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Monthly Archives: July 2007

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Like many folks in the Democratic blogosphere, we’re looking forward to the YearlyKos Convention in Chicago this week. In fact, the entire ActBlue staff will be headed to YearlyKos where we will be hosting a workshop (details below). Come out and say hello- we’ll also have a booth near the registration area.

ActBlue: Maximizing Your Impact

Type: Workshop
Location: 10d
Session Date: Friday, Aug 3 2007 – 9:15am – 10:15am

Want
to make a difference in Democratic campaigns all over the country? Wish
elected officials paid attention to your views and addressed your
issues? Curious how bloggers and activists across the country are using
online fundraising to change the political playing field? Join ActBlue
staff to learn how to effectively translate your voice into the medium
politicians and media understand: money. Hear the tips and tricks of
the pros, master the most successful fundraising pitches, and see the
newest tools to support your candidates, campaigns, parties, and pacs.
Let ActBlue help you make the most of your voice and contacts this
election cycle.

Before heading out for the weekend (and in the midst of ActBlue’s move to new offices) I wanted to briefly touch on some presidential fundraising numbers compiled this week by OpenSecrets.org and the Center for Responsive Politics.

From April through June, donors who gave $200 or less [to presidential campaigns] accounted for 26 percent of the contributions the candidates collected from individuals. Compared to the first three months of this 2008 election cycle, small donors increased their giving to the candidates 84 percent and just about doubled their share of the money raised from individuals. In January through March, donors contributing $200 or less accounted for 14 percent of individual money.

The trend from Q1 to Q2 fundraising in 2007 has clearly been in favor of small donors. I see two factors at work here. The first is the natural pattern of presidential fundraising, where the first fundraising period consists of a high number of $2300 checks, the maximum contribution level. This ‘big money’ is tapped first to jump start campaigns but of course, results in an inability to re-solicit donors as they have already given the max amount. The second pattern is an actual increase in small dollar contributions resulting in increased total Q2 fundraising numbers (compared to the percentages shifting just because one area of revenue has declined). Clearly, those who have given small contributions before are giving again in addition to the new small donors being added to the pool of givers.

In our training materials and fundraising calls, we at ActBlue point out this benefit to campaigns. Small donors (often correlated to online donors) can be re-solicited throughout a campaign. Having a strong small donor base is equally important to contacting those who can give the maximum amount as it can sustain a campaign longterm. It distributes power to more individuals and diversifies the audience to whom campaigns are accountable. The following section from the aforementioned press release puts this in context.

Among corporate contributors in all industries based on contributions from employees, their families and political action committees, no company has invested more in these candidates than Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm. Goldman’s executives and employees have donated about $930,000 in the last six months. Investment firms Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase round out the overall top donors. 
      

But the biggest "contributor" of all at this point is the progressive group ActBlue, which facilitates individual donors pooling their money to finance Democratic candidates. By collecting mostly donations of $200 or less, ActBlue has directed more than $1.5 million to the presidential candidates, the bulk of it to Edwards.

In this case the aggregate of contributions through ActBlue represent no specific industry or collection of people other than an aggregate of donors to presidential candidates. Still, this expresses the shift in the distribution of giving from Q1 to Q2. (To note, the $1.5 million is figured from donations $200 or more- a couple million more exists in contributions less than $200 which are not required to be itemized.)
      

Last month when ActBlue turned 3 years old, I made this remark.

# of months until ActBlue outgrows its 600 sq foot office: 1 (that’s over $40,000/sq.ft. of productivity!)

Tomorrow, we’re moving! With over 7 people (or more when people visit) in one place, we’re happy to be moving down the street to a larger space. The walls got some fresh paint (rocky mountain blue to be specific) though furniture is sparse.

More space for more hires for more productivity means that we at ActBlue will be able to better (and more comfortably) serve Democrats across the country.

Below are some pictures of us moving out of our old space.

photo_2

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The Wall Street Journal published an article yesterday that validated something we’ve been predicting would happen for a number of months now. According to their research, Democratic campaign in aggregate are now enjoying a $100 million advantage in fundraising.

With more than a year to go before the 2008 elections, Democratic
candidates have raised $100 million more in campaign contributions than
Republicans, putting them on track to win the money race for the White
House and Congress for the first time since the government began
detailed accounting of campaign fund raising three decades ago.

