This one is for the fundraising pros, the long-time ActBlue users, and the data junkies out there. With our new custom date range CSV feature, you can now download a .csv of donations made in any data range or fundraising period you choose.

After nearly 10 years of helping some groups fundraise, people have a lot of data stored on ActBlue and need an easy way to access exactly the information they want. Juggling data and producing thousands of custom reports is no easy feat, but we knew folks would find it useful, so our new engineer Eric made it happen.

Just go to your Dashboard and click on the Reports tab.

Select your date range, and then click on the link that reads “Download a fundraising page CSV report.” It’ll generate a file for you and automatically download it, and you can pull as many custom reports as you need or want!

We’ve got tons of new features lined up on our development schedule, so stay tuned!

January just ended, which means Election Day 2014 is right around the corner. At least it feels that way in the fundraising world, where early money is key for structure, momentum, and success in November.

2012 was a breakout year for online fundraising, and had presidential election year with presidential-level media attention, but as you can see below, 2014 is poised to be much, much bigger. And that’s because more campaigns have started using ActBlue as their main fundraising platform, got an early jump on fundraising, and harnessed the power of grassroots donors.

  Jan ’11 Jan ’12 Jan ’13 Jan ’14
Contributions 10,120 87,370 98,953 223,334
Volume ($) $636,711.13 $4,001,392.93 $3,341,964.67 $7,780,137.87
Mean Donation $62.92 $45.80 $33.77 $34.84
Committees 460 1,206 764 1,604


We helped raise $7.8 million in January ‘14, nearly double the $4 million in January ‘12. The money we raised this past month came from 223,334 donors, who gave an average of $34.84. So: we doubled the amount of money while shaving $11 off of our average contribution size in January ’14. That’s the kind of grassroots power that we love to see in action, because those donors will likely give several times and it’ll add up to a big impact come Election Day.

Because of optimization testing and development work we’ve done in the offseason, we’ve got a ton of new folks gearing up to work with us in 2014. We set up 214 new campaigns and organizations this past month alone! (If you work for a campaign or organization and are interested in trying out our tools, please get in touch.) The combination of higher conversion rates and more campaigns and organizations means rapid growth.

So, what else did January tell us about the year to come? We’ve been saying it for a while, but 2014 will be the year of mobile, and January’s numbers confirmed our mantra. 19.7% of all contributions on ActBlue were made via a mobile device, with some days seeing that number rise to 25%.

Mobile contributions are even more popular when it comes to Express users, who made 22.8% of their donations via mobile devices. That’s key because we now have over 720,000 Express users, and they accounted for 55.2% of all donations made on ActBlue in January. They’re our power users, and the biggest supporters of Democratic candidates and causes. As the number of Express users grows, and mobile phones become the go-to way to check email for supporters around the country, all eyes will be on mobile conversion rates.

Taking a look at the past few election cycles, we can make some predictions about 2014 fundraising.

election year giving

election_year_dollars

We brought in $35 million dollars in October ‘12, almost 9x the amount that we helped raise in January ‘12. The beginning of the year, while strong, will pale in comparison to those big months. Predictably, fundraising spikes in March and June for the end of quarter fundraising pushes. However, fundraising growth continues at about the same rate after September’s crucial end of quarter, which means you can bet that October 1st won’t be a day for recovery. From July on, it’s likely to be non-stop fundraising.

January is one of the biggest months for political contribution reporting (our compliance team worked overtime and then some to get it all done). We sent reports on 380,311 contributions to 16 different federal and state agencies. For us, that’s just as important as the $7.8 million we raised. Our mission is to help supporters elect Democrats and progressives, but those grassroots victories would be meaningless without transparency and accountability.

For ActBlue, 2013 went out with a bang. A $3 million bang. And that means a very happy new year for Democrats and progressives across the country. On the last two days of the year, we processed $1,174,688 (12/30) and $2,089,632 (12/31). That brought our 2-day total up to $3 million and gave us our second $2 million day of the year.

The supercharged final days brought our December total up to $11.2 million, our biggest month of the year. The quarter and year totals came in at $28.7 million and $89.5 million, respectively. That’s more than double our 2011 off-year total of $41 million. So, in other words, 2013 was big, and the work we did this past year is going to help pave the way for victory in 2014.

