Keeping your settings consistent just got a whole lot easier

The days of having one contribution form for your organization or campaign are long over.

Organizations and candidates often have dozens of forms created and maintained by several different people. It can be difficult to make sure all of your settings stay consistent across your forms, especially when you have a rigorous testing program that’s frequently settling on new best practices. For example, it’s time consuming to go and change all your old forms one-by-one if testing indicates you should use different pop-up recurring language.

That’s why we’re excited to roll out a new feature that allows you to create a default form with your best practices and tag pages that you want to have those universal settings. When you update the settings in the default form, all the other forms update automatically.

Here’s how it works:

You’ll now see a column that says “Use defaults” in your newly renamed Form Management tab in the left menu of your Dashboard:

See that contribution form at the top in grey? That’s your campaign or organization’s default form. It’s new and we’ve created it for everyone. It’ll always appear at the top of the Form Management tab.

Open up the default form and select all of the settings you typically apply to every contribution form, things like your pop-up recurring ask threshold or your preset contribution amounts. It looks just like a regular form, but it only has one purpose: to establish the defaults for other forms.

Once you’ve done that, go and click the “Use defaults” box for every form that ought to have those settings. That’s it! All your forms have the same settings, no matter who created them.

Keep in mind that the default form will override all of the settings except for Page Name, Author, Contribution blurb, and url. That means if you leave something like the Thank you text blank on your default form, none of the forms with default settings will have Thank you text. So be careful with your selections.

Further, if you’ve selected default settings for a form the only fields you’ll be able to edit are Page Name, Author, Contribution blurb, and url. Every other setting will be hidden. You can still run an A/B test or set a goal, however. And if you decide you’d like to make edits outside the default settings, just uncheck the “Use defaults” box for that form and make any edits you wish. Just keep in mind that the form won’t update the next time you edit your default form.

You can always go back and edit the default form at any time.

This new feature should save folks that use it a bunch of time and lead to a more consistent fundraising program. But it’s a totally optional feature, so use it at your own discretion.

Our dev team has a few more new features they’re working on right now, so stay tuned! And in the meantime enjoy the new default forms.

October ’15 Recap

With back-to-back million-dollar days to finish the month, October 2015 turned out to be a $21M month, which is more than double last cycle’s total for the month. We’re also past the $150M mark for the cycle (and well on our way to half a billion dollars), with 3,227 different campaigns and organizations raising money on ActBlue.

Check out the tables and charts below for a more detailed breakdown of this past month.

Topline Numbers

Oct. ’12 Oct. ’13 Oct. ’14 Oct. ’15
Contributions 867,733 289,612 1,449,907 673,921
Total Amount $35,053,113 $10,035,243 $55,595,241 $21,309,912
Average Contribution Size $40.40 $34.65 $38.34 $31.62
Committees 2,183 1,574 2,503 1,941


Oct. ’12 Oct. ’13 Oct. ’14 Oct. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $2,053,473 $585,778 $9,992,221 $5,572,589
% of Total Volume 5.9% 5.8% 18.0% 26.2%


We’re up to 1,812,513 Express users! These are some of our most engaged donors, who choose to save their payment information with ActBlue. The chart below illustrates the growth in the share of contributions made by Express users:

Oct. ’12 Oct. ’13 Oct. ’14 Oct. ’15
New Express Users 80,302 29,290 73,413 78,807
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
47.2% 44.4% 59.3% 60.7%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
53.3% 54.4% 65.0% 68.4%


Oct. ’12 Oct. ’13 Oct. ’14 Oct. ’15
% Mobile 7.9% 19.1% 25.2% 31.5%
% Mobile for
Express Users
10.2% 22.4% 26.8% 34.4%

If you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out at

Q3: The most donors in a day, ever.

As you read this, keep reminding yourself that we’re talking about the third quarter of an off-year. An off-year!

We broke the record for most contributions in a single day: 147k on September 30th. It was also our second biggest day ever in terms of money raised, a total of $5.5M. What’s #1 all time? Well, that was September 30, 2014, in the run-up to the mid-terms.

