May ’16 Recap

We handled over $42M this month, from nearly 2.8k campaigns, committees, and nonprofits — that’s nearly double the number we worked with in May of last year, and over 700 more than in May 2014.

Just this week the Express universe passed the 3 million users mark, including the 58k people who signed up for Express accounts this month. That’s 3 million donors with saved payment information, who can give with a single click.

Topline Numbers

MAY. ’13 MAY. ’14 MAY. ’15 MAY. ’16
Contributions 173,541 353,368 429,903 1,312,305
Total Amount $6,495,264 $14,231,783 $15,969,378 $42,291,423
Avg. Contribution Size $37.43 $40.27 $37.15 $32.23
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,068 2,053 1,424 2,790

 

Mobile

MAY. ’13 MAY. ’14 MAY. ’15 MAY. ’16
% Mobile 9.3% 23.0% 25.4% 39.5%
% Mobile for
Express Users
12.8% 25.5% 27.3% 42.7%

 

Express

MAY. ’13 MAY. ’14 MAY. ’15 MAY. ’16
New Express Users 12,625 38,055 79,733 58,010
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
43.9% 52.6% 58.0% 61.9%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
55.0% 59.1% 63.6% 69.8%

 

Customer Service

In May 2016 our customer service team handled an average of 815 email conversations a day.

May ’16
Total Incoming Calls 13,983
Email Conversations 24,472

Recurring

MAY. ’13 MAY. ’14 MAY. ’15 MAY. ’16
Total Recurring Volume $444,802 $1,166,045 $3,150,784 $9,224,511
% of Total Volume 6.8% 8.2% 19.7% 21.8%

 

ActBlue integration with Action Network

We believe it’s essential that the campaigns and organizations using our tools have access to their fundraising data where and when they need it.

That’s why we’re excited to announce a brand new API integration with Action Network, a fellow member of the Open Supporter Data Interface (OSDI).

action-network

If you’re using ActBlue to fundraise, but using Action Network as your CRM, you can now send your donor and contribution info from ActBlue to Action Network automatically.

The best part? It’s totally free, and it’s a quick and easy setup process. All our team needs from you is your Action Network API key to get things rolling.

If you’re interested in integrating with Action Network, just drop us a line at info@actblue.com and a member of our team will be in touch.

For those of you using other CRMs, we’ve already got an existing suite of integrations in place — including BSD, Salsa, and ActionKit.

We also offer open webhooks, which can provide more flexibility in the way your campaign or organization retrieves data, and ultimately works with that data. Implementing webhooks will require some technical work on your end, so if your campaign or organization wants to hear more about using webhooks, you should reach out to our team and we can provide you with the details.

It’s important to us that our users are able to push their data exactly where they want it, so we’re thrilled to be integrating with other platforms in the progressive space to help make that process as seamless as possible. And we’re happy to continue integrating with new platforms — if there’s a specific integration you’re interested in, you should let us know.

As always, if you’ve got any questions or comments about integrations, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.

April ’16 Recap

In April 2016, over 2,600 different campaigns, organizations, and committees raised almost $50 million on ActBlue, with an average contribution size of just $30. Contributions made on mobile devices represented over 40% of all contributions made sitewide. Read on to see how that compares to where we were at the same point last cycle.

Topline Numbers

APR. ’13 APR. ’14 APR. ’15 APR. ’16
Contributions 170,086 321,504 315,905 1,647,260
Total Amount $6,515,819 $12,262,546 $10,428,208 $49,736,920
Avg. Contribution Size $38.31 $38.14 $33.01 $30.19
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,010 1,999 1,364 2,647

 

Customer Service

In April 2016 our customer service team handled an average of 1,042 email conversations a day.

