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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Our latest monthly report on ActBlue activity was just a teaser. Today is the filing deadline for federal campaigns and committees, and we’re releasing our Q1/2010 numbers. More real time numbers! Fewer hours spent sifting through FEC reports! Without further ado, the ActBlue Q1/2010 Report:

Number of contributions 109,891
Total raised $10,182,793.61
Average contribution size $92.66
# of committees receiving money 1,591
# of fundraising pages receiving money 1,688
New fundraising pages created 2,189

 

Every one of the above metrics reported an increase over the previous quarter, except for the average contribution size, which, reflecting the arrival of more small dollar donors, dropped by 20%. As we did in our previous stats post, we’ll look at the Q1/2010 results in light of the Q1/2008 numbers:

Q1 2008 Q1 2010 Change
Contributions 52,151 109,891 111%
Volume ($) $6,945,913.73 $10,182,793.61 47%
Mean Donation $133.19 $92.66 -30%
Committees 992 1,591 60%
Pages Created 1,469 2,189 49%
Pages w/ Money 959 1,688 76%

 

Incredible. More than double the number of contributions for the same period in the fundraising cycle two years ago--a presidential year–leading to a 50% increase in the amount donated to Democratic candidates through ActBlue. 1,600 Democratic campaigns and committees got a check from ActBlue. For scale, there are 535 voting members in Congress, and on the federal level alone ActBlue sent money to 627 committees.

Now let’s take a look at the top 10 recipient campaigns and committees of Q1/2010, ranked by number of donors. Making the list were two familiar national progressive organizations, four US Senate candidates, and four Congressional candidates.

Martha Coakley took the top candidate spot thanks to the special election to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Bill Halter, the AR-Sen primary challenger to incumbent senator Blanche Lincoln took fourth, while Sen. Bennet in CO and Sen. Gillibrand in NY took 5th and 7th respectively. The top House recipient was Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, whose ActBlue numbers surpassed Sen. Gillibrand’s and landed him 6th in the rankings.

Name

 

PCCC – Progressive Change Campaign CommitteeType

OrganizationDonors

17,091Raised

$192,967.67 Martha CoakleyMA-Sen, 201013,884$1,110,150.23 Democracy for AmericaOrganization12,066$92,395.08 Bill HalterAR-Sen, 201011,888$390,113.82 Michael BennetCO-Sen, 20108,452$119,364.08 Alan GraysonFL-08, 20107,520$121,794.81 Kirsten GillibrandNY-Sen, 20106,323$48,134.68 Anthony WeinerNY-09, 20106,007$155,387.52 Chellie PingreeME-01, 20104,145$190,124.60 Jared PolisCO-02, 20103,922$28,860.93

Looking at that data another way, we can rank the top 10 recipient campaigns and committees by total dollars raised. This adds a few new candidates to the list like Dan Seals in Illinois, MA-Gov. Deval Patrick, DE-Sen. candidate Chris Coons, Gavin Newsom for Lt.-Gov of CA, and PA-Sen primary challenger and current Congressman Joe Sestak.

Name

Martha
CoakleyType

MA-Sen, 2010$ Raised

$1,110,150.23Bill
HalterAR-Sen, 2010$390,113.82Dan
SealsIL-10, 2010$262,260.48Deval
PatrickMA-Gov, 2010$243,017.59Chris
CoonsDE-Sen, 2010$218,044.99Gavin
NewsomCA-Lt Gov, 2010$201,199.00Joe
SestakPA-Sen, 2010$200,852.82PCCC Organization $192,967.67Chellie
PingreeME-01, 2010$190,124.60Anthony
WeinerNY-09, 2010$155,387.52

Last but certainly not least is our report on the top 10 fundraising pages in Q1/2010, ranked by number of donors. These reflect the grassroots activity driving donors to give over the past three months.

Not surprisingly, every one of the pages below except for one has an average contributions size well below the average for the 1st Quarter. Half of the pages include embedded video and three include ActBlue fundraising thermometers. These pages are a source of good examples for how to design and market successful fundraising drives that any user can start on ActBlue.