Here’s how we got there: We started off the morning strong with a peak of 400 contributions a minute (a new record) when we ran recurring contributions as a batch while everyone was sleeping. Later in the evening we were flying at 250 contributions per minute — all new, organic contributions (also a record).

In moments like these, infrastructure matters. Our engineers have been working for years to increase the volume we can handle per minute and everything ran as smooth as butter (or your favorite non-dairy substitute).

Meanwhile, people are no longer chained to their laptops — mobile giving was a powerful force this past quarter, especially in the evening hours, when people are more likely to be checking email on their phones. Between 9 and 10 PM on September 30, we saw mobile contributions spike to an unbelievable 50% at one point (another new record) and finish at an average of 44.3% for the hour.

The chart below details newly made contributions on September 30. You can see the incredible hourly volume we handled and the breakdown of mobile vs. desktop contributions:

That figure — 44.3% mobile contributions in an hour —is unheard of in this space. For a little context, just two years ago our mobile average was just 15.5% for the month. This leap was only possible because our tech team has focused on improving mobile conversion rates with notable features like Express Pass and Express Lane and on constant, small iterative changes to our contribution form that make it load faster.

There is no way that we would have broken so many records without thousands of hours of developer time going into mobile optimization and sheer processing infrastructure.

The chart below details the pace of the day compared to the other top EOQ days. We know fundraising picks up later in the day, so we process all of the scheduled recurring contributions early in the morning (note the massive number of contributions that start in the 4AM hour).

And it’s not all just west coasters giving in the last few hours. It’s folks checking their email on their phones before bed, reading an urgent appeal, and responding. And it’s a beautiful sight to see, for those of us who care about our democracy being for and by the people — not just those who can cut checks for thousands (or millions) of dollars.

But this quarter was about more than just the EOQ deadline. Here’s what we wrote to recap the first quarter of this cycle:

If current trends hold, ActBlue could process half a billion dollars in small-dollar contributions this cycle.

Well…it’s been nine months and we’re already well past the $130M mark. It’s fair to say we’re well on our way to hitting that target. And $56M of that money came in this quarter alone (scroll down to see how this quarter compares to previous years).

Campaigns, organizations, and committees are coming out in full force this year. So far this cycle, almost three thousand different campaigns and committees have raised money using ActBlue.

It’s all a sharp contrast to the massive checks the Republican super PACs have been cashing.

The bigger the pool of active, engaged donors, the stronger the party. That’s why we place such a strong value on our whopping 1.7 million Express users, who have saved their payment information with ActBlue. What’s important is not just the sheer size, but how recent and active these donors are. We’ve added more Express users (267k) this quarter than in any other. And we added an incredible 24k on EOQ day alone (new record)!

One reason why that’s the case: high Express conversion rates. This past month, 38% of donors eligible for an Express account signed up for one. Last cycle, we were averaging just over 20%. It’s an indication that more and more new donors are coming in and immediately thinking ahead to their next donations. That’s a huge strength for the party right now.

A bigger Express donor base is in the interest of Democratic organizations and campaigns of all sizes. As our Executive Director Erin Hill said in the Washington Post on Wednesday:

“Small[-dollar] donors are becoming the backbone of Democratic giving.” And the Republicans have nothing like it.

The chart below shows both the number of new Express sign-ups and the rate at which non-Express donors are signing up as Express users over the past 12 quarters.

Below we break down this quarter compared to previous quarters.


2012 Q3 2013 Q3 2014 Q3 2015 Q3
Dollar Amount $42,997,505 $22,600,373 $80,391,630 $55,836,968
Contributions 973,909 637,924 2,304,190 1,791,040
Average Contribution Size $44.15 $35.43 $34.89 $31.18
Distinct Entities 2,681 1,827 3,064 2,263


2012 Q3 2013 Q3 2014 Q3 2015 Q3
% Mobile 7.0% 15.1% 27.2% 29.8%
% Mobile
for Express users
9.3% 18.7% 29.3% 32.4%


2012 Q3 2013 Q3 2014 Q3 2015 Q3
% Recurring Volume 7.2% 6.6% 13.7% 23.9%
Recurring Volume $3,107,154 $1,490,781 $11,021,894 $13,319,997

Some interesting nuggets from this data: We processed more than double the dollar amount we saw in our last off-year, Q3 of 2013. And there was an even bigger growth in the number of contributions from two years ago. We jumped up from 637,924 to a massive 1,643,083 contributions this quarter. That’s a 259% increase.

