Email Testing: What works (and what doesn’t) when deciding on fundraising ask amounts?

We’ve always used the ActBlue blog as a place to report back on our work and let everyone who’s part of the larger ActBlue community know about the huge impact their organizing work and their donations have on the progressive movement. Primarily, that means sharing stats and insights into the donations that run through our platform. But as a nonprofit, we also put a lot of resources into running our own email fundraising program, just like so many of the groups using ActBlue to fundraise. And we use our tools to do it!

During this election season, which is already proving to be busier than ever, we want to provide everyone using ActBlue with as much info and data to help guide your strategies as possible. That’s why we’re sharing two tests on the way we generate ask amounts for our ActBlue fundraising emails (and why we plan to keep sharing relevant test results throughout this year). If you have questions or thoughts on these tests, feel free to comment on this post. We hope this gets the gears turning in terms of some new tests for the other fundraising programs out there!


For our email fundraising, we have been re-evaluating how we use a donor’s previous contribution history to tailor the ask amounts we use in emails. We use ActBlue Express Lane for all of our fundraising emails, which allows ActBlue Express users to give simply by clicking a button in an email. Over the years, we’ve optimized the number of ask amounts we include in an email, as well as considered the range and distribution of the amounts we include.

 

express_box

 

We’ve also tested different sets of ask amounts for donors who tend to give different amounts. For example, the buttons for a donor who tends to give $30 once a year will be tailored to that amount and different than those a donor who regularly gives us $3 contributions will see.

To determine those asks, we typically look at our donors’ previous contribution history and use their highest previous contribution amount (HPC) to determine which set of ask amounts to use. If a donor’s HPC was below $25, they would be grouped into a segment of donors that would see the first set of buttons (top) in the image below, whereas if their HPC was between $25 and $50, they would be in the group of donors that saw the middle set of ask amounts.

ask_amounts

 

We fine-tuned these default ask amounts for each group of HPC amounts over many email tests until we saw the gains in our conversion rates plateau. This made us wonder if the conversion rate we had reached based on testing HPC amounts was the highest rate we could achieve, or whether we could reach a higher peak by starting with a different premise. With about six months left in the election cycle, we’ve been focused on maximizing recurring sign-ups rather than one-time contributions, so we started to think about alternatives to HPC that were better tailored towards action rates and recurring signups.

First we tested average previous contributions (APC) for donors who have given more than one contribution. Our hypothesis was that a donor would be more likely to take action when given ask amounts tailored towards the average of their previous contributions rather than their highest contribution amount. We tested this hypothesis by splitting our donors and assigning half of them ask amounts based on their HPC and half based on their APC. We used the same ask amounts we typically use with both of these newly sorted groups. For our list, this proved to be an effective method — we increased the action rate by 20% and the total amount raised by over 4%. We successfully raised more money by getting more contributors to give smaller amounts!

The increase in our action rate indicates our ask amounts based on HPC may have been too high. Donors may be inspired by your ask but not always able to match their own highest contribution. By lowering our ask amounts, we kept more donors engaged and decreased the likelihood they would be alienated by receiving ask amounts greater than their ability or willingness to contribute, while still raising more overall.

From this experiment, we’ve continued to build on our results. We are now working on optimizing ask amounts based on our donors’ APC amount and also tested ask amounts based on the type of contribution a donor has given previously. After all, if your goal is to maximize recurring signups, why ask for the highest previous contribution when that is likely to reflect a one-time contribution rather than a recurring amount? It’s also in line with what we know about small-dollar online giving — people want to give when they’re moved to support your cause, and that is often at a lower level multiple times throughout a cycle. That’s a useful lesson for smaller campaigns and organizations who don’t have the list size to run an involved test like this.

To improve recurring signups, we designed a test that was a bit more complex. We took all of our donors and first split them into three groups: those who had only given one kind of contribution (one-off or recurring) and those who had given both kinds of contributions. We then took the group of donors who had given both kinds of contributions and split them in two again: half were assigned ask amounts based on their HPC and half received amounts based on their highest previous recurring contribution (HPR).

ask_amounts_2

 

The impact? We raised nearly twice as much from donors in the HPR group than those in the HPC group. We found that donors were far more likely to give recurring contributions with ask amounts tailored specifically to their recurring contribution amounts.

