Archive

General

We’ll forgive you for not noticing that anything big was happening (after all, your contribution forms loaded faster than ever), but this relatively calm February was the 10th biggest month in ActBlue history. What’s even bigger is the fact that this was the only month in the top 10 that wasn’t at the end of a quarter or during the fall of an election season. If a random February can make ActBlue history, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2014.

Our last day of the month was our biggest as usual. We helped bring in $1.38 million dollars on February 28th. That was our second biggest day between any election day and June 30th of the next year. And if February’s $10.2 million fundraising total (double our February ‘12 total of $5 million!) is any indication, it will be a very busy March indeed.

Check out the numbers below:

  Feb ’11 Feb ’12 Feb ’13 Feb ’14
Contributions 34,496 110,323 162,791 259,464
Volume ($) $2,228,051.55 $5,076,973.20 $5,661,971.23 $10,263,484.93
Mean Donation $64.59 $46.02 $34.78 $39.56
Committees 561 1,340 801 1,684


We had a quarter of a million contributions in February, more than double the number of contributions we saw in February 2012. Our average contribution size dropped from $46.02 in February ‘12 to $39.56 in February ‘14. That means that we’re scaling and even increasing participation from small-dollar donors as our candidates and organizations raise more money.

February’s fundraising was boosted by a few factors. The competitive special election race in Florida’s 13th District (Go Alex Sink!) and the rise of the Koch brothers as a foil to grassroots funded campaigns made fundraising appeals more urgent. But the biggest driver of growth was the sheer number of campaigns and organizations raising money early. We sent checks to 1,684 different candidates, committees, and organizations, which is up 26% from February ‘12. We also had 242 new committees sign up to fundraise on our site last month, which only means bigger fundraising totals and more donors to come.

On February 28th, we came in to the office and saw we’d raised over 200k already, which mostly came from the monthly contributions scheduled for the end of the month. 7.9% of all donations sitewide were recurring donations, compared with 5.91% in February ‘13. The number of recurring donors has grown substantially over the years, and we couldn’t be happier because recurring money helps campaigns and organizations make realistic plans for the future. Recurring donors also give more money over time than one-time donors, which means that recurring donors can be incredibly important to a group’s success.

It wouldn’t be a monthly numbers blog post if we didn’t remind you all just how important mobile donations have become. They accounted for 19.2% of all traffic sitewide for the month and 22.6% of all traffic on the last day of the month. Additionally, 23% of all Express contributions were made via mobile.

If you missed our recent Express blog post, we’ll catch you up on why Express users are so important. We’ve got over three quarters of a million Express users who give to an average of 2.57 entities. In addition, 40% of all unique donors on ActBlue (since we started back in 2004!) have signed up for Express accounts. If someone has made a donation via ActBlue, there’s a good chance they’ve saved their payment information with us. That translates to a streamlined experience for donors and more money for campaigns and organizations.

The fact that we’ve been doubling our 2012 totals this year (and our internal goals!) indicates that 2014 will be one heck of an election year. And when you think about the fact that we brought in $35 million in October ‘12, it becomes clear just how big 2014 will be. Since then, online fundraising has grown rapidly, and we’re already working on scaling our tools to handle the huge growth spurt we’re seeing. Will we see a $100 million month? It’s not out of the question. But no matter what our volume numbers are in October ‘14, we’ll be ready.

Hopefully, those of you who made it to NN12 are rested and recovered a week later. If you managed to swing by the ActBlue booth and pick up a sticker or bottle opener, so much the better. 

It's an important conference for ActBlue, because it allows us to connect with the people who make this engine run. This year, the conference was dominated by talk about Citizens United and all the undisclosed cash that decision has allowed into our political system. With that discussion in mind, it was nice to see all the regular folks who thanked us for doing what we do. 

We should be thanking you. We built ActBlue, but you make it hum. Without the voices and donations of ordinary Americans flowing through ActBlue, there'd be no counterweight to the undisclosed corporate cash flooding our elections–and make no mistake, that would be just fine with them.

So thanks for your support, your generosity, and your passion. For those who couldn't make it, we hope to see you next year. 

ActBlue doesn’t shut down after the election. We keep working to bring more and more people into the political fundraising process year in and year out. We get that a lot of our work is invisible during down times, but it pays off when the political cycle heats up.

February is a short month and it doesn’t bump up against an end of quarter deadline. Last year was bigger than expected because of the initial fundraising reaction to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) union-busting effort. But our slow-and-steady work has led to a February 2012 total more than twice the size of 2011, with nearly three times as many committees receiving money. That’s the sort of big, broad base that we’re trying to build, and we’re thrilled to see it working.

