July ’18 Recap

The summer of small-dollar donors continued in July as folks across the country ramped up their organizing for the midterms. Grassroots donors on ActBlue raised $83,743,916 for 7,229 candidates, organizations, and nonprofits — $50 million more than was raised in July 2016 during a presidential year! This is especially impressive because giving typically slows during the summer. Small-dollar donors are clearly more motivated than ever, and all of their energy last month led to an incredible milestone on August 1: $1 BILLION raised by small-dollar donors using ActBlue so far in the 2018 election cycle! For comparison, $781 million was raised on ActBlue over the entire 2016 presidential election cycle.

A big reason why we were able to reach this milestone is all of the new donors who are excited to get Democrats elected to Congress in November and make change in their communities. 59.3% of all people who have given on ActBlue since January 1, 2017 are first-time givers. We took a closer look and found that 77.6% of new donors this election cycle who have given twice or more have an average contribution size of $35 or less! People are truly embracing small-dollar donations as a way to fight back and make their voices heard, just in time for the midterms.

new-repeat-donors-by-avg-donation-size

Check out all of the highlights from July below.

Topline Numbers

July ’14 July ‘16 July ‘18
Contributions 692,478 1,005,855 2,083,356
Total Amount $20,300,081 $33,281,979 $83,743,916
Average Contribution Size $29.31 $33.08 $40.20
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
2,175 3,002 7,229

Grassroots donors made 2,083,356 contributions in July, more than double what was made in July 2016! The number of groups using our tools also more than doubled from 2016. Nearly half of the groups using our tools last month were state-level campaigns, which is incredibly exciting. State legislatures have passed some of the most conservative policies at the state level and are in control of redistricting for Congress, making it essential for Democrats to win back state houses in November if we want to make long-term change.

Many folks were moved to give when Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court at 9 p.m. ET on July 9. We saw contributions more than double in the hours after the announcement. Online grassroots donations give people a positive way to channel their frustrations and combat feelings of helplessness in situations like this.

contributions-by-hour-july-ninth

ActBlue Express

July ‘14 July ‘16 July ‘18
New ActBlue Express Users 75,753 60,391 117,781
% of Total Volume via ActBlue Express 57.1% 60.6% 61.5%
% of Contributions via ActBlue Express 61.4% 66.4% 64.4%

The ActBlue Express universe of donors continues to grow as more people realize the power of small-dollar donations and want to give multiple times. 117,781 people signed up for ActBlue Express in July, and 64.4% of all contributions came from ActBlue Express users!

Mobile

July ‘14 July ‘16 July ‘18
% of Contributions via Mobile 28.5% 38.2% 45.2%
% Mobile for ActBlue Express 30.7% 41.0% 45.2%

45.2% of all contributions in July were made on mobile, up from 38.2% in 2016. Fundraising programs that don’t prioritize mobile giving will miss out on a lot of money. That’s why all ActBlue contribution forms are automatically optimized for mobile. Donors can give just as easily from their phone at the beach as they can from their laptop in the air conditioning.

Recurring Contributions

July ‘14 July ‘16 July ‘18
Total Recurring Volume $2,811,282 $9,131,642 $18,038,185
% of Total Volume 13.1% 27.4% 21.5%

Monthly donations allow campaigns to plan for the future. Democrats are in a strong position going into the fall as recurring donations totaled $18,038,185 on ActBlue in July, nearly double the recurring volume in 2016. That’s a whole lot of money for knocking on doors and get-out-the-vote efforts!

Customer Service

July ‘18
Total Incoming Calls 10,681
Email Conversations 32,728

Grassroots donors are donating at unprecedented rates and making it possible for Democrats to get their message in front of more voters ahead of November. With only 89 days until Election Day, this participation and energy is really making a blue wave possible and laying a foundation for long-term change. If you have questions about this post or want help fundraising, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com!

Q2 2018: Primaries, protests, and people power

In a quarter filled with exhilarating highs and devastating lows for our democracy, small-dollar donors were the one constant we could count on. Not only did donors break fundraising records on ActBlue once again (more on that later), hundreds of thousands of people were moved to give for the first time this quarter. Many were activated by the Trump administration’s horrific separation of families at the border, as well as the new opportunity to vote for primary candidates who looked like them and embraced small-dollar donors over super PAC money.

This increased participation is reflected in our latest cycle-to-date numbers: Small-dollar donors have now raised over $900 million this election cycle and are on track to hit $1 billion this summer! Additionally, the number of unique groups using our fundraising tools this cycle is nearly double the number that used us in the entire 2016 election cycle! Grassroots donors are truly uniting behind Democratic candidates and successfully leveling a playing field traditionally stacked by conservative mega-donors.
Cycle-to-Cycle Comparison

Dollar Volume Raised on ActBlue Cycle-to-Date

Small-dollar donors aren’t just breaking cycle records — this was also the biggest quarter ever on ActBlue in terms of dollar volume ($210,747,320), and it includes our biggest dollar day ever (June 30 — $9,373,597). On top of all of that, we also officially crossed 5 million ActBlue Express users! Keep reading to see everything grassroots donors achieved this quarter.

