October ’17 Recap

Small-dollar donors worked tirelessly on a wide swath of issues this October. Folks prepared for the 2018 midterms, quickly rallied for victims of the devastating wildfires in Napa Valley, and made a hugely successful pre-Election Day push. By the time October ended, candidates, organizations, and nonprofits using our tools had raised $47,600,346 from more than 1.2 million contributions. Additionally, an impressive 4,736 unique groups used our tools, including more local and state candidates than usual.

The hard work that state and local campaigns put in paid off. Democrats won races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, made huge gains in the House of Delegates in Virginia, and helped elect groundbreaking candidates like the first woman mayor of New Hampshire’s biggest city and the first transgender woman in Virginia’s state house. There were many more victories around the country that would not have been possible without widespread grassroots energy.

Check out all the highlights for October below:

Topline Numbers

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
Contributions 289,613 667,502 1,263,181
Total Amount $10,289,128 $21,740,256 $47,600,346
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,574 1,937 4,736

Last month small-dollar donors made nearly one million more contributions than in October 2013 and more than doubled the total dollar amount raised via our platform compared to October 2015. It’s a real sign of strength to see so much money go to Democratic candidates and progressive organizations in a non-presidential election cycle.

People all over the country are also facing the GOP head-on by choosing to run for office, and small-dollar donors are stepping up to support them. The number of candidates for local, state, and federal offices using our platform all more than doubled from October 2015 to this year. There were 567 candidates for local office; 1,171 state candidates; and 791 federal candidates raising money via our platform this October.

Number of Candidates Raising by Jurisdiction in October

Donors really see their contributions as an act of resistance. When Ted Cruz compared ActBlue’s platform to the Koch brothers in a televised debate with Bernie Sanders in October, our supporters were quick to correct him on Twitter. They made it clear that they use our tools to stand up to the GOP’s mega-donors by giving to grassroots campaigns.

This event was a great reminder that there’s no limit to the number of ways we can elevate the voices of small-dollar donors. In the chart below, you can see the jump in organic online engagement on Twitter the day of the debate. We even featured some of our favorite tweets from our community in a blog post. If you want to keep up with future breaking news events, you can follow us on Twitter @actblue!

Twitter Engagement

Mobile

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile  19.1% 31.6% 40.7%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.4% 34.3% 41.2%

 

With 40.7% of all contributions and 41.2% of ActBlue Express contributions coming from mobile, October showed us the continued importance of mobile optimization. That’s why ActBlue’s contribution forms are automatically mobile-optimized. It’s vital that donors are able to easily give on whatever device they prefer to use.

Over the past three Octobers, we’ve seen that many donors will only give via mobile. If campaigns and organizations don’t have mobile-first mindsets, they won’t be able to reach all of those supporters. And we only expect the percentage of donors giving via mobile to increase over time.

How Repeat Donors Gave In October By Year

Recurring

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
Total Recurring Volume  $611,951 $5,684,019 $9,728,299
% of Total Volume 5.9% 26.1% 20.4%

Recurring donations were worth almost $10 million in October and accounted for more than 20% of our total volume. These monthly and weekly contributions give campaigns and organizations a sense of stability by enabling them to plan ahead. That’s why we built an integration with Account Updater that automatically updates expired or replaced credit cards used for recurring contributions, ensuring donations are not interrupted and make it to the campaigns and causes small-dollar donors support. This feature has proven to be increasingly important as hacks of credit card companies and similar organizations become more frequent.

This October, Account Updater saved a significant number of recurring contributions. On average, 13.3% of recurring contributions were updated each day. On the last day of the month, when a large volume of recurring contributions were processed, we peaked at 21.8% updated. These numbers are huge — we typically only update 1% of recurring contributions per month. Overall, 14.1% of all recurring contributions were updated in October, benefiting 2,740 groups. That means Account Updater saved donations for 57.8% of all unique campaigns and organizations on our platform!

Daily Total Saved in October Through Automatically Updated Credit Cards

Express

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
New Express Users 29,355 79,784 62,044
% of Total Volume via Express 44.8% 61.0% 54.4%
% of Contributions via Express 54.3% 68.5% 62.5%

Customer Service

October ’17
Total Incoming Calls  7,188
Email Conversations  21,782

With such a strong October to kick off Q4, Democratic candidates and progressive organizations are heading into 2018 on a high note. We expect even more small-dollar donor power to be on display on Giving Tuesday as nonprofits head into their busiest giving season of the year. If you’d like help planning your end-of-year giving as an individual donor or as an organization, or if you have any questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com!

Q3 2017: Unprecedented engagement across the board

2017 has been a huge year for fundraising on the left as more Americans make fighting back against Trump and the GOP part of their daily lives. We knew there was a lot of momentum going into Q3 but wondered if the summer would slow anyone down. The numbers show the resistance is still going strong. We helped raise $108,108,700 for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits doing hurricane relief work — nearly double what we helped raise during the same period in the 2016 election cycle — from 3,178,688 contributions.