Number of contributions 110,354
Total raised $5,087,728.20
Average Contribution size $46.10
Committees receiving money 1,340

 

February in context:

Feb 2008 Feb 2011 Feb 2012 Change
Contributions 17,7538 34,496 110,354 220%
Volume ($) $1,879,868.94 $2,228,051.55 $5,087,728.20 128%
Mean Donation $107.19 $64.59 $46.10 -29%
Committees 600 561 1,340 140%

 

Here are the five top committees, by number of donors, for February 2012.

Name Race Donors Dollars
DCCC Party Committee 28,942 $763,847
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Party Committee 9,288 $166,872
Democracy for America Organization 7,688 $156,479
Elizabeth Warren MA-Sen 6,559 $344,854
PCCC Organization 6,237 $51,762

Here’s a rule about political fundraising: January is dead. People are feeling the pinch of their Christmas shopping, it’s cold, and the political cycle doesn’t really heat up for the non-primary-having party until later in the year. All in all, not a great time.

Not this January. This January was bananas. ActBlue sent over $4 million to Democratic candidates and committees this month, a nearly four-fold increase over January 2008. If you recall, in 2008 there was this little, kind of boring contest called the Democratic Presidential Nomination Fight–Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and so on. Still, 2012 is clocking in well ahead of those numbers, as you’ll see below:

Number of contributions 87,408
Total raised $4,021,352.93
Average Contribution size $46.01
Committees receiving money 1,207

 

You can’t really get a sense of how big January was until you see how it stacks up relative to 2011 and 2008:

Jan 2008 Jan 2011 Jan 2012 Change
Contributions 11,835 10,120 87,408(!) 764%
Volume ($) $1,358,105.87 $636,711.13 $4,021,352.93 532%
Mean Donation $114.75 $62.92 $46.01 -27%
Committees 535 460 1,207 162%

 

Here are the five top committees, by number of donors, for January 2012.

Name Race Donors Dollars
Elizabeth Warren MA-Sen 13,827 $658,329
DCCC Party Committee 11,906 $332,746
Democracy for America Organization 10,555 $187,149
Democratic Party of WI Party Committee 7,400 $152,406
CREDO SuperPAC SuperPAC 5,845 $133,896

 

There are a couple of big surprises in the data–the DCCC and the CREDO SuperPac make the leaderboard for the first time and buck expectations by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars with an average donation size under $30. We believe small donors and disclosure are the key to a healthy political system and it looks like folks are coming around.

Certificate

It's been a couple of very busy weeks at ActBlue, but I wanted to take a moment to thank our friends at Roots Camp 2010 for awarding us the Most Valuable Technology certificate. The nomination and award were as welcome as they were unexpected. For our part, we're not planning to rest on our multicolored laurels–in 2010, we plan to earn the title of MVT several times over.

If you're a campaign, the real-time numbers and transparency ActBlue provides are things you should embrace.

ActBlue helps your fundraising momentum get noticed as it happens, rather than months later. In September, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelled "you lie" at President Obama. 48 hours later his Democratic opponent, Rob Miller, had racked up $1,000,000 on ActBlue. The first $100,000 came in overnight, and the rest poured in over the next 36 hours. For an entire day, Rob Miller was getting $7 a second through ActBlue.

That surge happened because reporters could see it happening in real time. The press coverage–Bloomberg, CNN, Politico–pushed the story out to an even wider audience, and the money kept pouring in. As a result, a race that was off the radar is now the focus of national attention. That's what ActBlue can do for you. You can't control when your opponent will make a mistake, but ActBlue ensures that you won't leave any money lying on the table when they do.

ActBlue isn't just about capitalizing on major fundraising events. It can also help you build a stable base of grassroots support and increase the size of your email list. That means when your opponent messes up, you'll have someone to tell.

When grassroots donors give, they're looking to connect with your campaign, to play a part in something larger than their $15, $20 or $50 contribution. When they give through ActBlue, their contribution is recorded and added to your total in real time. They can see how many other people are a part of this effort, and broadcast your momentum through their own social network using Facebook and Twitter. Using our recurring donation system, you can build a war chest and network of supporters months, even years before an election.

In other words, ActBlue means more donors, a bigger list, and more money

Without ActBlue, when the donor contributes that money disappears into your payment processing apparatus and doesn't see the light of day until months later, when it gets written up in an article about campaign finance that they won't read. They don't feel like they've made a difference, and they're less likely to give again.