The total raised to date is quite astounding, with the leading financial contenders for president on the Democratic side raising more funds already than all of the Democratic primary candidates did combined for the totality of the race in 2003-2004. Not only could 2008 be a billion dollar election but quite possibly double or triple that. But where will all that increase in funds come from?

If their fund-raising advantage continues — so far, Democrats have
been pulling in about 58% of overall donations to federal-office
seekers — they will have more resources for pricey advertising,
organization building and voter outreach next November to buttress
their edge in the polls. Moreover, Democrats’ focus on small donors
leaves them room to raise more cash over the next year, since many
contributors have yet to hit the legal limit of $2,300 per candidate
per election, and could potentially keep giving.

While this cycle will see more donors that give the maximum allowed to federal campaigns, we are seeing an explosion of new donors buying into the political process at smaller levels- each with the capacity to give more throughout the cycle. During the last fundraising quarter, we reported that the average contribution size to all candidates through ActBlue was right at $100 and that the median size was $45. We’ll see those lower end donors continue to give through the cycle. The WSJ highlights this very point with their own research.

Only half of Mr. Obama’s donors have hit the giving
limit for the primaries; about a quarter have given him less than $200,
according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group
that analyzes campaign contributions.

By contrast, about two-thirds of those contributing to
the campaign of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have already hit
their maximum; just 8% have given less than $200.

For comparison, I ran the numbers for a sample of about 40 major federal campaigns that used ActBlue to collect their online contributions in Q2 and found that on average, 22% of the funds raise in the quarter were online contributions. In a couple of cases the online percentage went over 50%.

Another important point is the increasing percentage of online giving as a share of campaign fundraising.

Democrats have also benefited because of their
comparative strength with Internet activists. While Republican voters
tend to gravitate toward traditional media like talk radio, Democratic
voters with strong opinions are more likely to go online to read blogs.
That, in turn, has led to an explosion in online giving to Democrats,
who are building lists of thousands of small-dollar donors for a
fraction of the cost of traditional direct mail.

Many Democrats give by clicking links to candidates on
the Web site ActBlue, a clearinghouse for small donors. ActBlue has
raised $5.6 million for Democratic House, Senate and presidential
candidates, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a Web site that tracks
donations. It was the single biggest source of contributions to the
party’s presidential candidates during the first six months of the
year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In a report last
week, the center said ActBlue donors gave more in aggregate than the
total from employees of heavy corporate contributors like Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

 

blogospheredayThere is no better day than today to use the “Blogosphere” category for this post on the ActBlue Blog.

While you can see more of the action over at the Open Left where I’m guest hosting today, here is an updated roundup of all the posts so far talking about ActBlue on the 4th Annual Blogosphere Day.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released this statement.

I
am immensely proud that 17 of my Senate colleagues have joined me in
using ActBlue to build our Democratic majority, and I expect many more
to do so this election cycle.

Blogosphere Day celebrates the
greatest aspiration of our democracy: people coming together to change
the direction of their country.  By enabling Democrats from all walks
of life to work together, to pool their passion and energy, and to
elect candidates who represent their values, ActBlue has created a
unique strategic advantage for the Democratic Party.

Your
investment in ActBlue builds resources for our best candidates, our
best activists, and our best ideas — and your contribution today makes
the biggest difference as we pave the road to November 2008.

Please support ActBlue today.

Sen. John Kerry was blogging at Firedoglake.

Just a few months ago, we made the strategic decision to partner
with ActBlue on all of our fundraising. One reason for that was that we
wanted to take advantage of some of the innovative possibilities
ActBlue make possible, such as our ŇRoadblock Republicans’ campaign.
We’ve already raised nearly 100K targeting ActBlue’s Democratic nominee
funds for the opponents of some key Republican Senators. The idea that
someone could raise funds in a pressure campaign like that targeting
specific members was pretty new, and it got a lot of attention on the
Hill. And, hopefully, gave my Republican colleagues another factor to
consider when they think of blocking more legislation to really change
course in Iraq.

The other reason we partnered with ActBlue was to support the
overall efforts of the netroots. And that’s why I’m writing today to
support Blogosphere Day, and it’s drive to raise funds for ActBlue. The
time to build infrastructure for next year’s election is right now, and
ActBlue will bring in tens of millions of dollars for Democratic
candidates and progressive causes over this cycle. They are the largest
vehicle for the expression of the financial power of the netroots, and
that power goes a long way towards bringing about a new progressive
future for our country.