The results of these tests reinforced a few things: First, how critical it is to question our basic assumptions about email practices to continue to build on our results. And second, how important it is to think about the kind of program you want to build. Do you really want to maximize a person’s donation once? Or are you more worried about building a robust, sustainable recurring program? Is your campaign in the news a lot, and therefore do you have lots of opportunities to engage people who have already donated? All these factors should play into how you think about your ask amounts.

If you’re an admin at a campaign or organization, you can conduct these tests too! We recommend starting by setting up a webhook to collect and analyze more information on your group’s contribution history. If you’re running a smaller campaign and building your list, you may not have enough data yet to test based on your donors’ contribution history. If that’s the case, we recommend using our Smart Recurring tool to ask one-time donors to add a smaller recurring contribution. This will help you build a robust, small-dollar program and provide more insight into how your donors respond to different ask amounts!

If you have any thoughts or questions about setting up a test like this, please reach out to stern@actblue.com!

New Two-factor Authentication recommendations

ActBlue admins will notice something new on their Dashboard starting today: A message regarding two-factor authentication.

2FA Message

Two-factor authentication (2FA for short) is a security protocol that requires users to provide two different, independent pieces of verification to confirm their identity when logging into an online account. A common form of 2FA requires users to enter a username and password combination AND an authentication code that is randomly generated by a separate app on a phone. We’ve offered 2FA on ActBlue admin accounts since 2016. Today, we’re releasing new 2FA recommendations and options to reflect current best practices.

1. We strongly recommend setting up 2FA with Google Authenticator for your ActBlue account today, even if you are already using a different 2FA application (and especially if you are not currently using 2FA). Google Authenticator is a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) app. TOTP apps are the most secure 2FA option because they use algorithms to generate authentication codes. When you use Google Authenticator with your ActBlue account, you will not receive text messages or voice calls as part of the verification process as those methods can be vulnerable to social engineering.

To start using Google Authenticator with your ActBlue account, simply log in to ActBlue and then follow the link in the message at the top of your Dashboard (pictured above). You’ll be brought to a page where you can download Google Authenticator on your phone or tablet.

2FA Page

Open the app and select “Begin Setup” and then “Scan barcode.”

Google Authenticator

Scan the barcode on our page. The app will then show you an authentication code, which you should enter in the “Confirmation code” box on our page. Please note that every code will disappear in the app after a few seconds, but the app will constantly generate new ones (so don’t worry if you are too slow entering it the first time).

Click the orange button at the bottom of our page to complete the setup process! From then on, you will be asked to enter a Google Authenticator code when logging in to your ActBlue account on an intermittent basis or any time you log in on a new device.

2. If you currently use the 2FA application Authy and do not want to switch to Google Authenticator, we strongly recommend disabling the Authy Multi-Device feature. This feature leaves your account vulnerable to social engineering. See number three — “Enable (or disable) Authy Multi-Device” — on this page for instructions. Or just set up Google Authenticator instead. It only takes a few minutes!

3. We are excited to now support YubiKeys for 2FA! While using an app on a phone like Google Authenticator will be easiest for most ActBlue admins, we’re always striving to be on the cutting-edge. Now, if you have a YubiKey (a physical device that you insert into your computer, similar to a USB drive), you can use it with codes generated by the Yubico Authenticator desktop application for your 2FA.

Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways you can protect yourself and your organization from attacks. If we can help you deploy 2FA to your entire campaign or organization on ActBlue, or if you have any questions about these recommendations, contact us at support@actblue.com!

April ’18 Recap

The small-dollar donor movement reached new heights in April as more folks used grassroots donations to fight back against the GOP on multiple fronts. Over the course of the month, donors supported a record-breaking 7,056 campaigns and organizations on ActBlue. These are groups working across the country on a wide variety of progressive issues and people running for all levels of office to create positive change in their communities. This is the first time we’ve had over 7,000 groups use our tools in one month, and it’s even more exciting because our total for all of 2017 was 7,892 groups!

