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Guest Post by Karl-Thomas Musselman

In the midst of a very busy start this year in the online fundraising and campaign finance worlds, we thought we'd take a step back and look at how things are going halfway through the 2010 election cycle. For that, I've pulled together some numbers and charts that put into perspective the activity at ActBlue.com in all of 2009 as compared to 2007, the most recent similar mid-cycle year.

[Ed--I pulled this graph out of the body of the post because, in KT's words, "When the 'worst' quarter of 2009 is on par with the 'best' quarter of 2007 you have to be impressed." But keep reading, there's plenty of great data below.]

Year | Total Raised | Contributions | Avg Contribution Size

2007   $16,781,745    125,601         $133.61
2009   $30,811,495    241,267         $127.71

Those are some impressive numbers. That's 84% growth in total dollars raised for Democrats, 92% growth in individual contributions, while seeing just under a 5% decline in the average contribution size. But in addition to the dollar and donors, what's even more exciting is this next batch of numbers which reflect ActBlue's mission to assist all Democratic candidates and causes and allow anyone to create personal fundraising pages. 

Year | # Unique Recipients | # Personal Pages w/Donors

2007   1017                  1233 
2009   1942                  3286

This is where we're democratizing the process of financing campaigns. The 91% increase in unique recipients means that in 2009 nearly twice as many Democratic candidates received a check for funds raised through ActBlue- which is impressive because the raw number of elected offices is a fairly static. Even more amazing is the 167% increase in successful personal ActBlue fundraising pages- skyrocketing to over 3,000 in 2009, a year when just a handful of states held their statewide elections (most notable being New Jersey & Virginia) and a greater number held municipal elections as part of ActBlue trial program. We'll be looking in more detail at this growth at the state and local level in future analysis.

Now for some charts. These compare a number of 2007 v. 2009 metrics on the quarter by quarter level.

That huge surge of contributions in the last half of 2009 was due in part to the upswing in the health care debate, the Joe "You Lie" Wilson effect on fundraising for Democrat Rob Miller, the No on One / Protect Marriage Equality campaign in Maine, and Netroots based fundraising flowing into the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, FDL Action PAC, and Blue America's PAC.

The drop in the average contribution size in late 2009 goes hand in hand with the increase in small dollar giving noted by a number of the committees in the prior graph.

That's just beautiful- don't you think?

This last graph is the best in my opinion- you can see the democratization of fundraising and empowerment of the average donor to raise small dollar contributions for the candidates or causes of their choice. That's what this is all about.

What does Monk Elmer, a first time Democratic candidate running against a 32 year Republican incumbent in a state senate district in Wisconsin, have to do with ActBlue’s landmark $100 Million fundraising milestone?

According to our records, it was a donation to Monk Elmer’s campaign that pushed us past $100 million! A physician, Elmer just launched his campaign (and has raised over $1,000 on ActBlue). He was recently profiled by his local WI paper, the Post-Crescent where you can learn more information about his background, issues, and how he got the name “Monk”.

It’s not entirely surprising that such a landmark contribution comes from one of of the many state district level candidates that use ActBlue. In fact, it’s candidates like Dr. Elmer which are why we work so hard to democratize fundraising and offer online fundraising tools to support thousands of Democratic campaigns.

Congratulations Monk Elmer- this graphic is all yours.

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100 millionWhen ActBlue was founded in the summer of 2004, it felt like the guy to the right was sneering at Democrats as he roamed around America, raising millions upon millions of dollars from big monied interests for his Republican Party friends. He probably laughed at ActBlue and the thought of Democrats challenging the way money was raised in politics.

It took time but we’ve done it.

$1 million raised by February of 2005.
$10 million by September of 2006.
$20 million by March of 2007.
$50 million by June of 2008.

And as of today, that last milestone has been doubled.

$100 Million has now been raised through ActBlue. Take that Dr. Evil!

It’s thanks to our thousands of Democratic candidates, tens of thousands of grassroots fundraising pages, hundreds of thousands of donors, and millions of contributions from people like you that ActBlue has proved Republicans wrong.

And that’s pretty groovy.

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Elections are unpredictable and we have seen in recent years (who can forget 2000!) that Election Day does not always mean the end of the campaign. Here at ActBlue, not only can we get properly file campaigns up and running with a contribution system in less than 5 minutes, but we work with those who need extra time to fundraise beyond election day.

Recounts, recount committees, and special elections are just some of the reasons why Democrats need to have supportive infrastructure beyond Election Day. ActBlue works with campaigns to keep them fundraising during these special circumstances. Our community fundraising platform allows bloggers, party committees, and individuals to create their own personal pages to shepard financial support to critical post-election ballot counting or runoffs.

