Make an impression with strategic social share settings

A fundraising campaign doesn’t end once a supporter makes a donation: It’s important to set up a really great action for donors to take after they’ve given! Chipping in makes folks more connected to a cause, so they’re eager to spread the word by posting about their donations on Twitter and Facebook. Make the most of this energy by creating custom social share settings that show up whenever a link to your contribution form is posted online!

Custom social share settings will make the donors sharing your forms feel like a part of your movement and will help make your brand more recognizable. While your own social media presence is crucial to your success, you have an opportunity to reach an even wider community when your small-dollar donors post about your work. And donors don’t just help you reach a wider audience — they often share their personal connection to the cause, which helps move others to action! Getting your social share perfect isn’t always easy, so here are some tips on how to get the most out of your social share.

First, check out how to use ActBlue’s tools to customize the images, titles, and descriptions for your Twitter and Facebook social shares here (including how to make reusable and default settings!). Once you’re familiar with the basics of social share settings, think critically about your goals. Beyond getting the word out to new audiences about why your mission matters and giving supporters an action to take after donating, you are promoting your professional brand. Your social share is a representation of your campaign or organization that will be seen by many. Your image and text should reflect your values and goals, while empowering people to join you.

1. Keep in mind who your audience is on each of these platforms. Are you targeting the same supporters on both networks? For example, according to Sprout Social, more women than men use Facebook, whereas men and women use Twitter equally. While Facebook is generally used by people of all ages, Twitter is generally used by a younger audience, with 40% of users ranging from 18-29 years old. Once you have an idea of the audiences you might be reaching on each platform, it’s easier to craft your message.

2. Just as Twitter and Facebook’s audiences are different, so are the dimensions for images and graphics. Check this handy guide to ensure that you are uploading the correct size! Make sure the graphic you choose to include is as compelling and thoughtful as your message. Think carefully about whether or not you want the graphic to depict an image, text, a donation button, or a combination of all three. What is most important is that your image reflects your brand. Using the same colors, fonts, logos, and images as your form branding is a great way to build your brand and create continuity across platforms. You can use our easy template to make a simple, professional graphic that matches the rest of your online presence.

3. Keep the custom titles and descriptions for your social shares short, so they don’t get cut off! You can check to see how your text (and graphics) will look on Twitter using this resource and on Facebook using this resource. Always remember to use inclusive language that builds authentic, horizontal relationships with your supporters — this can be as simple as writing “We can win, but only if we do it together” instead of “We have the solution, and we need you to help.”

4. Twitter is all about keeping things short and sweet. Keep your custom tweet text to 71-100 characters for the most retweets. You only have a couple seconds to make an impression while potential supporters are scrolling through their feed. Using action-oriented language that motivates and empowers readers is a great way to engage with people whose values align with yours. Instead of explaining why people should care about your mission, explain why they should act!

5. There are additional best practices to keep in mind when posting links to contribution forms from your own accounts! You can explicitly ask supporters to retweet a post from your Twitter account that features your social share for an increase in retweets. For peak engagement on Facebook posts, you can use up to 100-119 characters. While 19 more characters than a tweet may not seem like a lot, it can add up and allow you to squeeze in a few more words about why it is crucial to make a donation now. And no matter where you’re posting, a call to action is critical in motivating those who come across your social share.

There is no one way to create a compelling social share — just make sure you energize potential supporters and share what makes your campaign or organization worth their donation! If you are looking for more social media strategies for your campaign or organization, there are many different resources to help you hone your message and create a strong social media presence. Sprout Social has a guide for political campaigns looking to improve their digital skills. TechSoup has nine tips for nonprofit organizations that are trying to get a better handle on the growing world of online fundraising.

Your supporters feel a personal connection to the cause when they donate. Giving them an opportunity to share their contribution on social media is just another way to empower and uplift the voices of small-dollar donors, so take a minute and customize your social share today!