But that’s not all: Grassroots donors raised $55,885,812 on ActBlue in April, which brings our current total for the 2018 election cycle to $758 million. We’re far ahead of the $746 million raised through Election Day in the 2016 election cycle and only slightly behind the $782 million raised over the entire 2016 cycle! This meteoric rise in grassroots engagement means Democrats running for office this year have an unprecedented amount of early support and are building campaigns that can compete with GOP super PACs and corporate funders for the next six months.

Check out all of the highlights from April below:

Topline Numbers

April ’14 April ‘16 April ‘18
Contributions 321,471 1,630,135 1,453,311
Total Amount $12,262,546 $49,313,584 $55,885,812
Average Contribution Size $38.15 $30.25 $38.45
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,999 2,641 7,056

Small-dollar donors made 1,453,311 contributions on ActBlue in April. They supported an extraordinary number of groups using our platform, from folks running for office for the first time to environmental advocacy groups and nonprofits celebrating Earth Day. In the chart below, you can see the steady rise in campaigns and organizations using ActBlue over the course of this election cycle.

2018 Election Cycle: Total Groups Using ActBlue Each Month

When these groups begin to use ActBlue, they get access to our ever-expanding ActBlue Express universe: A group of nearly 5 million small-dollar donors who have saved their payment information with us so they can give to any group on our platform with a single click.

Total ActBlue Express Users

Mobile

April ‘14 April ‘16 April ‘18
% of Contributions via Mobile 22.1% 41.1% 42.1%
% Mobile for ActBlue Express 24.6% 44.3% 42.3%

42.1% of all contributions in April were made via mobile. If you’re a digital fundraiser, it’s crucial to think about how your program works on mobile so you don’t miss out on nearly half of all potential contributions. ActBlue contribution forms are automatically optimized for mobile so that supporters can give to their favorite candidates and causes even if they’re not in front of a computer screen.

Recurring Contributions

April ‘14 April ‘16 April ‘18
Total Recurring Volume $1,027,926 $9,032,556 $12,580,106
% of Total Volume 8.4% 18.3% 22.5%

Recurring contributions made up 22.5% of total volume in April. Grassroots donors are committing to Democrats and progressive groups for the long haul. Recurring donations will sustain Dems running against Republicans bankrolled by mega-donors and help advocacy groups and nonprofits budget and plan for the future.

Customer Service

April ‘18
Total Incoming Calls 9,927
Email Conversations 25,359

If Q1 wasn’t convincing enough, April has made it clear that small-dollar donors are ready to power a formidable blue wave this year. We’re so excited by all of this energy and engagement, and we’re ready to help activists, concerned citizens, candidates, and organizers reach more victories. If you want to start raising money for a cause or campaign online, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.

Why it’s so important to move money fast

It’s always been our mission to help people have an impact on the issues and causes they care about. When it’s easy for small-dollar donors to hop on their phones or computers and chip in what they can, they contribute more frequently and truly feel invested in the movements they’re supporting.

Another important factor that influences whether or not donors ultimately decide to give? They want to trust the platform and the donation process. And that includes having a good sense of what happens with their money after they click that donate button. We know that when donors chip in to support critical work, they expect the donations they’re making to get to the groups they’re supporting ASAP. They want to help groups hit their goals and be successful. It’d be a real shame for the money they give to sit for weeks or even months before being put to work, but that’s the reality with some fundraising platforms.

In 2017 alone, there were over 7,800 groups using our platform — from charities raising money for disaster relief to diaper banks in communities across the country. These are all groups doing critical work, and it’s important for them to have quick access to the money they’re raising. Not only does this help organizations do their best work, but it helps donors know that their contributions are going to make a real difference in the work they care about.

So how does this play out day-to-day? Think back to the many natural disasters Americans had to face last year. They needed funds and supplies quickly in order to begin recovering after hurricanes and wildfires. Millions of folks stepped up to help out and chipped in online to do their part. We were able to send checks right away, so organizations in the affected communities could put the funds right into relief efforts when they needed it most.