You might be familiar with some of the campaigns on the list below- these are the top campaigns by dollars raised since Election Day, and just a part of the $3,739,240 total raised across ActBlue since the election "was over".

Jim Martin GA-Sen $1,288,346.26
Franken Recount Fund MN-Sen $920,834.11
Pennsylvania Democratic Party – Federal $171,087.70
Gavin Newsom CA-Gov $129,705.54
Chris Bell TX-SD-17 $125,849.23
Sara Feigenholtz IL-05 $82,295.00
Diane D. Denish NM-Gov $56,900.00
Jody Wagner VA-Lt Gov $52,511.00
Paul Carmouche LA-04 $42,302.50
Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia $41,590.00
Kilroy Counts Votes Committee OH-15 $36,225.46
Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee – State $35,459.50
Charlie Brown CA-04 $31,391.92

Over $1 million was raised for Jim Martin who faced a runoff election for the US Senate from Georgia and close to another $1 million was raised for the still ongoing recount in another US Senate race in Minnesota where Democrat Al Franken now appears to have taken the lead after all votes have been recounted. In Texas, Chris Bell faced a runoff election for a State Senate seat near Houston and nearly 40% of what he raised on ActBlue was after November 4th. Extended ballot counting in Ohio and California saw candidates continue to raise funds through their existing accounts.

And proving that it's never too early to start fundraising, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has already begun raising funds for a potential 2010 gubernatorial bid in California!

This week on the ActBlue Blog, we're taking some time to review the 2008 election in terms of what it means for online fundraising. We'll wrap up some final numbers from the past cycle on ActBlue, see how that growth compares to past years, and explain what that means looking forward.


$500,000,000

It's an astonishing number to say the least and it's the most money raised online by a political campaign in American history. We're talking about President Elect Barack Obama, of course, and thanks to the reporting of Jose Antonio Vargas of the Washington Post we can at take a look at what that number means for the democratization of campaign fundraising.

Obama's online operation broke down the numbers: 3 million donors made
a total of 6.5 million donations online adding up to more than $500
million. Of those 6.5 million donations, 6 million were in increments
of $100 or less
. The average online donation was $80, and the average
Obama donor gave more than once.

Reading that paragraph we can see the realization of what 4 years ago was called the $100 Revolution by then presidential candidate Howard Dean. In short, if 2 million Americans would give $100 each they could compete with then President Bush. The $100 Revolution was about more than just competing financially, though, it was about fundamentally shifting power and redefining who had influence in our political system.

As Liberal Oasis wrote in March of 2004…

In turn, the "$100 Revolution" should not end with Howard Dean, and does not need to.

But [corporate special interest] influence can be significantly mitigated.

A powerful message about what the Democratic party should represent, and who the party should answer to, will be delivered if the grassroots band together and give in small amounts.

Every grassroots dollar devalues the power of a special interest dollar.

That reduces special interest influence, and increases the chance for legislation that benefits the people and not the powerful.

Four years later, Barack Obama's campaign realized that vision with a campaign that focused on changing the relationship between lobbyists and legislation. In the end, that message was so powerful online that it turned the $100 Revolution into the $80 Revolution.

Related ActBlue Stats: From January 1, 2007 through November 24th (today), the average contribution size across ActBlue.com for all candidates was $144. But, because donors can give to multiple candidates or groups per contribution through a fundraising page, the average contribution size per recipient campaign was just $89.82. To take it a step further, the median contribution size through ActBlue was just $50.

Also to note, in the midst of record breaking Presidential fundraising by Obama, less than 15% of all funds raised through ActBlue this cycle during the primaries and general election were for presidential candidates, meaning 85% of funds raised were for other record setting "revolutions" down ballot in the Senate, House, and state legislatures across the country.

Now that's change we can believe in!

Third Quarter Stats: July 1 – September 30, 2008

Fundraising pages are by far and away our favorite stat to post about during our quarterly stats report. They speak to the core purposes of ActBlue- transparency, accountability, and empowerment. Creating a fundraising page allows any individual to take personal ownership in raising money for a candidate or slate of candidates. ActBlue has tools that help you to create your own personal page or reach out to your existing email contacts, and goal based tools to give you visible fundraising targets. We hope you’ll take some time to set up a page and become a successful fundraiser yourself like any of those below.

Here are some links to articles on how to create an Event Page on ActBlue to manage large or small fundraisers, how one candidate creatively mobilized and energized his supporters, and, of course, how to start fundraising on ActBlue. Now on to the stats!