Recurring contributions remain the best way to sustain a campaign or organization in the long-term. And we’re continuing to see huge strides forward with recurring. On the morning of September 30th, we processed our biggest recurring haul ever: about $700k in recurring donations, from 37k contributions.

Look at the huge jump in the overall recurring numbers for the quarter. A full 23.9% of all the money that came in this quarter was from recurring contributions. That’s phenomenal!

This doesn’t all just happen. We’ve spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of a strong recurring program and helping campaigns and organizations increase their conversion rates. At the same time, Americans are starting to get more comfortable with giving monthly. Recurring is a huge percentage of the money raised by international NGOs. They’ll spend up to $175 on acquisition per person, because of the lifetime expected value of a recurring contribution.

Campaigns don’t value recurring contributions quite that highly yet, but it’s exciting to see the tide turning. It’ll lead to much more stability for campaigns and organizations. And they’ll be able to focus more on core work beyond fundraising. Plus, donors love being able to easily give on a regular basis to the candidates and organizations they care about.

To all the hardworking digital campaigners out there who made this quarter such a success, congrats! We’re proud to help you fuel your campaigns and organizations. Drop us a line any time if you want to talk strategy, or just have a question:


co-authored by: Kim Niedermaier

September ’15 Recap

With a massive end-of-quarter to close out the month of September, this turned out to be a monster $27M month (during an off-year, by the way). Most notably, we added more Express users in the past month than in any month prior — a whopping 124,824.

Check out the tables and charts below for a more detailed breakdown of this past month.

Topline Numbers

Sept. ’12 Sept. ’13 Sept. ’14 Sept. ’15
Contributions 463,901 319,785 925,261 795,853
Total Amount $21,881,359 $11,198,520 $37,921,801 $27,557,907
Average Contribution Size $47.17 $35.02 $40.98 $34.63
Committees 2,113 1,436 2,489 1,856


Sept. ’12 Sept. ’13 Sept. ’14 Sept. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $1,240,618 $531,163 $4,869,166 $5,131,616
% of Total Volume 5.7% 4.7% 12.8% 18.6%


We’re up to 1,738,816 Express users. These are some of our most engaged donors, who choose to save their payment information with ActBlue. As supporters continue to look for the fastest, most convenient way to contribute, we continue to see the number of Express users grow by leaps and bounds.

Sept. ’12 Sept. ’13 Sept. ’14 Sept. ’15
New Express Users 57,739 36,614 65,354 124,824
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
45.2% 42.9% 58.4% 59.4%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
49.6% 50.0% 63.9% 66.0%


Sept. ’12 Sept. ’13 Sept. ’14 Sept. ’15
% Mobile 7.1% 20.5% 25.3% 32.2%
% Mobile for
Express Users
9.4% 24.3% 27.3% 34.9%

If you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out at

Custom Facebook and Twitter share content

Our tech team is on a roll. Now you can enter custom content for both Facebook and Twitter shares on your Contribution Forms.

If you’re in the edit tab on a form you’ll see a new section:

social share

Here’s what a Facebook share would look like:

facebook share

Custom text and images should help increase conversions, so we encourage you to spend the extra couple minutes filling this in when you’re creating a new form. But at the same time, don’t expect social donations to be a magic bullet.

The vast majority of contributions come in from email, with Facebook coming in far behind, followed by Twitter. Custom share content won’t change that, but it will help on the margins, especially when your campaign is in a rapid response situation.

Enjoy this new feature and don’t forget to go back and edit your default donation form you link to on your website. As always, just drop us an email at if you have any questions.

Testing those beautiful brandings

This is the one you’ve all been asking for. We just added the ability to A/B test your brandings!

Now there’s no need to guess whether a giant photo of your candidate or a simple branding will fare better. And with our awesome multi-armed bandit A/B testing suite, you’ll get results as fast as possible.

