A busy quarter before an even busier election: Q2 2016

Q2 2016 was strong; back in Q2 2014, folks using ActBlue’s fundraising tools had raised just shy of $48 million. For this quarter, we’ve passed $130M! Talk about an exciting upwards trajectory.

Q2 2016 had 2.8 million more contributions than Q2 2014. That’s more than 200% growth. Donors contributed to 3,753 different campaigns, committees, and organizations. Our average contribution size has shrunk a little, because of the impact of repeat donors. The average contribution size for new donors was $55, compared to $30 for donors who have given previously. More than 1.2 million unique people made a donation on ActBlue in Q2 2016, and, of those, 80% made more than one contribution. That’s only the second time that at least one million individual people have given in a single quarter on our platform.

Topline Numbers

Q2 2013 Q2 2014 Q2 2015 Q2 2016
Contributions 529,614 1,215,413 1,273,379 4,082,976
Total Amount $22,236,309 $47,488,545 $48,158,911 $132,986,033
Avg. Contribution Size $41.99 $39.07 $37.82 $32.57
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,610 2,807 1,970 3,753

 

During Q2 2016, we hit another major milestone: over $500 million raised via ActBlue for this election. For context, the combined total raised for the 2012 and 2014 cycles is $517 million. It took the entire 2014 cycle to raise $335 million and just over 15 months to reach that total this election year.

Our number crunchers had been predicting our total for the entire 2016 cycle would be $500 million. But now we’re more likely on a path for something around a $700 million cycle.

We’re already ramping up for another big quarter — Q3 is traditionally the largest in any cycle. (Looks like we’ll need a bigger chart.)

The graph below breaks down our top-line stats further (and says it all): Express contributions have increased from less than 10% at the start of the 2012 election cycle to 70% of all donations this past quarter. The mobile contribution rate has hovered around 40% the past two quarters, which is about double the rate for the same points in the last election cycle. Recurring as a share of the total fundraising volume tends to fluctuate more than the other two metrics within a cycle. If you look just at the 2016 election cycle, percent recurring volume has landed in the 15-28% range each quarter.

Express

Our Express feature, which allows donors to save their payment information with us, helps donors give (literally) with just the click of a button. The majority of our 3 million Express users have signed up this cycle.

Because it’s easier for people to give when they don’t have to spend time entering in their address and credit card information, they’re more likely to go ahead and contribute. In Q2 2014, we raised about $28 million from Express contributions. Fast forward two years, and we’re at almost $83 million raised via Express for the quarter. And I know we mentioned it earlier, but it’s too stunning a stat to only say once: Express contributions now make up an incredible 70% of our total contributions. Plus, with 4 million contributions overall and 1.2 million unique donors during Q2 2016, it’s clear that we’re getting a lot of repeat givers thanks to the overwhelming success of our Express feature.

Recurring

This time last cycle, 14% of our contributions were recurring. Now, that number’s at almost 42%. Why the increase? Recurring donations work well for both the fundraiser and the donor as an easy way to make regular contributions, providing a stable fundraising base. Plus, we’ve been helping lots of campaigns and organizations figure out a recurring donor strategy.

The chart below shows the incredible growth we’ve been seeing in recurring, particularly from Q2 2014 to this quarter. The spikes on the chart below are the last days of each month. That’s when we see the highest number of contributions. The typical daily recurring volume in Q2 2016 was significantly higher than even the busiest days in previous second quarters. When we look at the last days of each month this quarter, 2014 and 2012 are left totally in the dust.

One of our favorite features, weekly recurring, will be back at the end of this current quarter for some groups using ActBlue. Our team can turn on weekly recurring six weeks ahead of the election. It’s a great way to get donors excited and primed for Election Day, and to raise critical cash for your cause at the most important time. If you’re interested in learning more about how weekly recurring could give your campaign a boost, start planning your weekly fundraising strategy now. We’re more than happy to help brainstorm with you.

We expect to have some big Q3 news about exciting new innovations in recurring giving, and our engineers are hard at work. Stay tuned and excuse our vagueness, but watch this space!

Mobile

In Q2 2012, just 5% of contributions through ActBlue were made via a mobile device, and that number grew to 24% in Q2 2014. This quarter? Almost 40%.