APR. ’16
Total Incoming Calls 17,588
Email Conversations 31,258

Mobile

APR. ’13 APR. ’14 APR. ’15 APR. ’16
% Mobile 8.1% 22.5% 24.8% 42.7%
% Mobile for
Express Users
11.5% 25.3% 26.6% 45.8%

 

Express

APR. ’13 APR. ’14 APR. ’15 APR. ’16
New Express Users 14,167 36,154 28,730 122,323
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
41.8% 52.2% 56.7% 67.3%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
52.1% 57.7% 62.4% 72.9%

 

Recurring

APR. ’13 APR. ’14 APR. ’15 APR. ’16
Total Recurring Volume $419,719 $1,027,926 $2,818,806 $9,328,013
% of Total Volume 6.4% 8.4% 27.0% 18.8%

 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch at info@actblue.com.

Biggest quarter ever

Wow, this has been some beginning to 2016. We launched ActBlue Charities, passed the $1 BILLION mark, and had back-to-back biggest months ever.

At the end of last year, we were over the moon about handling 150k contributions in a single day on December 31, 2015. Well, we handled twice that on February 29, 2016 and surpassed 200k contributions two more times this quarter.

Check out this chart showing what our three biggest donor days looked like hour-by-hour (with the total contributions processed on those days in parentheses): March 30, 2016 (215,954), March 31, 2016 (275,763), and February 29, 2016 (299,174):

 

 

There are many things that go into massive days like this (and not just a lot of email).

For one, we typically run recurring contributions in a series of batches starting at 4AM. That pattern is evident on the two days in March, but our tech team actually scheduled out February 29th a bit differently because all recurring contributions originally made on the 29th, 30th, and 31st of any given month needed to be run in a single day. We processed over 80k recurring contributions that morning (new record, by far) by starting earlier and capping the contributions per hour, and we were ready to handle the end-of-month rush well before 9AM. Gotta love when a good plan comes together…

It’s abnormal to run three days of recurring contributions at once, and it’s the reason why February 29th goes down as our biggest day in terms of contributions, but the end-of-quarter deadline day is our biggest by dollar. The average for a one-time donation this cycle is $38.65 compared to an average of $21.03 for recurring contributions, since recurring contributions tend to have a smaller average than one-time gifts. But the really amazing number is the average value (so far!) of a single recurring sign-up this cycle: $72.88.

We saw March 31st bring in a ton of traffic at the end of the day, with two hours of more than 20k (!!) contributions after 9 PM. Volume stayed unbelievably high until the steep drop off at midnight. And yes, people really do respect it as a deadline and stop giving when the clock strikes twelve on the East Coast.

Topline Numbers

Q1 2013 Q1 2014 Q1 2015 Q1 2016
Contributions 467,163 897,884 782,820 5,571,391
Total Amount $16,904,456 $36,955,661 $26,905,248 $165,170,022
Avg. Contribution Size $36.19 $41.16 $34.37 $29.65
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,243 2,478 1,728 2,989

 

Almost 3,000 different campaigns, organizations, and committees raised a total of $165M this quarter, with the average contribution size under $30. For context, it took us more than four years to pass that dollar total and more than nine years to pass the 5.5M contribution mark — both of which we just accomplished in three months. Yeah, that’s nuts.

More and more people are supporting the non-profits, campaigns, and causes of their choice via the ActBlue family of organizations. Of the 1.8 million people who gave a contribution this quarter, 65% had made a donation on our site before.

Express

Those repeat donors are the lifeblood of so many campaigns and organizations. And that’s why our system is designed to reduce friction, making it painless to give again. ActBlue Express is at the heart of it, allowing donors to give with a single click, again and again. Of these repeat donors, almost 9 in 10 have saved their credit card information with ActBlue. Plus, nearly 3 out of every 4 donors who made a contribution for the first time in Q1 2016 signed up for Express accounts.

More people have created an ActBlue Express account already this cycle than in every other cycle combined.

 

 

And looking at just this past quarter, over 750k people signed up for an Express account — that’s more than twice the number who signed up in our previous biggest quarter (Q4 2015 had 302k new sign-ups). Altogether, we’re up to an incredible 2.9M Express users.

Almost three-quarters of all contributions on ActBlue at this point are made by Express users. That added up to over $110M from Express users last quarter.

Saved payment information is no longer the future; it’s the new normal here at ActBlue.