When groups raise small-dollar donations on AB Charities, we send them a check with the money you’ve chipped in every week without fail. Whether it’s a holiday or the middle of a snowstorm, we print checks and get them mailed out to organizations every Monday. We’re also available at a moment’s notice if nonprofits are in a pinch and need their money quicker than usual. We can overnight a check or wire money directly to a group’s bank account, at no additional cost.

Long story short? If you’re working for a nonprofit, you can rest assured that the donations you’re raising on our platform will get to you quickly. And if you’re a donor chipping in what you can to support work you believe in, know that your donations will be put to work and making a difference in no time.

If you have questions about using AB Charities to raise money, or want to learn more, just drop us a line at support@actblue.com.

Announcing a brand-new integration with Salesforce

In order to run an effective fundraising program, we know it’s essential for organizations to have access to their donor and contribution data where and when they need it.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve just rolled out an integration with Salesforce! If you’re using AB Charities to fundraise but using Salesforce as your CRM, you’ll now be able to sync data across both platforms in real time. And it’s free!

Salesforce is a leader in the nonprofit space and we’re very excited we could build this integration. Now folks using their tools and ActBlue will have access to all the details of a contribution (like whether it was recurring, the amount, and the refcode), as well as donor info including email addresses within Salesforce, all in real time.

Using this new integration will help nonprofit organizations run data-driven fundraising programs and build workflows that are best for their budget and their goals. If you’re interested in setting up a Salesforce integration with AB Charities, or have any questions about this new feature, you can email us at support@actblue.com.

For those organizations that might be using other CRMs, we offer integrations with several other platforms, and we offer open webhooks. These can provide more flexibility in the way your organization retrieves and works with your data. If your organization wants to hear more about using webhooks, you should reach out to our team and we can provide you with the details.

And we’re happy to continue integrating with new platforms — if there’s a specific integration you’re interested in, please get in touch with us!

Q1 2018: A record number of records

Since Trump’s election, small-dollar donors have been fired up and actively engaged in trying to change our country’s future. We’ve reported back every quarter on how grassroots supporters have been besting past election cycles and breaking records, but this past quarter was truly astounding. Thanks to small-dollar donors, Q1 2018 was our biggest quarter ever (beating out every quarter of the 2016 election!), with a total of $180,737,948 raised. Additionally, we’ve already raised $702,744,083 in the 2017-2018 cycle and will be hitting $750 million in a matter of weeks. For comparison, our total for the entire 2015-2016 cycle was $746 million.

There were also a record-breaking number of campaigns and organizations raising on ActBlue in Q1 2018 — 7,838 in total. And there have now been over 10,000 groups who have raised money through our platform during the 2017-2018 election cycle, another sign of how truly massive the resistance movement has become. Below, you can see the extraordinary growth in groups using our tools during this cycle. This is an increasingly diverse set of groups that includes national advocacy organizations and local nonprofits in addition to campaigns of all sizes. That means supporters will have plenty of places to direct their energy after election season ends. We’re experiencing a historic moment in the small-dollar donor movement, and it’s not even a presidential election cycle!

Please note that Y1 on this graph refers to the first year of the election cycle, and Y2 refers to the second.

Total Groups Fundraising on ActBlue

Grassroots donors also propelled us to another milestone this quarter: On January 4, we officially hit $2 billion raised in the lifetime of our platform. We only hit the $1 billion mark in March 2016, in the midst of a spirited presidential primary. An unparalleled amount of organizing from concerned citizens and activists helped us double that in just under two years!

Check out all of the highlights from Q1 and new cycle-to-date comparisons below:

Topline Numbers

Q1 ’14 Q1 ‘16 Q1 ‘18
Contributions 897,884 5,558,959 4,659,660
Total Amount $36,955,658 $164,307,042 $180,737,948
Average Contribution Size $41.16 $29.56 $38.79
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
2,478 2,981 7,838

Small-dollar donors made 4,659,660 contributions on ActBlue this quarter, and they had many reasons to give. In addition to some special elections and the start of primary season, folks were fired up about government shutdowns, the ongoing fight for DACA, and organizing for gun control.