The automation on ActBlue giving your fundraising a boost

Every campaign and organization on ActBlue has access to powerful automated tools. Our mission has always been to make fundraising incredibly easy for grassroots groups and the donors who support them, and automation plays a huge role in taking care of the small stuff so you can focus on the hard work of organizing, winning, and building strong movements. Automation can help you cultivate closer relationships with your supporters and raise more money, and with just a little extra customization, you can make these automated functions work even harder for you! Because our team of engineers is constantly focused on finding ways to make your fundraising better (and your life easier), we’ve made sure automation is baked into our platform. Check out the automation that’s giving your fundraising a boost on ActBlue and how you can take it to the next level.

Email Receipts + Thank You Messages

We automatically send email receipts to donors who give to you through our platform. These automated receipts let you recognize and value every single one of your donors!

How to level up: You can celebrate your donors even more by customizing the text in these automated receipts with a heartfelt thank you. Customized email receipts leave supporters with a meaningful message about the key role of small-dollar donors in your work and motivate your supporter base to stay in this movement with you. While you’re here, add a custom branding to your receipt to match your campaign or organization. You can use ActBlue’s easy design tools to spiff up your receipts with your logo (and a background color if you’re feeling artistic!).

Customized Receipt Example

Remarketing

Sometimes people navigate away from a form before completing their donation and need a nudge to finish it. Our remarketing feature encourages supporters to finish their incomplete contributions by automatically sending a follow-up email thirty minutes after an unfinished donation. Remarketing, a common and impactful feature in e-commerce, increases conversion rates and lets you get the most out of each and every ask!

How to level up: Customize your remarketing email text to remind supporters one last time why it’s so important for them to give to you and finish filling out the contribution form right now. (If you’ve used a branding on your email receipts, it will carry over to remarketing emails!)

Pop-up Recurring and Smart Recurring

Building a healthy recurring program sustains your work for the long term, and our pop-up recurring feature on our forms helps you get started. Pop-up recurring asks people who make a one-time donation to you if they’d like to turn that one-time donation into a monthly one. This feature is automatically on for all of our forms because it’s an easy way for groups on ActBlue to begin growing their recurring contributions. While pop-up recurring is turned on by default, groups can also turn on our Smart Recurring feature to automatically ask donors who make a one-time contribution to start an additional and smaller recurring donation to your campaign.

How to level up: We have default language for these pop-ups, but it makes all the difference for you to add your own title and ask. Whether pop-up recurring or Smart Recurring, this is a great opportunity for you to explain in your own voice how important recurring donations are for you. Even better? You can add an image or GIF to the pop-up to really make an impression. Another great strategy is letting donors know you’re sending a sticker to people who sign up to be monthly sustainers of your work!

PopUp Example 1

PopUp Example 1

Account Updater

After doing the hard work of growing your recurring program, you don’t want old and lost credit cards to be the reason you lose donations. We launched an integration with Account Updater in late 2016 that automatically updates lost and expired credit cards used for recurring contributions, saving you and your donors time and effort. It’s a really impactful integration that benefits all campaigns and organizations, so we make sure it comes standard for every single group on our platform (no extra charge!).

Account Updater Graph

These automated features are already running on our platform to give campaigns and organizations the fundraising advantage they need to build people-powered movements. When fundraising’s stressful for you, our goal is taking care of the technology so your digital work is easier and more successful. Curious to know more or need some help customizing these features? You can reach out to us at support@actblue.com.

The easiest design guide for high-impact form brandings!

You may have heard: We completely upgraded how brandings are created and edited on ActBlue! No matter your digital skills or design background, you can make gorgeous brandings right in the form editor. But with far more creative freedom and customization options comes far more power. You may need some time to get familiar with every corner of our new and improved branding editor, so we’ve compiled digestible design tips to help you get your footing and tackle form brandings with confidence.

Below are some design principles for creating beautiful brandings that drive donors to give. After the design principles we’ve included templates for successful brandings. To skip ahead to the templates, use these links:

Design 101: What to keep your eyes on

Before you begin tinkering around with the branding editor, it’s helpful to know the basics of good design. Design isn’t just about how something looks: Just like the language you use to move supporters to give, design is a big communication tool that can empower small-dollar donors. The goal of your form is to encourage donations, so your design choices should be intentional about making it easy for supporters to give (despite the temptation to let your inner Picasso run wild). When creating your form branding, keep in mind the following design principles so that your design matches your messaging and moves people to click the donate button.

