October ’13: T-12 Months til Election Day


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.


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

4 Comments for “October ’13: T-12 Months til Election Day”

Eric Mandelbaum


Once I get to your blog, I can’t find the way to get to home, or your other pages. I think it must be me, but I seem to be stuck. Sorry to bother you with this

Eric Mandelbaum


Oops… Comments on the blog… Uh, it’s great! Inspiring, really. It seems that everything you do, you do so well!


Recently the nation observed Veterans Day, and like most Vets, it was a day of reflection of my Army career and the dear friends I have lost over my 20 years of active duty service, and those whose lives have been shorted by the rigors and wounds of war. It also was a time of tremendous disgust when I think of those who stand among us that profess to love the military, vets, their constituents, and North Carolina and their actions say nothing but the opposite. I’m referring to Jason Thigpen and Walter Jones. These two men stand before us and tell us how much they love this country, how much they respect and love military families and the people of North Carolina with their hollow words, while their actions say an entirely different thing.

Friends, haven’t we had enough of that? Haven’t we had enough of this type of treatment from our elected officials? I know I’m tired of people like the fence jumping Tea Party members standing up and saying how much they love the country on one hand and then vote to shut down the Government on the other. This action which hurts the men and women of our military, those men and women that support and work on the bases, the neighbors that depend on military bases for their businesses and livelihoods and the people whom retired from the military that depend on the bases for food, healthcare and more. Their Constituents! It’s not only the the Tea Party fence jumpers doing these things, it’s also Walter Jones, another Fence Jumper!

While Walter Jones has enjoyed over 20 years as the Republican Congressman from NC-03, what can anyone (including Walter Jones) actually point to and say that Walter Jones has really done for the 3rd District? While Walter enjoys the support from Democrats whom supported his father many years ago, and while he panders to certain people in North Carolina and the 3rd District, what has he done for the district as a whole? Interesting….Well he gave us “Freedom Fries” and not much else. He has voted lock step with the GOP on everything! How can real Democrats support this guy? His father, a staunch Democrat may not agree with what he’s done, or should we be more accurate, what he hasn’t done for the 3rd District in the last 20+ years.

My friends, there is a new choice this time. One who can stand face to face with you and provide faithful and loyal service to the 3rd District. A REAL DEMOCRAT, NOT A FENCE JUMPER!. His name is Marshall Adame. Marshall is a lifelong Democrat, a neighbor, a retired Marine, one of us. Marshall is a genuine person, that loves his family, his country, North Carolina and the 3rd District. He’s live there for more than 35 years. He’s raised his children and grandchildren there.

I urge the Democrats and Independents in the 3rd District and Democrats and Independents from North Carolina to go to Marshall’s website at http://www.Marshall4Congress.com and donate. He needs your financial help! Time is running out for the Democrats in the 3rd District to take back their piece of North Carolina. Don’t let the GOP or the Tea Party take anymore from you than they already have. Please support Marshall Adame for Congress in 2014.

Roger Bell


I’m very glad that ActBlue is doing good, and presumably doing well. How can I determine that AB is getting what I consider to be a fair return (“tip”) for their “gift” of technology to these campaigns?

I ask this because I believe that our system of money and compensation for service is skewed in favor of those receiving money from large numbers of people. It’s hard to know if the one receiving has enough and we can ease up on the tip and redirect to our chief aim – the campaigns. I want AB to have enough to treat all employees and founders fairly, even well. But we have enough millionaires already. Am I helping to create another internet millionaire or billionaire while contributing to political campaigns? Or, how do we know we’re not over tipping? If AB gets 10% of current contributions of $10 million, that’s a million. How much did it cost to produce and wield this tool and how much “tipping’ is required, and for how long, to fairly compensate the folks who operate and manage the contributions machinery?

Will the ActBlue technology eventually become something like a political party itself?

Glad to tip as soon as I know more about the complete financial picture of ActBlue! In the meantime, please accept my monetary contributions to the cause with my sincere thanks to ActBlue.

Roger Bell