At ActBlue, we believe grassroots fundraising is essential to democratizing power. Small-dollar donors make it possible for more people to run for office, even without a wealthy network behind them, and help make nonprofits more sustainable. Plus, candidates of all types can use grassroots fundraising to run winning campaigns! That’s why we build easy-to-use digital fundraising tools that empower small-dollar donors and meet them where they’re at. But often, these tools are not enough on their own: It’s on us to make sure that these tools are accessible and that people have all of the knowledge and strategies they need to build the strongest people-powered programs possible.
That’s why we send staff members across the country to empower campaigns and organizations to engage with small-dollar donors! And this fall, we were able to refine our strategy and up the ante on our training program, thanks to our first-ever Training Director, Ruby! With new worksheets and presentations in tow, dozens of team members have completed 23 trainings since August 2019. In that time, we’ve trained over 350 staffers, organizers, volunteers, and nonprofit professionals on how to use our tools to grow grassroots movements all across the country.
Why train people on digital fundraising tools in person? In trainings, we can come out from behind the screen and build real connections through hands-on activities, practice sessions, and one-on-one conversations with the folks who are laying the groundwork to transform our democracy. We understand that digital fundraising can be unfamiliar and intimidating to many people, but it’s a lot less scary when you can ask questions in person and learn from other organizers working through the same challenges. These in-person opportunities are particularly important as we see more and more first-time candidates and brand-new organizations using ActBlue!
It’s so exciting to be in the room when someone has an “aha moment” — you can see it in their face when they learn something new or connect a dot that will make their lives easier. Whether it’s when attendees write their first fundraising email or when they figure out how A/B testing can help their email program be more successful, every training has these moments. These moments are why we work every day to build new partnerships and create inclusive curriculums that bring as many people into the small-dollar donor movement as possible.
So where have we been so far this year? Many of our trainings are for new candidates, volunteers, nonprofit professionals, and other folks who are at the beginning stages of their campaign or digital fundraising program and are looking to learn as much as possible. Back in August, we traveled to Phoenix to talk small-dollar donors with Progressive Change Campaign Committee candidates.
That month, we also talked to a cohort of future Democratic campaign leaders at New American Leaders’ Ready to Win training about the digital fundraising strategies they need in order to run strong people-powered campaigns.
In September, we traveled to Arena Academy in Houston to talk to aspiring campaign staffers about one of our favorite topics: email fundraising! (Spoiler alert: Email is how the vast majority of grassroots money is raised online! It is an incredibly effective way to tell compelling stories and engage with your small-dollar donors.)
And recently, our nonprofit experts flew to Chicago to talk about how every group can benefit from a robust grassroots fundraising program at Upswell 2019, a gathering for the nonprofit and social enterprise world.
When we’re not traveling, we often host webinars with partners and publish other online resources here and on our support site! Our webinars focus on best practices for starting or expanding a digital fundraising program that has diverse and robust community support. If you’re interested in participating in a future webinar or training, check for updates on our Twitter or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Everything our training experts do, whether it be online or in person, is focused on empowering the folks on the ground to build digital fundraising programs that center small-dollar donors. We travel the country to make sure our tools are as accessible to as many people as possible, and we’re not planning on slowing down in 2020: Look out for our team members as we partner for more trainings, travel to even more cities and towns, and launch a new webinar program in the upcoming year!