We’ve broken down the mobile percentage day-by-day for Q2 2016 so you can visualize how it changes over time.

Notice the spike in mobile contributions towards the end of the week and on weekends. Saturdays and Sundays were peak mobile days throughout the quarter, and it’s likely that these are times when people are less tethered to their computers, which is why they do more of their giving from mobile devices.

We can’t really take credit for the popularity and spread of iPhones and other mobile devices, but we can take credit for optimizing our forms for mobile. Our high contribution volume affords us lots of space for A/B testing and optimization. Plainly put, we have the best mobile experience in nonprofit and political giving out there. Our mobile contribution rate speaks for itself.

Customer Service

Our customer service team is working hard to make sure donors always have a good experience, so that the organizations and campaigns who use our tools can focus on doing the organizing. Inquiries are always a percentage of volume, and for Q3 2016, we expect volume to go up, meaning our CS team will be even busier than this past quarter. As we get ready for one of the most critical elections of our lifetime, time will be of the essence, and campaigns will need to use every dollar they’ve raised as quickly and efficiently as possible.

To handle the traffic, we’ve expanded our customer service team so that there are folks always ready to answer questions and resolve issues as quickly as possible. And we’ve intentionally staffed up to have more coverage in the evening and weekend hours to be as responsive as possible to donor questions.

Remarketing

We launched our remarketing feature in February 2016, which reminds donors about a contribution they’ve started to make but haven’t completed after 30 minutes of inactivity. In Q2 2016, contributions from remarketing totaled more than $500,000 — all campaigns and organizations had to do was turn the feature on form-by-form and our infrastructure took care of the rest. Find out how to turn it on here, if you haven’t already.

Almost half of remarketing contributions are made from mobile devices. The average monthly mobile contribution rate for remarketing is 9 percentage points higher than the sitewide average. We thought this stat was interesting, and have more than a few theories that might explain it. What we know for sure is that when donors get that remarketing email, we’ve tracked where they were in the giving process, so all the information we know about them has already been pre-filled. And that makes it really easy to complete a contribution, particularly on a mobile device.

Shifting people from desktop to mobile during the giving process also means that donors will have their information stored on multiple devices, reducing friction the next time they want to give. And that is a great thing, my friends.

Contributions by time zone

Where are donors based? It’s on every email fundraiser’s mind. We ran the numbers for contributions made using ActBlue and came up with the chart below. As always, keep in mind that every individual list is different.

 

One last fun fact we pulled from this dataset: West Coasters in the Pacific time zone made more contributions per donor on average (3.84) than in any other time zone this quarter. So, there’s a little more green in that chart than if they had given at the same rate as the combined category that includes the Alaska, Hawaii-Aleutian, and Atlantic time zones, for example.

One of the most exciting things about this quarter was how even without presidential traffic, we’re running at nearly double the last election in terms of funds raised. And of that non-presidential volume, over 15% was raised in just three days this quarter: the last days of April, May, and June.

As we move into the general election, we’re expecting the amount of contributions we’re processing to rise, particularly at the end of each coming month. Q3 2016 will likely be a record-breaker. The only question: Just how big will it be?

May ’14: EOQ prep and a blast from the (Wisconsin recall) past

Last month we focused on how the culture of fundraising deadlines, even in non-EOQ months, has led to crazy-busy closes to each month. May was no exception. 29% of the $13.9 million fundraising total was raised during just the last 4 days of the month.

We’ve gotten used to doubling our 2012 fundraising numbers each month, and we were surprised when we only came in about $4 million ahead of our May ‘12 total of $10 million. And yes, we know it sounds crazy to be saying “only $4 million.” Even weirder: we only raised a million more in June ‘12 than in May ‘12.

We jumped in the way-back machine to investigate and realized that two years ago our May fundraising numbers were driven up because of the Wisconsin recall elections. This year, we had a solid but not stand-out month, which is what we’d expect when the country isn’t focused on one very unusual recall election. Campaigns are planning huge fundraising pushes for June, and May is just the (relative) calm before the end of quarter storm.