We got to our record total of $181 million raised this quarter thanks to remarkably consistent daily totals. In Q1, there were a record-setting 38 days when candidates and organizations raised more than $2 million — including every weekday in March! In the chart below, you can see how steady donations were, especially during the work week.

Daily Totals on ActBlue in Q1 of 2018

Cycle Comparisons

Q1 ’13 through Q1 ’14 Q1 ’15 through Q1 ’16 Q1 ’17 through Q1 ’18
Contributions 3,440,238 12,027,805 21,797,423
Total Amount $128,589,673 $370,657,131 $702,744,083
Average Contribution Size $37.37 $30.81 $32.23
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
3,638 4,402 10,295

There’s so much unprecedented grassroots engagement right now that we decided to compare the 2018 election cycle so far to the same timeframe in past cycles. Across all metrics, it’s clear that Democrats have more grassroots support going into this election year than ever before.

In the graph below, we break down fundraising totals on ActBlue for these election cycles by quarter. With so many small-dollar donations coming so early in the 2018 cycle, Democrats will be able to keep up with Republicans bankrolled by mega-donors right up to Election Day.

Amount Raised on ActBlue by Quarter

ActBlue Express

Q1 ’14 Q1 ’16 Q1 ’18
New ActBlue Express users 79,155 771,193 290,744

In January we officially hit 4.5 million ActBlue Express users, and by the end of March we had over 4.7 million! 290,744 people saved their payment information with us this quarter and can now give to anyone on our platform with a single click. In a real show of commitment, 43.4 percent of the ActBlue Express donors who gave in Q1 made more than one contribution, and 38.7 percent gave to more than one group! We’re looking forward to hitting 5 million ActBlue Express users next quarter, in time for the heat of election season.

Mobile

Q1 ‘14 Q1 ‘16 Q1 ‘18
% of Contributions via Mobile 20.2% 40.3% 42.7%
% Mobile for ActBlue Express 23.3% 43.8% 42.0%

Recurring Contributions

Q1 ‘14 Q1 ‘16 Q1 ‘18
Total Recurring Volume $2,523,315 $25,639,162 $36,080,458
% of Total Volume 6.8% 15.6% 20.0%

Twenty percent of Q1’s total volume came from recurring contributions. Now that we’re only seven months away from Election Day, recurring contributions are more important than ever for Democrats running for office. When donors chip in monthly contributions, campaigns can budget ahead of time for ads, events, GOTV efforts, and more so they’re not out of cash at crunch time.

Customer Service

Q1 ‘18
Total Incoming Calls 33,239
Email Conversations 74,544

We added six (!!) new customer service experts to our team this quarter. With a record number of first-timers running for office and new folks supporting them as grassroots donors, we want to make sure we can answer any and all questions.

This quarter, small-dollar donors set Democrats up for success. We know the midterms won’t be easy, but with so many records already being crushed, the left has the energy and the resources to win in November. If you want to get your campaign on ActBlue (it’s never too late!) or need help fundraising for your favorite cause, or if you have questions about this post, contact us at info@actblue.com.

February ’18 Recap

February was the last month before primary season kicked off, and small-dollar donors took that to heart: They helped Democratic campaigns and other groups on the left raise $59,511,643 using ActBlue. That total beats the previous ActBlue record for February from 2016 by over $1 million. Additionally, the number of unique groups using our tools hit a new high once again: 6,039 candidates, advocacy organizations, and nonprofits! These records are even more impressive because February 2016 was part of a presidential cycle and was also one day longer than last month because it was part of a leap year!

Check out all of the highlights from February below:

Topline Numbers

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
Contributions 259,151 1,891,244 1,606,011
Total Amount $10,480,394 $58,444,595 $59,511,643
Average Contribution Size $40.44 $30.90 $37.06
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,684 2,153 6,039

Last month, grassroots donors made 1,606,011 contributions and raised almost fifty million more dollars than in February of the last midterm election year (2014) — that’s a huge increase in engagement over four short years!