Top 10 Fundraising Pages by Dollars for Q2 2008

FUNDRAISING PAGE TOTAL CONTRIB.
1.orangetoblue $630,532.58
2.ricknoriega $239,713.76 
3.accountabilitynow $161,296.88
4.heinrich    $151,471.25 
5.warner $142,405.08 
6.rangelsvictoryfund $130,950.00 
7.khagan $114,814.93 
8.schauerforcongress $112,815.00 
9.dansealsforcongress.com $110,975.55 
10.gavinnewsom $104,886.64

Did you know that in Q2 only 4 of the top 10 fundraising pages by total dollars had over $100,000 raised through them? In Q3, all 10 of the Top 10 pages raised over $100,000 each.

Top 10 Fundraising Pages by Donors for Q2 2008

FUNDRAISING PAGE DONORS
1.orangetoblue  6800
2.ricknoriega 2547
3.accountabilitynow 2417
4.blueamericacontest 1901
5.contest 1824
6.heinrich 863
7.barbara4jeanneandkay 789
8.havedarcysback 760
9.boxer4musgrove 638
10.scottkleebforsenate 621

There are some really outstanding candidates and more importantly fundraising pages in these lists. They include a successful event page, efforts by national bloggers to raise a short burst of funds for an Accountability PAC, and efforts by bloggers to get the back of one of their longtime supported candidates Darcy Burner. In addition, Sen. Barbara Boxer has continued to make effective use of ActBlue pages to raise funds for other candidates via her PAC for a Change.

Also this quarter, the Blue America coalition of bloggers, held two separate fundraising contests for their endorsed House and Senate candidates. By working with campaigns, state blogospheres, and their own online communitities, they successfully generated over 3,000 additional contributions for their previously endorsed candidates as each campaign tried to gain the most new donors to these specific fundraising pages in order to received an addtional $5000 check from the Blue America PAC. Contests like this could be a successful model for you to try!

Third Quarter Stats: July 1 – September 30, 2008

In the last post we showed you the big picture- big totals for dollars and donors. In this post, we’ll focus on the people who are the reason for your giving through ActBlue- the Democratic candidates and committees that inspire us and will lead the country at the federal and state level because of your support.

Check below to see the Top 10 Candidates by Dollars and the Top 10
Candidates by Donors for the third quarter of 2008.

Top 10 Candidates by Contributions for Q3 2008

CANDIDATE RACE TOTAL CONTRIB.
1. Kay Hagan NC-Sen $778,573.20
2. Rick Noriega TX-Sen $435,827.78
3. Barack Obama President $424,300.38
4. Mark Warner VA-Sen $280,859.45
5. Darcy Burner WA-08 $267,614.18
6. Equality for All CA-Prop 8 $263,247.68
7. Joseph Sestak Jr. PA-07 $231,111.29 
8. Gary Peters MI-09 $230,140.86 
9. Scott Kleeb NE-Sen $220,603.07
10. Martin Heinrich NM-01 $200,775.79 

Many of these candidates are veterans of ActBlue (and some, military veterans, too). Eight of the Top 10 candidates from Q2 have returned to the list in Q3. Newcomers include Darcy Burner and the No on Proposition 8 ballot initiative, the first time we’ve seen a ballot committee join this list. It’s also a reminder that ActBlue is not just for candidates, but make fundraising easy for other organizations including PACs as well as State and County Parties.

Let’s take a look at the Top 10 candidates this quarter by donors.

Top 10 Candidates by Donors for Q3 2008 

CANDIDATE RACE TOTAL DONORS
1. Rick Noriega TX-Sen 6612
2. Darcy Burner WA-08 6406
3. Kay Hagen NC-Sen 5584
4. Barack Obama President 4560
5. Al Franken MN-Sen 4103
6. Scott Kleeb NE-Sen 2988
7. Andrew Rice OK-Sen 2796
8. Campaign for our Country PAC 2554
9. Accountability Now PAC 2484
10. Annette Taddeo FL-18 2441

While many of the same candidates appear in this list as well, there are also some fresh faces! Senate nominees from Minnesota and Oklahoma, two different grassroots PACs, plus Annette Taddeo of Florida making an entrance into the Top 10 lists. Last quarter, only two candidates had over 2,500 donors on ActBlue (Rick Noriega and Scott Kleeb). This time, eight of the top ten have over 2,500 donors and the top three all have over 5,000 donors each for the quarter!

There are so many more candidates beyond the Top 10, though. In fact, in Q3, ActBlue distributed checks for funds raised by 1622 candidates- the most ever in one quarter! That includes candidates, local parties, and grassroots entities across the country. While the Top 10 lists give us a picture of campaigns with a broad base of support, there are tens of thousands of other donors making an impact in 1612 other races across the country.

Our next post will look at the impact that you can have on these Democratic races by taking the next step beyond donating and that’s looking at our ActBlue fundraising pages!