The chart below shows both the overall growth in the number of contributions, as well as how the number of Express contributions as compared to those made by non-Express users is increasing. For much of last cycle, there was not much difference between these types of users, but the ratio has become closer to 3:1 recently.

 

 

There are a lot of reasons why we’re seeing this big spike in Express donations. We’ve run a number of optimization tests with the goal of boosting Express sign-ups and the use of donors’ saved payment information. There haven’t been any breakout tests, but the slow and steady tweaks have added up over time.

At the same time there is a broader movement coming from the e-commerce industry to promote saved credit card information, with Visa checkout being the most visible example. More Americans are comfortable saving their financial information online, and we work hard to earn and keep their trust. ActBlue is Level 1 PCI compliant — the gold standard for security — and we undergo a rigorous audit every year to maintain it.

The larger trend toward mobile is having an impact as well, as Express users continue to outperform non-Express users on non-desktop devices. And features like Express Pass continue to help boost conversions.

Mobile

Making it possible for people to give with a single click means higher conversion rates. More and more people are making donations on mobile devices. It’s part of a wider traffic trend away from desktop and toward mobile. This quarter alone, over 41% of contributions were made on a mobile device. That’s double the mobile giving rate we saw at the same point last cycle (Q1 2014 had a mobile rate of just 20.5%).

 

 

And the mobile contribution rate jumps to 44% when looking just at Express users, who — as we’ve alluded to already — are our power users. We’re expecting to cross that 50% threshold very soon!

Recurring

Recurring contributions continue to be a great source of fundraising for campaigns, organizations, and nonprofits. This past quarter we processed $26.2M in recurring volume from over 1.4M contributions — both of which are new quarterly records. For context, we raised $26.9M TOTAL during Q1 2015. The chart below details the growth in the overall number of recurring contributions, broken down by whether or not the recurring contribution is new or subsequent.

 

 

How big was this quarter? Well, the number of new recurring sign-ups in the past quarter (347k) was more than all of the total recurring contributions made in Q1 2014 (new + subsequent).

One of the best parts of a recurring program is that it provides a steady stream of income for campaigns and organizations that allows them to plan out their fundraising goals from month to month with ease. If you’re not running a recurring program and you’re interested in starting one, drop us a line at info@actblue.com and we’re more than happy to help strategize.

It was a helluva start to 2016. We’re excited to see what the rest of the year brings. In the meantime, our tech team is hard at work on a number of infrastructure upgrades, optimization tests, and some cool new features (as always). So stay tuned. And may the email odds be ever in your favor.

Mar. ’16 Recap

We’ll forgive you if you forgot that we hit our biggest milestone yet ($1 BILLION!!) in March — we almost did. Especially since we’ve raised over $68M since then, bringing our total for the month to a whopping $72M. That makes March 2016 the biggest month in our history. And we went out with a bang as we processed $8.5M on the 31st — a new record for our biggest volume day ever.

Almost 2,500 campaigns, organizations, and committees raised money using ActBlue last month. The average contribution? Just $30. And nearly half of the contributions made this month came from a mobile device. That’s double the mobile percentage we saw at the same point in the last election cycle.

Topline Numbers

MAR. ’13 MAR. ’14 MAR. ’15 MAR. ’16
Contributions 204,630 412,325 327,220 2,418,488
Total Amount $7,635,519 $18,499,273 $13,289,206 $72,650,464
Avg. Contribution Size $37.31 $44.87 $40.61 $30.04
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
951 1,960 1,335 2,458

Customer Service

In March 2016 our customer service team handled an average of 1,076 email conversations a day.

FEB. ’16
Total Incoming Calls 36,552
Email Conversations 33,348

Mobile

MAR. ’13 MAR. ’14 MAR. ’15 MAR. ’16
% Mobile 10.0% 21.6% 24.8% 44.0%
% Mobile for
Express Users
13.8% 24.2% 26.8% 46.9%

Express

MAR. ’13 MAR. ’14 MAR. ’15 MAR. ’16
New Express Users 25,720 38,616 21,712 305,453
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
46.9% 48.1% 53.5% 67.6%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
54.2% 54.4% 60.7% 73.5%

Recurring

MAR. ’13 MAR. ’14 MAR. ’15 MAR. ’16
Total Recurring Volume $395,604 $955,028 $2,689,551 $9,829,134
% of Total Volume 5.2% 5.2% 20.2% 13.5%

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch at info@actblue.com.