Not only are more donors becoming engaged, more folks are jumping into the ring and running people-powered campaigns. We’re only two months into 2018, and over 1,000 candidates have raised their first dollar for a new (and in most cases, first) campaign. At the end of February in 2014 and 2016, there were fewer than 375 candidates who were raising for a new campaign on ActBlue.

Candidates Raising Their First Dollar By Election Year

ActBlue Express

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
New ActBlue Express Users 21,698 289,445 115,471
% of Total Volume via ActBlue Express 44.8% 67.2% 57%
% of Contributions via ActBlue Express 54.4% 71% 62.6%

115,471 new users signed up for ActBlue Express last month and can now give to any group that uses ActBlue with a single click. February 2018 is only the tenth month in ActBlue history to have over 100,000 people sign up for ActBlue Express, and it’s the second-biggest month in this cycle (only January 2017 is bigger)!

Mobile

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
% of Contributions via Mobile 19.1% 38.9% 43.0%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.3% 41.6% 42.7%

All ActBlue contribution forms are automatically mobile-optimized so small-dollar donors can quickly and easily give on their phones or tablets. Last month, 43% of all donations on ActBlue were made via mobile. As primary season begins in earnest, it’s more important than ever for campaigns to be mobile-friendly so they don’t miss out on contributions.

We’ve consistently found that contrary to popular belief, supporters in older age cohorts donate more on mobile than younger supporters. This trend continued across the site in February, as 50% of supporters in the 35-44 age group gave on mobile, the highest rate of any cohort. The 45-54 and 55-64 age groups also beat out the 25-34 cohort, and over one-third of supporters 65 and up gave on mobile.

February Mobile Giving Rates By Age Cohort

Recurring

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
Total Recurring Volume $829,068 $8,647,566 $12,052,025
% of Total Volume 7.9% 14.8% 20.3%

When supporters make a recurring contribution, they enable that candidate or organization to build a roadmap to Election Day. 20.3% of February’s total volume came from recurring contributions, up an impressive 5.5% from February 2016. Now that it’s an election year, recurring donations will play a huge role powering Democrats to victory up and down the ballot.

Because it was a short month, we had to process the recurring contributions that typically run on the 29th, 30th, and 31st on the 28th. That meant 43.9% of our entire volume for February 28th was recurring! Our tech team is always strengthening our platform so it can handle spikes in volume like this, which you can clearly see in the chart below.

Percent Recurring Volume On ActBlue

Customer Service

February ’18
Total Incoming Calls 10,426
Email Conversations 26,736

We know that more folks are going to chip in as this election year ramps up, so we’re adding more experts to our Customer Service Team. They’re available 24/7 so donors can always get the answers and help they need.

Small-dollar donors are gearing up for a potentially historic election year. If they continue to outpace totals from the 2016 cycle, there’s no limit to what this movement can achieve in November! If you want to fundraise for your favorite campaign or cause, or if you have questions about this post, contact us at info@actblue.com.

January ’18 Recap

It’s officially a midterm election year, and small-dollar donors are hitting the ground running. In January, they raised $45,885,947 for Democrats standing up to Republicans and organizations on the left. A record-setting 5,404 groups used our tools, and those campaigns and organizations are laying the groundwork for more victories in 2018. Additionally, we hit 4.5 million ActBlue Express users in January. This is a huge — and continuously growing — pool of grassroots donors across the country who have saved their payment information with us so they can give to groups on ActBlue with a single click.

All of this money and engagement produced another record: we printed more checks to send to campaigns and organizations than in any other month! Our three-person Political Operations Team sent nearly 13,000 checks over the course of the month. That’s almost two and a half times the number of checks we sent in January 2017.

Check out all the highlights from January below:

Topline Numbers

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
Contributions 223,156 1,213,461 1,334,297
Total Amount $7,975,991 $33,741,624 $45,885,947
Avg. Contribution Size $35.70 $27.56 $34.36
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,603 1,936 5,404

Grassroots donors gave 1,334,297 contributions to campaigns, organizations, and nonprofits in January. That’s over 100,000 more contributions than we saw in January 2016, which kicked off a presidential election year. The total dollar amount raised also increased by a whopping 36% from January 2016. Concerned citizens and activists are doubling down on the midterms.

