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!

Q3 2017: Unprecedented engagement across the board

2017 has been a huge year for fundraising on the left as more Americans make fighting back against Trump and the GOP part of their daily lives. We knew there was a lot of momentum going into Q3 but wondered if the summer would slow anyone down. The numbers show the resistance is still going strong. We helped raise $108,108,700 for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits doing hurricane relief work — nearly double what we helped raise during the same period in the 2016 election cycle — from 3,178,688 contributions.

Organizations large and small worked tirelessly to respond to Trump’s DACA repeal and congressional Republicans’ attempts to replace the ACA, and an historic number of folks decided to run for office. All of this work was powered by small-dollar donors giving to the causes and candidates they believe in. As a result, a record-breaking 5,225 groups raised money on ActBlue in Q3 — more than ever before in our history.

This surge of activity helped break another record. By the end of Q3, campaigns and organizations using our tools had raised over $350 million since the beginning of the calendar year, despite the fact that midterms are still more than a year away. The only other time we’ve handled $350 million in an election cycle was in the most recent election. We hit that mark in March 2016, 13 months into a very active presidential race. Donors are participating at unprecedented levels, and candidates are laying the groundwork they need to run strong campaigns up and down the ticket in 2018 and beyond.

Topline Numbers

Q3 ’13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
Contributions 637,923 1,785,889 3,178,688
Total amount $23,154,693 $57,200,756 $108,108,700
Unique campaigns, committees,
and organizations
1,826 2,259 5,225

The number of unique groups using our platform more than doubled from Q3 2015 and even increased by 21.7% from Q2 of this year. Specifically, more candidates are jumping into the ring earlier than ever before and focusing on raising money from small-dollar donors to fuel their campaigns. We’ve seen growth at all levels of office this quarter:

There were 658 local candidates and committees raising money on our platform in Q3, which is 4.6 times higher than Q3 in 2013 and more than double our Q3 2015 total. Our team has been busy clearing local jurisdictions so that more candidates for offices like city council and school board can run people-powered campaigns and make a difference in their communities right now.
1,026 candidates for governor, state house, and state senate used our tools this quarter. That’s nearly double the amount of candidates compared to this time in 2015.
A total of 804 candidates for federal House and Senate seats were raising money from small-dollar donors in Q3, three times as many as in the last two election cycles.

And progress isn’t limited to elections: 293 (c)4 advocacy organizations raised money this quarter. The following graph shows just how many more groups were raising in Q3 than at the same point in the last few election cycles.

Daily Running Total of Campaigns, Committees, and Organizations Using ActBlue

This trajectory shows us that people are extremely engaged, and at ActBlue we’re working hard to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. Our integration with Account Updater, which we offer at no additional cost, is one of those tools. If a donor has a recurring contribution on ActBlue and loses their card or their credit card company issues them a new one, this feature updates their card information automatically.

September was a particularly good month for Account Updater, with 17.4% of recurring contributions being updated with a new card. (For comparison, we usually update around 1% of recurring contributions per month.) Updates in September alone ensured that $859,466 worth of small-dollar contributions made it to the campaigns and organizations donors wanted to support, at no extra cost to those groups or donors. In the graph below, you can see the total amount of money saved by Account Updater since we started using the integration.

Cumulative Total Saved Through Automatically Updated Credit Cards

Major Moments

Q3 was full of difficult days for our nation. From natural disasters to crises created by Trump and the GOP, small-dollar donors channeled their sorrow and disgust into action. The graph below shows our daily fundraising totals for the quarter, along with the biggest news stories of the last three months.

The biggest days of the quarter were the end of each month and the end-of-quarter deadline, which are traditionally the most important fundraising days of the year. But the health care fight in July also led to an uptick in support, as did the hurricanes that hit at the end of August and September. Supporters who had previously given via ActBlue forms were able to quickly give to disaster relief organizations on AB Charities through Tandem forms, which allow donors to split one contribution between several groups. We saw a steady bump in traffic in the days following those natural disasters as more and more news came out about relief efforts. Overall, 31,448 small-dollar donors gave to charities through Tandem forms and 274 charities raised money on AB Charities in Q3.

ActBlue Q3 Daily Fundraising

ActBlue Express

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
Total ActBlue Express users 644,425 1,740,943 4,199,621
New ActBlue Express users 63,481 266,885 189,331
Total ActBlue Express dollars $10,200,369 $34,240,878 $64,516,271
% of total contributions via ActBlue Express users 51.9% 66.4% 66.3%

Making giving as frictionless as possible is crucial to the success of fundraising campaigns. ActBlue Express enables more than 4 million small-dollar donors to give to any group on our platform with a single click, and its importance is reflected in this quarter’s numbers. ActBlue Express users raised $64,516,271 in Q3, almost double their haul in 2015. There were also 189,331 donors who signed up for ActBlue Express this quarter.

Recurring Contributions

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
% of total contributions via recurring 13.4% 43.5% 46.3%
Total recurring dollars $1,554,307 $13,715,929 $24,984,209

Recurring contributions help campaigns and organizations plan for the long haul. This quarter, 46.3% of total contributions came from recurring donations. After the devastating hurricane season, we were heartened to see people ask for recurring donations to support relief efforts. Donors often want to give in those moments, and a recurring ask can create a more sustainable recovery effort.