Here are a few other fun facts about the year:

1. The busiest minute: 12/04 at 10:11 PM EST, when we raised $5,171.54 from 176 donations (and yes, it’s totally random)
2. The biggest day of the year was 9/30 with $2.1 million, followed by 12/31, 2/28, and then 12/30
3. We went from 731 mobile contributions in 2010 to 293,934 in 2013
4. 7/10 of the busiest minutes were on 2/28 during the 5 PM hour (thanks impending government shutdown!)
5. October 12th had the highest percentage of mobile contributions (28.5%)

We broke down the numbers for December, Q4, and all of 2013, for this triple-the-data, triple-the-fun end of year recap, with the big moments, trends, and takeaways from the year in fundraising. Dig in below.

  Dec ’10 Dec ’11 Dec ’12 Dec ’13
Contributions 27,807 61,438 76,424 259,423
Volume ($) $1,185,162.85 $3,857,573.91 $2,344,501.66 $11,245,607.21
Mean Donation $42.62 $62.79 $30.68 $43.35
Committees 442 1,140 1,356 1,585

 

  Q4 ’10 Q4 ’11 Q4 ’12 Q4 ’13
Contributions 209,981 186,769 1,168,637 680,113
Volume ($) $19,122,770.37 $13,076,171.73 $48,273,858.28 $28,705,060.90
Mean Donation $91.07 $70.01 $41.31 $42.21
Committees 1,927 1,688 2,419 2,194

 

   2010  2011  2012 2013
Contributions 544,759 685,830 2,896,197 2,119,923
Volume ($) $56,927,561.68 $41,121,132.96 $136,467,283.62 $89,500,820.43
Mean Donation $104.50 $59.96 $47.12 $42.22
Committees 3,084 2,344 3,894 2,988

 

This year’s New Year’s Eve, the Q4 deadline, outpaced the last few by HUGE margins. In 2011, just a year out from a presidential election, we brought in $511,553.47, compared with the $2 million and change in 2013, a nearly 300% increase. Expect to see more monster fundraising deadlines next year. If you’re part of a campaign or organization that is fundraising, you might want to make sure you’ve got more than one email at the ready if you want to jump in the mix. Don’t get swallowed up by the inbox influx. And yeah, we can all see where this trend is heading.

We raised $15.7 million more in Q4 ‘13 than in Q4 ‘11, for a total of 2,194 different candidates, committees, and organizations. That’s a 30% increase in the number of committees from Q4 ‘11. Conversely, the average donation fell substantially, from $70.01 in 2011 to $42.22 in 2013, meaning that an army of small-dollar donors powered this huge jump. Early money is worth more to campaigns and organizations because it means they can build infrastructure, hire staff, and recruit volunteers. The successful Q4 will go a long way towards ensuring these groups are prepared for the upcoming election, and shows the GOP that Democrats are gearing up for a serious challenge next November.

This year we also launched Express Lane, our one-click donation system. We’ve been building up our pool of users for years, and now have a total of 714,519 Express users, shared across all candidates and committees. That makes it a whole lot easier for donors to give to all of their favorite candidates, and for candidates and organizations to increase conversion rates.

It had been pretty clear to us even before 2013 that mobile is the future of online donations, and we rolled out brand new mobile-responsive forms this year that made it easier than ever for donors to give on the go. Overall, the percentage of donations via mobile in 2013 was 14%, double the previous year’s mobile rate. Consider the fact that we introduced our mobile responsive forms late in the year—mid-September— and the results are even more incredible. With such a huge upward trend, we’re predicting that 2014 will be the Year of Mobile.

We had a hunch that the mobile numbers might have jumped during the holidays, when donors were away from their desks. We were right. Mobile contributions constituted 24% of all contributions on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the highest of the entire month. That number also stayed above 20% from 12/20 on. The beginning of the month, on the other hand, saw rates around 13%-17%. The takeaway? If you’re sending on a weekend, a holiday break, or a popular vacation time in the summer, be extra sure your content is mobile friendly. Then again, you should already be doing that.