Q2 Topline Numbers

With so many brand-new grassroots donors getting off the sidelines and jumping in to help more candidates and organizations than ever before, we once again broke the record for the number of unique groups using our tools in a single quarter: 9,070 campaigns and organizations. Q2 was also our second-biggest quarter ever for number of contributions. Small-dollar donors gave 5,177,216 contributions, nearly matching the current record of 5,615,070 from Q1 2016, which was in the midst of a heated presidential primary! This is yet another example of the participation and activism we’re seeing build as we near November.

Many of the new donors in Q2 were motivated to give to charities fighting for parents and children who were separated at the border. When the crisis began, activists and elected officials used our Tandem Fundraising feature to build contribution forms that listed multiple nonprofits advocating for families so that folks could support all of their work with a single click. Over 380,000 people gave their first contribution through ActBlue this quarter, and 51.3% of those folks gave that donation through one of these forms.

Donors Who Gave Their First Contribution on ActBlue via a Border Crisis Tandem Form

ActBlue Express

Q2 ‘14 Q2 ‘16 Q2 ‘18
New ActBlue Express Users 137,998 231,463 280,319
% of Total Volume via ActBlue Express 53.5% 62.3% 58.3%
% of Contributions via ActBlue Express 58.7% 70.1% 62.2%

With ActBlue Express, donors can save their payment information and give to any campaign or organization using ActBlue with a single click. In Q2, 62.2% of all contributions came from ActBlue Express, and 280,319 folks created ActBlue Express accounts. We officially hit 5 million ActBlue Express users on June 30 during the end-of-quarter rush — only a year and a day after hitting 4 million users in 2017!

ActBlue Express Growth

Mobile

Q2 ‘14 Q2 ‘16 Q2 ‘18
% of Contributions via Mobile 23.7% 39.8% 43.0%
% Mobile for ActBlue Express 26.2% 43.1% 43.1%

Recurring Contributions

Q2 ‘14 Q2 ‘16 Q2 ‘18
Total Recurring Volume $3,914,199 $25,403,318 $41,456,595
% of Total Volume 8.2% 19.2% 19.7%

Recurring contributions sustain campaigns that have to make it from primary season to November and enable the nonprofits fighting for families at the border to support the affected children and parents for months to come. This quarter, recurring contributions made up 19.7% of total sitewide volume.

Customer Service

Q2 ‘18
Total Incoming Calls 28,015
Email Conversations 77,004

Q2 made it more clear than ever before that we are living in a new age of American activism that is being powered by small-dollar donors. From protesting to voting to donating, the left put in an incredible amount of organizing that will set us up for victory this fall. And with months still to go until Election Day, we know this movement will only continue to expand! If you want to fundraise for your favorite campaign or cause, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com!

May ’18 Recap

With a calendar chock-full of primary elections, May was an especially busy month for the campaigns and organizers working to win in November. Small-dollar donors never faltered, raising $63,464,089 for a new monthly record of 7,255 Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits on ActBlue. The primary season excitement was so strong that grassroots donors also surpassed the total amount of money raised on ActBlue in the entire 2016 election cycle! From January 2015 through December 2016, small-dollar donors on ActBlue raised $781 million. By midnight on May 31, 2018, they had raised $821,113,155 for the 2018 cycle! And the busiest months are still to come.
Volume By Cycle

Check out all of the highlights from May below.

Topline Numbers

May ’14 May ‘16 May ‘18
Contributions 353,017 1,290,028 1,473,522
Total Amount $14,231,783 $41,870,555 $63,464,089
Average Contribution Size $40.31 $32.45 $43.04
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
2,053 2,785 7,255

Grassroots donors made 1,473,522 contributions on ActBlue in May to support a record-breaking 7,255 unique groups. These are first-time candidates for office, advocacy groups working to protect immigrant rights, and nonprofits fighting for gun control, just to name a few.

We took a closer look at the composition of these groups and found that two-thirds of the campaigns and organizations that were raising money on ActBlue in May raised their first dollar on our platform during the 2018 cycle. From choosing to run for office so they can enact long-term change themselves to creating organizations that will far outlast the Trump administration, more and more people are continuing to join the resistance. And what’s even more exciting is that they are recognizing the power of small-dollar donors!
May Groups By Year

ActBlue Express

May ‘14 May ‘16 May ‘18
New ActBlue Express Users 38,130 58,448 71,224
% of Total Volume via ActBlue Express 52.5% 62.0% 58.3%
% of Contributions via ActBlue Express 59.0% 69.8% 63.6%

With ActBlue Express, donors can securely save their payment information with us so that in the future they can give to any campaign or organization that uses our platform with a single click. We added 71,224 ActBlue Express users in May, which means we’re now less than 200,000 users away from 5 million!

