May ’17 Recap

Our numbers for May are in, and it was another huge month for small-dollar donor engagement. There’s been an incredible increase in May’s fundraising totals cycle over cycle — we processed three times the amount of money in May of 2017 than in May of 2015. Similarly, more than double the number of groups raised money on ActBlue in May of 2017 than during the same month of the last election cycle. Collectively, more than 3,200 total groups raised more than $48M in May alone. Small-dollar donors are not giving up on making their voices heard, and new groups and organizers are getting involved in the progressive movement.

When the AHCA bill went to a vote in the House during the first week of May, groups mobilized quickly as small-dollar donors made it clear they were ready to contribute and fight back. Here at ActBlue, we had all hands on deck and set up hundreds of Democratic nominee funds, where grassroots donors contributed millions of dollars in the days surrounding the vote. Check out the graph below, where you can clearly see the huge spike in dollars on May 4th and 5th, when donors were making their opposition to Trumpcare heard loud and clear.

Keep reading below the chart for a breakdown of all the highlights for May:

amount by day in May

 

Topline Numbers

MAY ’13 MAY ’15 MAY ’17
Contributions 173,539 429,882 1,586,558
Total Amount $6,495,234 $15,967,748 $48,753,557
Avg. Contribution Size $37.42 $37.14 $30.73
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,068 1,424 3,257

ActBlue Express

We’ve seen a steady stream of new, dedicated donors coming into the fold so far in 2017, and this past month was no different. More than 98k new donors saved their payment information with ActBlue Express in May. Those supporters are able to give to any of the thousands of groups using ActBlue with a single click.

 

May ’13 May ’15 May ’17
New ActBlue Express Users 12,624 79,717 98,273
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
42.8% 57.7% 60.6%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
55.1% 63.8% 66.2%

Mobile

MAY ’13 MAY ’15 MAY ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile 9.4% 25.4% 40.4%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
13.0% 27.3% 40.9%

Recurring

MAY ’13 MAY ’15 MAY ’17
Total Recurring Volume $448,802 $3,143,110 $11,194,882
% of Total Volume 6.9% 19.7% 23.0%

Recurring contributions are one of the biggest ways donors show their ongoing support for the campaigns and causes they care about. Rather than giving one up-front contribution, they’re able to chip in a small amount over the course of multiple months. The amount of recurring money groups are raising across ActBlue has grown at an incredible pace over the last few election cycles. In the graph below, we break down daily recurring totals cycle to cycle. Recurring totals tended to be pretty stable from day to day in May. That’s great for campaigns and organizations relying on their recurring fundraising as a way to budget and plan ahead, and indicates that donors are remaining committed to the causes and campaigns they’re passionate about.

recurring daily total

Customer Service

Our customer service team handled over 890 email conversations a day during the month of May. With so many new donors coming on board to support the groups fundraising on ActBlue, we’ve recently brought even more customer service representatives on to our team. They’re available around the clock to answer questions from donors, campaigns, and organizations alike, and make sure it’s easy for them to use ActBlue to make a difference.

MAY ’17
Total Incoming Calls 9,754
Email Conversations 27,632

 

If you’ve got any questions or comments about our May breakdown, drop us a line at info@actblue.com.

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.

January ’17 Recap

It was undoubtedly a big month for fundraising at ActBlue, as campaigns and organizations across the country got energized and mobilized to fight back against Trump. Donors are fired up, too — over 100k new users saved their payment information with ActBlue Express this month, and can now give with a single click. We also processed our 1.5-billionth (!!) dollar this month.

A whole new crop of people got involved and are ready to fight back.

Topline Numbers

JAN. ’14 JAN. ’15 JAN. ’16 JAN. ’17
Contributions 223,392 226,928 1,224,385 1,237,954
Total Amount $7,750,298 $6,041,656 $32,675,433 $29,402,224
Avg. Contribution Size $34.69 $26.62 $26.69 $23.75
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,603 1,154 1,936 1,993

Mobile

JAN. ’14 JAN. ’15 JAN. ’16 JAN. ’17
% Mobile 19.7% 25.3% 38.6% 39.9%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.8% 27.2% 41.2% 40.9%

ActBlue Express

JAN. ’14 JAN. ’15 JAN. ’16 JAN. ’17
New ActBlue Express Users 18,727 10,625 170,421 131,566
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
47.2% 57.8% 66.3% 60.2%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
53.9% 60.1% 70.7% 64.9%

Recurring

JAN. ’14 JAN. ’15 JAN. ’16 JAN. ’17
Total Recurring Volume $706,522 $2,405,809 $7,124,154 $7,868,123
% of Total Volume 9.1% 39.8% 21.8% 26.8%

 

Customer Service

Our customer service team handled an average of 253 incoming phone calls per day during the month of January.