You can dig into the rest of the numbers here:

May ’11 May ’12 May ’13 May ’14
Contributions 45,783 234.065 173,541 353,386
Volume ($) $2,679,279 $10,041,334 $6,343,977 $13,891,935
Mean Donation $58.52 $42.90 $36.56 $39.31
Committees 728 1,854 1,068 2,099

It’s been a month of shuffling, with new campaigns joining and others dropping off due to primaries. We had 215 new campaigns and organizations sign up in May, and a total of 2,099 groups actively fundraising, compared with 2,001 last month.

Mobile donations continued to be hugely important and accounted for a full 23% of donations sitewide this month, and 25% of all Express contributions.

Our Express user base grew to 871k. The growth was partially driven by more and more campaigns switching over to ActBlue and using Express Lane. They’re getting to see just how big of a boost one-click payments provide. 14% of all contributions in May were made with Express Lane. Check out the growth here:

That’s a whole lot of clicks, and we only expect the numbers to rise as we move into June, which is sure to be a monster month for fundraising.

ActBlue Q2 2010 Stats: Totals, Candidates, & Fundraisers

June 15th has come and gone, and a slew of state and federal reports have been released in accordance with the EOQ/mid-year filing deadline. You read us at the end of Q1/2010, now relax for the first of three sequels planned for this year:

Number of contributions 100,137
Total Raised $11,056,887.41
Average contribution size $110.42
# of committees receiving money 1,871
# of fundraising pages receiving money 2,049
New fundraising pages created 2,586

 

Let’s compare the most recent Q2/2010 fundraising with the same period from 2008.

Q2 2008 Q2 2010 Change
Contributions 61,617 100,137 63%
Volume ($) $13,423,736* $11,056,887 -18%*
Mean Donation $217.86 $110.42 -49%
Committees 1,390 1,871 35%
Pages Created 1,854 2,586 39%
Pages w/ Money 1,320 2,049 55%

 

As I mentioned in my June post, these numbers are skewed by $3M+ of presidential fundraising that occurred in Q2/2008. That said, Q2/2010 is the fourth time ActBlue has seen over 100k contributions in a quarter, and the sixth time that we’ve sent more than $10M to Democratic candidates and committees.

But the biggest news is the increase in our reach, committee wise. The 1,871 committees that received money from ActBlue is a new record, the highest number in our history. Moreover, on June 30th, 2010, 563 committees received contributions through ActBlue, blowing out the previous record of 462, set on Sept. 30th, 2008. In other words, as of the 2010 midsummer filing deadline, usually affected by the summer fundraising doldrums, we have already eclipsed a record set during the homestretch of the 2008 election. Heck of a job, Blue-y.

Now let’s look at the Top 10 campaigns and committees of Q2/2010, ranked by total raised. It’s a mix of races including 4 US Senate, 3 Congressional, 1 Gubernatorial, 1 Lt. Governorship, and 1 State Assembly contest.

Name

 

Bill HalterRace

AR-Sen, 2010Contributions

27,497Raised

$819,084.02 Joe SestakPA-Sen, 20106,498$655,414.54 CA Senate 2010 650$565,901.00 Gavin NewsomCA-Lt Gov, 20101,110$393,419.31 Deval PatrickMA-Gov, 20101,566$306,988.80 Cal CunninghamNC-Sen, 20101,292$247,759.57 Mark CritzPA-12, 20102,231$196,409.89 Josh BeckerCA-HD-21, 2010431$149,326.00 Manan TrivediPA-06, 20101,184$142,420.63 Dan SealsIL-10, 2010517$140,994.73

When ranked by number of donors, the Top 10 list for the quarter looks a little different. 

 

Name Race Donors Raised
Bill Halter AR-Sen, 2010 27,497 $819,084.02
Joe Sestak PA-Sen, 2010 6,498 $655,414.54
PCCC 6,283 $68,943.60
Democracy for America 3,872 $39,739.67
Ann McLane Kuster NH-02, 2010 3,675 $43,046.58
David Segal RI-01, 2010 3,472 $94,568.64
Alan Grayson FL-08, 2010 2,832 $72,075.13
Bill Hedrick CA-44, 2010 2,588 $40,195.20
Anthony Weiner NY-09, 2010 2,272 $53,616.46
Mark Critz PA-12, 2010 2,231 $196,409.89

 

There are twice as many Congressional races in the Top 10 (6) when you rank them by donors, with no non-federal candidates. You also see the appearance of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, both prolific and effective organizational users of ActBlue which frequently make the top 10 thanks to their energetic small-dollar donors. 

