Q1 2017: Participation is skyrocketing

There are certain times when you expect that donors, campaigns, and organizations will be fired up, organizing, raising a lot of money, and making their voices heard. The first quarter of an off-year is not one of those times. But this past quarter was huge by every metric.

We handled nearly $112 million from over 4 million contributions during Q1. For context, ActBlue was founded in 2004 and we didn’t reach 4 million total contributions in the lifetime of the organization until 2012.

From the number of contributions we handled, to the sheer amount of money running through our servers, to the number of new donors who came into the fold in the last three months, the reaction to the Trump administration and the surge in action is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Our tools are helping move money that’s going directly into resistance work right now, and our features are making it easier and quicker for donors to give to the causes and candidates they care about. For some donors and organizers, this is their first time ever being involved in the political or organizing process, and we’re so proud to provide an easy way for them to get active.

Together, the campaigns, organizations, and donors using ActBlue’s platform are building a powerful grassroots movement.

Below, we break down the topline numbers for the quarter. You’ll notice we’ve only included Q1 of odd years. We consider these to be “off-years” — the years in between presidential and midterm election years. Those are the most relevant points of comparison.

Topline Numbers

Q1 ’13 Q1 ’15 Q1 ’17
Contributions 467,163 782,790 4,171,311
Total Amount $16,904,456 $26,903,206 $111,329,027
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,243 1,728 3,079

Those 4,171,311 contributions (which include all recurring contributions) add up to more than four times the total dollars we handled during Q1 2015. It’s a giant increase, and one that’s thanks in large part to all of the small-dollar donors who have gotten involved recently and are giving to the candidates and causes they care about.

We were also amazed and excited to see that the number of groups raising money on ActBlue was more than double the number that fundraised during Q1 2013.

Many of those groups are new organizations that popped up after Trump was elected in order to fight back against his administration and get new people involved in organizing work. Others are candidates with elections this year — there are several important special elections in 2017, and those races have spurred a ton of nationwide, grassroots support — plus state and local candidates with elections in 2017. But there are also 2018 congressional, state, and local candidates getting a head start on running, which will help them build and fuel powerful campaigns. How? They can build recurring donor pools, take advantage of momentum, and give constituents a cause to rally around (and give to!) when their Republican challengers side with Trump or pass harmful legislation.

This is what ActBlue was built for: to help constituents and organizers make their voices heard and make a real impact. And the money raised on ActBlue is going straight to doing real, meaningful organizing work.

ActBlue Express

Q1 ’13 Q1 ’15 Q1 ’17
Total ActBlue Express users 534,991 1,272,534 3,745,306
New ActBlue Express Users 63,454 45,268 341,845
Total ActBlue Express Dollars $7,886,497 $14,977,607 $64,440,0474
% of Total Dollars via ActBlue Express Users 46.7% 55.7% 59.7%
% of Total Contributions via ActBlue Express Users 54.0% 58.3% 64.6%

Over 340,000 new donors signed up for ActBlue Express accounts in Q1, bringing the total up to 3.7 million ActBlue Express users sitewide. That’s 3.7 million donors who have saved their credit card information and can give to the candidates and causes they care about with a single click going forward. Why does that matter? We’ve seen time and time again that when you remove the barriers to donating, people are more likely to keep giving. That’s why nearly 65% of the four million contributions we handled this quarter came from ActBlue Express users. And we expect these new ActBlue Express users to be active in the future!

Recurring Contributions

Q1 ’13 Q1 ’15 Q1 ’17
Percent of Total Dollars via Recurring Contributions 6.0% 28.0% 24.9%
Total Recurring Dollars $1,021,730 $7,545,818 $27,719,908

Recurring contributions help campaigns and organizations build a steady stream of income to sustain their work for the long haul, and they give donors an easy way to spread out their donations. That’s why they’ve historically made up a big part of our sitewide fundraising. This past quarter was no different, with nearly 25% of the dollars we handled coming from recurring contributions.

In the last few months we released new features that have made recurring donations better for donors and have helped campaigns and organizations build their recurring donor pools. Smart Recurring, a pop-up feature that prompts donors to make a smaller monthly contribution after they give a one-time donation, has already begun making the donation process more flexible for donors and fundraisers alike. And our integration with Account Updater, which allows us to work with credit card companies to automatically update old or expired credit card numbers for recurring donors, is helping donors keep up their recurring contributions without the need to manually update their information.

Mobile

Q1 ’13 Q1 ’15 Q1 ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile 9.2% 24.7% 39.5%
% of Contributions via Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
12.4% 26.7% 40.3%

The reality is that many supporters are accessing their emails (and thus, contribution forms) on mobile devices. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to make the mobile donation experience even better. In September of 2016, we launched Apple Pay for ActBlue contribution forms, and it resulted in over 80k contributions and $2,107,923 this past quarter. It’s an incredibly easy way for people to give on their mobile devices because it doesn’t require them to type in their payment information, and it’s quickly becoming a popular feature.


If this first quarter of 2017 was any indication of things to come, donors and activists are going to be incredibly engaged this cycle. And our tools will play a key role in helping small-dollar donors make their mark on every aspect of the resistance movement. Check back in on our blog posts in the months to come, as we’ll report back on monthly and quarterly numbers in order to help donors, campaigns, organizations, and anyone else who might be interested in this movement keep up with all of the hard work that folks are doing right now to raise money and fuel their work.

As always, if you have questions or comments about this past quarter, you can reach a member of our team at info@actblue.com.

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