JAN. ’17
Total Incoming Calls 7,843
Email Conversations 7,309

If you’ve got any questions or comments about this month’s fundraising recap, feel free to reach out to a member of our team at info@actblue.com.

December ’16 Recap

In the midst of the holidays and Trump’s impending inauguration, donors and campaigns remained active and engaged. We processed over 750k individual contributions this month.

Topline Numbers

DEC. ’13 DEC. ’14 DEC. ’15 DEC. ’16
Contributions 259,248 231,991 1,094,301 750,484
Total Amount $11,210,508 $5,576,432 $33,255,993 $19,672,531
Avg. Contribution Size $43.24 $24.04 $30.39 $26.21
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,581 1,156 1,924 1,860

Mobile

DEC. ’13 DEC. ’14 DEC. ’15 DEC. ’16
% Mobile 19.8% 22.6% 38.0% 35.5%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
23.2% 24.2% 40.7% 37.1%

ActBlue Express

DEC. ’13 DEC. ’14 DEC. ’15 DEC. ’16
New ActBlue Express Users 25,297 8,934 173,198 47,286
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
46.9% 61.3% 62.3% 61.8%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
52.2% 64.0% 67.7% 65.3%

Recurring

DEC. ’13 DEC. ’14 DEC. ’15 DEC. ’16
Total Recurring Volume $655,275 $2,781,858 $6,196,949 $6,709,181
% of Total Volume 5.8% 49.9% 18.6% 34.1%

 

Customer Service

Our rockstar customer service representatives handled over 550 email conversations per day in the month of December.

DEC. ’16
Total Incoming Calls 7,358
Email Conversations 17,956

Any questions or comments? Drop us a line at info@actblue.com.

November ’16 Recap

Despite the fact that the election took place just eight days into the month, November was still a huge, $43M month. Following Trump’s win, donors and organizers got right to work, turning their anger into action.

Topline Numbers

NOV. ’13 NOV. ’14 NOV. ’15 NOV. ’16
Contributions 194,239 494,986 628,183 1,425,120
Total Amount $7,396,503 $13,035,721 $17,566,353 $43,440,887
Avg. Contribution Size $38.08 $26.34 $27.96 $30.47
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,484 1,626 1,841 2,680

Mobile

NOV. ’13 NOV. ’14 NOV. ’15 NOV. ’16
% Mobile 19.3% 27.8% 31.8% 37.1%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.9% 29.4% 34.7% 38.5%

ActBlue Express

NOV. ’13 NOV. ’14 NOV. ’15 NOV. ’16
New ActBlue Express Users 14,805 17,066 51,413 89,149
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
41.1% 60.9% 59.8% 61.1%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
51.0% 64.6% 66.9% 64.2%

Recurring

NOV. ’13 NOV. ’14 NOV. ’15 NOV. ’16
Total Recurring Volume $594,749 $4,857,505 $5,327,096 $11,604,933
% of Total Volume 8.0% 37.3% 30.3% 26.7%

 

Customer Service

Our customer service team handled over 300 incoming phone calls per day during November.

NOV. ’16
Total Incoming Calls 9,485
Email Conversations 25,037

If you’ve got questions or comments about our November numbers, you can reach us at info@actblue.com.

One. Billion. Dollars.

Get the confetti cannons out — we’ve officially crossed over A BILLION DOLLARS. That’s one billion dollars raised for Democrats, progressives, and nonprofits leading the fight for change.

one billion

This is by far our biggest milestone yet, but this isn’t just a celebration for us, this is a celebration (and a win) for small-dollar donors everywhere. They prove day in and day out that there is unbelievable strength in the grassroots movement.

This celebration is about saying thank you to the 14,308 campaigns, committees, and organizations who have used ActBlue’s platform, and the 24,200,973 individual contributions from millions of donors across the country who got us here. There are an amazing 4,032,813 donors that have used our platform to make their voices heard in the last 12 years, and they’ve showed people everywhere how powerful grassroots donors can be.

Small-dollar donors, campaigns, committees, and nonprofits have helped us build an amazing movement over the last 12 years, so we wanted to build something that allows you all to look back on the big moments that we created together, and that got us to this huge milestone.

The best part? This is just the beginning.

Check out billion.actblue.com to read about the #roadto1B, and join us in this celebration!

