With our new receipt branding feature, you now have the tools to create a receipt email that looks and feels like your campaign.

Instead of a plain text receipt, yours can look like something like this:

Go to the Brandings tab of your Dashboard. Either create a new branding or click to edit an existing one. Your receipt branding will be part of a Contribution Form branding.

Scroll to the bottom of your branding and toggle open the “Receipt Email Styles” section of your branding. Here you can add a background hex color code (something like #CCCEEE).

Here’s a tip: If you don’t know your campaign’s exact hex color code, you can scroll up to the “Background color” field and click the text box. A color picker will pop up, which you can use to eyeball your color. Then copy the hex code that pops up and paste it into the receipt email section.

You can also add a header image, which will be scaled to fit within 600px x 200px. Once you’re happy with your branding, click save.

To put the branding in action, just assign it to any Contribution Form you’d like, which you can do in the Options section of the Edit tab of the form. Add your custom text to the “Email receipt text” box and send yourself a preview email.

Hit save once you’re all set! Your donors will appreciate finding a customized receipt and thank you note in their inbox.

Have questions or just want to show off a really great branding? Let us know at info@actblue.com!

Topline Numbers

Apr. ’12 Apr. ’13 Apr. ’14 Apr. ’15
Contributions 122,625 170,087 321,512 320,438
Total Volume $5,485,850 $6,358,696 $11,937,460 $10,316,575
Mean Donation $44.74 $37.38 $37.13 $32.20
Committees 1,651 1,010 1,999 1,369

Recurring

Apr. ’12 Apr. ’13 Apr. ’14 Apr. ’15
Total Recurring Volume $438,198 $401,046 $978,361 $2,846,318
% of Total Volume 8.0% 6.3% 8.2% 27.6%

Express

We’re up to 1,301,282 Express Users — people who have saved their payment information with ActBlue. The chart below shows daily sign-ups, color-coded by conversion rates.



Apr. ’12 Apr. ’13 Apr. ’14 Apr. ’15
New Express Users 23,468 14,165 36,156 28,735
% of Total Volume
via Express Users
37.7% 41.3% 52.0% 56.6%
% of Contributions
via Express Users
42.5% 50.9% 56.8% 59.6%

Mobile

Apr. ’12 Apr. ’13 Apr. ’14 Apr. ’15
% Mobile 4.1% 8.1% 22.5% 24.8%
% Mobile for
Express Users
4.0% 11.5% 22.5% 26.6%

The A/B test tool on ActBlue, which allows you to test out Contribution Form titles and pitches, among other variables, has gotten a significant upgrade, just in time for campaign season.

The old A/B testing tool worked great, but it also forced you to wait around for both test variations to get enough traffic to gain statistical significance. If one version was performing way better than the second one, that meant you were losing out on potential contributions in order to gain valuable insight.

This is how most A/B testing tools work, and it’s a good system. But with the new ActBlue testing tools, which use a more advanced statistical algorithm than typical A/B testing, you can still achieve statistical significance without having to sacrifice a ton of traffic to a losing form.

As the test runs and one variation begins performing better, we’ll start sending more traffic to that form, roughly in proportion to how they’re trending. You can see the traffic allocation listed just above each variation on the “A/B Test” tab of your Contribution Form. The traffic allocation will change continuously as donations come in. It’s important to note that if a variation is receiving 75% of the traffic, that does not necessarily mean it’s conversion rate is 3X as high as the other variation(s). If you’re curious what it actually does mean and want to talk complicated stats, you can get in touch with us here.

If there was a false positive and the losing form starts doing better, the traffic allocation will begin to reverse. The test will continue to run indefinitely until you click “Make Winner.” The A/B testing tool will eventually send 100% of volume to the winner if you don’t make either version the winner manually.

The new A/B testing tool makes your tests more efficient, which means you can try out more of them. If you have radically different language you want to try on a form, alongside three more standard pitches, there’s little risk. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll send fewer and fewer people to that losing form.

We wanted to give special thanks to Jim Pugh from ShareProgress for sharing notes on the multi-armed bandit method used in their software and helping us out with building this tool (and for hanging out in the ActBlue office for a week)!

As always, let us know what tests you’re running and what’s working for you at info@actblue.com!

We’re introducing a feature you’ve been asking for just in time for campaign season! Now you have the option to redirect your Express users to any page you want after they’ve contributed. This gives you the opportunity to send your donors to an action page on your website, like a petition. Or, you can redirect them to a volunteer form and ask them to take the next step in supporting your cause.

To use the redirect feature visit the Edit tab on any Contribution Form and scroll down to “Show Advanced Options.”

Below the “Thanks page blurb” prompt you’ll now see the “Thanks redirect URL” option.

Here you can place the link to your website or any other page you want your Express Users to see after making a contribution.

After contributing, your Express Users will see a popup that says, “Your contribution succeeded, thanks!” for 5 seconds before being directed to the page you’ve chosen.

If a non-Express User has contributed using the form, they’ll still be brought to our thanks page with an Express signup ask.

Express Users are donors who have taken the time to save their information and commit to your cause, and it’s important to continuously cultivate those relationships. By taking the time to redirect these donors to an action page after they’ve contributed, you’re moving them along the ladder of engagement and showing them how much you value their support.

Any questions? Feel free to comment or drop us a line at info@actblue.com.

You’ve long been able to set up email contribution alerts for your campaign or organization, but with campaign season heating up, we’ve added that feature to individual Contribution Forms as well. This will help you track individual fundraising emails closely and keep an eye on any large donations that come in, no matter where you are. And as an added feature, you can set an alert for any refunds that are processed on the form.

To set an alert, navigate to your form’s dashboard and go to the new Email Alerts tab. Click “new contribution form alert” to set up your first alert.

Select the appropriate email address from the drop down menu, add a threshold above which you want to receive an alert, and choose either contribution or refund alerts. If you want to receive an alert for any donation or refund, regardless of amount, put a 0 as the threshold. However, we recommend setting that bar higher so you’re not inundated with emails.

Click “Set up alert” and you’re done. You can set up as many different alerts as you want on the Contribution Form. You’ll receive an email every time someone donates or is refunded, depending on your preferences.

It’s great tool to help your finance director keep tabs on big donations or refunds. It also helps you keep track of any large gifts so that your Executive Director or candidate can personally thank the donor.

Have questions? Let us know at info@actblue.com.

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%
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