Small-dollar donors, instrumental in fueling Democratic campaigns to victory last year, made their voices heard by contributing over $1.1 billion to the causes that matter most to them. The relentless Republican attacks on reproductive freedom and access to abortion were top among those motivating causes. Donors took action to protect abortion rights and prevent Republicans from enacting further abortion bans and restrictions in states.
Democrats across the country secured massive victories in 2023, like winning back the General Assembly in Virginia, enshrining abortion rights in Ohio, and reelecting Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear in a state Trump won by over 20 points in 2020. As we look ahead to 2024, with advocates in nearly a dozen states fighting to put abortion referendums on this year’s ballot and the threat of a federal abortion ban with Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, these insights from 2023 shed light on how protecting access to abortion and reproductive healthcare is motivating small-dollar donors to support Democratic candidates and progressive causes.
Top Line Numbers
Total Dollars Raised: $1,125,936,151
Total Contributions: 29,298,580
Average Contribution Size: $38.43
Unique Donors: 3,510,090
Total Dollars Raised – Recurring: $193,963,661.40
Total Recurring Contributions: 11,752,212
Abortion was top of mind for small-dollar donors – they are utilizing recurring contributions, a critical tool used by donors to automatically contribute monthly or weekly, to sustainably fuel abortion access fights. The battle against Republican-sponsored abortion bans and restrictions never stops, and recurring contributions allow groups to plan ahead and maximize their impact. Of the 100 entities on our platform that raised at least $50,000 and whose donors gave the highest percentage of their total fundraising through recurring contributions, nearly one-third were abortion funds or reproductive rights organizations.
Small-dollar donors are paying close attention to abortion access on the state level, and making their frustration with the Republican Party’s anti-abortion policies clear.
In the days after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban into law, abortion funds in Florida saw a massive spike in donations. April 18th, just four days after the bill was signed, was the single largest fundraising day for abortion funds in Florida in 2023.
As Republicans in Ohio worked tirelessly to uphold the state’s six-week abortion ban, one of the most restrictive in the country, the Democratic-led coalition fought to protect abortion access and won – voters approved Issue 1, a constitutional amendment to protect abortion and reproductive rights by a wide margin. In 2023, donors gave abortion groups in Ohio more than $2.1 million, helping secure a massive victory for millions of Ohioans.
Donors contributed nearly $3 million through one Tandem Fundraising form that benefits nearly 100 abortion funds, providing crucial healthcare to people across the country.
A contribution form created by the National Network of Abortion Funds, which splits donations between 96 abortion funds was the second most successful form on the ActBlue platform in 2023. Donors gave $2.8 million to support abortion funds across the country through this one form. The National Network of Abortion Funds is a vital lifeline for people seeking access to reproductive healthcare nationwide. Abortion funds, following a spike in donations shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned, continue to rely heavily on small-dollar donors to sustain their work.
In Virginia, Democrats ran on abortion rights — and donors responded — giving more than they ever have before in the process and helping Democrats win back the General Assembly.
When comparing Virginia fundraising in 2023 to 2019, the last comparable election year in the closely followed off-year election state, donors gave more to Democratic candidates and the groups that support candidates, both in terms of total dollars raised and the number of individuals who chose to contribute. The message was clear: Democrats won by putting abortion on the ballot in Virginia, and small-dollar donors showed up for the causes that matter most to them.
As they centered their campaigns on protecting access to abortion, Democratic candidates and causes raised $44.6 million through ActBlue in 2023, compared to $30.2 million in 2019, an increase of 47.5 percent. Similarly, 262k Americans donated at least once to a candidate in Virginia through ActBlue in 2023, a 56.8 percent increase year over year.
Nearly a quarter of donors who live in Virginia were first-time donors, showing how enthusiasm for Democratic candidates committed to defending reproductive rights is expanding our coalition.
Nearly 25,000 people donated through ActBlue for the first time, representing 21.2 percent of all Virginia donors in 2023.
From supporting efforts to enshrine abortion rights in a state constitution and expanding and defending state-level Democratic leadership to block the further erosion of reproductive rights, to supporting federal candidates who would fight to restore national abortion protections, donors made their voices heard last year. It’s clear that abortion is a motivating issue for the grassroots community, and it’s likely to be a key issue up and down the ballot and in states across the country during this year’s election.