Composition

  • Composition describes how all the different elements of your design work together as a whole. We mean it when we say less is more for understanding your branding’s composition. Strive to include only the most important design elements that encourage donations and keep your form clean and easy to read.

  • White space is your friend! White space is the unmarked space of your composition. It gives each element breathing room so your form doesn’t appear too cluttered!

Color

  • If you already have brand colors, your form is the perfect place to flaunt them! If you’re just choosing them, you can find inspiration in colors associated with your organization’s cause or your campaign’s hometown. (If you need a starting block for choosing colors, this free online color tool generates color schemes.)

  • You don’t need the whole rainbow to make your form stand out. First stick with a few of your brand’s most important colors. When using multiple colors together, there’s a helpful 60-30-10 design rule that recommends you combine colors in the proportion of 60%–30%–10%. (The biggest section goes to the dominant color, 30% goes to a secondary color, and 10% goes to an accent color.) Don’t fret about the math too much, though — the point is to be mindful of how multiple colors work together in harmony! You can explore other tips on color in this article.

  • Remember your supporters: Color can detract from your form’s accessibility. With red and green color blindness as the most common form of color blindness, try avoiding red and green as significant emphasis colors.

  • And aim for a high contrast design. Contrast (how the color of your font reads on the color of the background) significantly affects whether people of various eyesight abilities can read your text. An easy way to create contrast is pairing a light and dark color! When you pair colors that are too similar, your contrast decreases, and the text appears faint or fuzzy. Test out font colors against different background colors to see which combinations pass or fail at accessibility and legibility standards.

Font

  • Stick to one or two fonts to keep your form looking polished.

  • Which fonts? The branding editor comes with a “System” font already selected as default for all forms, as well as other common fonts. The pre-selected “System” font has already been optimized for screen legibility and loading speed. You should use this “System” font and the other ones available in the branding editor to your advantage instead of scouring the internet for custom fonts!

  • Next, think about the typeface you’d like to use to match your messaging. There are two main typefaces people choose from: serif fonts that have decorative details at the end of letter strokes, and sans-serif fonts that lack the decorative details.

  • Serif and sans-serif fonts

    Serif fonts like Times New Roman seem traditional and bookish, while sans-serif fonts like Montserrat appear modern and informal.

    Fonts used in a sentence

  • Why not both? You can try delegating serif for the title font and sans-serif for the donation ask font, or vice-versa. Explore this font-pairing website to see font combinations in action and possibly find the font pair you want!

  • Save bold for when you need to emphasize information.

  • When in doubt, choose grayscale font colors: shades of gray that sit between white and black. Opting for grayscale colors can keep your design simple and sleek while letting accent colors stand out. Plus, there’s nothing more legible than a black font!

Winning combinations (and how to make them)

The new branding editor comes with so many great customization options, but you only need to use a few to make some beautiful, successful brandings. Here are a few easy recipes for success that you can follow to a T to craft a form branding that looks like (and rakes in) a million bucks. We’ve labeled all of the elements in the branding editor that you need to use to create brandings like these!

Branding Level: Easy

Branding Level: Easy image

Branding Level: Medium

Branding Level: Medium image

Branding Level: Picture Perfect

Branding Level: Picture Perfect image

Changing Default Blue Colors

Changing Default Blue Colors image

Introducing the new, powerful branding editor

Contribution form brandings are a crucial part of the online donation process. A beautiful branding will catch your supporters’ attention and make your campaign or organization look more professional. Admins have always been able to create custom brandings on ActBlue, but up until now you had to use custom CSS to create more advanced designs. We knew that wasn’t an option for lots of smaller organizations and candidates running for state or local office for the first time. We’re all about breaking down barriers to entry in politics and advocacy, even when it comes to the details, so we’ve completely overhauled brandings on ActBlue to make it easier for everyone to create polished brandings!

 

Branding editor gif

Now, anyone using our platform can have attractive, personalized brandings. Admins of all skill levels can customize dozens of contribution form elements from within the form editor. There’s no need for complicated custom CSS, and you can preview changes to your brandings in real time because they live in the form editor!