Finally, our list of the Top 10 ActBlue fundraising pages, ranked by number of donors. Many of these are familiar pages which we’ve previously discussed in our April, May, and June monthly reports which you should review for more detail. Of those listed below, the PCCC was responsible for 4 of the 10, bloggers for 2, DFA for 1, the DCCC for 1, and individual candidates for the remaining two. 

Name Raised Donors Average
pccchalterfield 9962 $162,415.15 $16.30
supportbillhalter 3133 $75,381.52 $24.06
2010pccc 2600 $76,133.15 $29.28
orangetoblue2010 2157 $141,581.63 $65.63
halterpoll 1990 $35,380.55 $17.77
critzdccc 1546 $92,915.19 $60.10
nelsonwallstreet 1151 $16,559.49 $14.38
graysonforweiner 1092 $37,286.29 $34.14
weinercdthc06242010 1059 $24,623.60 $23.25
blueamerica10 894 $65,119.96 $72.84

Monthly Stats Report, June 2010

Coming Soon: End of Quarter post for Q2/Q6 (depending on how you count). But first! Our monthly stats report for activity on ActBlue during the month of June.

Number of contributions 37,778
Total raised $4,178,381.23
Average contribution size $110.60
Committees receiving money 1,397
Fundraising pages receiving money 1,207
Pages created 822

 

As the last month of the federal fundraising quarter and the last month for mid-year fundraising reports in some states, June is an active month. That said, it’s also influenced by the usual fundraising downturn that occurs in the summertime. The total amount raised was slightly higher than May 2010, while the number of candidates & committees receiving ActBlue checks increased along with the total number of personal fundraising pages created and donated to.

Below is the comparison for June 2010 to June 2008.

June 2008 June 2010 Change
Contributions 32,412 37,778 17%
Volume ($) $7,970,202 $4,178,381 -48%
Mean Donation $245.90 $110.60 -55%
Committees 1,054 1,397 33%
Pages Created 942 822 -13%
Pages w/ Money 873 1,207 38%

 

NOTE: The major skew in these numbers comes from presidential fundraising. If you remove that from the totals, total volume is only down less than 4% from 2 years ago and the mean donation size is more in line with what we’ve seen in 2010. In any case, the number of Democratic committees fundraising through ActBlue was up by a third in a non-presidential year even as the number of fundraising pages created leveled off for the first time this year.

Next is our chart of the Top 10 Campaigns for June 2010 (by donors).

Name Race Donors Raised
Bill Halter AR-Sen, 2010 7317 $193,092.94
PCCC Organization 3571 $30,115.82
Ann McLane Kuster NH-02, 2010 2328 $21,887.09
Alan Grayson FL-08, 2010 2309 $56,919.52
David Segal RI-01, 2010 2252 $37,499.84
Anthony Weiner NY-09, 2010 2224 $49,557.92
Bill Hedrick CA-44, 2010 2202 $26,735.63
Joe Sestak PA-Sen, 2010 1287 $332,911.12
Democracy for America Organization 874 $7,657.35
Deval Patrick MA-Gov, 2010 588 $113,589.60

 

More analysis and explanation regarding the individual committees will be included in our quarterly stats report.

 

Name Donors Raised Average
pccchalterfield 3065 $49,335.58 $16.09
2010pccc 2075 $59,192.73 $28.52
graysonforweiner 1092 $37,286.29 $34.14
weinercdthc06242010 1059 $24,623.60 $23.25
halterpoll 1001 $19,624.55 $19.60
supportbillhalter 669 $14,306.52 $21.38
orangetoblue2010 541 $33,331.18 $61.61
supportelaine 421 $11,481.80 $27.27
pccc_main 387 $6,203.51 $16.02
whentheylie2 314 $9,838.00 $31.33

 

The most successful fundraising by donors (which anyone can create) was one created by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in the final days of AR-Sen candidate Bill Halter’s campaign. It contained an embedded video message, specific asks, and expressed urgency- all components of a successful fundraising ask. Another of the PCCC’s successful pages which raised the most money included suggested amounts, video, and images and allowed the PCCC to raise money for itself, 3 of their endorsed federal candidates, and another PAC. ActBlue allows fundraisers to mix and match candidates, committees, and jurisdictions so donors can split their contribution to multiple causes while we make sure no one every donates more than the legal maximum. Other successful techniques included fundraising asks for other candidates by incumbents, use of goal based thermometers, branded fundraising pages, and previews of TV ads that donors can help fund.   

