In the early 2000s, grassroots donors were an untapped superpower for campaigns. With more than 13.6 billion dollars fundraised through ActBlue, small-dollar donors have proven they’re a critical force for change and essential to a campaign’s fundraising success. As ActBlue celebrates our 20th anniversary, we wouldn’t have been able to reach this momentous milestone without their drive to build people-powered change!

Let’s look at what we’ve accomplished together in the past twenty years.

2004: Start of something blue

Our founders noticed in their work that campaign fundraising wasn’t built with everyone in mind. They wanted to see if they could leverage the power of the internet to democratize the least democratic part of the political process. That’s when they created ActBlue, a platform designed specifically for small-dollar donors and grassroots supporters. The new platform helped highly engaged activists channel their frustration into action during the Bush presidency.

2008: Big changes, bigger wins

As the years went on, we needed to continue to adapt to donors’ and campaigns’ fundraising goals. So, in 2008, we introduced ActBlue Express. With this breakthrough feature, donors could save their payment information, and contributions were now as easy as the click of a button. That meant that as more supporters and campaigns jumped on board, the platform would get stronger for everyone in the Democratic space. That year, small-dollar donors gave $21 million on ActBlue–six times what they raised in the 2006 cycle.  

2011: Activism moves down-ballot

Workers in Wisconsin gathered at the state capitol building to protest Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10 bill that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for public employees. As Wisconsinites organized to recall Walker, people all over the country were watching and donating in support of the organizers’ efforts. This was one of the first mass mobilizations using ActBlue at the state level. It showcased the true power of small-dollar donors and opened the doors to more state-level campaigns that adopted online fundraising.

March 2016: First billion dollars raised for democratic campaigns and progressive causes

Twelve years after we started, small-dollar donors raised one billion dollars on ActBlue and ensured their favorite campaigns and causes were set up for success. Small-dollar donors had become a powerful force in their own right, able to propel candidates to win elections. These donors also acted as a balancing force to dark money that billionaires had started pouring into politics after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. 

2017: Fundraising as Resistance

After Trump was elected, people across the country looked for a tangible way to take action, and small-dollar fundraising accelerated. Grassroots supporters from every corner of the country mobilized in response to the GOP attempting (and failing) to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017.  They used ActBlue’s Tandem Fundraising forms to split contributions between the eventual Democratic nominees who would go up against the Republicans who had voted to take away their healthcare. Then, in 2018, small-dollar donors came out in full force to take back the House and ushered in a historically diverse blue wave that fall.

2020: Small-dollar donors raise their voices during a historic year

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, campaigns, organizations, and causes faced an unprecedented environment. Despite that, during this historic year, small-dollar donors came together to support racial justice movements, a fair Supreme Court, and to elect Democrats to the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives. No matter where they are, small-dollar donors are ready to activate with ActBlue!

2022: ActBlue hits 10 billion dollars raised and is a crucial part of any campaign looking to mobilize grassroots donors.

And in 2024, we’re not slowing down!

We are focused on the critical election on the horizon and looking forward to the future of ActBlue. Activism and political engagement have changed significantly over the 20 years we’ve been around, and we will continue to adapt, innovate, and meet the moment to help Democrats win.

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