To set up a branding test, create or open up a Contribution Form. Navigate to the A/B test tab and give your test a name. Next, check off “Branded layout.” Your first variation will be the branding your form is currently set to (or your default branding). You can choose your variation to test from the dropdown menu. You can also test having no branding by selecting “ActBlue default.” If you need a refresher on creating a branding, check out our guide.

Once you’ve made your selection, click “Create test.” You can monitor the results of your test once you start sending it out to donors.

Unlike a regular A/B test, our multi-armed bandit system of A/B testing will start sending more traffic to the winning version of the test as results come in, so you’ll get results faster and won’t lose money on a subpar variation. And there’s no need to pick a winner — the multi-armed bandit will take care of it for you!

If you have questions about setting up a beautiful branding or an A/B test, let us know at

One-stop shop: Visualize your data and create targeted lists

At ActBlue we’re committed to dreaming up new ways for you to visualize all of your data. In that spirit, our tech team just rolled out a new way for campaigns and organizations to analyze contributor data by tracking HPCs (highest previous contributions) and total contribution amounts by individual donors.

This new visualization provides amazing insight not just for technically skilled data people, but also for smaller campaigns and organizations. The chart allows users to select groups of donors based on their donation history and download their email address and contributor information. That means teams that don’t currently have the ability to segment and target donors can now instantaneously create a segmented email list!

Here’s how it works:

If you navigate to the “Donors” tab of your Dashboard (previously called the “Uniques” tab), you’ll see a graph that looks something like this:

You can also select “Total Contribution Amount” in the “Show your donors by” menu to see this:

You can toggle between the HPC and total contribution views of the graphed data at the top. This chart has a log scale for both its x and y axis. A log scale increases by an order of magnitude, rather than a fixed amount, which allows us to present a clearer picture of your data. What does that mean? If you look at the x-scale, you’ll see there’s more space between 1 contribution and 2 contributions than there is between 8 and 9.  There are far more people who gave just 1 contribution, but on a regular graph all those dots would be stacked on top of each other. So, by choosing a log scale, we’re able to show you more of your actual data.  

The x-axis shows the total number of contributions a donor has made to your campaign or organization in their lifetime on ActBlue. The y-axis shows the donor’s highest previous contribution, or the total amount that they’ve donated, depending on which view of the chart you are looking at.

Values on the y-axis are rounded. For values from $1 to $5, amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar. For $5 to $25, they are rounded to the nearest $5, and from there on, tens are rounded to tens, hundreds to hundreds, and so on.*

For values on the x-axis, contribution numbers above ten are rounded to the nearest ten. It’s unlikely that you have contributions ranging in the hundreds, but in that case they are rounded to the nearest hundred.

The graph itself gives an insight to highest previous contributions for your entire donor base, along with information on how many donations people have made. But it doesn’t end there. Click a dollar value or a number of donations to highlight a row or column. You can switch to the other visualization to see how their total volume corresponds.

More importantly, you can download a CSV of the email addresses and the corresponding contribution data from a column, row, or selected range of the graph. To select a column or row, just click on the corresponding value and click “Download selected” in the upper right hand corner. 

To select a custom set of data, you can drag your mouse to draw a box around your desired values and then download the data.

This allows you to do some pretty sophisticated targeting without needing to do the backend work. You can easily target donors based on their highest previous contribution and frequency of donating without knowing a line of SQL.

For example, we’ve seen a lot of success in our program by targeting donors based on their HPC. For low-dollar donors, we’ll ask them for $5, while higher-dollar donors are asked for $10 or $15. With this chart, you could download a list of $3 and $5 donors and then send a personalized ask to that group. If you have a big enough email list, you could try sending a $5 ask and a $7 ask, to see if donors would be willing to give just a bit more.

You can also toggle the graph to show outliers (people who fall outside the scale of the graph), if you’re interested in targeting those donors.

We hope that this new tool will allow you to get to know your donors in a more nuanced way and run an even better email program.

If you have questions about applications or how to read the graph, we’re happy to answer them. Just drop us a line at

*We chose this rounding scheme to simultaneously maximize the granularity of useful information and minimize unimportant visual clutter.

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


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%


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%


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

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.



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



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.




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.


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.



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.



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

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.


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.


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.


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