Create an ActBlue account today and you too can start making effective fundraising pages like these!

ActBlue Q4 2009 Stats: Totals, Candidates, & Fundraisers

Welcome to the third installment of ActBlue data disclosure, 2009 edition!

Last week we presented a big picture overview of what 2009 looked like as well as how it compared to 2007, the most comparable year we have data for at ActBlue. These reviews highlighted our growth in donors, in donations, in recipients campaigns & committees, as well as personal grassroots fundraising efforts.

Since we are in the midst of a period of federal campaign finance reporting, it’s time for us to reveal some more information specific to the fourth quarter of 2009. We will begin with some of the Q4 2009 categorical totals.

 

Number of contributions 86,158
Total raised $10,021,907.33
Average contribution size $116.32
Distinct committees receiving money 1,420
Distinct fundraising pages receiving money 1,540
Fundraising pages created 1,602

 

Now let’s look at the top 10 recipient campaigns & committees of 2009’s 4th quarter, ranked by number of donors. Topping the list are two progressive pugilists, Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-08) and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Below them, the list diversifies, including a ballot committee (No On 1), the FireDogLake Action PAC, and a grab bag of federal candidates spanning the spectrum of the Democratic Party from Bernie Sanders to Bill Owens. It’s a glimpse of the breadth that makes ActBlue unique. 

Name Type Donors Raised
PCCC — Progressive Change Campaign Committee Organization 15,474 $407,439.22
Alan Grayson FL-08, 2010 11,362 $393,433.04
No on 1 / Protect Maine Equality Ballot Prop 8,517 $570,957.55
FDL Action PAC PAC 5,024 $156,099.32
Bill Owens NY-23, 2010 2,891 $335,112.52
Democracy for America Organization 2,593 $75,347.89
Joe Sestak PA-Sen, 2010 1,551 $242,836.66
John Kerry MA-Sen, 2014 1,237 $82,166.67
Bernie Sanders VT-Sen, 2012 996 $25,604.41
Deval Patrick MA-Gov, 2010 890 $292,582.50

If we change our ranking criteria to the top 10 recipient campaigns & committees by number of dollars we get the following table:

Name Type $ Raised
No on 1 / Protect Maine Equality Ballot Prop $570,957.55
Progressive Change Campaign Committee Organization $407,439.22
Alan Grayson FL-08, 2010 $393,433.04
Bill Owens NY-23, 2010 $335,112.52
Steve Pagliuca MA-Sen, 2010 $303,640.00
Massachusetts Democratic Party State Party $295,510.00
Deval Patrick MA-Gov, 2010 $292,582.50
Joe Sestak PA-Sen, 2010 $242,836.66
House Senate Victory Fund Committee $224,301.00
Cal Cunningham NC-Sen, 2010 $182,726.51

Beyond recipients, we like to look at successful fundraising pages. Unlike general recipient data, fundraising pages make a specific ask, and provide more information about which asks gained traction during Q4. Below, we’ve listed the top ten fundraising pages in Q4 by number of donors. Click on the name to be redirected to the page itself.

While these pages were the most successful, they are just a small sampling of the more than a thousand successful fundraising pages
created in the last quarter of the year for candidates and causes big
and small. To learn more and start creating your own personal
fundraising page for a Democratic cause or candidate, click here.

Name Donors Raised Average
congressmanwithguts 4822 $171,425.00 $35.55
allaboutjoe 3685 $76,478.66 $20.75
noon1 3177 $123,179.11 $38.77
reconciliation 2631 $84,788.83 $32.22
liebermanaccountable 2032 $48,550.34 $23.89
pressurelandrieu 1882 $57,858.11 $30.74
harryreidad 1669 $58,935.30 $35.31
obamafight 1422 $48,487.26 $34.09
noon1redalert 1382 $76,031.97 $55.01
obamapromise 1316 $26,913.37 $20.45

Preaching the (Act)Blues

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.