This change will also ensure contribution forms load as quickly as possible and help prevent brandings from losing their custom formatting due to outdated CSS. (From now on, our team will be limited in their ability to support custom CSS branding issues.)

To use the new branding editor, go to the “Branding” tab in your form editor. If your contribution form doesn’t have a branding, you’ll see a bunch of elements you can customize!

Branding editor menu

If your form is already using a branding, you’ll be able to edit the branding using the new branding editor — just click the blue “Edit” button.

Edit button

We’ve thought of everything! It’s as easy to make big changes — like your background color, form layout, or header image — as it is to customize the details, like the weight of the font on your donation buttons. And under “Save options,” you can name reusable brandings and set a default branding to save yourself time in the future. We go into detail about all of the functions in the new branding editor on our support site.

The new branding editor gives admins more control than ever, but we encourage beginner designers to focus on just a few elements to make your branding shine. With design, less is often more. You want a clean, simple branding that allows your supporters to focus on donating.

As you get to know the branding editor, try starting with the basics. Under “Background” and “Header,” set a background color and upload your logo as your header image. And make sure your text is really easy for everyone to read! You can change the color or weight of the font if needed.

We’ve also made it easy to incorporate your campaign or organization’s current design standards. If you know the hex color codes for your group’s commonly used colors, you can use them in the branding editor and remove any guess work. The branding editor also includes popular fonts that you may already be using on your website or in your emails.

Here are two examples of simple, professional brandings on desktop that you could create in minutes using the new branding editor:

Example branding 1

This branding uses a centered header image, a stacked form layout, and a light gray background color.

Example branding 2

This branding uses a left-aligned header image, a side-by-side form layout, orange action buttons (learn about button types in our support article), and bolded Verdana font for the form title (“Join our cause!”).

We’re really excited about the opportunities the new branding editor will give to campaigns and organizations using ActBlue. If you’re ready to design some beautiful brandings, check out our support site for detailed instructions. If you want to talk about brandings with us, just email support@actblue.com! We’d love to walk you through your new capabilities or help you build your branding.

Happy designing!

Save time with reusable social share settings!

When a donor shares the link to your contribution form on social media, they’re introducing your cause to hundreds of potential new supporters. We want you to be able to make the most of these moments, which is why we’ve upgraded our social share feature! In addition to customizing the image and text that appears on Facebook and Twitter when someone posts the link to your form, now you can create default and reusable social share settings for your ActBlue contribution forms. This will save you time and effort for future forms while ensuring your supporters are filling their networks with your messaging and branding!

To create reusable settings, just check the “Make settings reusable” box at the bottom of the “Social share” tab in the form editor after adding the text and image you want. Then give the settings a name.
Reusable social share setting option

 

Once you publish your changes, the next time you go to the “Social share” tab for a contribution form you’ll be able to select the reusable setting in the “Applied reusable settings” dropdown!

 

Applied reusable settings 1

Applied reusable settings 2

 

If you need help creating an image for your social share, check out this blog post!

To set a default social share setting for your campaign or organization, select the reusable setting you want from the dropdown and check the “Set as default” box that appears before publishing your changes.

 

Set as default

 

From then on, all brand-new forms you create will automatically have the default social share settings applied, except for new clones of forms with different settings.

If you decide to make a different reusable setting your default, that setting will only be applied to brand-new future forms, not pre-existing forms that use an old default or new clones of forms with different settings.

We’ve also made it possible to preview your social share text and image together with this upgrade. After customizing your Facebook or Twitter share, just click “Preview” above the image to see your social share setting.

Social share preview

Preview

We hope these improvements will save you time and make customizing your social share settings easier! To get a step-by-step guide to these changes, including how to edit a reusable setting, visit our support website. And if you’re an admin who needs assistance with social share or another aspect of contribution forms, you can always reach us at support@actblue.com!

Reintroducing the ActBlue Pinger

EOQ can be a stressful time for emailers, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get after clicking the big red send button on a fundraising email and watching your fundraising total climb towards your goal. You can make that moment even more exciting by bringing what we call a “pinger” sound into the mix!