Mobile

May ‘14 May ‘16 May ‘18
% of Contributions via Mobile 22.7% 38.6% 42.4%
% Mobile for ActBlue Express 25.0% 41.8% 42.7%

Mobile contributions continue to make up nearly half of all contributions on ActBlue. Once candidates make it out of primary season and go up against Republicans backed by mega-donors, it will be even more important for campaigns to prioritize mobile giving so grassroots supporters can easily give whenever they want (or whenever a big story breaks).

Recurring Contributions

May ‘14 May ‘16 May ‘18
Total Recurring Volume $1,158,374 $8,491,082 $12,962,347
% of Total Volume 8.1% 20.3% 20.4%

Recurring contributions made up 20.4% of the total volume on ActBlue in May. These donations helped sustain primary campaigns during get-out-the-vote efforts and will be crucial to powering a blue wave in November.

Customer Service

May ‘18
Total Incoming Calls 8,982
Email Conversations 25,938

The small-dollar donor movement was stronger than ever in May as concerned citizens and new activists showed they have no problem keeping up with the unprecedented number of candidates and contested races we’re seeing now. Our people power is only going to increase the closer we get to Election Day, and we can’t wait to see what other records grassroots donors set by November! If you have questions about this blog post or want help fundraising for your favorite candidate or cause, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.

Email Testing: What works (and what doesn’t) when deciding on fundraising ask amounts?

We’ve always used the ActBlue blog as a place to report back on our work and let everyone who’s part of the larger ActBlue community know about the huge impact their organizing work and their donations have on the progressive movement. Primarily, that means sharing stats and insights into the donations that run through our platform. But as a nonprofit, we also put a lot of resources into running our own email fundraising program, just like so many of the groups using ActBlue to fundraise. And we use our tools to do it!

During this election season, which is already proving to be busier than ever, we want to provide everyone using ActBlue with as much info and data to help guide your strategies as possible. That’s why we’re sharing two tests on the way we generate ask amounts for our ActBlue fundraising emails (and why we plan to keep sharing relevant test results throughout this year). If you have questions or thoughts on these tests, feel free to comment on this post. We hope this gets the gears turning in terms of some new tests for the other fundraising programs out there!


For our email fundraising, we have been re-evaluating how we use a donor’s previous contribution history to tailor the ask amounts we use in emails. We use ActBlue Express Lane for all of our fundraising emails, which allows ActBlue Express users to give simply by clicking a button in an email. Over the years, we’ve optimized the number of ask amounts we include in an email, as well as considered the range and distribution of the amounts we include.

 

express_box

 

We’ve also tested different sets of ask amounts for donors who tend to give different amounts. For example, the buttons for a donor who tends to give $30 once a year will be tailored to that amount and different than those a donor who regularly gives us $3 contributions will see.

To determine those asks, we typically look at our donors’ previous contribution history and use their highest previous contribution amount (HPC) to determine which set of ask amounts to use. If a donor’s HPC was below $25, they would be grouped into a segment of donors that would see the first set of buttons (top) in the image below, whereas if their HPC was between $25 and $50, they would be in the group of donors that saw the middle set of ask amounts.

ask_amounts

 

We fine-tuned these default ask amounts for each group of HPC amounts over many email tests until we saw the gains in our conversion rates plateau. This made us wonder if the conversion rate we had reached based on testing HPC amounts was the highest rate we could achieve, or whether we could reach a higher peak by starting with a different premise. With about six months left in the election cycle, we’ve been focused on maximizing recurring sign-ups rather than one-time contributions, so we started to think about alternatives to HPC that were better tailored towards action rates and recurring signups.

First we tested average previous contributions (APC) for donors who have given more than one contribution. Our hypothesis was that a donor would be more likely to take action when given ask amounts tailored towards the average of their previous contributions rather than their highest contribution amount. We tested this hypothesis by splitting our donors and assigning half of them ask amounts based on their HPC and half based on their APC. We used the same ask amounts we typically use with both of these newly sorted groups. For our list, this proved to be an effective method — we increased the action rate by 20% and the total amount raised by over 4%. We successfully raised more money by getting more contributors to give smaller amounts!

The increase in our action rate indicates our ask amounts based on HPC may have been too high. Donors may be inspired by your ask but not always able to match their own highest contribution. By lowering our ask amounts, we kept more donors engaged and decreased the likelihood they would be alienated by receiving ask amounts greater than their ability or willingness to contribute, while still raising more overall.

From this experiment, we’ve continued to build on our results. We are now working on optimizing ask amounts based on our donors’ APC amount and also tested ask amounts based on the type of contribution a donor has given previously. After all, if your goal is to maximize recurring signups, why ask for the highest previous contribution when that is likely to reflect a one-time contribution rather than a recurring amount? It’s also in line with what we know about small-dollar online giving — people want to give when they’re moved to support your cause, and that is often at a lower level multiple times throughout a cycle. That’s a useful lesson for smaller campaigns and organizations who don’t have the list size to run an involved test like this.

