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Monthly Recap

2016 is shaping up to be an absolutely massive cycle based on what we saw last Tuesday, our first end-of-quarter (EOQ) deadline day. We processed $2.1M, making March 31st the biggest start to a cycle in our history. It was a 200% increase over the first EOQ deadline day of the 2014 cycle.

If current trends hold, ActBlue could process half a billion dollars in small-dollar contributions this cycle.

We’re seeing more and more campaigns, organizations, and committees getting started fundraising early. And, ActBlue is now the default choice for large campaigns. Every major Senate campaign launched this year has launched with ActBlue and is using our platform.

Here’s a look at the topline numbers for Q1 2015 and how they compare to the previous four Q1s. The best comparison is to 2013, because it’s the most recent off-year.

Q1 2011 Q1 2012 Q1 2013 Q1 2014 Q1 2015
Contributions 143,012 364,733 467,138 897,890 791,908
Total Volume $8.7M $18.0M $16.4M $36.0M $26.6M
Mean Donation $46.44 $49.47 $35.21 $40.13 $33.54
Committees 881 2,050 1,243 2,478 1,731

The last election cycle started with a $16.4M first quarter and ended with $315M in total. Meanwhile, we just posted a $26.6M quarter. So, 2015-2016 is gonna be big.

Compared to the most recent presidential cycle’s first quarter (Q1 2011), we handled 5.5x as many contributions and 3x as many dollars. Overall, there were 39.2% more campaigns and organizations fundraising during this cycle’s Q1 than the first quarter of the 2014 cycle. But, we’ve also handled 69.5% more contributions and 61.5% more volume.

Recurring

We’ve been talking about how great recurring donations are for a quite a while now. They’re increasingly becoming a critical piece of the fundraising strategy for the thousands of campaigns and organizations that are building pools of sustaining donors. Recurring volume has never been this big.

In fact, 28.4% of the total dollar volume for this past quarter was recurring, which is the highest ever.

Here’s a table that looks at Q1 2013 and Q1 2015 (both are the first quarters in their respective election cycles.):

Q1 2013 Q1 2015 Growth Rate
One-time $15,473,353 $19,025,735 23.0%
Recurring $976,479 $7,533,511 671.5%
Total $16,449,833 $26,559,247 61.5%

These quarters have similar dollar volumes from one-time contributions, but there was a massive change in the recurring volume. The $10.1M difference in total volume is primarily a result of the 7.7x increase in recurring dollars from Q1 2013 to Q1 2015.

Recurring sign-ups from previous months are already paying dividends and will continue to throughout this cycle.

This trend isn’t isolated to Q1; we’ve been seeing a significant trend toward recurring contributions over the past year. In the chart below you can see the growth of recurring dollar volume as a percent of the total volume on a quarterly basis:

Plenty of new campaigns are focused on building their pool of recurring donors early in the cycle. In addition to helping campaigns and organizations hit their goals, these recurring contributions ultimately give early supporters a sense of investment that will continue to increase as we get closer to Election Day.

Express and Mobile

The number of ActBlue Express users grew to 1.27M, and these users are powering Democratic organizations and campaigns across the country. They have saved their payment information with us and can donate in a single click with Express Lane. This quarter we added 45,295 new Express users.

Express users accounted for 55.4% of the total dollars raised and 58.4% of all contributions this past quarter, part of a steady growth trend we’ve been seeing for years.

During Q1 2015, the Express sign-up conversion rate was 22.0%. That’s up from 18.5% during the last quarter of 2014. One of our big goals this cycle is to increase the number of Express sign-ups because, quite simply, they are our power users.

Here’s a tip for campaigns and organizations: If you’re not already sending Express Lane links to everyone on your list, now’s a good time to start. Doing so will likely increase the number of Express users on your list, which will go a long way toward increasing overall conversion rates for your program. You can read more here.

Donors love the convenience of not having to re-enter their credit card information each time they give. And that makes an especially big difference for mobile conversion rates. The percentage of contributions made on mobile devices was 24.7% for this past quarter, but that figure bumps up to 26.7% for Express users.

