring program).

There are a lot of potential use cases for the data you’ll find in this CSV. You can use the CSV to help target future fundraising asks, like excluding donors who already have recurring contributions running. You can also use the CSV to keep track of your active recurring contributions over time to help make projections and plan ahead. Or, you can use the list of email addresses to send recurring donors updates, keeping them engaged and excited about the work they’re helping you do.

We’d love to hear about how you’re using the active recurring CSV to better your fundraising program, and as always, we’re happy to answer any questions that come up. You can reach out to a member of our team at info@actblue.com.


 

Q2 2017: More campaigns and organizations raising than ever before

Back in April, we published some record-breaking numbers for Q1. It was a powerful sign that the resistance was fighting back against Trump. But it wasn’t a one-off moment. In Q2, as we got farther away from Trump’s inauguration and marches across the country, which were rallying points for many people, those record-breaking numbers only got bigger. It’s a sign that the resistance isn’t slowing down, but deepening and organizing to win. There were some big moments during Q2 — special elections and the House healthcare vote — but those were only small parts of the story. Thousands of groups took action (in fact, more campaigns and organizations raised on ActBlue than in any quarter before!), and more supporters chipped in to support the candidates and causes they believe in.

Topline Numbers

Q2 ’13 Q2 ’15 Q2 ’17
Contributions 529,614 1,273,348 4,654,994
Total amount $22,236,309 $48,155,781 $137,415,552
Unique campaigns, committees,
and organizations
1,610  1,970 4,293

We handled 4,654,994 small-dollar contributions and helped campaigns and organizations bring in $137.4 million, which is nearly three times our Q2 2015 total (the best year for comparison, given that it was the first year of the most recent election cycle). It’s also larger than our Q2 2016 total ($133 million), and that was during the height of the presidential primary!

total-dollars

One of the biggest reasons for this huge growth is the increase in the number of campaigns and organizations that are fighting back and using our tools to engage with supporters and fundraise. We helped 4,293 groups raise money in Q2 — that’s the most ever in a single quarter, and it by far exceeds the number of groups that would normally be raising at this time during an election cycle.

 

campaigns-and-orgs

Of those groups, 1,374 raised their very first dollar on ActBlue in Q2 (909 campaigns and 465 organizations). Oftentimes candidates wouldn’t have declared at this point in the cycle, especially if they’re running for local office, but people are fired up right now. And that early money is going to help them build powerful campaigns down the line.

The last quarter wasn’t successful because of any one of these groups, or because of any handful of big days. If you look at the fundraising totals of the biggest, smallest, and average days in the quarter as compared to past years, you start to see just how steady the fundraising was from day to day, and how so many groups, from small organizations to high-profile campaigns, have come alive and have worked hard to build people-powered movements.

We certainly had some big days in Q2, but that wasn’t what ultimately led to a record-breaking quarter. As you can see below, the smallest day in Q2 2017 was 43% bigger than the average day in Q2 2015.

big-small-avg-quarter

ActBlue Express

Q2 ’13 Q2 ’15 Q2 ’17
Total ActBlue Express users  580,428 1,472,007 4,006,198
New ActBlue Express users  43,361 196,899 241,672
Total ActBlue Express dollars $9,444,376 $27,479,026 $81,121,920
% of total contributions via ActBlue Express users 52.8% 64.0% 65.7%

ActBlue Express continues to be one of the most powerful tools for campaigns and organizations. We hit 4 million ActBlue Express users just a few days before the quarter wrapped up, and those ActBlue Express users made 65.7% of the contributions in Q2. The chart below shows the incredible growth that got us to 4 million ActBlue Express users.

express-growth

Recurring Contributions

Q2 ’13 Q2 ’15 Q2 ’17
% of total contributions via recurring  13.9% 41.8% 41.6%
Total recurring dollars $1,333,927 $9,695,615 $32,867,432

Recurring contributions remained strong this past quarter, accounting for 41.6% of all contributions (that includes recurrences of pledges that were initiated before Q2 2017). Recurring programs continue to help campaigns and organizations build sustainable operations and plan for the future, and they allow donors to give a small contribution each month and have a big impact on the causes they support.