To improve recurring signups, we designed a test that was a bit more complex. We took all of our donors and first split them into three groups: those who had only given one kind of contribution (one-off or recurring) and those who had given both kinds of contributions. We then took the group of donors who had given both kinds of contributions and split them in two again: half were assigned ask amounts based on their HPC and half received amounts based on their highest previous recurring contribution (HPR).

ask_amounts_2

 

The impact? We raised nearly twice as much from donors in the HPR group than those in the HPC group. We found that donors were far more likely to give recurring contributions with ask amounts tailored specifically to their recurring contribution amounts.

The results of these tests reinforced a few things: First, how critical it is to question our basic assumptions about email practices to continue to build on our results. And second, how important it is to think about the kind of program you want to build. Do you really want to maximize a person’s donation once? Or are you more worried about building a robust, sustainable recurring program? Is your campaign in the news a lot, and therefore do you have lots of opportunities to engage people who have already donated? All these factors should play into how you think about your ask amounts.

If you’re an admin at a campaign or organization, you can conduct these tests too! We recommend starting by setting up a webhook to collect and analyze more information on your group’s contribution history. If you’re running a smaller campaign and building your list, you may not have enough data yet to test based on your donors’ contribution history. If that’s the case, we recommend using our Smart Recurring tool to ask one-time donors to add a smaller recurring contribution. This will help you build a robust, small-dollar program and provide more insight into how your donors respond to different ask amounts!

If you have any thoughts or questions about setting up a test like this, please reach out to stern@actblue.com!

April ’18 Recap

The small-dollar donor movement reached new heights in April as more folks used grassroots donations to fight back against the GOP on multiple fronts. Over the course of the month, donors supported a record-breaking 7,056 campaigns and organizations on ActBlue. These are groups working across the country on a wide variety of progressive issues and people running for all levels of office to create positive change in their communities. This is the first time we’ve had over 7,000 groups use our tools in one month, and it’s even more exciting because our total for all of 2017 was 7,892 groups!

But that’s not all: Grassroots donors raised $55,885,812 on ActBlue in April, which brings our current total for the 2018 election cycle to $758 million. We’re far ahead of the $746 million raised through Election Day in the 2016 election cycle and only slightly behind the $782 million raised over the entire 2016 cycle! This meteoric rise in grassroots engagement means Democrats running for office this year have an unprecedented amount of early support and are building campaigns that can compete with GOP super PACs and corporate funders for the next six months.

Check out all of the highlights from April below:

Topline Numbers

April ’14 April ‘16 April ‘18
Contributions 321,471 1,630,135 1,453,311
Total Amount $12,262,546 $49,313,584 $55,885,812
Average Contribution Size $38.15 $30.25 $38.45
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,999 2,641 7,056

Small-dollar donors made 1,453,311 contributions on ActBlue in April. They supported an extraordinary number of groups using our platform, from folks running for office for the first time to environmental advocacy groups and nonprofits celebrating Earth Day. In the chart below, you can see the steady rise in campaigns and organizations using ActBlue over the course of this election cycle.

2018 Election Cycle: Total Groups Using ActBlue Each Month

When these groups begin to use ActBlue, they get access to our ever-expanding ActBlue Express universe: A group of nearly 5 million small-dollar donors who have saved their payment information with us so they can give to any group on our platform with a single click.

Total ActBlue Express Users

Mobile

April ‘14 April ‘16 April ‘18
% of Contributions via Mobile 22.1% 41.1% 42.1%
% Mobile for ActBlue Express 24.6% 44.3% 42.3%

42.1% of all contributions in April were made via mobile. If you’re a digital fundraiser, it’s crucial to think about how your program works on mobile so you don’t miss out on nearly half of all potential contributions. ActBlue contribution forms are automatically optimized for mobile so that supporters can give to their favorite candidates and causes even if they’re not in front of a computer screen.

Recurring Contributions

April ‘14 April ‘16 April ‘18
Total Recurring Volume $1,027,926 $9,032,556 $12,580,106
% of Total Volume 8.4% 18.3% 22.5%

Recurring contributions made up 22.5% of total volume in April. Grassroots donors are committing to Democrats and progressive groups for the long haul. Recurring donations will sustain Dems running against Republicans bankrolled by mega-donors and help advocacy groups and nonprofits budget and plan for the future.

Customer Service

April ‘18
Total Incoming Calls 9,927
Email Conversations 25,359

If Q1 wasn’t convincing enough, April has made it clear that small-dollar donors are ready to power a formidable blue wave this year. We’re so excited by all of this energy and engagement, and we’re ready to help activists, concerned citizens, candidates, and organizers reach more victories. If you want to start raising money for a cause or campaign online, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.

Q1 2018: A record number of records

Since Trump’s election, small-dollar donors have been fired up and actively engaged in trying to change our country’s future. We’ve reported back every quarter on how grassroots supporters have been besting past election cycles and breaking records, but this past quarter was truly astounding. Thanks to small-dollar donors, Q1 2018 was our biggest quarter ever (beating out every quarter of the 2016 election!), with a total of $180,737,948 raised. Additionally, we’ve already raised $702,744,083 in the 2017-2018 cycle and will be hitting $750 million in a matter of weeks. For comparison, our total for the entire 2015-2016 cycle was $746 million.