Third Quarter Stats: July 1-September 30, 2008

This is the last "quarter" for federal campaigns in terms of being a full three months of the year. But that hardly means things are winding down- on the contrary, it was ActBlue second $10 Million+ quarter!

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS
Q1 2008 (Jan.1-Mar.31, 2008 $7,091,127.39
Q2 2008 (Apr. 1-June 30, 2008) $13,674,897.81
Q3 2008 (Jul. 1-Sept 30, 2008) $12,488,594.79
Lifetime through Sept 30, 2008 $67,556,456.27

The last quarter represents nearly 1/5th of all funds raised by Democrats on ActBlue since our inception. But as this election cycle has proven, the bigger story is not in the total number of dollars raised, but in the total number of donors who have given. As you can see in the chart below, these totals have grown tremendously quarter to quarter this year.

   

   

TOTAL DONORS
Q1 2008 (Jan.1-Mar.31, 2008) 54,918
Q2 2008 (Apr. 1-June 30, 2008) 65,089
Q3 2008 (Jul. 1-Sept 30, 2008) 135,086

And how does that compare to past history? Look no further than this final table.

Year    Amount Raised    Donors    Avg Donation
            
2004    $862,698.36            26406    $32.67
2005    $1,684,797.22         23816    $70.74
2006    $15,102,597.73     282566    $53.45
2007    $16,872,127.06     169287    $99.67
2008*   $38,578,024.31     393024    $98.16

*through September 30th

Even with the growth in the dollar and donor base in 2008, the average contribution size is still less than $100 per donation, even down slightly from 2007. This is the power of small donors collectively making an impact to fund Democratic candidates across the country.

Speaking of those candidates- that’s the subject of our next Q3 stats post!

If you think what we’re doing is important, please help us bring ActBlue to every Democrat in the country.
I_support_actblue

ActBlue is at the forefront of the movement to build a strategic advantage—infrastructure—for Democrats.

Our numbers speak for themselves: $40 million raised since 2004 for more than 2,557 Democratic candidates and committees from more than 326,000 contributors.

That’s your work. It makes you powerful. And it’s already changed the balance of power in executive offices and legislatures across the country.

We’ve got big plans for this year: we’re going to raise $100 million for Democrats, bring ActBlue’s best-in-class platform to 25 more states, and continue to train and support volunteers and campaigns in all fifty states.

But we’re not going to get there without your help.

To reach our goals, we need a fourth political coordinator here at ActBlue. That’s one more salary, and one more desk, and one more computer–and five dollars a month from you for the next year will make it possible.

Please make a recurring contribution of five dollars a month today.

From all of us here at ActBlue, thanks.

Jonathan Zucker

Executive Director, ActBlue

p.s. Check out our great news from Tuesday! 

Miss a day of Stats Week?  Check out the previous posts:
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday

Comparing the 2005-2006 election cycle to the 2007-2008 election
cycle.

Number of Contributors in 2007: 144,151
Number of Contributors in 2005: 22,067

Pages Created in 2007: 2600
Pages created in 2005: 1112

Number of Contributors Leaving Tips in 2007: 59,346
Number of Contributors Leaving Tips in 2005: 10,977

Top Ten Pages with the Highest Number of Tippers: (pages with 100+ contributors)

Page % of Tippers
Eschaton ’08 Challengers 77%
Freeze Out Fox News 77%
Not One Red Cent 74%
Burn Bush for Burner 71%
Blue Majority 70%
BlogPac Heroes 69%
AMERICAblog Supports Tom Allen 69%
Blue America ’08 68%
Help Skinner Finish the Job 68%
BlogPac 67%
Steve Beshear 67%

In 2007 ActBlue Democrats raised ten times more funds than in 2005.  Because of ActBlue’s phenomenal growth there
are thousands more participants in the Democratic process and we fully
expect their accumulated activity to reach $100 million by the time
ballots are cast in November.  That’s $100 million raised for Democrats
across the country on ActBlue. It’s clear that 2008 is going to be a watershed
year for Democrats up and down the ballot.  ActBlue Democrats are at the
forefront of that success.

We rely on the tens of thousands
of people who support us through tipping (59,346 in 2007).  That
support keeps us
afloat so we can empower more people to support campaigns and influence
the
political process.  Tips allow ActBlue to add more staff to provide
hands-on customer service and train activists nationwide.  Tips allow
us to deliver more enhanced features on our website.  Tips are the fuel that keeps ActBlue burning.

It’s only fitting that we end stats week by recognizing the
extraordinary action and escalating growth of ActBlue with a humble
thank you to all those who left us a tip in 2007 making all of this
possible.

 

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