Organizations large and small worked tirelessly to respond to Trump’s DACA repeal and congressional Republicans’ attempts to replace the ACA, and an historic number of folks decided to run for office. All of this work was powered by small-dollar donors giving to the causes and candidates they believe in. As a result, a record-breaking 5,225 groups raised money on ActBlue in Q3 — more than ever before in our history.

This surge of activity helped break another record. By the end of Q3, campaigns and organizations using our tools had raised over $350 million since the beginning of the calendar year, despite the fact that midterms are still more than a year away. The only other time we’ve handled $350 million in an election cycle was in the most recent election. We hit that mark in March 2016, 13 months into a very active presidential race. Donors are participating at unprecedented levels, and candidates are laying the groundwork they need to run strong campaigns up and down the ticket in 2018 and beyond.

Topline Numbers

Q3 ’13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
Contributions 637,923 1,785,889 3,178,688
Total amount $23,154,693 $57,200,756 $108,108,700
Unique campaigns, committees,
and organizations
1,826 2,259 5,225

The number of unique groups using our platform more than doubled from Q3 2015 and even increased by 21.7% from Q2 of this year. Specifically, more candidates are jumping into the ring earlier than ever before and focusing on raising money from small-dollar donors to fuel their campaigns. We’ve seen growth at all levels of office this quarter:

There were 658 local candidates and committees raising money on our platform in Q3, which is 4.6 times higher than Q3 in 2013 and more than double our Q3 2015 total. Our team has been busy clearing local jurisdictions so that more candidates for offices like city council and school board can run people-powered campaigns and make a difference in their communities right now.
1,026 candidates for governor, state house, and state senate used our tools this quarter. That’s nearly double the amount of candidates compared to this time in 2015.
A total of 804 candidates for federal House and Senate seats were raising money from small-dollar donors in Q3, three times as many as in the last two election cycles.

And progress isn’t limited to elections: 293 (c)4 advocacy organizations raised money this quarter. The following graph shows just how many more groups were raising in Q3 than at the same point in the last few election cycles.

Daily Running Total of Campaigns, Committees, and Organizations Using ActBlue

This trajectory shows us that people are extremely engaged, and at ActBlue we’re working hard to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. Our integration with Account Updater, which we offer at no additional cost, is one of those tools. If a donor has a recurring contribution on ActBlue and loses their card or their credit card company issues them a new one, this feature updates their card information automatically.

September was a particularly good month for Account Updater, with 17.4% of recurring contributions being updated with a new card. (For comparison, we usually update around 1% of recurring contributions per month.) Updates in September alone ensured that $859,466 worth of small-dollar contributions made it to the campaigns and organizations donors wanted to support, at no extra cost to those groups or donors. In the graph below, you can see the total amount of money saved by Account Updater since we started using the integration.

Cumulative Total Saved Through Automatically Updated Credit Cards

Major Moments

Q3 was full of difficult days for our nation. From natural disasters to crises created by Trump and the GOP, small-dollar donors channeled their sorrow and disgust into action. The graph below shows our daily fundraising totals for the quarter, along with the biggest news stories of the last three months.

The biggest days of the quarter were the end of each month and the end-of-quarter deadline, which are traditionally the most important fundraising days of the year. But the health care fight in July also led to an uptick in support, as did the hurricanes that hit at the end of August and September. Supporters who had previously given via ActBlue forms were able to quickly give to disaster relief organizations on AB Charities through Tandem forms, which allow donors to split one contribution between several groups. We saw a steady bump in traffic in the days following those natural disasters as more and more news came out about relief efforts. Overall, 31,448 small-dollar donors gave to charities through Tandem forms and 274 charities raised money on AB Charities in Q3.

ActBlue Q3 Daily Fundraising

ActBlue Express

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
Total ActBlue Express users 644,425 1,740,943 4,199,621
New ActBlue Express users 63,481 266,885 189,331
Total ActBlue Express dollars $10,200,369 $34,240,878 $64,516,271
% of total contributions via ActBlue Express users 51.9% 66.4% 66.3%

Making giving as frictionless as possible is crucial to the success of fundraising campaigns. ActBlue Express enables more than 4 million small-dollar donors to give to any group on our platform with a single click, and its importance is reflected in this quarter’s numbers. ActBlue Express users raised $64,516,271 in Q3, almost double their haul in 2015. There were also 189,331 donors who signed up for ActBlue Express this quarter.

Recurring Contributions

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
% of total contributions via recurring 13.4% 43.5% 46.3%
Total recurring dollars $1,554,307 $13,715,929 $24,984,209

Recurring contributions help campaigns and organizations plan for the long haul. This quarter, 46.3% of total contributions came from recurring donations. After the devastating hurricane season, we were heartened to see people ask for recurring donations to support relief efforts. Donors often want to give in those moments, and a recurring ask can create a more sustainable recovery effort.