There were also a record-breaking number of campaigns and organizations raising on ActBlue in Q1 2018 — 7,838 in total. And there have now been over 10,000 groups who have raised money through our platform during the 2017-2018 election cycle, another sign of how truly massive the resistance movement has become. Below, you can see the extraordinary growth in groups using our tools during this cycle. This is an increasingly diverse set of groups that includes national advocacy organizations and local nonprofits in addition to campaigns of all sizes. That means supporters will have plenty of places to direct their energy after election season ends. We’re experiencing a historic moment in the small-dollar donor movement, and it’s not even a presidential election cycle!

Please note that Y1 on this graph refers to the first year of the election cycle, and Y2 refers to the second.

Total Groups Fundraising on ActBlue

Grassroots donors also propelled us to another milestone this quarter: On January 4, we officially hit $2 billion raised in the lifetime of our platform. We only hit the $1 billion mark in March 2016, in the midst of a spirited presidential primary. An unparalleled amount of organizing from concerned citizens and activists helped us double that in just under two years!

Check out all of the highlights from Q1 and new cycle-to-date comparisons below:

Topline Numbers

Q1 ’14 Q1 ‘16 Q1 ‘18
Contributions 897,884 5,558,959 4,659,660
Total Amount $36,955,658 $164,307,042 $180,737,948
Average Contribution Size $41.16 $29.56 $38.79
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
2,478 2,981 7,838

Small-dollar donors made 4,659,660 contributions on ActBlue this quarter, and they had many reasons to give. In addition to some special elections and the start of primary season, folks were fired up about government shutdowns, the ongoing fight for DACA, and organizing for gun control.

We got to our record total of $181 million raised this quarter thanks to remarkably consistent daily totals. In Q1, there were a record-setting 38 days when candidates and organizations raised more than $2 million — including every weekday in March! In the chart below, you can see how steady donations were, especially during the work week.

Daily Totals on ActBlue in Q1 of 2018

Cycle Comparisons

Q1 ’13 through Q1 ’14 Q1 ’15 through Q1 ’16 Q1 ’17 through Q1 ’18
Contributions 3,440,238 12,027,805 21,797,423
Total Amount $128,589,673 $370,657,131 $702,744,083
Average Contribution Size $37.37 $30.81 $32.23
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
3,638 4,402 10,295

There’s so much unprecedented grassroots engagement right now that we decided to compare the 2018 election cycle so far to the same timeframe in past cycles. Across all metrics, it’s clear that Democrats have more grassroots support going into this election year than ever before.

In the graph below, we break down fundraising totals on ActBlue for these election cycles by quarter. With so many small-dollar donations coming so early in the 2018 cycle, Democrats will be able to keep up with Republicans bankrolled by mega-donors right up to Election Day.

Amount Raised on ActBlue by Quarter

ActBlue Express

Q1 ’14 Q1 ’16 Q1 ’18
New ActBlue Express users 79,155 771,193 290,744

In January we officially hit 4.5 million ActBlue Express users, and by the end of March we had over 4.7 million! 290,744 people saved their payment information with us this quarter and can now give to anyone on our platform with a single click. In a real show of commitment, 43.4 percent of the ActBlue Express donors who gave in Q1 made more than one contribution, and 38.7 percent gave to more than one group! We’re looking forward to hitting 5 million ActBlue Express users next quarter, in time for the heat of election season.

Mobile

Q1 ‘14 Q1 ‘16 Q1 ‘18
% of Contributions via Mobile 20.2% 40.3% 42.7%
% Mobile for ActBlue Express 23.3% 43.8% 42.0%

Recurring Contributions

Q1 ‘14 Q1 ‘16 Q1 ‘18
Total Recurring Volume $2,523,315 $25,639,162 $36,080,458
% of Total Volume 6.8% 15.6% 20.0%

Twenty percent of Q1’s total volume came from recurring contributions. Now that we’re only seven months away from Election Day, recurring contributions are more important than ever for Democrats running for office. When donors chip in monthly contributions, campaigns can budget ahead of time for ads, events, GOTV efforts, and more so they’re not out of cash at crunch time.

Customer Service

Q1 ‘18
Total Incoming Calls 33,239
Email Conversations 74,544

We added six (!!) new customer service experts to our team this quarter. With a record number of first-timers running for office and new folks supporting them as grassroots donors, we want to make sure we can answer any and all questions.

This quarter, small-dollar donors set Democrats up for success. We know the midterms won’t be easy, but with so many records already being crushed, the left has the energy and the resources to win in November. If you want to get your campaign on ActBlue (it’s never too late!) or need help fundraising for your favorite cause, or if you have questions about this post, contact us at info@actblue.com.