Name Donors Raised Average
senateheroes-letter 8234 $160,938.49 $19.54
do-it-for-ted 7076 $693,854.37 $98.05
weinercdthc02242010 5232 $109,801.34 $20.98
dumplincoln 5006 $116,478.85 $23.26
polispingreegrayson 4008 $111,877.36 $27.91
pelosi-tv-ad 3576 $68,649.03 $19.19
2010pccc 3402 $66,266.55 $19.47
pccc_main 3128 $71,502.66 $22.85
pccchalterfield 1968 $32,449.24 $16.48
orangetoblue2010 1850 $66,934.74 $36.18

On Tuesday, the Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) released their "Who to Hire" guide to political technology providers, and we were happy to see that ActBlue took 2nd place overall, with a 4.23/5 rating and the third highest number of survey respondents. If you follow the link above, you'll see that when they broke down the responses by category, ActBlue led decisively across the board:

  • Capacity and Reliability of Software: 2nd
  • Usability of Software: 1st
  • Quality of Customer Service: 2nd
  • Fairness of Pricing: 2nd

No other service provider placed as highly in as many categories. In our internal discussions, these are exactly the categories where we strive to be an industry leader and it was humbling to see that our efforts were recognized by survey respondents. I want to highlight the "Usability of Software" category, and not just because we stand atop the podium.

As Nancy Scola has written, one of ActBlue's core goals is to normalize the act of political giving. That's fancy talk for a pretty simple idea: political giving should be a regular part of American life. You go to work, cook dinner, and after dinner head over to the computer and donate $5 to your preferred candidate.

A lot of the anger Americans feel toward their elected leaders is rooted in the idea that Washington serves special interests rather than the American people. And, to the extent that this intuition is correct, it's because those special interests have a lot of campaign cash to dole out. The obvious answer to this problem is to create an alternate source of funding for our elected officials, so that standing up to special interests isn't such an electorally damaging proposition.

The central idea behind ActBlue is that the American people have the potential to be that alternate source, and at this point we've clearly demonstrated proof of concept. ActBlue has sent $127.3M to thousands of Democratic candidates and committees, with an average donation size of around $100. And ActBlue users send their money to everything from presidential campaigns to mayoral races. As a final note, we practice what we preach: we fund our operations through tips and direct donations from our users.

However, if political giving is going to become a normal part of American life, it has to fulfill two criteria:

  1. It must be easy.
  2. It must be transparent.

I'm going to tackle the second point in a separate entry, as it's a complicated one. But #1 is pretty straightforward. Very few Americans pursue politics as a career. In fact, most of us are preoccupied by our roles as parents, small business owners, or what have you. So, if you want people participate in politics, you have to find a way to slot it into the very busy lives we all lead.

When I see that ActBlue is ranked #1 in terms of usability it tells me that we're making progress toward that goal. Whether you're a campaign or just someone looking to make a difference in the five minutes they have to spare, ActBlue is your best option.

(And, as a final note, it's not just PdF that feels this way. The New Organizing Insitute (NOI) honored us with the Most Valuable Technology award.)

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about our monthly statistics posts, so we’ll be continuing them throughout the 2010 cycle. Today we’re looking at numbers from March 2010, and you should stop by late next week when we’ll release our end of quarter numbers. The purpose of these posts is to provide information, and nothing below should be construed as an endorsement of a particular candidate or committee.