More funds, no extra heavy lifting

We’re rolling out a brand new remarketing feature to help you follow up with donors who started to contribute but didn’t finish. Now you can send your donors a quick, friendly email to remind them why they wanted to give and ask them to complete their contribution.

If you’ve ever placed something in your cart while shopping online, clicked away, and received an email politely nudging you to finish up your purchase, you’ve gotten a remarketing email.

Here’s how it works: Once you’ve turned on the feature and customized your email with your own text and branding, donors who abandon your form before completing it will automatically receive an email thirty minutes following their incomplete donation.

This is what ours looks like:

&nbsp

remarketing

What counts as an incomplete donation? A donor selects a contribution amount and fills in their email address, but leaves the page before going on to fill in their credit card info. In that case, we’ll make sure they get a reminder with a link to your form asking them to complete their contribution.

This is available to campaigns, committees, and organizations across the board, but you must enable it on a form-by-form basis, as the feature is turned off by default.

If you’d like to enable the feature just head over to the Edit tab of your contribution form. Scroll down and toggle the “Remarketing Options” drop-down menu.

Check off the “Enable Remarketing” box.

Next you’ll need to write up some custom text. We have an automated response (which you can see in the sample above) set up to accompany the link your donors will receive, but we highly recommend filling it out with text specific to your cause or campaign.

You should view this as your chance to make the case to donors for why it’s so important that they finish the form and complete their donation. See below for an example of how to customize your text to get that message across to donors.

 

remarketing

 

If you have branded receipts enabled, that branding will be included on this email. The example email in this post include’s ActBlue’s branding. An unbranded email won’t include any logo.

If your campaign or organization is using default forms and you would like to enable remarketing for all of those contribution forms, simply follow the steps listed above for your default form (found at the top of your list of forms within your Dashboard’s Form Management tab).

In the short time since this feature was released, we’ve already seen it increase conversion rates and bring in more dollars for campaigns and organizations using it. It’s a great way to generate more funds from your asks without any extra heavy lifting.

As always, if you’ve got any questions or comments about this new feature just drop us a line at info@actblue.com.

Feb. ’16 Recap

There was a lot to celebrate in February 2016. Not only did we have our biggest month ever (in terms of both contributions and total dollar amount), but we also launched ActBlue Charities. Plus, nearly 300k people signed up for Express accounts by saving their credit card information. Yes, that’s a new record!

Topline Numbers

FEB. ’13 FEB. ’14 FEB. ’15 FEB. ’16
Contributions 163,039 262,166 228,655 1,929,078
Total Amount $5,822,235 $10,480,397 $7,382,455 $58,829,696
Avg. Contribution Size $35.71 $39.98 $32.29 $30.50
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
801 1,684 1,149 2,155

 

Customer Service

In February 2016 our customer service team handled an average of 1,026 email conversations a day.

FEB. ’16
Total Incoming Calls 36,596
Email Conversations 29,742

Mobile

FEB. ’13 FEB. ’14 FEB. ’15 FEB. ’16
% Mobile 7.8% 19.3% 23.8% 39.9%
% Mobile for
Express Users
10.4% 22.9% 25.8% 42.4%

 

Express

FEB. ’13 FEB. ’14 FEB. ’15 FEB. ’16
New Express Users 23,464 21,633 12,939 286,273
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
45.4% 44.9% 57.3% 67.1%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
54.0% 54.5% 63.2% 70.9%

 

Recurring

FEB. ’13 FEB. ’14 FEB. ’15 FEB. ’16
Total Recurring Volume $343,251 $829,068 $2,354,716 $8,866,155
% of Total Volume 5.9% 7.9% 31.9% 15.1%

 

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

One. Billion. Dollars.