February ’18 Recap

February was the last month before primary season kicked off, and small-dollar donors took that to heart: They helped Democratic campaigns and other groups on the left raise $59,511,643 using ActBlue. That total beats the previous ActBlue record for February from 2016 by over $1 million. Additionally, the number of unique groups using our tools hit a new high once again: 6,039 candidates, advocacy organizations, and nonprofits! These records are even more impressive because February 2016 was part of a presidential cycle and was also one day longer than last month because it was part of a leap year!

Check out all of the highlights from February below:

Topline Numbers

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
Contributions 259,151 1,891,244 1,606,011
Total Amount $10,480,394 $58,444,595 $59,511,643
Average Contribution Size $40.44 $30.90 $37.06
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,684 2,153 6,039

Last month, grassroots donors made 1,606,011 contributions and raised almost fifty million more dollars than in February of the last midterm election year (2014) — that’s a huge increase in engagement over four short years!

Not only are more donors becoming engaged, more folks are jumping into the ring and running people-powered campaigns. We’re only two months into 2018, and over 1,000 candidates have raised their first dollar for a new (and in most cases, first) campaign. At the end of February in 2014 and 2016, there were fewer than 375 candidates who were raising for a new campaign on ActBlue.

Candidates Raising Their First Dollar By Election Year

ActBlue Express

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
New ActBlue Express Users 21,698 289,445 115,471
% of Total Volume via ActBlue Express 44.8% 67.2% 57%
% of Contributions via ActBlue Express 54.4% 71% 62.6%

115,471 new users signed up for ActBlue Express last month and can now give to any group that uses ActBlue with a single click. February 2018 is only the tenth month in ActBlue history to have over 100,000 people sign up for ActBlue Express, and it’s the second-biggest month in this cycle (only January 2017 is bigger)!

Mobile

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
% of Contributions via Mobile 19.1% 38.9% 43.0%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.3% 41.6% 42.7%

All ActBlue contribution forms are automatically mobile-optimized so small-dollar donors can quickly and easily give on their phones or tablets. Last month, 43% of all donations on ActBlue were made via mobile. As primary season begins in earnest, it’s more important than ever for campaigns to be mobile-friendly so they don’t miss out on contributions.

We’ve consistently found that contrary to popular belief, supporters in older age cohorts donate more on mobile than younger supporters. This trend continued across the site in February, as 50% of supporters in the 35-44 age group gave on mobile, the highest rate of any cohort. The 45-54 and 55-64 age groups also beat out the 25-34 cohort, and over one-third of supporters 65 and up gave on mobile.

February Mobile Giving Rates By Age Cohort

Recurring

February ’14 February ’16 February ’18
Total Recurring Volume $829,068 $8,647,566 $12,052,025
% of Total Volume 7.9% 14.8% 20.3%

When supporters make a recurring contribution, they enable that candidate or organization to build a roadmap to Election Day. 20.3% of February’s total volume came from recurring contributions, up an impressive 5.5% from February 2016. Now that it’s an election year, recurring donations will play a huge role powering Democrats to victory up and down the ballot.

Because it was a short month, we had to process the recurring contributions that typically run on the 29th, 30th, and 31st on the 28th. That meant 43.9% of our entire volume for February 28th was recurring! Our tech team is always strengthening our platform so it can handle spikes in volume like this, which you can clearly see in the chart below.

Percent Recurring Volume On ActBlue

Customer Service

February ’18
Total Incoming Calls 10,426
Email Conversations 26,736

We know that more folks are going to chip in as this election year ramps up, so we’re adding more experts to our Customer Service Team. They’re available 24/7 so donors can always get the answers and help they need.

Small-dollar donors are gearing up for a potentially historic election year. If they continue to outpace totals from the 2016 cycle, there’s no limit to what this movement can achieve in November! If you want to fundraise for your favorite campaign or cause, or if you have questions about this post, contact us at info@actblue.com.

January ’18 Recap

It’s officially a midterm election year, and small-dollar donors are hitting the ground running. In January, they raised $45,885,947 for Democrats standing up to Republicans and organizations on the left. A record-setting 5,404 groups used our tools, and those campaigns and organizations are laying the groundwork for more victories in 2018. Additionally, we hit 4.5 million ActBlue Express users in January. This is a huge — and continuously growing — pool of grassroots donors across the country who have saved their payment information with us so they can give to groups on ActBlue with a single click.

All of this money and engagement produced another record: we printed more checks to send to campaigns and organizations than in any other month! Our three-person Political Operations Team sent nearly 13,000 checks over the course of the month. That’s almost two and a half times the number of checks we sent in January 2017.

Check out all the highlights from January below:

Topline Numbers

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
Contributions 223,156 1,213,461 1,334,297
Total Amount $7,975,991 $33,741,624 $45,885,947
Avg. Contribution Size $35.70 $27.56 $34.36
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,603 1,936 5,404

Grassroots donors gave 1,334,297 contributions to campaigns, organizations, and nonprofits in January. That’s over 100,000 more contributions than we saw in January 2016, which kicked off a presidential election year. The total dollar amount raised also increased by a whopping 36% from January 2016. Concerned citizens and activists are doubling down on the midterms.