Just head to your group’s Overview on your Dashboard and scroll all the way to the bottom. You’ll see a blue bar across the page and a dropdown like the one you see below.

dropdown menu

You can choose any sound from the dropdown menu and then if you leave the page up, the sound you’ve chosen will play each time your group receives a donation. And any group on ActBlue can take advantage of this feature!

Even more fun? Our team has the ability to create new sounds on the fly (as we have the time and capacity), so if you have suggestions, you should let us know! Email us at support@actblue.com or find us on Twitter and let us know your idea (@actblue).

Here are some additional sounds we’ve created that you can try out. You’ll just need to attach the URL parameter to the end of your ActBlue Dashboard link, like this: https://secure.actblue.com/entities/33605/dashboard/?ping_url=https://s3.amazonaws.com/actblue-img/2018/gooooooooooal.mp3

“Goal”

?ping_url=https://s3.amazonaws.com/actblue-img/2018/gooooooooooal.mp3

“A Star is Born”

?ping_url=https://s3.amazonaws.com/actblue-img/2018/A+STAR+IS+BORN+Pinger+Edit.mp3

“Baby Shark”

?ping_url=https://s3.amazonaws.com/actblue-img/baby_shark.m4a

“Thanks Obama”

?ping_url=https://s3.amazonaws.com/actblue-img/thanks_obama.mp3

 

To turn off a pinger sound that you selected in the dropdown, simply refresh your Dashboard. To stop a custom pinger sound that you added via a URL parameter, delete everything after “dashboard/” in your Dashboard’s URL.

We hope this provides you with an extra jolt of excitement every time someone chips in to support your work. Happy Fundraising!

It’s weekly recurring season!

We’re seven weeks out from Election Day! It’s crunch time, especially for ActBlue admins who are trying to hit their campaign fundraising goals in the run-up to Election Day. And honestly, it’s the busiest crunch time we’ve ever seen. The good news is there’s an ActBlue feature that can help fundraisers out a lot during this final push: weekly recurring. It’s a great tool that helps campaigns and committees bring in more donations during these crucial weeks when the pressure is really on.

Just as it sounds, weekly recurring gives donors the option to sign up and make a recurring contribution that processes on the same day of the week, every week, until November 6th. After Election Day, the recurring contribution automatically ends.

Asking donors for weekly recurring contributions is a great way to build on the connection you’ve already made in the final weeks before the polls open. You should take this opportunity to let your donors know just how much their contributions will make a difference seven, six, or five weeks out from Election Day. Let them know how you’ll be spending the money and what their contributions could mean for the results of your race. Get them excited about helping you out through Election Day and make them feel like a part of your movement!

There are two important things to note about weekly recurring contributions: Someone from our team will need to enable the feature on one of your group’s contribution forms. And we can only turn weekly recurring on for your forms if you’re using ActBlue to fundraise for both your emails and website.

Here’s what your donors will see when you’ve got weekly recurring turned on for a form:

 
weekly-preset
 

So if a donor signed up for a recurring contribution on Tuesday, September 25th, they’d be making seven contributions, one scheduled to process each Tuesday (including Election Day). If you’re interested in turning on weekly recurring, shoot us an email at support@actblue.com with the forms you want it turned on for. If you decide to expand your weekly asks and you want to use it on more forms before Election Day, you can just clone a form that already has weekly enabled.

Don’t forget that you can use pop-up recurring asks for weekly contributions! But make sure you change the ask language and note that it’s a weekly recurring contribution.

Be sure to update your receipt text for weekly contribution forms. You’ll find the space to do that in the “Thanks & Receipt” tab of the form editor:

 
thanks-receipt
 

One weekly recurring test we had great success with was our ‘7 for 7’ ask, where we asked donors to give $7 for the last 7 weeks before the election. But it’s important to remember that every list is different.

Weekly recurring is a great way to keep your donor base engaged right up until Election Day. We’re thrilled to bring you this option again and would love to hear about any tests you run that are particularly successful. Are you ready to get set up with weekly recurring? Let us know at support@actblue.com and we’ll turn it on for you.

Social share graphics for contribution forms: Designing your own with our new, easy-to-use template

We frequently hear from donors who are extremely proud of their donations and excited to share that they’ve chipped in, which is why we’ve built social share features right into our contribution forms. It’s easy to add images or text to your forms that will be included with your link every time someone shares it on Twitter or Facebook.

And now we’ve built a brand-new, easy-to-use template for folks to use to create their own social share images to add to their contribution forms. Keep reading for all the details.

What does social share look like?

If you customize your social share on ActBlue (and we highly recommend doing so for every form), it can look something like this:

 

example

Every time someone shares a link to your contribution form on social media they’ll be sharing a relevant image along with the link to donate. In the example above, we were tweeting out a form where folks could donate to Democratic nominee funds — funds we built at ActBlue to raise money for the Democrats who win primaries and go on to challenge Republicans in general elections. The social share graphic we included was attention-grabbing and helped explain a slightly wonky topic. That’s the kind of thing that can make a big difference when sharing forms this way.

And social share doesn’t have to be limited to just text-based graphics. Groups have seen success with all different types of images on their contribution forms. Here’s an example:

 

photo-social-share

 

Photos can add a human touch to your campaign or cause and catch the eye of people scrolling through their social media feeds. That’s why campaign photos are often a great choice for social share images.

Using our template to design a social share image

You’ll find our brand new social share graphic template here.

To start using the template to design your own custom social share image, first make a copy of the document when you are prompted. You’ll notice that the template is a Google Drive file, so once you’ve made a copy you’ll be able to find it in your own Google Drive from that point forward. (If you don’t have a Google account, you should create a free account in order to use the template.)

Here’s what the template will look like before you make your own changes:

 

template

 

The center area where you should put design elements you want displayed on your social share graphic is 1000 x 525 pixels (with a 2:1 ratio) — specs that will fit the standard Facebook and Twitter image sizes for sharing links.

You can make changes to the text on the template by adding in your own copy and changing the font and color of the text to fit your brand. You can also add images and logos, and/or change the background color of your graphic.

To replace the sample text on the template just highlight the text and begin typing.

 

typing-gif

 

To upload a logo or an image to the template, just select the Image box within the top menu and upload your image.

 

upload-image

 

You can replace the LoremIpsum logo with your own, like you can see in the example below. But you should also remember that this is just a template! Feel free to move things around within the template to make sure your graphic best fits your brand.

logo
After you’ve got your images and text in place, you can also change the background of your social share image, by using the bucket tool in the top menu.

background-color
Now that you’ve got the bones of your design, you can add some style to your text if you’d like. You can easily add some depth to your design simply by highlighting some of your text, as you can see in the gif below.

 

highlight-text

 

Feeling good about your design? Now you just need to download it! Note that you shouldn’t change the size of your image before downloading. Just head up to the top menu and choose the File dropdown menu. Then you’ll want to choose “Download as…” and download the image as a PNG file.

 

download

 

Once you’ve downloaded your image there’s one final step you should take to make sure your image will display in clear, high quality. Due to Twitter and Facebook’s image compression process, sometimes images will appear blurry on social shares. If your image is looking a little blurry, you can try this tool. Just drag your image into the box on the page. This will tweak your image so that it will bypass Twitter and Facebook’s compression tools (but won’t change the way your image looks). Once you’ve dragged your image on to the page, a new version will download to your computer and will include “TWITSAFE” in the file name. This will work for both Twitter and Facebook.

Adding your image to a contribution form

So, how do you set up your shiny, newly designed social share image on a contribution form? It’s easy! Once you’ve created a contribution form, select the “Edit” button, the first button on the contribution form navigation bar (form navbar).

 

form-editor

 

Next, you’ll want to choose “Social share” from the form editor.

Here you’ll be able to customize the title and description of your links as they’ll appear on both Facebook and Twitter. You can also include your campaign or organization’s Twitter handle if you’d like to be tagged every time someone shares your form. Below you can see just what you can change for your links on Facebook and Twitter.

social-share-ActBlue
Lastly, you’ll be able to upload your new, custom image using the “Upload an image” option which you can see below.