Get the confetti cannons out — we’ve officially crossed over A BILLION DOLLARS. That’s one billion dollars raised for Democrats, progressives, and nonprofits leading the fight for change.

one billion

This is by far our biggest milestone yet, but this isn’t just a celebration for us, this is a celebration (and a win) for small-dollar donors everywhere. They prove day in and day out that there is unbelievable strength in the grassroots movement.

This celebration is about saying thank you to the 14,308 campaigns, committees, and organizations who have used ActBlue’s platform, and the 24,200,973 individual contributions from millions of donors across the country who got us here. There are an amazing 4,032,813 donors that have used our platform to make their voices heard in the last 12 years, and they’ve showed people everywhere how powerful grassroots donors can be.

Small-dollar donors, campaigns, committees, and nonprofits have helped us build an amazing movement over the last 12 years, so we wanted to build something that allows you all to look back on the big moments that we created together, and that got us to this huge milestone.

The best part? This is just the beginning.

Check out billion.actblue.com to read about the #roadto1B, and join us in this celebration!

ActBlue Charities is HERE

*drumroll please* We’re excited to announce that charitable organizations can now fundraise using the same great platform that ActBlue has built over the last 11 years!

Organizations with a 501(c)3 designation are now able to get set up with our tools in just minutes. Contributions will be run through ActBlue Charities, the newest arm of the ActBlue family, but everything else stays the same. Charities both big and small, national and local, will be able to take advantage of our entire set of industry-leading fundraising tools, including the existing (and growing) 2.4M-strong Express user universe — that’s people who have saved their donor and credit card information and can give in an instant. By bringing our innovative tools to a whole new set of organizations, we’re hoping to add to revenue models for charitable organizations by working with them to build a new stream of small-dollar donors.

If you’re interested, you can start the setup process here.

So, why did we spend years (yes, years) working to make it possible for charities to use our fundraising tools?

ActBlue’s mission has always been to help connect grassroots donors with the causes and campaigns that they support, so they can effect change in the world. Through technology, we help break down barriers, and make it easier for Americans to chip in what they can afford to fuel change in this country. Just think of what can be accomplished if we can help thousands of charitable organizations build their grassroots fundraising base, much like we’ve done with political giving.

We’ve seen firsthand how powerful grassroots, people-powered movements can be, and we want to help charities create those kinds of movements and bring in more donations, so they can expand their capacity to do good works. And as a nonprofit, ActBlue is committed to offering those tools for free, so organizations at every level have access to the best technology possible.

There are certainly already a lot of platforms charities can use to fundraise online. Here’s what makes ActBlue a better choice:

ActBlue isn’t just a way to take in money. We’re a platform built specifically to support grassroots fundraising and the organizations doing that work. From our tools to our Express universe to our trainings, we draw from the experiences of thousands of groups fundraising with us.

How does that happen? Well, the huge volume of contributions we handle enables us to constantly improve our contribution forms with tiny optimizations that benefit the entire platform at once and immediately bring in more dollars. Donors are at the core of what we do, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make it easier and faster for them to give. The design of buttons, small layout changes, and user experience alterations can make big differences when it comes to conversion rates.

We do one thing — build grassroots fundraising software that raises organizations more money and helps them increase their capacity to do powerful work — and we do it really well. We’ve never lost a head-to-head A/B test against another donation platform.

ActBlue’s toolset is designed to scale for organizations both big and small. Everyone has access to the same features, data visualizations, and tools no matter their size. That means your small (but mighty) charity has access to the same fundraising tools as presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders.

And the other important thing to know is that we’re a mission-driven nonprofit. We partner with our clients, working together to help them reach their fundraising goals. We’re not just another vendor looking to profit off of you. We’ve been around for 11 years, helped raise over $960 million in grassroots contributions for thousands of campaigns and organizations, and built a reputation for being helpful, reliable, and innovative. There are some huge charities that are doing cutting-edge work right now, and we can’t wait to partner with them to make charitable grassroots fundraising even better.