That is–quite literally–a mistake you can't afford to make.

"I believe candidates with strong, sound stances deserve our support, and this is a race where your dollars can make the difference. Please make a contribution to this critical cause."

Sound familiar? If you have any experience with our fundraising pages you will have seen this (and perhaps fallen asleep to it) a few too many times. It is the default text for ActBlue's fundraising pages. ActBlue's customizable fundraising pages allow progressive activists to raise money for the best Democratic candidates out there easily and effectively, and the fifty state blog network has taken advantage of this feature to support state and national candidates with customized, targeted pages. But while the original blurb did help Democrats use our pages, we're in year 5 of ActBlue, and this is definitely year 3-4 material. We'll be working with thousands of new fundraisers this cycle, and we want to make sure they have the best language. And, well, this isn't it.

So, we need ideas.

We know you're best equipped to know what language will appeal to your friends and neighbors, so we wanted to give all of you an opportunity to create the next fundraising page blurb. If we pick yours, it will show up automatically on almost every fundraising page created on ActBlue. To show our appreciation, we'll send the winner and two runners-up an ActBlue Ice Cream Scoop! (No, we're not kidding. And trust us, it's a high quality scoop – The Original Zeroll.)
Okay, here are the guidelines:

  1. The blurb must be fewer than 50 words.
  2. It has to be fairly generic (no specific issues or names), but still get across the basic reason for the fundraising page. This is something our current text does fairly well, if you are looking for an example.
  3. If you can make it apply to pages for candidates and/or committees, all the better. If not, at least make it appeal to people looking to donate to candidates.
  4. We are Democrats, and our pages are for Democrats. If your message would appeal to Democrats, that would probably earn points.
  5. Humor is a big plus, but only that universal humor that works for everyone.
  6. Effective fundraising is personal. Think about what kind of language would help you be a better fundraiser, and think about why your friends and family might feel compelled to give.
  7. All entries must be received by 3/25.

Fill out your entry form right here! Thank you for your participation!
ActBlue is active in all 50 states, helping Democrats raise money for their chosen candidate from the comfort of their living rooms and offices. We believe that your voice should be heard everywhere from your state capitol to the Senate floor, and we're working to make sure it is. Please support our work with a $15 recurring contribution today!

ActBlue is on the hunt for some kick-ass individuals to join the team and transform the Democratic Party: a communications genius, a legal mastermind, a blogger’s blogger, and entry-level folks ready to learn the new tools of the trade.

If any of these sound like you, please read on. And if any of them sounds like someone you know, please send them this post and point them our way.

Since 2004 ActBlue has sent more than $30 million to over 2,000
Democratic campaigns and committees. We’re laying the groundwork for
aggressive targets in 2007-08: massive growth of our fundraiser
network, increased outreach to thousands of state level campaigns, and
raising $100 million for Democratic candidates and committees.

To reach those goals we’re seeking comrades-in-arms, so to speak —
super-sharp people who share our political goals, our commitment to
rock-solid dependability, our impatience with inefficiency, and our
commitment to serving as an honest broker for all Democratic
campaigns.

Here are our current openings — for full descriptions and application info, see http://actblue.com/content/jobs

Key qualities we’re looking for in applicants for all positions:

  • Serious written and oral communication skills
  • Serious attention to detail
  • Serious willingness to do whatever needs to be done
  • Serious commitment to Democratic victory

We are extremely selective in who we hire. You’ll be working with a close-knit team in a rather free-wheeling environment that rewards initiative. You’ll need to learn quickly and grow comfortable
making independent (and correct!) decisions. Political or campaign experience is often helpful, but not a requirement.

All positions are full-time in Boston. Come join us!

Questions? Email jobs@actblue.com.

Just a couple days shy of the end of the 3Q federal fundraising deadline, Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards has officially passed the $4 million mark in funds raised online through ActBlue. Nearly 50,000 donors have powered Edwards to his current status as the most active candidate on ActBlue, both by number of dollars and donors. Over 100 grassroots fundraisers have helped make his success possible. Congrats!

picture_1

 

It’s not often that the list of the Lifetime Top 10 pages (by # of donors) changes this far out from an election, but this weekend the longstanding page in the 10th spot got knocked out by the recent Burn Bush for Darcy Burner effort.

With 2,422 donors, it’s now #10, just behind John Kerry, replacing the longstanding Kos Dozen page from 2004. Both are great examples of thousands of small donors coming together to change the way we fund campaigns.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers