ActBlue on Heading Left Blog Talk Radio

2162_headingleftfinal  This afternoon ActBlue President Benjamin Rahn took part in Heading Left’s Blog Talk Radio Show. He spoke about the history and development of ActBlue and online fundraising over the past three years and what last night’s debate and the 2008 cycle mean for the world of Democratic finances.

For those not familiar with Heading Left, they are “the central hub for Progressives and Democrats on BlogTalk Radio where the best progressive thinkers, writers, pundits and characters
from the online community gather to discuss current events and politics
through the miracle of BlogTalkRadio.

If you missed the show, you can listen in to the broadcast by clicking here (Ben comes in about halfway through). He was joined by hosts James Boyce and Nathan Wilcox, Pahl Shipley, spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson and Mark Lotwis, exec VP of 21st Century Democrats.

Page of the Week

This week’s Page of the Week is actually an Event Page. After highlighting some good standards and practices for making use of ActBlue for events in this post on April 16th, we saw the Blue House at the Brew House: McNerney-Brown Blograiser and had to point it out.

Put together by the California Blogosphere, there are a number of successful elements on this page.

  • Graphics: The custom made image at the top of the page catches the eye and re-enforces the event’s purpose.
  • Details: The critical “who, what, when, & where” are all present front and center, set off in a blockquote.
  • Incentives: Reserving tickets online will save you money than waiting to pay at the door! Attendees will get to hang out with a Congressman! There are prizes to be won!  All of these extra bonuses should help seal the deal for the event.

caliticsbluebrewUPDATE: I just noticed that over at Calitics, they have this event posted in the top banner area. Included is the graphic and the basics of the event. This is a really great way to cross-promote the event and brand it visually. I’ve included a screenshot (click to view larger pop-up).

Additionally, I’ve chatted with page creator Julia Rosen who had this to say about Actblue.

ActBlue allowed us to solve a unique problem.  How do we promote and
collect money for an event when the attendees and organizers are coming
in from all over the state?  [With ActBlue] we were able to put all of the information
in the same location that we collected the money.  We plan to print off
the list of donors at the door and will have laptops on hand to
“collect” late donations at the door.  It was an all in one solution,
that worked marvelously to raise several thousand dollars for two great
candidates! -Julia Rosen

This is a post in our series called “Page of the Week.” In it, I’ll be highlighting ActBlue Fundraising pages which the staff likes that also include ideas to improve your fundraising efforts.

ActBlue Travels to Texas



This weekend ActBlue traveled to Texas! Native land to one of the staff (Karl-Thomas), ActBlue political director Erin Hill joined in on these southern travels as a trainer for Democracy for America’s Training Academy program. Erin presented Online Fundraising sessions, explaining how to integrate it into your entire campaign structure. This is our first time working with DFA as part of their nationwide traveling academy but look forward to providing materials and working with them in the future.


While at the training, it was evident that Texans were looking to apply their skills to defeat Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn in 2008. We’ve seen the state’s bloggers continue to raise funds for the eventual Democratic Nominee using the Texas ActBlue Senate nominee fund which is just one way to aid in accomplishing that goal.

Using ActBlue for Event Management

ActBlue is flexible. That’s why we are happy to see our users get creative and make the most of our fundraising pages. So let’s explore the use of ActBlue for event ticketing. Here’s some examples.

  1. The San Diego County Democratic Party held their 27th Annual Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt Dinner in March and wanted to keep track of attendees. They used ActBlue to manage nearly 50 donor/diners by setting up this event page.

    On their page they clearly indicate the time and place of the fundraiser, who was sponsoring it, and the various ticket prices. They also provided instructions on how to pick up their tickets ‘purchased’ through ActBlue. The owner of the ActBlue page has access to all the contributors’ information and could print up nametags and place settings in advance.

  2. Christopher Cabaldon is running for the California Assembly and if elected would be the first GLBT person of color elected to the body. His campaign made this event page which includes the same good points outlined in the previous example. In addition, it includes a visual graphic of the event invitation. It catches the eye and ties into the event’s message.

Not everyone uses ActBlue in the same way and not everyone wants their fundraising totals made public (like the Netroots fundraising effort). With ActBlue, you have the option to turn this ‘scoreboard’ on of off and make the progress of your fundraising page public or private. This allows event organizers to choose the option that best fits their pitch. Some might want the scoreboard public to encourage more to attend a popular event. Other organizers might want the scoreboard private so as to not tips one’s success to a primary opponent. Like I said, ActBlue is flexible!