Mobile

Q2 ’13 Q2 ’15 Q2 ’17
% of contributions via mobile 8.8% 27.2% 41.0%
% of contributions via mobile for
ActBlue Express users
12.2% 29.7% 42.0%

Mobile contributions account for nearly half of all contributions made via ActBlue. We’ve worked over the last few years to ensure that the donation process is as smooth as possible for supporters, and that campaigns and organizations have access to the most advanced mobile technology, whether they’re a presidential campaign or a small upstart nonprofit. Apple Pay — one of our latest advancements for mobile — accounted for 6.2% of all mobile donations this past quarter, and helped bring in $3.2 million. We’ve been working to roll Apple Pay out to as many campaigns and organizations as possible since October, and we’re very close to being able to make it available to everyone, from local candidates to national nonprofits.


While 2018 and 2020 are still a ways off, and there is much more work to be done, it’s been inspiring to see so many people take their anger and frustration and turn it into action. Across the country, people are jumping into the fray and running for office, starting new organizations, and chipping in as a way of fighting back.

We’d love to hear how you’ve been using ActBlue’s tools to fight back. Let us know at info@actblue.com.

May ’17 Recap

Our numbers for May are in, and it was another huge month for small-dollar donor engagement. There’s been an incredible increase in May’s fundraising totals cycle over cycle — we processed three times the amount of money in May of 2017 than in May of 2015. Similarly, more than double the number of groups raised money on ActBlue in May of 2017 than during the same month of the last election cycle. Collectively, more than 3,200 total groups raised more than $48M in May alone. Small-dollar donors are not giving up on making their voices heard, and new groups and organizers are getting involved in the progressive movement.

When the AHCA bill went to a vote in the House during the first week of May, groups mobilized quickly as small-dollar donors made it clear they were ready to contribute and fight back. Here at ActBlue, we had all hands on deck and set up hundreds of Democratic nominee funds, where grassroots donors contributed millions of dollars in the days surrounding the vote. Check out the graph below, where you can clearly see the huge spike in dollars on May 4th and 5th, when donors were making their opposition to Trumpcare heard loud and clear.

Keep reading below the chart for a breakdown of all the highlights for May:

amount by day in May

 

Topline Numbers

MAY ’13 MAY ’15 MAY ’17
Contributions 173,539 429,882 1,586,558
Total Amount $6,495,234 $15,967,748 $48,753,557
Avg. Contribution Size $37.42 $37.14 $30.73
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,068 1,424 3,257

ActBlue Express

We’ve seen a steady stream of new, dedicated donors coming into the fold so far in 2017, and this past month was no different. More than 98k new donors saved their payment information with ActBlue Express in May. Those supporters are able to give to any of the thousands of groups using ActBlue with a single click.

 

May ’13 May ’15 May ’17
New ActBlue Express Users 12,624 79,717 98,273
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
42.8% 57.7% 60.6%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
55.1% 63.8% 66.2%

Mobile

MAY ’13 MAY ’15 MAY ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile 9.4% 25.4% 40.4%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
13.0% 27.3% 40.9%

Recurring

MAY ’13 MAY ’15 MAY ’17
Total Recurring Volume $448,802 $3,143,110 $11,194,882
% of Total Volume 6.9% 19.7% 23.0%

Recurring contributions are one of the biggest ways donors show their ongoing support for the campaigns and causes they care about. Rather than giving one up-front contribution, they’re able to chip in a small amount over the course of multiple months. The amount of recurring money groups are raising across ActBlue has grown at an incredible pace over the last few election cycles. In the graph below, we break down daily recurring totals cycle to cycle. Recurring totals tended to be pretty stable from day to day in May. That’s great for campaigns and organizations relying on their recurring fundraising as a way to budget and plan ahead, and indicates that donors are remaining committed to the causes and campaigns they’re passionate about.

recurring daily total

Customer Service

Our customer service team handled over 890 email conversations a day during the month of May. With so many new donors coming on board to support the groups fundraising on ActBlue, we’ve recently brought even more customer service representatives on to our team. They’re available around the clock to answer questions from donors, campaigns, and organizations alike, and make sure it’s easy for them to use ActBlue to make a difference.

MAY ’17
Total Incoming Calls 9,754
Email Conversations 27,632

 

If you’ve got any questions or comments about our May breakdown, drop us a line at info@actblue.com.