Gen. Wesley Clark posts at Huffington Post.

That’s why today is so important. Today is Blogosphere Day — a day that realizes the great promise of our democracy: people coming together from across America to change the direction of our country. In the past, the progressive blogosphere has united on July 19 to support a specific candidate, and I was proud to support Blogosphere Day candidates Paul Hackett and Ned Lamont.

Now on the 4th annual Blogosphere Day, it’s time to invest in our infrastructure, and that means supporting ActBlue.  This isn’t just about 2008, 2010, or any specific election. It’s about building support for activists, for new ideas, and for candidates from the local to national level.  Supporting ActBlue not only strengthens the progressive movement, but it strengthens our democracy.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois writes at Daily Kos.

Today, on the 4th annual Blogosphere Day, we celebrate the many
important ways that progressive blogs have changed our democracy for
the better — while also making sure we nurture and invest in the
blogosphere, making it an even greater force for positive change in the
months and years ahead.  That’s why I hope you’ll support ActBlue.

By building our online Democratic infrastructure today, especially
ActBlue, we’re creating a platform that will support all of our
candidates, our activists, and our ideas in 2008 and beyond.  ActBlue
has already done so much to help our progressive movement — now it’s
time for us to help them.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy released this statement.

Today we celebrate one of best things to happen to the
Democratic Party in a long time: the emergence of vibrant online
communities that connect Americans through healthy discussion.

2006 was a landmark year for Democrats and ActBlue’s fundraising
technology was
a big part of that success.  Now as we look to grow the Democratic
Majority in 2008, I’m thankful that Actblue and the larger community of
blogs
and other online technologies are here to provide the kind of energy
and
resources we need to win.

Sen. Chris Dodd has released a statement about Blogosphere Day.

Today is the fourth annual Blogosphere Day and the netroots are coming
together to support ActBlue. I congratulate ActBlue for their continued
success as the online clearinghouse for Democratic action. They have
helped Democratic candidates around the country and at all levels of
government raise over $25 million since 2004.

Yesterday, blogger Matt Stoller wrote,
“ActBlue is a representation of what is great about our country, that
the principles of diversity, openness, transparency, and collective
action can and do work.” I couldn’t agree more. ActBlue has set the
ground for Democratic growth nationwide, by removing traditional
barriers that have limited political participation.

ActBlue has enabled the Democratic grassroots to come together and
effectively support Democratic success — their work deserves wide
recognition for its value.

As a candidate who has benefited from ActBlue’s work, I’m proud to
donate on Blogosphere Day in support of ActBlue’s continued efforts to
provide tools that enable all Democrats a chance to succeed and help
turn America “blue.”

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25million
1) $25 Million – the total on the front page which ActBlue passed last Friday. And to think it was only late March when we passed $20 Million.

2) 176 – the total number of campaigns and committees we disbursed checks to this week.

3) $7 – the sum of our winnings in bar dollars after placing 2nd in Trivia Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub. This comes after placing 6th with only a skeleton crew last week so watch out YearlyKos…we’ve been practicing.

We’ll leave it up to you to ponder which of these numbers most excites the ActBlue Team

It’s a full week after our End of Quarter checks went out but we still had a huge stack to distribute. Below I’ve posted a picture of the 160 checks going out to campaigns across the country that received money in the last week. That’s half a foot of Democratic money!

P.S. Do you like our Smart Woman ruler?

070907125100

 

Over the past week we’ve looked at a number of statistics from ActBlue.com, everything from some raw numbers, top candidates, and top fundraising pages. To finish out our series we’re going to take a look at one of the most important areas of ActBlue- state level fundraising.

It’s true that federal activity made up the majority of 2nd Quarter fundraising at ActBlue- 90% in fact. That’s no surprise as federal races have always made up the bulk of ActBlue activity and tend to get started sooner than state legislative races.

That said, state level fundraising at ActBlue has huge potential for 2008 and is already showing enormous growth. In the 2nd Quarter, $323,638 was raised for state candidates in 15 states. (To note- in Q2 2005, just under $100,000 was raised across ActBlue for *all* candidates federal and non-federal.)