Dear Mitch McConnell & Steve King: No you can’t have Express Lane

We noticed something curious this week. Mitch McConnell sent an email this week that looked just like an Express Lane email, complete with “Express donate” links denoting specific amounts. And then another strange thing happened…Steve King did the same thing. Check them out:

When we stopped laughing we wrote this nice little note to them:

——————————————————–

Dear Mitch & Steve,

We’re flattered, really, that you want to use our tools in your emails. Mitch — you’re trying to run a “presidential level campaign,” and our tools are the best in the business, after all. And Steve, you’re looking to increase your national name recognition.

And we know you’re learning first hand in Kentucky and Iowa what an empowered small dollar donor base supporting an amazing Democratic candidate means.

So we get it. You’re jealous. But no, you can’t just try and steal or copy what we’ve built this last decade at ActBlue. Frankly, it’s impossible.

That’s because the most powerful thing about ActBlue is the nearly million strong community of committed Express donors. Without that community, those links you used are just links, not money makers, not flashy technology, and no use to you.

Imitations, however pale, are still flattering, so thanks. But you’re doing it wrong.

Best,

ActBlue

——————————————————–

Hilariously, if you clicked on any of Steve or Mitch’s links, they took you to a contribution form for just that amount, which is a recipe for a lot of lost money. It’s not just that they tried to copy us, it’s that they did it so badly. And they completely missed the point of why so many candidates and organizations around the country are asking people to give specific amounts right in the email.

There are over 950,000 ActBlue Express users that have saved their credit cards with us. With just one click, Express donors are powering campaigns and organizations. These days, 62% of all donations made through ActBlue are from people giving with an Express account!! That means more contributions and more funds because the less information people have to enter in, the more likely they are to give.

Mitch and Steve thought they could get that from just copying the style of Express Lane emails. Yeah, no.

First, try investing a decade in building a base of grassroots donors (unfortunately that means getting your party to actually care about people besides the Koch brothers), and then maybe your copy and paste efforts will be effective.

BTW we tested a version of this letter as a fundraising email to our list. It was a classic case of “you are not your list.” It was an email our staff really loved and had fun crafting, but our list didn’t respond as well to it as more traditional email talking about the momentum Democrats are gaining across the country. It’s not surprising, but it is a bit sad for us email writing nerds. And it’s a good reminder why it’s so important to test email copy.

February ’14: And we thought 2012 was busy

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.

NN12 Reflections

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. 

Netroots Nation 2011

Last week, much of the ActBlue office packed our bags and headed to Minneapolis for Netroots Nation 2011 for an opportunity to mingle with our users and fans–thanks to all of you who dropped by our booth for your kind words.

Reflecting on the conference, a number of press figures referred to the atmosphere as "dispirited," or other adjectives amounting to roughly the same thing. I attended panels on campaign finance, the courts, and Afghanistan, and what I saw in those panels was the maturing of a movement. Though the 2010 elections largely obliterated the giddiness of '06-'08, it also gave Democrats a sense of the breadth of the field they need to play on.

Republicans are pushing their agenda at every level: in the states, through the courts, and in Congress. The progressives gathered at Netroots Nation were focused on how they could impact issues that are decided far from the federal battlefields they won in '06 and '08, like campaign finance regulations, court appointments, state laws and national security decisions.

In that sense, "energy" is a really poor gauge of how successful the conference was. Any large, long-term project isn't going to be amenable to the sort of triumphalism and buzz that is the pulse of politics as measured by the media. I'd urge people to look instead at markers of success like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee's $3 million raised from 190,000 donors on ActBlue. As POLITICO notes, they are "loaded for battle," a remarkable feat of grassroots fundraising for a group that didn't exist in 2008. Moreover, the PCCC has elected to play a broad role, engaging in federal primaries and working hard to support the recall efforts in Wisconsin. 

The PCCC's combination of talented organizing and effective fundraising through ActBlue means they can engage people and issues that wouldn't get attention otherwise and bring them to the forefront of politics. Progressives looking to do the same in other areas might want to take a cue from them. 

It's worth noting that the RightOnline Convention, in contrast, featured plenty of energy–a firebreathing speech from Michelle Bachmann, a little lighthearted Obama minstrelsy, and an invasion of NN11 by Andrew Breitbart–but the underlying reality was rather grim:

“We’re trying to compete with ActBlue but they’re way, way ahead of us. We’re playing catch-up,” said John Hawkins of Right Wing News. “Their panels are for advanced activism. This is basic, for getting into activism.” A sign in the hallway of RightOnline advertised “proven technology used by millions of Democrats.”

Indeed.