Mobile

Q3 ‘13 Q3 ‘15 Q3 ‘17
% of contributions via mobile 14.4% 30.4% 41.0%
% of contributions via mobile for
ActBlue Express users
17.6% 33.1% 42.4%

41% of all contributions this quarter were made via mobile, and because ActBlue Express donors can easily give on any device, 42.4% of ActBlue Express contributions were mobile as well. Additionally, 5.4% of all mobile contributions were made via Apple Pay (70,490 contributions in total). It’s clear that anyone doing digital organizing today needs to be using a mobile-first mindset. With a president who likes to govern by tweet, mobile optimization is more important than ever.

Q3 was a true success thanks to the emerging deep bench of Democratic candidates and passionate organizers around the country. We’re thrilled to help so many people-powered movements fundraise online. And we expect Q4 to bring even more small-dollar donors into the fold, with campaigns continuing to build for 2018, state elections in Virginia in November, and Giving Tuesday just a few weeks later. If you have any questions about our tools or need advice on how to use them, contact us at info@actblue.com.

August ’17 Recap

Small-dollar donors didn’t take a summer vacation from the resistance. Instead, they doubled down on grassroots fundraising for timely causes and future elections — literally. The total money donors gave using ActBlue’s tools in August 2017 was more than double the total we handled in August of the last election cycle.

Even more exciting, more campaigns, committees, and organizations used our tools last month than in any other month in our history, with over 4,000 groups raising money in August.

To top it all off, as of August 28th we’ve already helped candidates and organizations raise over $300 million for this election cycle. This is the first time that’s ever happened in an off-year! It took 663 days to pass $300 million in the 2014 cycle; 426 days in the 2016 cycle; and only 240 days this cycle!

Check out all the highlights for August below:

Topline Numbers

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
Contributions 155,517 526,028 1,019,563
Total Amount $5,818,391 $15,370,889 $32,205,903
Avg. Contribution Size $37.41 $29.22 $31.59
Unique Campaigns, Committees,
and Organizations
1,305 1,632 4,021

Candidates and organizations raised over $32 million in August from over one million contributions. The number of contributions nearly doubled from August 2015 to this year, but the metric we’re most inspired by is the breadth of candidates and organizations using ActBlue’s tools compared to past years. Now more than ever, Americans are organizing for a brighter future.

This was especially apparent when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana at the end of the month. Candidates and organizations around the country jumped into action to support the relief efforts before the storm even ended. Elected officials from Massachusetts to California, progressive organizations, and nonprofits asked their supporters and friends to contribute to slates of local nonprofits in the affected areas by using Tandem Fundraising. This ActBlue feature lets donors split a single contribution among several groups, like humane societies, diaper banks, and community foundations.

We were excited to see how easy Tandem Fundraising made giving during the crisis. Our Outreach Team quickly connected with organizations responding to the storm and helped 32 charities raise their first dollar ever on ActBlue through Tandem forms. The surge in Tandem donations can be seen in the graph below. Additionally, four of the five highest-grossing contribution forms across ActBlue for the last week of August were Tandem forms supporting local nonprofits doing Harvey relief work.

Proportion of ActBlue Charities Raising on Tandem Forms
 

ActBlue Express

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
New ActBlue Express Users 13,026 74,798 60,618
% of Total Volume
via ActBlue Express Users
45% 59.8% 60.7%
% of Contributions
via ActBlue Express Users
 53.0% 65.9% 66.5%

It was a big month for ActBlue Express. Over 60,000 new users signed up for the time-saving feature, which allows donors to give to any campaign or organization with a single click. Almost two-thirds of all contributions sitewide were made by ActBlue Express users last month, showing how important the tool is to donors and organizations alike.

Going deeper into our data, we found that 65.6% of all new donors in August became ActBlue Express users, the highest percentage since January (67.3%). This conversion is very encouraging because summer months are typically slower than politically charged moments like the inauguration.

New ActBlue Express Sign-Ups in August 2017 by Day
 

Mobile

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
% of Contributions via Mobile  9.4% 29.8% 41.0%
% Mobile for
ActBlue Express Users
12.6% 32.4% 42.1%

Recurring

August ’13 August ’15 August ’17
Total Recurring Volume  $502,669  $4,557,742  $8,095,870
% of Total Volume  8.6%  29.7%  25.1%

We processed more than $8 million in recurring donations in August. When donors make recurring contributions, they enable campaigns and organizations to plan for the long haul. People who signed up for a recurring contribution in August to help hurricane relief will be supporting that crucial work for months to come, even when the headlines have moved on.

Customer Service

August ’17
Total Incoming Calls 6,167
Email Conversations 19,151

Our Customer Service Team handled an average of 198 calls per day last month. Their dedication is one of the many reasons why so many new groups continue to sign up to use our tools.

It might be hard to believe, but we’re officially more than halfway through Trump’s first year in office. The good news is that small-dollar donors and the organizations and campaigns they believe in are not slowing down. We can’t wait to see what they achieve with all of their hard work by the end of this quarter. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments about our August recap, you can reach a member of our team at info@actblue.com.