 

upload-graphic

 

You can also save these social share settings to easily reuse them for any future form by checking off the “Make settings reusable” option at the bottom of the “Social share” tab.

 

reusable-option

 

To double check that your image and text look how you want them to, head to https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator and drop the link to your form in the Card URL box. It will show you a preview of what folks on Twitter will see in their feeds. You can do the same for Facebook at this link: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/.

Social share can make all the difference in social media fundraising, which is why we’ve made it so easy to build right into your fundraising program. If you’re a donor or activist creating contribution forms for causes you care about and you have questions about social share, you can reach out at info@actblue.com.

And if you’re working for a campaign or organization using ActBlue and you have questions or comments about creating social share graphics using our template, or customizing your social share text, just drop us a line at support@actblue.com!

Creating community forms to raise money for candidates and causes you care about

We’re seeing more energy and participation right now from small-dollar donors than we ever have before. It’s amazing. But even more amazing is that we’re seeing donors taking matters into their own hands — they’re not just donating to campaigns and organizations when they’re asked, they’re organizing and connecting with their communities to raise money for campaigns and causes they care about. How exactly are they doing this? They’re creating community forms on ActBlue — forms that are not created by a campaign or organization, but by members of their community of supporters. They’re raising money for individual campaigns and organizations, and they’re creating forms where folks can give to lists of candidates supporting legislation they’re passionate about, or lists of nonprofits doing critical work on the ground in our communities. And they’re raising millions for campaigns and organizations on ActBlue!

Creating forms is an easy way to take your activism one step further. And it’s free to do using ActBlue’s tools! That’s why we wanted to walk you through creating community forms and raising money from your friends, families, and extended networks. Keep reading for all the info you need to create your own forms and get fundraising!

Creating your form

If you’ve used ActBlue before you’ll want to get started by logging in to your account here. If you’ve never made an account with us before, you can create an account here. Once you’re all logged in, you’ll want to select the My Fundraising tab.

my-fundraising

Look for the blue box titled “Create a new fundraising form” and click the orange button to search our directory of organizations that use ActBlue.

search-directory

Alternatively, you can open the Recent menu in the navigation bar at the top of your screen and follow the link at the bottom to the directory.

 

recent-menu

Type the name of the candidate or organization you want to fundraise for in the search box.

directory

You must click the blue magnifying glass button to see the correct results, not the names that appear in the dropdown. You can also find groups by selecting one of the links in the gray box.

search-directory

 

At this point, you’ll be brought to a list of groups, with options (in orange) to create a community form to fundraise for each of them. Once you’ve found the group you want to fundraise for, click the group’s “Create contribution form” button to start making your community form.

list

A pop-up will open where you can fill out your form’s basic information.

pop-up

First, give your form a title. You’ll be able to edit your form’s title later, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect.

Then finish the web address for your form by typing a short, simple, memorable word in the “Web address” box, which will be part of the unique web address for your form. Pick a short word or phrase and make a note of it so you can locate your form easily at a later time.

When you click “Create and continue,” you will be taken to a live preview of your form and you’ll see the form editor open on the left.

Fundraising for more than one candidate or organization

One way to make a big impact by fundraising on ActBlue is to raise for a group of candidates or organizations doing work you care about via Tandem Fundraising (using one single form). For example, you can add all the candidates who are running against Republicans who take money from the NRA, or you can add multiple organizations working on the immigration fight to support their efforts to reunite families.

It’s easy to add more than one group to your form! Just head to the “Recipients” tab of the form editor, where you can easily add different campaigns or organizations. When a donor lands on a Tandem Form, they can then split one contribution between all of the groups listed on the form.

Add details to your form

Now you can use the form editor to add important information to your form. You’ll be able to preview the changes you make to your form here in real time! Click here for tips on using the form editor.