Amount Raised in January by Year

We’re also seeing impressive growth in the number of groups using our tools every month. January 2018 was the biggest month for new entities signing up to use our tools since 2012: nearly 1,200 campaigns and organizations submitted account setup requests.

Many of the new groups were state and local candidates, including 42 in Michigan, 20 in West Virginia, 24 in North Carolina, and 20 in Texas. Democrats are building robust down-ticket benches across the country.

New State and Local Candidates Signed Up in January

Express

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
New Express Users 18,764 171,614 80,861
% of Total Volume via Express 47.6% 66.5% 59.8%
% of Contributions via Express 55.2% 70.6% 64.0%

More than 80,000 folks signed up for ActBlue Express in January, pushing the total number of ActBlue Express users over 4.5 million. About two-thirds of all contributions last month came from ActBlue Express users, and as the midterms and important state and local elections approach, this feature will ensure supporters can give to their favorite campaigns and causes without a second thought.

ActBlue Express Growth

Mobile

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
% of Contributions via Mobile 19.2% 37.4% 42.6%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.0% 40.2% 42.9%

Our contribution forms are automatically mobile-optimized so that campaigns and organizations can reach supporters at all times and on any device. In January, 42.6% of all contributions on ActBlue were made via mobile. Mobile giving is only going to continue growing, so everyone — from candidates for school board to national advocacy organizations — needs to make mobile a core part of their fundraising strategy or risk missing out on contributions.

Recurring

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
Total Recurring Volume $739,220 $7,437,024 $11,428,202
% of Total Volume 9.3% 22.0% 24.9%

Recurring contributions made up 24.9% of total volume in January. As we prepare for the extremely consequential midterms, recurring contributions will make it possible for Democrats from coast to coast to compete with the GOP’s mega-donors right up to Election Day.

Customer Service

January ’18
Total Incoming Calls 10,653
Email Conversations 24,510

Grassroots donors threw down the gauntlet in January. While the Koch brothers and other big spenders think their millions will protect Republicans this fall, we know that our people power has a bigger impact. If you want help fundraising for your favorite candidate or want to set up an ActBlue account for your organization, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.

New year, new contribution form editor

Big news: We totally overhauled the way you edit contribution forms! Why? Creating contribution forms is the most central part of using ActBlue to raise money from small-dollar donors. The new contribution form editor is a more streamlined, user-friendly way to make changes to your forms. Now you can preview any edits you make in real-time, so you can test out what adding a branding or more text looks like. You can also view your form as different types of ActBlue users, so you can get a clear picture of what your form will look like for donors who land there. But rest assured that even though you can see your form changing as you make updates, your edits won’t be visible publicly until you save them.

Here’s how it works:

You can still create or duplicate a new form in the same way, but once you’re viewing your form, this is what it will look like:

 

menu

 

You’ll see a form menu on the left with options allowing you to edit your form, duplicate it, or visit the form’s Stats page where you can track donations for the form. You can also set contribution alerts for the form, add refcodes and build links using the Promote function, or head back to a list of all your contribution forms.

Clicking the Edit button will open up the new form editor. While the layout has changed, you’ll still find all of the tools you’ve always had access to. With the new form editor, each section of tools is broken out into its own tab in the menu. Clicking on any one of these titles will open up all the tools within that section. Here’s what it looks like:

 

editor

 

You can now preview changes as you make them, making it easier to customize your form in a way that makes sense for you and your supporters. You can see how this will work in the gif below:

 

 

As you make edits, you’ll see an orange dot appear next to the item that you updated. When you finish making edits, you’ll need to click “Publish changes” at the bottom of the editor menu to make them live. The form editor will be time-stamped so you know exactly when your last changes were made and saved. If there are unpublished changes you’ll see an orange dot indicating that some edits haven’t been saved.