The chart below shows newly made contributions on March 31, 2015 broken down by the hour and device used. You can see that the share of mobile donations picked up outside of typical work hours.

The 2016 election cycle is just beginning, so now is the time to hone in on your program’s effectiveness. Two quick reminders: it’s the start of a new month, which means now is a good time to check-in on your recurring retention rates for the month of March. And don’t forget that you can also monitor conversion rates by refcode on your form’s statistics pages.

Topline Numbers

Mar. ’12 Mar. ’13 Mar. ’14 Mar. ’15
Contributions 167,036 204,626 412,326 331,275
Total Volume $8,966,153 $7,445,947 $18,061,291 $13,176,538
Mean Donation $53.68 $36.39 $43.80 $39.78
Committees 1,628 951 1,960 1,338

Recurring

Mar. ’12 Mar. ’13 Mar. ’14 Mar. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $399,466 $378,113 $909,526 $2,715,418
Percent Recurring
of Total Volume
4.5% 5.1% 5.0% 20.6%

Express

We’re up to 1,272,557 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue.

Mar. ’12 Mar. ’13 Mar. ’14 Mar. ’15
New Express Users 24,248 25,721 38,621 21,732
Percent of Total
Volume Attributed
to Express Users
25.7% 46.5% 47.8% 53.3%
Percent of
Contributions
Attributed to
Express Users
31.5% 53.7% 53.3% 57.2%

Mobile

Mar. ’12 Mar. ’13 Mar. ’14 Mar. ’15
Percent Mobile 4.2% 10.0% 21.6% 24.8%
Percent Mobile for
Express Users
4.8% 13.8% 24.2% 26.8%

Topline Numbers

Feb. ’12 Feb. ’13 Feb. ’14 Feb. ’15
Contributions 94,254 163,025 262,168 232,905
Total Volume $5,076,973 $5,661,921 $10,219,967 $7,334,456
Mean Donation $53.86 $34.73 $38.98 $31.49
Committees 1,340 801 1,684 1,150

Recurring

Feb. ’12 Feb. ’13 Feb. ’14 Feb. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $341,976 $327,927 $791,014 $2,388,012
Percent Recurring
of Total Volume
6.7% 5.8% 7.7% 32.6%

Express

We’re up to 1,250,848 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue.

Feb. ’12 Feb. ’13 Feb. ’14 Feb. ’15
New Express Users 9,429 23,465 21,631 12,942
Percent of Total
Volume Attributed
to Express Users
17.9% 44.9% 44.5% 57.1%
Percent of
Contributions
Attributed to
Express Users
21.5% 53.8% 53.1% 58.9%

Mobile

Feb. ’12 Feb. ’13 Feb. ’14 Feb. ’15
Percent Mobile 3.2% 7.8% 19.3% 23.8%
Percent Mobile for
Express Users
5.2% 10.4% 22.9% 25.9%

Rather than doing a monthly analysis of the data, we’re going to switch to quarterly deep dives into our metrics. Every month we’ll still post our usual statistics along with data from previous months/years so you can get a sense of trendlines.

We’ll be publishing figures in four categories — topline numbers, recurring, express, and mobile — for the month at hand (in this case, January 2015) and the previous three years of data for that same month.

Topline Numbers

Jan. ’12 Jan. ’13 Jan. ’14 Jan. ’15
Contributions 87,372 99,487 223,399 231,815
Total Volume $4,001,393 $3,341,965 $7,750,486 $6,229,575
Mean Donation $45.79 $33.59 $34.69 $26.87
Committees 1,206 764 1,603 1,158

Recurring

Jan. ’12 Jan. ’13 Jan. ’14 Jan. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $317,762 $270,438 $706,595 $2,572,302
Percent Recurring
of Total Volume
7.9% 8.1% 9.1% 41.3%

Express

For those keeping track at home, we’re up to 1,237,906 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue.