Amount Raised in January by Year

We’re also seeing impressive growth in the number of groups using our tools every month. January 2018 was the biggest month for new entities signing up to use our tools since 2012: nearly 1,200 campaigns and organizations submitted account setup requests.

Many of the new groups were state and local candidates, including 42 in Michigan, 20 in West Virginia, 24 in North Carolina, and 20 in Texas. Democrats are building robust down-ticket benches across the country.

New State and Local Candidates Signed Up in January

Express

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
New Express Users 18,764 171,614 80,861
% of Total Volume via Express 47.6% 66.5% 59.8%
% of Contributions via Express 55.2% 70.6% 64.0%

More than 80,000 folks signed up for ActBlue Express in January, pushing the total number of ActBlue Express users over 4.5 million. About two-thirds of all contributions last month came from ActBlue Express users, and as the midterms and important state and local elections approach, this feature will ensure supporters can give to their favorite campaigns and causes without a second thought.

ActBlue Express Growth

Mobile

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
% of Contributions via Mobile 19.2% 37.4% 42.6%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.0% 40.2% 42.9%

Our contribution forms are automatically mobile-optimized so that campaigns and organizations can reach supporters at all times and on any device. In January, 42.6% of all contributions on ActBlue were made via mobile. Mobile giving is only going to continue growing, so everyone — from candidates for school board to national advocacy organizations — needs to make mobile a core part of their fundraising strategy or risk missing out on contributions.

Recurring

January ’14 January ’16 January ’18
Total Recurring Volume $739,220 $7,437,024 $11,428,202
% of Total Volume 9.3% 22.0% 24.9%

Recurring contributions made up 24.9% of total volume in January. As we prepare for the extremely consequential midterms, recurring contributions will make it possible for Democrats from coast to coast to compete with the GOP’s mega-donors right up to Election Day.

Customer Service

January ’18
Total Incoming Calls 10,653
Email Conversations 24,510

Grassroots donors threw down the gauntlet in January. While the Koch brothers and other big spenders think their millions will protect Republicans this fall, we know that our people power has a bigger impact. If you want help fundraising for your favorite candidate or want to set up an ActBlue account for your organization, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.

November ’17 Recap

We continued to see incredible growth this November. More groups used our tools than ever before, and small-dollar donors raised 2.7 times more money than in November 2015. Some of this growth even outpaced historical patterns: Supporters raised more money in November than they did in October for the first time since 2011.

Folks had many reasons to be motivated, from the major Democratic gains in state and local elections on November 7 to the special Senate election in Alabama this week. The month also ended with one of the biggest fundraising days of the year: Giving Tuesday, the charitable response to Black Friday.

Check out all the highlights from November below:

Topline Numbers

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
Contributions 194,232 628,036 1,362,751
Total Amount $7,575,727 $18,109,714 $49,174,649
Avg. Contribution Size $39.00 $28.84 $36.08
Unique campaigns, committees,
and organizations
1,484 1,841 4,771

A record-breaking 4,771 campaigns and organizations raised money on our platform last month. A lot of this growth came from the unprecedented number of people choosing to run for office.
Additionally, small-dollar donors made nearly 100,000 more contributions in November than they did in October 2017, even though October benefitted from final Election Day pushes.

On Giving Tuesday, we saw clear spikes in contributions at certain hours. The chart below shows the number of new contributions to both 501(c)3s and 501(c)4s on the big day by hour (Eastern Standard Time). Donations started off early at 7 a.m. and spiked at 3 p.m., but the busiest hours by far were after the end of the traditional working day. There was a massive bump at 7 p.m. and another at 11 p.m. as supporters tried to get their donations in before the deadline.

Giving Tuesday New Contributions By Hour

Express

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
New Express Users 14,862 51,862 58,367
% of Total Volume via Express 41.6% 60.2% 53.4%
% of Contributions via Express 52.9% 68.6% 59.4%

Mobile

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile 18.4% 32.1% 40.7%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
21.5% 35.0% 41.2%

Our automatically mobile-optimized contribution forms help empower grassroots donors during big moments. When a candidate or organization launches a rapid response campaign, mobile-optimized forms allow donors to give quickly, no matter what device they’re using. With 40.7% of all contributions made via mobile last month, groups that aren’t thinking with a mobile-first mindset will miss out on a huge number of contributions, especially during breaking news.

Recurring

November ’13 November ’15 November ’17
Total Recurring Volume $621,341 $5,569,388 $10,519,004
% of Total Volume 8.2% 30.8% 21.4%

This November, 21.4% of all contributions were recurring. As we’re not even a full year into Trump’s presidency, recurring donations are more important than ever so that the groups opposing his policies have the funds they need to stay in the fight.

Customer Service

November ’17
Total Incoming Calls 8,020
Email Conversations 22,088

Our Customer Service team received over 22,000 emails in November — that’s more emails than there are people in Concord, Massachusetts, where the Revolutionary War started!