If you click off of a section but have unsaved edits, you’ll see the orange dot next to the section title in the editor, to help you keep track. This way you can make multiple changes across sections in the editor, and when you click “Publish changes” all of those edits will go into effect.

If you make a change and try to close out the editor before clicking “Publish changes,” you’ll see a pop-up prompting you to either save your edits or close the editor and discard them.

 

pop-up

 

If you’ve made changes and decide you don’t want to publish them, you can click “Discard changes” at the bottom of the editor.

 

discard

 

One of the biggest changes we made in this update is giving you the ability to view the form as different types of users — a first-time donor, a returning donor, or an ActBlue Express donor. At the bottom of your form editor menu, you’ll find buttons for these three options. Toggle between them to see the different views, and click “Yourself” to go back to viewing the form as you normally would.

 

different views

 

As for accessing all of your forms, you’ll still do that in the Form Management tab on your Dashboard, or within the form menu on any contribution form.

 

forms

 

forms

 

We hope these changes will make the form editing process easier than ever. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at info@actblue.com if you’ve got questions or comments.

November ’17 Recap

We continued to see incredible growth this November. More groups used our tools than ever before, and small-dollar donors raised 2.7 times more money than in November 2015. Some of this growth even outpaced historical patterns: Supporters raised more money in November than they did in October for the first time since 2011.

Folks had many reasons to be motivated, from the major Democratic gains in state and local elections on November 7 to the special Senate election in Alabama this week. The month also ended with one of the biggest fundraising days of the year: Giving Tuesday, the charitable response to Black Friday.

Check out all the highlights from November below:

Topline Numbers

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
Contributions 194,232 628,036 1,362,751
Total Amount $7,575,727 $18,109,714 $49,174,649
Avg. Contribution Size $39.00 $28.84 $36.08
Unique campaigns, committees,
and organizations
1,484 1,841 4,771

A record-breaking 4,771 campaigns and organizations raised money on our platform last month. A lot of this growth came from the unprecedented number of people choosing to run for office.
Additionally, small-dollar donors made nearly 100,000 more contributions in November than they did in October 2017, even though October benefitted from final Election Day pushes.

On Giving Tuesday, we saw clear spikes in contributions at certain hours. The chart below shows the number of new contributions to both 501(c)3s and 501(c)4s on the big day by hour (Eastern Standard Time). Donations started off early at 7 a.m. and spiked at 3 p.m., but the busiest hours by far were after the end of the traditional working day. There was a massive bump at 7 p.m. and another at 11 p.m. as supporters tried to get their donations in before the deadline.

Giving Tuesday New Contributions By Hour

Express

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
New Express Users 14,862 51,862 58,367
% of Total Volume via Express 41.6% 60.2% 53.4%
% of Contributions via Express 52.9% 68.6% 59.4%

Mobile

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile 18.4% 32.1% 40.7%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
21.5% 35.0% 41.2%

Our automatically mobile-optimized contribution forms help empower grassroots donors during big moments. When a candidate or organization launches a rapid response campaign, mobile-optimized forms allow donors to give quickly, no matter what device they’re using. With 40.7% of all contributions made via mobile last month, groups that aren’t thinking with a mobile-first mindset will miss out on a huge number of contributions, especially during breaking news.

Recurring

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
Total Recurring Volume $621,341 $5,569,388 $10,519,004
% of Total Volume 8.2% 30.8% 21.4%

This November, 21.4% of all contributions were recurring. As we’re not even a full year into Trump’s presidency, recurring donations are more important than ever so that the groups opposing his policies have the funds they need to stay in the fight.

Customer Service

November ’17
Total Incoming Calls 8,020
Email Conversations 22,088

Our Customer Service team received over 22,000 emails in November — that’s more emails than there are people in Concord, Massachusetts, where the Revolutionary War started!

December is already proving to be busy, with important fights over government spending, DACA recipients, and children’s health care. And nonprofits are in the thick of their busiest season of the year. We expect to be busy right through New Year’s Eve. If you want help perfecting your end-of-year fundraising strategy or planning for next year, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.