The charts below break out the numbers by state and detail the cluster of activity in Virginia (which has 2007 elections) and California.

Q2 $ Raised by State   Q2 Donors by State   # of Recipient Campaigns
$ Received State # of Donors State # of Campaigns State
148,856 CA 650 VA 40 VA
120,308 VA 551 CA 15 CA
23,774 IL 145 IL 6 TX
16,990 MT 122 MT 5 PA
6,877 MO 43 PA 4 MT
2,705 PA 35 MO 4 NM
1,840 WI 17 WI 4 WI
1,210 MS 16 OH 3 NH/OH

In addition, the following table is of the Top 10 state candidates by $ raised on ActBlue in the 2nd Quarter.

$ Raised in Q2 Candidate Office
74,254 Mark Leno CA-SD-03
31,136 Joe Alioto Veronese CA-SD-03
28,267 Karen Schultz VA-SD-27
23,739 Daniel Biss IL-HD-17
15,540 Carlos Del Toro VA-HD-88
12,295 Donald McEachin VA-SD-09
11,745 Steve Bullock MT-Atty Gen
11,325 Jay Donahue VA-HD-86
8,668 Rick Gonzales CA-HD-80
8,175 Connie Brennan VA-HD-59

We’re looking forward to helping more candidates in the 23 states where we are active. If you are a campaign in the following states, (Alabama, Arizona, California, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming) contact us at info@actblue.com to get set up with ActBlue and start fundraising today!

That concludes our Q2 Stats Week with ActBlue. If seeing more if this type of data is something you find valuable on an ongoing basis, leave a note and we’ll see about developing a more automated system to present select data.

Yesterday we looked at the top candidates on ActBlue for the last quarter. Today we’ll look at our ActBlue fundraising pages which any individual or campaign can create to support the candidates and causes of their choice.

Before we look at the individual pages here are some big picture numbers. Since ActBlue started three years ago, 4,263 different fundraising pages have been created, 43% of which have raised funds. In the 2nd Quarter of 2007, 606 fundraising pages were created, of which 71% raised funds. We’re very excited to see that above average number of successful pages. Users are becoming more savvy in reaching out to their friends and supporters which is beneficial to the campaigns receiving those contributions.

And now, the Top 10 lists of ActBlue fundraising pages by number of donors and dollars broken down by lifetime totals and those for the recently completed Q2.

Top 10 fundraising pages by # donors (Lifetime)

count   | page name
———+———————
40,026 | johnedwards
14,443 | netrootscandidates
  8,994 | hackett
  6,151 | blueamerica
  5,521 | pacforachange
  3,555 | eschaton
  3,421 | takebackthecongress
  2,752 | dnc
  2,450 | republicanfirewall
  2,235 | dkos

Top 10 fundraising pages by # of donors (Q2)

   count | page name
  ——-+———————-
12,661 | johnedwards
   1,017 | roadblockrepublicans
      842 | kerryforjohnson
      482 | blueamerica08
      373 | thepen
      346 | bluemajority
      318 | fightback
      310 | recount
      284 | infrastructure
      199 | eric

Top 10 fundraising pages by $ (Lifetime)

$ amount  |  page name
————+——————–
3,397,145 | johnedwards
1,601,968 | netrootscandidates
   568,009 | blueamerica
   532,998 | dansealsforcongress.com
   482,616 | hackett
   377,058 | dkos
   325,313 | sos-all
   292,829 | pacforachange
   278,821 | christine
   257,327 | republicanfirewall

Top 10 fundraising pages by $ (Q2)

$ amount | page name
————+————————-
  876,230 | johnedwards
    73,206 | roadblockrepublicans
    66,067 | dansealsforcongress.com
    43,911 | markleno
    42,958 | mikesmith
    35,129 | kerryforjohnson
    33,600 | dougslist
    32,196 | blueamerica08
    28,513 | karenschultz
    23,824 | eric

As you can see, the list of fundraising pages is a mix of different approaches. Some are dedicated pages for particular candidates  like Eric Massa or Mark Leno who use it to collect their campaign contributions. Others are pages being used by current officeholders like John Kerry to raise on behalf of their colleagues. Others represent the collective voice of online communities like the various netroots pages in their efforts to support a wide range of candidates.

Join us tomorrow in our final installment of ActBlue stats week where we’ll explore state level activity on the ActBlue fundraising platform.

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