December is already proving to be busy, with important fights over government spending, DACA recipients, and children’s health care. And nonprofits are in the thick of their busiest season of the year. We expect to be busy right through New Year’s Eve. If you want help perfecting your end-of-year fundraising strategy or planning for next year, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com.

October ’17 Recap

Small-dollar donors worked tirelessly on a wide swath of issues this October. Folks prepared for the 2018 midterms, quickly rallied for victims of the devastating wildfires in Napa Valley, and made a hugely successful pre-Election Day push. By the time October ended, candidates, organizations, and nonprofits using our tools had raised $47,600,346 from more than 1.2 million contributions. Additionally, an impressive 4,736 unique groups used our tools, including more local and state candidates than usual.

The hard work that state and local campaigns put in paid off. Democrats won races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, made huge gains in the House of Delegates in Virginia, and helped elect groundbreaking candidates like the first woman mayor of New Hampshire’s biggest city and the first transgender woman in Virginia’s state house. There were many more victories around the country that would not have been possible without widespread grassroots energy.

Check out all the highlights for October below:

Topline Numbers

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
Contributions 289,613 667,502 1,263,181
Total Amount $10,289,128 $21,740,256 $47,600,346
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,574 1,937 4,736

Last month small-dollar donors made nearly one million more contributions than in October 2013 and more than doubled the total dollar amount raised via our platform compared to October 2015. It’s a real sign of strength to see so much money go to Democratic candidates and progressive organizations in a non-presidential election cycle.

People all over the country are also facing the GOP head-on by choosing to run for office, and small-dollar donors are stepping up to support them. The number of candidates for local, state, and federal offices using our platform all more than doubled from October 2015 to this year. There were 567 candidates for local office; 1,171 state candidates; and 791 federal candidates raising money via our platform this October.

Number of Candidates Raising by Jurisdiction in October

Donors really see their contributions as an act of resistance. When Ted Cruz compared ActBlue’s platform to the Koch brothers in a televised debate with Bernie Sanders in October, our supporters were quick to correct him on Twitter. They made it clear that they use our tools to stand up to the GOP’s mega-donors by giving to grassroots campaigns.

This event was a great reminder that there’s no limit to the number of ways we can elevate the voices of small-dollar donors. In the chart below, you can see the jump in organic online engagement on Twitter the day of the debate. We even featured some of our favorite tweets from our community in a blog post. If you want to keep up with future breaking news events, you can follow us on Twitter @actblue!

Twitter Engagement

Mobile

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile  19.1% 31.6% 40.7%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
22.4% 34.3% 41.2%

 

With 40.7% of all contributions and 41.2% of ActBlue Express contributions coming from mobile, October showed us the continued importance of mobile optimization. That’s why ActBlue’s contribution forms are automatically mobile-optimized. It’s vital that donors are able to easily give on whatever device they prefer to use.

Over the past three Octobers, we’ve seen that many donors will only give via mobile. If campaigns and organizations don’t have mobile-first mindsets, they won’t be able to reach all of those supporters. And we only expect the percentage of donors giving via mobile to increase over time.

How Repeat Donors Gave In October By Year

Recurring

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
Total Recurring Volume  $611,951 $5,684,019 $9,728,299
% of Total Volume 5.9% 26.1% 20.4%

Recurring donations were worth almost $10 million in October and accounted for more than 20% of our total volume. These monthly and weekly contributions give campaigns and organizations a sense of stability by enabling them to plan ahead. That’s why we built an integration with Account Updater that automatically updates expired or replaced credit cards used for recurring contributions, ensuring donations are not interrupted and make it to the campaigns and causes small-dollar donors support. This feature has proven to be increasingly important as hacks of credit card companies and similar organizations become more frequent.

This October, Account Updater saved a significant number of recurring contributions. On average, 13.3% of recurring contributions were updated each day. On the last day of the month, when a large volume of recurring contributions were processed, we peaked at 21.8% updated. These numbers are huge — we typically only update 1% of recurring contributions per month. Overall, 14.1% of all recurring contributions were updated in October, benefiting 2,740 groups. That means Account Updater saved donations for 57.8% of all unique campaigns and organizations on our platform!

Daily Total Saved in October Through Automatically Updated Credit Cards

Express

October ’13 October ’15 October ’17
New Express Users 29,355 79,784 62,044
% of Total Volume via Express 44.8% 61.0% 54.4%
% of Contributions via Express 54.3% 68.5% 62.5%

Customer Service

October ’17
Total Incoming Calls  7,188
Email Conversations  21,782

With such a strong October to kick off Q4, Democratic candidates and progressive organizations are heading into 2018 on a high note. We expect even more small-dollar donor power to be on display on Giving Tuesday as nonprofits head into their busiest giving season of the year. If you’d like help planning your end-of-year giving as an individual donor or as an organization, or if you have any questions about this post, get in touch with us at info@actblue.com!