Page of the Week

Tip: Use Humor

One of the things that can help make an ActBlue fundraising page more successful is to make it catchy and relevant to your audience. While we weren’t sure what to expect when we first saw the Angry Buddhists for Richarson page, the staff was captivated by its clever ‘pitch’.

Greetings Gentle Followers,

It is time to raise more than the change that comes from within and reach for the credit card that comes from the wallet.

I won’t make you roll your eyes by saying that puts the ‘fun’ into fundraising, but remember that humor can spice up your ‘asks’ and make fundraising more personal.

This is our first post in our weekly series called "Page of the Week." In this series, I’ll be highlighting ActBlue Fundraising pages that the staff likes that also include ideas to improve your fundraising efforts.

New ActBlue Calendar

New readers to the blog will notice we’ve added an ActBlue Calendar of Upcoming Public Events to the right hand sidebar. We’ll be keeping it up to date with our upcoming "how-to" calls, public meetings, or conferences at which we’re speaking. It’s another resource for our wide range of users to interact with us and learn how to improve fundraising techniques. We’ve got two events coming up next week with more on the way.

Are you new to fundraising or interested in improving your results with ActBlue? It is never too early to get started for 2008!

ActBlue Team will be hosting two conference calls to share strategies
for effective and fun fundraising. Join us on Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00
pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT) or on Thursday, April 19 at 10:00 pm EDT (7:00 pm

Send an email to
by Monday April 16 with your date preference for call-in information
and more details! We look forward to working with you to keep the blue
wave going!

You can save events from our calendar onto your own calendar or even subscribe to all events. Click on the individual entries or the ‘subscribe’ link too see what we’re talking about.

P.S. We’ve noticed that our calendar may not appear right away if you are using the Safari browser on Mac. If that’s happening to you, view our full calendar once. The next time you come back to the blog it should load properly from then on.

Nominee Funds Revisited

Last month ActBlue created Democratic Nominee funds for all federal offices.  At the time I wrote:

We recognize that it’s early in the 2008 cycle and many candidates
are not anywhere close to announcing a run for federal office, be that
a U.S. Senate seat or Congress.  It’s natural that during this time,
potential candidates are testing the waters, talking to friends, and
contemplating the financial needs of any campaign they may choose to
embark upon.

As of today we’re going to help make that last decision a little easier to encourage Democrats to run for office. We’ve created “Democratic Nominee Funds”
for every Republican-held Senate and House seat.   All of the money
raised for these funds will be held until after a state’s primary
election and then transferred to the Democratic Nominee to help them
with their general election campaign against Republicans.

In the past month we’ve seen more states adopt this strategy to help create buzz and attention around senate races. Texans have raised ~$1000 amidst the ongoing chatter about potential candidates. Now with the talk about Oregon’s Peter DeFazio mulling a bid against Sen. Gordon Smith, draft pages are popping up in the form of OR-Sen Nominee Funds. In addition, Blue New Hampshire is starting to raise funds for the nominee against Sen. Senunu.

While you may not raise millions for the eventual nominee, Democratic Nominee Funds can be a helpful tool to raise awareness, buzz, media, and some helpful cash for Democratic candidates at the federal level.

UPDATE: I just noticed that has launched using the ActBlue as part of their ‘draft’ effort. Very cool!

New Mexico is Live Again

Now that the New Mexico legislature is out of session for 2007, we’re happy to inform everyone that donating to New Mexico state candidates is now re-activated on ActBlue.

We’ve updated the directory, adding in all the Senators while updating websites and pictures for many candidates. So take a look through the New Mexico directory, add candidates to your fundraising pages (or create one), and donate at will!

If you know of any new candidates or have more current information, let us know.

The Pace of Fundraising

Political Insider points out a rather amazing statistic.

"Assuming the Dem WH field pulled in $70M over the past Q, that means
they collectively raised cash at a rate of about $778K/day, $32K/hour,
or $9.00/second

Seeing as that collective number on the Dem side looks to be more like $75 million or more, that can be revised to $833K/day, $34.7K/hour, or $579/min, or $9.65/sec.

I went ahead and calculated this for ActBlue (between last Tuesday night when we hit $20 million through to end of the quarter on midnight Saturday). Inclusive of all candidates, from state house to President, fundraising online through ActBlue ran at an average clip of $311K/day, $13K/hour, $216/min, or $3.60/sec for that period.

I would do it for the entire quarter but it’s not directly comparable because ActBlue serves so many candidates who are not doing intense presidential level fundraising.  The last week is a better measure since the bulk of it is presidential money.