Mobile

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
% of contributions via mobile 14.4% 30.4% 41.0%
% of contributions via mobile for
ActBlue Express users
17.6% 33.1% 42.4%

41% of all contributions this quarter were made via mobile, and because ActBlue Express donors can easily give on any device, 42.4% of ActBlue Express contributions were mobile as well. Additionally, 5.4% of all mobile contributions were made via Apple Pay (70,490 contributions in total). It’s clear that anyone doing digital organizing today needs to be using a mobile-first mindset. With a president who likes to govern by tweet, mobile optimization is more important than ever.

Q3 was a true success thanks to the emerging deep bench of Democratic candidates and passionate organizers around the country. We’re thrilled to help so many people-powered movements fundraise online. And we expect Q4 to bring even more small-dollar donors into the fold, with campaigns continuing to build for 2018, state elections in Virginia in November, and Giving Tuesday just a few weeks later. If you have any questions about our tools or need advice on how to use them, contact us at info@actblue.com.

August ’17 Recap

Small-dollar donors didn’t take a summer vacation from the resistance. Instead, they doubled down on grassroots fundraising for timely causes and future elections — literally. The total money donors gave using ActBlue’s tools in August 2017 was more than double the total we handled in August of the last election cycle.

Even more exciting, more campaigns, committees, and organizations used our tools last month than in any other month in our history, with over 4,000 groups raising money in August.

To top it all off, as of August 28th we’ve already helped candidates and organizations raise over $300 million for this election cycle. This is the first time that’s ever happened in an off-year! It took 663 days to pass $300 million in the 2014 cycle; 426 days in the 2016 cycle; and only 240 days this cycle!

Check out all the highlights for August below:

Topline Numbers

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
Contributions 155,517 526,028 1,019,563
Total Amount $5,818,391 $15,370,889 $32,205,903
Avg. Contribution Size $37.41 $29.22 $31.59
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,305 1,632 4,021

Candidates and organizations raised over $32 million in August from over one million contributions. The number of contributions nearly doubled from August 2015 to this year, but the metric we’re most inspired by is the breadth of candidates and organizations using ActBlue’s tools compared to past years. Now more than ever, Americans are organizing for a brighter future.

This was especially apparent when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana at the end of the month. Candidates and organizations around the country jumped into action to support the relief efforts before the storm even ended. Elected officials from Massachusetts to California, progressive organizations, and nonprofits asked their supporters and friends to contribute to slates of local nonprofits in the affected areas by using Tandem Fundraising. This ActBlue feature lets donors split a single contribution among several groups, like humane societies, diaper banks, and community foundations.

We were excited to see how easy Tandem Fundraising made giving during the crisis. Our Outreach Team quickly connected with organizations responding to the storm and helped 32 charities raise their first dollar ever on ActBlue through Tandem forms. The surge in Tandem donations can be seen in the graph below. Additionally, four of the five highest-grossing contribution forms across ActBlue for the last week of August were Tandem forms supporting local nonprofits doing Harvey relief work.

Proportion of ActBlue Charities Raising on Tandem Forms
 

ActBlue Express

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
New ActBlue Express Users 13,026 74,798 60,618
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
45% 59.8% 60.7%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
 53.0% 65.9% 66.5%

It was a big month for ActBlue Express. Over 60,000 new users signed up for the time-saving feature, which allows donors to give to any campaign or organization with a single click. Almost two-thirds of all contributions sitewide were made by ActBlue Express users last month, showing how important the tool is to donors and organizations alike.

Going deeper into our data, we found that 65.6% of all new donors in August became ActBlue Express users, the highest percentage since January (67.3%). This conversion is very encouraging because summer months are typically slower than politically charged moments like the inauguration.

New ActBlue Express Sign-Ups in August 2017 by Day
 

Mobile

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile  9.4% 29.8% 41.0%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
12.6% 32.4% 42.1%

Recurring

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
Total Recurring Volume  $502,669  $4,557,742  $8,095,870
% of Total Volume  8.6%  29.7%  25.1%

We processed more than $8 million in recurring donations in August. When donors make recurring contributions, they enable campaigns and organizations to plan for the long haul. People who signed up for a recurring contribution in August to help hurricane relief will be supporting that crucial work for months to come, even when the headlines have moved on.

Customer Service

August ’17
Total Incoming Calls 6,167
Email Conversations 19,151

Our Customer Service Team handled an average of 198 calls per day last month. Their dedication is one of the many reasons why so many new groups continue to sign up to use our tools.

It might be hard to believe, but we’re officially more than halfway through Trump’s first year in office. The good news is that small-dollar donors and the organizations and campaigns they believe in are not slowing down. We can’t wait to see what they achieve with all of their hard work by the end of this quarter. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments about our August recap, you can reach a member of our team at info@actblue.com.