The first thing you should do is add a donation ask. Go to the “Title, ask, and URL” tab in the form editor. In the “Donation ask” box, write a short blurb explaining why a supporter should donate. Since you’re creating a form specifically to raise for candidates you believe in or causes you’re passionate about, you should use this space to explain why. Drawing a personal connection to the work will help motivate your friends and family to give. And don’t forget to actually ask for money! You should make a point to specifically include a line of text that says something like “Will you chip in $3?”

 

form-editor

You can add basic formatting, like bullet points and bolding, and images to your ask.

Another great feature in the form editor that we encourage folks to take advantage of is social share. This lets you customize the content that will be shared on a donor’s Facebook and Twitter account when they choose to share that they’ve made a contribution on social media. It’s a simple way to catch the eye of potential supporters! To do this, open the “Social share” tab in the form editor and then fill in the fields.

 

social-share

Here’s an example of what customized social share can look like:

social-share-example

It can be difficult to raise money via social media, since folks are often scrolling quickly through their feeds and aren’t super likely to actually stop, read a fundraising pitch, and click out of Facebook or Twitter to donate. Social share can grab people’s attention and help motivate them to donate, so we encourage customizing your social share text and/or image if you can.

We also have a handy social share image template available for folks to use to create simple graphics to include in their social share. You can find it here: https://docs.google.com/drawings/u/1/d/1qEILgxbIBFr5Sjgpx3a9S9Uxl7DU7dDat5EksOF1Pzo/copy.

Sharing your form

After publishing all of your changes, close the form editor and head to the “Promote” button to start sharing your form!

 

promote

To send your form out to the world, just copy the link that’s generated on the top of the Promote pop-up and paste it in an email, a social media post, or anywhere else you’d like to fundraise.

promote-link

There are lots of further customizations that can be made to contribution forms, but we wanted to highlight the basic, easy ways to get started with fundraising to help folks get the ball rolling. You can also do things like set your form to accept recurring contributions for a specified length of time or choose specific contribution amount buttons to be displayed on your page. You can also add a goal thermometer and customize the text your supporters will receive after they donate. We’re always happy to help folks take advantage of our tools and organize their networks, so if you have questions about building forms feel free to reach out to our team at info@actblue.com. You can also find even more detailed instructions on our support site.

And if you’re seeing success using ActBlue forms to fundraise from your community, we’d love to hear about your work. Drop us a line at info@actblue.com or tweet at us @actblue to tell us about it!

Our new navigation bar’s best features

ActBlue users of all types (organization admins! candidates! donors!) will see a brand-new navigation bar (navbar) on ActBlue starting today, pictured below. We wanted to run through a few of the reasons why we made this change and how we think it will make your workflow even better!

Nav1

A better mobile experience

First off, we wanted to make the experience better on mobile for everyone. In the old version of the navbar, there were a few different nested menus, which didn’t lead to a very quick or userfriendly experience. The new navbar makes it much easier for users (especially campaign and organization admins) to navigate to the pages they need.

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The pink circles show the many nested menus in the old navbar on mobile.
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The new navbar is much simpler on mobile!

Better support for multi-group admins

We also know there are a lot of admins who work with more than one candidate or organization on ActBlue. We wanted to make that multi-group experience as smooth as possible. To that end, we got rid of the old gray slideout menu and replaced it with a “My Dashboards” tab where you can see the last five Dashboards you’ve accessed or use the search function to quickly find the Dashboard you’re looking for.

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An easier way to get back to your favorite pages

We’ve added a “Recent” menu to the header, which will bring up a donor or admin’s recently visited pages. For admins, that means you can easily access the contribution forms and Dashboards you’ve been working with. And for donors, it means you can find your way back to contribution forms for your favorite candidate or organization, or use the link to the directory to find the cause you’re looking for.

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Access to the navbar on contribution forms for entity admins

If you’re a cookied entity admin, you’ll now be able to log in to ActBlue while you’re on a contribution form! This should make it easier for you to access your contribution form data or Dashboard while preserving the regular contribution form experience for donors.
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We know this is a big change, but we designed this new tool with faster workflows and a better mobile experience in mind, and we hope it will help out entity admins! We’ve also heard from many donors about needing an easier way to find favorite candidates and organizations, and this is a big step toward that goal. If you have questions or concerns, let us know at info@actblue.com.