So, 2013 was busy to put it lightly. But it will pale in comparison to the volume we’re going to see next year ahead of the midterm elections. We spent 2013 beefing up our tools so that we’ll be ready for a crazy busy 2014.

We are constantly testing and tweaking our system to optimize performance aka help thousands of candidates and organizations raise more money. Most of the time the improvements go unnoticed (except the extra $ ;). Not today!

Introducing multi-step! Anyone who doesn’t have Express cookied on their computer will see a brand-new four-step contribution form. Take a look at the new shiny-ness:

And yes, it’s bringing in a 25.86% increase in conversion rates with 99% significance. It’s a nice bump. We typically see the novelty effect in these sorts of changes to forms, so it probably will be less of an increase long-term as donors get used to the new form. Still, it should be a solid improvement. Oh, and it works on mobile to boot.

Express and Express Lane users will continue using ActBlue their usual way. This change is for new folks. If you’re a regular ActBlue user you probably have an Express account, but you can open any contribution form in an incognito browser to take a look at the new multi-step version.

Multi-step is now rolled out site-wide, so no need to do anything, just enjoy our holiday gift to you.

Here are a few more shots of the new layout:

November is the Big Show. At least it is when it’s a major election year. Off years are a trickier beast all together. For the die hards out there, it’s an exciting year filled with local election drama and good old fashioned campaigning (at ActBlue, we were engrossed in the ever-confusing and thrilling Cambridge City Council elections). For many in the media, November is a litmus test that determines where our country’s collective head is at.

The general consensus was that we’re split right down the middle–a Democrat (Terry McAuliffe) and a Republican (Chris Christie) won the two high profile gubernatorial elections–and that we’ve got a tough, but winnable, fight ahead of us in 2014. November is also important because a strong month for a campaign or organization now means more structure, funds, staff, and momentum in 2014. If we extend the litmus test to our own data (and boy do we have a lot of it), we’d say Democrats are in fighting shape, and we’ve got the numbers to prove it.

  Nov ’10 Nov ’11 Nov ’12 Nov ’13
Contributions 19,031 67,796 314,390 194,431
Volume ($) $1,162,664.25 $4,057,080.56 $10,874,238.34 $7,456,063.14
Mean Donation $61.09 $59.84 $34.59 $38.35
Committees 748 1,116 1,449 1,486

Over the past year, we’ve been preaching the importance of starting your fundraising efforts early to the campaigns and organizations who use our tools, and they’ve been listening. The same could be said for donors. Our community of supporters made 194,431 contributions in November. That’s more than triple the number who donated in November 2011.

Having a core group of dedicated donors and advocates is important, because it means more boots on the ground and more supporters who can activate their friends and their networks. The barrier to entry is low – our average donation is just $38.59 – but the results are big.

Other measures that have us convinced Democrats are on the right track? We set up 165 new campaigns and organizations in November alone. Sitewide, 858 new contribution forms were created, a whopping 4,655 contribution forms were updated, and more groups raised funds than in November 2012, a general election year (1,486 vs. 1,449). That’s a whole lot of fundraising going on! It also points to there being more savvy and digitally literate campaigns from top to bottom. In November 2011 for example, we saw just 136 forms updated. That’s an enormous spike in activity, and an indicator of a strong 2014 for Democrats.

Another great indicator of campaign readiness is the percentage of recurring contributions coming in. Recurring contributions are a great way for campaigns to have a steady and reliable source of funds, and they’re an important fundraising tool when you’re still a year out from your election. This month 18.8% of donations sitewide were recurring contributions, compared with 16.4% in November 2011. We’re happy that number has scaled and even grown as the number of campaigns and organizations using us–1,486 this month vs. 1,116 in 2011–has increased. One of our goals over the next year is to continue increasing that number. It’s one of the best ways to facilitate relationships between campaigns and supporters.

As the organization that makes these connections, it’s our job to remove any friction in the donation process in addition to ensuring campaigns and organizations are doing fundraising the right way. Mobile responsive contribution forms and Express Lane, our one-click donation feature, have gone a long way towards making the process easier for donors. The proof? Our mobile numbers are way up–19.3% overall and 22.9% for Express donations. That’s a huge change from last year. Check out the stats below. Can you tell which month we launched mobile responsive? Hint: it was a big deal.