Jan. ’12 Jan. ’13 Jan. ’14 Jan. ’15
New Express Users 7,937 14,274 18,726 10,678
Percent of Total
Volume Attributed
to Express Users
19.2% 47.7% 47.2% 57.8%
Percent of
Contributions
Attributed to
Express Users
21.6% 55.1% 53.9% 60.3%

Mobile

Jan. ’12 Jan. ’13 Jan. ’14 Jan. ’15
Percent Mobile 2.8% 9.2% 19.7% 25.3%
Percent Mobile for
Express Users
4.5% 12.2% 22.8% 27.2%

November’s always a weird month around here. We have a handful of our biggest days of the year leading up to Election Day, and then there is a sharp drop off. We affectionately refer to this transition as Sad Graph™:

This pattern is to be expected: campaigns’ fundraising pushes end on Election Day. We raised $13 million for 1,634 candidates and organizations from 490,327 contributions (51.89% of that money came in during the first four days). That’s a big drop off from the previous months, but in line with past Novembers. The average donation size was just $27.22, and more than a quarter of contributions (27.8%) were made via a mobile device.

You can check out how those numbers stack up against past years below. Keep in mind that November top line figures can vary a little more year-to-year than other months, depending on when Election Day falls, and whether there are a lot of recounts and runoffs.

  Nov ’11 Nov ’12 Nov ’13 Nov ’14
Contributions 67,796 314,389 194,238 490,327
Volume ($) $4,057,080 $10,822,821 $7,397,575 $13,348,723
Mean Donation $59.84 $34.59 $38.09 $27.22
Committees 1,116 1,449 1,484 1,634

 

Despite the decline in contributions and the close of the election cycle, we continued to bring in a ton of new Express users. 17,171 people signed up for Express accounts, bringing our total up to 1,223,587. Those are our power users, and they accounted for 66% of all contributions in November.

Growing that Express user base and keeping them engaged is going to be a main focus for us going forward, because we know these users are going to play a crucial role in the 2016 elections.

Another main focus for the next election cycle will be recurring contributions. We’ve been championing recurring programs in this space for a while, and it’s paying off. Recurring contributions accounted for a full 39% of all dollars in November and caused that spike at the end of the month. That recurring money is a huge boon to campaigns and organizations, who were slammed during November. And it’ll keep paying off during the winter, when fundraising is tougher for most organizations.

Slower months don’t translate to a quieter time over at ActBlue. Now that the election has come and gone, we’re looking ahead to 2016 and planning out the tools and upgrades we’ll need to be ready. And we’ll be at Rootscamp in a few weeks if you want to talk about the future with us!

With just one day until the election, we squeezed in some time to reflect on our monster October. There was no real “October surprise,” just a whole lot of grassroots fundraising, and a whole lot of work from campaigns and organizations across the country.

ActBlue handled a total of $56 million from 1.2 million contributions. Donations averaged $45.59 and went to 2,514 different campaigns, committees, and organizations. It was our biggest month by far, both in terms of dollars and donations. The runner up? Last month (September 2014), when we raised $38 million from 890,915 donations.

If you’re curious, the biggest hour of the month was on 10/31 at 3 PM EST ($222,965) and the biggest day was 10/15, the pre-general reporting deadline ($3.3 million). That’s a deviation from our typical month; fundraising totals usually build steadily, and the last day of the month is almost always the biggest. With Election Day looming, October was crazy from beginning to end. And that meant a massive, steady stream of contributions to handle, customer service emails to return, and campaigns to assist.

Check out how October ‘14 stacks up to past years:

  Oct ’11 Oct ’12 Oct ’13 Oct ’14
Contributions 61,438 825,893 289,808 1,229,502
Volume ($) $3,857,573.91 $35,055,118.28 $10,055,290.31 $56,051,590.11
Mean Donation $62.79 $42.45 $34.70 $45.59
Committees 1,140 2,183 1,576 2,514

 

Express users accounted for a huge chunk of that money — $33 million to be exact or 59%. With tens of thousands of new donors tuning into politics in October, our Express user community also grew significantly. We added 73,679 Express users last month, bringing the total up to 1,206,416!

Mobile donations continue to be a huge factor. 24.9% of contributions sitewide were made via a mobile device.

One of our most popular election season features is weekly recurring — and for good reason. It accounted for 10.7% of total volume in October and 315,281 contributions. More importantly, that money, combined with built-up monthly recurring (7.8% of total volume), provided a steady source of income for campaigns, so they could plan ad buys and GOTV efforts effectively.