The March 2010 overview:

Number of contributions 58,626
Total raised $5,228,392.83
Average contribution size $89.18
Distinct committees receiving money 1,250
Distinct fundraising pages receiving money 1,124
Fundraising pages created 1,002

 

Granted, every statistic is higher than it was in February, but March numbers are buoyed by the end of quarter (EOQ) fundraising push by federal candidates. To exempt that variable from our analysis, let’s compare March 2010 to March 2008. Keep in mind, though, that ’08 was a presidential cycle, and March was the last EOQ deadline before the decisive Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Nevertheless:

March 2008 March 2010 Change
Contributions 25,345 58,626 130%
Volume ($) $3,707,838.92 $5,228,392.83 41%
Mean Donation $146.29 $89.18 -39%
Committees 787 1,250 60%
Pages Created 564 1,002 78%
Pages w/ Money 654 1,124 72%

 

NB: “pages” here refers to fundraising pages, which are landing pages that make a specific fundraising ask. For an example page, click here.

The massive increase in volume and contributions, combined with decrease in average donation size, speak to the increasing power of grassroots fundraising generally, and, as we’ll see below, issue-oriented grassroots fundraising.

Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Campaigns & Committees for March 2010 (by donors).

 

Committee Name

Bill HalterType

AR-Sen, 2010Donors

11,887Amount

$390,112.82 PCCC – Progressive Change Campaign CommitteeOrganization8,603$109,664.77 Democracy for AmericaOrganization5,692$52,880.09 Krystal BallVA-01, 20103,587$35,793.04 Ann McLane KusterNH-02, 20103,456$35,193.03 Anthony WeinerNY-09, 20103,071$64,608.18 Alan GraysonFL-08, 20102,494$57,163.94 Connie SaltonstallMI-01, 20102,188$92,463.60 Dennis KucinichOH-10, 20101,788$36,188.49 Betsy MarkeyCO-04, 20101,205$27,998.14

In March, the top 10 (as always, ranked by number of donors) includes some new faces. As was the case last month, the PCCC and DFA take their spots on the podium, eclipsed only by Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter, who is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Blanche Lincoln. Lt. Gov. Halter amassed over 10,000 ActBlue donors in a single month with the backing of labor unions, progressive advocacy organizations, and Netroots PACs. For a more complete listing of the groups fundraising for Halter on ActBlue, click here.

What’s particularly interesting about this month’s top 10 are the interconnections between candidates and both policy issues and advocacy groups. Krystal Ball and Anne McLane Kuster–#4 and #5, respectively–earned their berth thanks to a fundraising page set up by the PCCC. They are challenging “Blue Dog” Democrats who opposed the public option in the recent healthcare bill, an issue of concern to many PCCC donors. The candidates ranked 6-8 also structured their fundraising efforts around the recent healthcare bill.Reps. Grayson and Weiner saw their candor about GOP opposition to the bill rewarded by online donors, and Saltonstall is running against Rep. Bart Stupak in Michigan.

The larger point being that our volume in March reflected–in real time–the momentum and enthusiasm that was building behind healthcare reform.

You can see that firsthand in the list for Top 10 Fundraising Pages for March 2010

Name Donors Raised Average
dumplincoln 5006 $116,478.85 $23.26
pelosi-tv-ad 3577 $68,669.03 $19.19
2010pccc 3402 $66,266.55 $19.47
weinercdthc02242010 2909 $56,459.33 $19.40
pccc_main 2042 $41,152.28 $20.15
pccchalterfield 1968 $32,449.24 $16.48
orangetoblue2010 1850 $66,934.74 $36.18
standupkucinich 1124 $21,366.66 $19.00
conniesaltonstall 780 $35,644.27 $45.69
graysonboldprogressive 718 $13,211.30 $18.40

 

Quick points:

  • Three of the top 10 ActBlue fundraising pages benefited Arkansas Senate candidate Bill Halter.
  • Over half of the pages directly mention or motivate donors to give to candidates because of health care issues.
  • Six of March’s Top 10 fundraising pages by numbers of donors were created by the PCCC
  • Democracy for America, Daily Kos, and the Firedoglake Action PAC all had fundraising pages that made the list.

Some of the common features used on these 10 fundraising pages were the inclusion of embedded video and the use of ActBlue’s goal-based fundraising thermometers. Be sure to check out some of the other pages linked above as well as our recent post that covers some important tips to get some ideas of how to make your next fundraising page more successful. 

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