December will likely bring a bigger month with end of quarter (and end of year!) fundraising pushes and donors in the giving mood. The hard work campaigns and organizations put in during the coming month will pay off big time come 2014. For us at ActBlue, December will be the calm before the election year storm–time we’re planning on using to sharpen our tools and roll out a few big-deal new ones. Don’t worry though, you’ll be the first to hear about them.

October.

It’s the month of costumes, leaf-peeping, and worst to first Sox victories (we are from Boston, after all). But mostly it’s the make-or-break month for countless campaigns. That means Saturday morning door knocking and Monday night phone banking and the last big fundraising pushes.

Unfortunately, this October was also tainted by a government shutdown. While we can’t say there’s a silver lining to it all, we did see some of the anger and frustration we all felt towards Republicans channeled into getting more Democrats and progressives elected in 2014.

Take a look at the September and October daily fundraising numbers. September was a typical month in that the daily totals build gradually. October, on the other hand, started with strong numbers due to the shutdown. The numbers mostly held steady for the rest of the month until the normal uptick during the end of month fundraising push.

sept 2013

oct 2013

In an odd twist of fate, we hit 6,666,666 contributors on Halloween. Spooky, but awesome! We’re happy to be seeing more people participate in democracy every day. Our witching hours on October 31st were spent guiding campaigns with their end of month fundraising and obsessively checking the ActBlue Dashboard, watching the contributions come in. We ended the month with a bang, raising $377,040 from 5pm-midnight on that last day, which put us over $10 million raised for October.

**We also may have spent some time looking at corgis in costumes.

corgi

Here’s how the numbers broke down compared with the past few years:

  Oct ’10 Oct ’11 Oct ’12 Oct ’13
Contributions 169,670 61,438 825,893 289,808
Volume ($) $16,774,943.27 $3,857,573.91 $35,055,118.28 $10,055,290.31
Mean Donation $98.87 $62.79 $42.45 $34.70
Committees 1,796 1,140 2,183 1,576

That $10 million total for October is huge when you compare it to the $3.8 million we raised in October ’11, the last off-year. What’s even better is that the number of people donating nearly quintupled (!), going from 61,438 to 289,808. That also means the average contribution size came way down–from $62.79 in 2011 to $34.70 last month. Even in October ’12, when we processed a whopping 825,893 donations, we still had an average contribution size of $42.24, almost $10 higher than in October ’13. Nothing makes us happier than to see that number free fall while the total amount of money coming in continues to go up.

We’re happy the $10 million we helped raise was powered by so many more people because it reflects our mission–to facilitate grassroots movements–but also because it means that campaigns are getting an early jump on fundraising. $4,656,448 of the total that we raised was for candidates with elections in 2014, and that’s not including committees or organizations who will put resources toward those campaigns. The money these candidates are raising now is going towards building field infrastructure, hiring great staff, and mobilizing supporters. Those tasks are all crucial to running a successful campaign, and they can’t be done in a day or a month.

Internally, we spent a lot of time working on new projects and infrastructure so we’ll be ready come next October (it’s poised to be a big one–we raised $35 million in October ’12, and we expect to beat that number). We launched the ActBlue Tutorial, where we teach you how to use all the ActBlue tools and how to do online fundraising the right way. We’re hoping it will be a great resource for campaigns in the coming year, especially when their fundraising efforts really ramp up.

mobile pie chart

Last month we told you about mobile responsive forms, and we’ve been checking the stats every day since. Sitewide, we saw 20% of contributions made on mobile devices, compared with 8.1% in October ’12. If it wasn’t already clear, mobile is most definitely the future of online fundraising, and we’re happy that we can make it easier for donors by adapting to where they are.

Finally, our compliance team has been working day in and day out to report all of your contributions (seriously, our end of quarter report was so big it broke the FEC servers), and to roll out Express Lane in even more states. That means up to 3x more money for campaigns across the country, and significantly less hassle for donors. We’ll give ourselves a pat on the back for that one.

red sox pat on back

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