Check out how this month stacked up against September, when we debuted weekly recurring and saw fundraising rising to a crescendo, rather than steadily marching towards Election Day.

(Click above to expand)

The narrative of the 2014 election has been that voters aren’t paying attention. But these numbers prove one thing: small-dollar donors are engaged and getting involved at a higher rate than ever before. And amongst all the Koch brother headlines, that’s an encouraging sign.

The third quarter of 2014 — our biggest ever — went out with a bang!

On the last day of September 2014, we handled over 130k contributions and helped raise $5.8M. It was a record-shattering final fundraising deadline before Election Day.

September 30 was the biggest day in ActBlue history (our first $5 million day!) and bested June 30, 2014, the now-number-2 biggest day, by 52k contributions and $2.1M. In a word, it was massive! Just for some context, it took us a full 2 years to reach 100k contributions. On September 30, we passed that 100k mark by 8PM.

We also established a few other impressive records:

  • most contributions in an hour (16,249 on 9/30 between 5 and 6 AM EST), a month (893,682 in September 2014), and a quarter (1,992,863 in Q3 2014).
  • highest dollar amount in an hour ($460,432 on 9/30 between 10 and 11 PM EST), a month ($39,245,312 in September 2014), and a quarter ($80,805,304.60 in Q3 2014).

Those records wouldn’t have happened without a seriously strong push from Democratic campaigns and organizations!

They’ve been hard at work throughout the election cycle engaging small-dollar donors to sign up for recurring contributions. These sustaining contributions give donors a chance to make a regular investment in the causes they care about. Though they averaged just $24.65 in size, they totaled $5,459,265 in September 2014. And it’s clear that these small-but-mighty contributions are adding up and making a huge difference.

It was a busy fundraising period for a significant number of campaigns and organizations. We sent checks or wires to 2,499 distinct entities, an increase of 18% over 2012’s total. At the same time, we had a nearly 100% increase in donations and dollars. That means these groups are raising a lot more grassroots money.

For the entire month of September, we averaged over $1.3M and 30k contributions each day. And the pace was simply blistering during the last week. We processed 44% of the month’s total dollar amount in the final seven days and 24% of the month’s total in the final two days.

We handled almost double the dollar amount and number of contributions as we did in September 2012, a presidential election year. At the same time, the mean contribution size decreased by 10%. It’s proof that with ActBlue’s help, Democratic campaigns and organizations are expanding the world of small-dollar donors.

You can dig into the rest of the month’s numbers here:

September ’11 September ’12 September ’13 September ’14
Contributions 70,156 463,044 319,890 893,631
Volume ($) $4,492,068 $21,881,384 $11,222,121 $38,211,396
Mean Donation $64.03 $47.26 $35.08 $42.76
Committees 1,068 2,113 1,439 2,499

Our Express universe continues to grow: 65,427 Express users signed up last month. The total number of people who have saved their payment information with us now sits at over 1.1M users. This community is shared across our platform, so if you’re an admin, make sure you’re contacting us to take advantage!

Express users are engaged, reliable donors. In September 2014, Express users were responsible for 64% of this month’s newly-made contributions, which added up to more than $20.7M. That’s more than half of the month’s total volume! And it demonstrates how campaigns and organizations are using the Express toolset to fundraise from small-dollar donors. We believe that more people engaged in the political process and having their voices heard strengthens our party and small-d democracy.

Express users continue to set the bar for mobile numbers…for a simple reason: they’ve saved their payment information with us, which increases mobile conversions. Express-users don’t have to go through the trouble of entering their info. Instead, they can just click a link. The proof is in the pudding. Last month they outpaced non-Express donors on a mobile device 27.2% to 21.7%.

There are fewer than five weeks until Election Day, and we don’t expect this pace to slow down. The stakes are too high to step off the gas pedal now. Campaigns across the country are relying on small-dollar donations to fuel them to victory. That’s why they’re using ActBlue. But rest assured we’ll be busy preparing for an intense rest of the campaign season.

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