We’re excited to be working with organizations in a space where there is room for small-dollar donor growth, and the potential to build powerful movements of all kinds. ActBlue Charities is open to any c3 organization that is willing to engage in grassroots fundraising, and whose activity doesn’t contradict ActBlue Charities’ policies and values. Those values include (but aren’t limited to) social equality, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, diversity, freedom of speech, and respect for scientific inquiry, discovery, and data.

Charitable organizations will pay our standard 3.95% processing fee on contributions, but other than that, every single one of our tools — including training and support — is free. We’re usually able to set charities up in a single day. No contracts, no hidden costs.

If you’re an organization that meets the criteria above, and are interested in getting set up, let us know here. If you have questions, or want to learn more about our tools you can email us at info@actblue.com.

This launch is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long learning process, and we’re excited to start working with some amazing new organizations. Together, we can make big things happen.

What a spontaneous online fundraiser looks like

I’d say last night was YUUUUGE, but others have done the Donald impression much better than I could. Suffice it to say, it was a historic night for ActBlue’s infrastructure.

Yesterday evening, during a 15 minute span, ActBlue processed over 26,000 contributions. That’s equivalent to 104,000 contributions / hour. For context, the biggest hour up to last night saw 13,981 contributions created. That’s how big of a surge it was.

We’re always prepping for the biggest moments, those are our bread and butter. And one of the best parts about a big night like last night is we get to see how our tools hold up to a heavy load, and how we can improve in the future. We processed every contribution that came our way last night, and we’re confident we could have handled 150k / hour (and we’ll be able to handle 200k by later tonight).

We did hit one bump late yesterday though. Last night’s spontaneous fundraiser (the one that raised $5.2 million in less than a day) broke our external processor’s response systems. That’s some amazing grassroots power. Like we said, we over-prepare, so we were ready for that. But the vendor started giving us a previously undocumented error message, which temporarily caused some donors to not move from the “please wait” page to the confirmation page…even though their contributions were already fully processed

It’s not ideal, and it’s not the exceptional donor experience we want to provide people with. And we were sorry for that. We worked quickly to get the issue remedied and to get the donor user flow back to what it should be. In addition to technical solutions, our customer service team was answering donor questions in real-time last night and they’re working hard to talk to every donor today.

And we’re happy to say that we didn’t drop a single contribution, and we didn’t go down. If you saw an error message last night, that was because you were trying to access a non-essential page. We triage those during our busiest times, so we can put all our resources behind handling contributions. That part worked exactly as it should, and it paid off with some pretty eye-popping statistics:

Numbers are fun, but pictures are more fun, so let’s start with a graph:

Want to guess what time Senator Sanders told a national TV audience to go to BernieSanders.com and donate $27?

Those are requests / minute as recorded by our (fabulous) CDN, Fastly. And for the briefest moment in time, we hit 333,000 rpm. Prior to last night, we’d never seen that number go above 40,000 rpm. So it was, in a word, unprecedented.

Internally, we could see those donors giving at a similarly rapid pace:

Isn’t it beautiful how nicely those graphs match up? And yes, this means we topped out at more than 2000 contributions / minute. Our previous record was 781. Here’s the breakdown of our new contribution records:

Minute: 2,689
5 minutes: 11,218
10 minutes: 19,822

But the best part of the contributions per minute graph is the natural decay in rate. By that I mean the gradual downslope as the wave passed. Why is this important? Because if our infrastructure was actually in trouble the graph wouldn’t look as natural — you would be seeing some sharp drop-offs.

Last night was a huge win for small-dollar donors. They once again showed that they are a powerful force to be reckoned with, and we’re committed to providing them with the best experience possible. We know that rock-solid and innovative infrastructure is key to helping Democrats up and down the ballot raise the most money online. But we also know that respecting donors and making sure they have a good experience both technology and customer service-wise is key to growing small-dollar donor participation. We’re expecting a lot more big nights, and we’re ready and excited to empower donors and help candidates build winning campaigns.

If you have questions about a contribution, or want to talk shop, email us at info@actblue.com and a real person will respond, as always.