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.

Introducing our new support website!

Exciting news: Today we’re launching our redesigned support website for ActBlue admins and donors! We completely overhauled the site to make it more user-friendly for everyone who uses ActBlue, from people running for office for the first time to seasoned fundraisers to folks making their first political donation in response to Trump and the GOP.

When you visit https://support.actblue.com now, the site is clearly split into two sections: For Donors and Supporters and For Campaigns and Organizations. This way you can immediately know where to look for the information you need!

Overview

The different categories within these two sections are full of helpful articles and how-to guides. If you’re not sure which category to look in, just use the search bar at the top of the page!

Search

We’ve also linked to related topics at the end of every article to make it as easy as possible for you to get the answers you need.

Additional

Of course, our friendly Customer Service Team is always available to help you if you can’t find what you need online. If you are a donor or a supporter with a question, email us at info@actblue.com. If you work for a campaign or organization that uses ActBlue, reach out to us at support@actblue.com. Or you can always give us a call at (617) 517-7600! We return every phone call and email we receive, typically within 24 hours.  

New Two-factor Authentication recommendations

ActBlue admins will notice something new on their Dashboard starting today: A message regarding two-factor authentication.

2FA Message

Two-factor authentication (2FA for short) is a security protocol that requires users to provide two different, independent pieces of verification to confirm their identity when logging into an online account. A common form of 2FA requires users to enter a username and password combination AND an authentication code that is randomly generated by a separate app on a phone. We’ve offered 2FA on ActBlue admin accounts since 2016. Today, we’re releasing new 2FA recommendations and options to reflect current best practices.

1. We strongly recommend setting up 2FA with Google Authenticator for your ActBlue account today, even if you are already using a different 2FA application (and especially if you are not currently using 2FA). Google Authenticator is a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) app. TOTP apps are the most secure 2FA option because they use algorithms to generate authentication codes. When you use Google Authenticator with your ActBlue account, you will not receive text messages or voice calls as part of the verification process as those methods can be vulnerable to social engineering.

To start using Google Authenticator with your ActBlue account, simply log in to ActBlue and then follow the link in the message at the top of your Dashboard (pictured above). You’ll be brought to a page where you can download Google Authenticator on your phone or tablet.

2FA Page

Open the app and select “Begin Setup” and then “Scan barcode.”

Google Authenticator

Scan the barcode on our page. The app will then show you an authentication code, which you should enter in the “Confirmation code” box on our page. Please note that every code will disappear in the app after a few seconds, but the app will constantly generate new ones (so don’t worry if you are too slow entering it the first time).

Click the orange button at the bottom of our page to complete the setup process! From then on, you will be asked to enter a Google Authenticator code when logging in to your ActBlue account on an intermittent basis or any time you log in on a new device.

2. If you currently use the 2FA application Authy and do not want to switch to Google Authenticator, we strongly recommend disabling the Authy Multi-Device feature. This feature leaves your account vulnerable to social engineering. See number three — “Enable (or disable) Authy Multi-Device” — on this page for instructions. Or just set up Google Authenticator instead. It only takes a few minutes!

3. We are excited to now support YubiKeys for 2FA! While using an app on a phone like Google Authenticator will be easiest for most ActBlue admins, we’re always striving to be on the cutting-edge. Now, if you have a YubiKey (a physical device that you insert into your computer, similar to a USB drive), you can use it with codes generated by the Yubico Authenticator desktop application for your 2FA.

Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways you can protect yourself and your organization from attacks. If we can help you deploy 2FA to your entire campaign or organization on ActBlue, or if you have any questions about these recommendations, contact us at support@actblue.com!

Announcing a brand-new integration with Salesforce

In order to run an effective fundraising program, we know it’s essential for organizations to have access to their donor and contribution data where and when they need it.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve just rolled out an integration with Salesforce! If you’re using AB Charities to fundraise but using Salesforce as your CRM, you’ll now be able to sync data across both platforms in real time. And it’s free!

Salesforce is a leader in the nonprofit space and we’re very excited we could build this integration. Now folks using their tools and ActBlue will have access to all the details of a contribution (like whether it was recurring, the amount, and the refcode), as well as donor info including email addresses within Salesforce, all in real time.

Using this new integration will help nonprofit organizations run data-driven fundraising programs and build workflows that are best for their budget and their goals. If you’re interested in setting up a Salesforce integration with AB Charities, or have any questions about this new feature, you can email us at support@actblue.com.

For those organizations that might be using other CRMs, we offer integrations with several other platforms, and we offer open webhooks. These can provide more flexibility in the way your organization retrieves and works with your data. If your organization wants to hear more about using webhooks, you should reach out to our team and we can provide you with the details.

And we’re happy to continue integrating with new platforms — if there’s a specific integration you’re interested in, please get in touch with us!

New year, new contribution form editor

Big news: We totally overhauled the way you edit contribution forms! Why? Creating contribution forms is the most central part of using ActBlue to raise money from small-dollar donors. The new contribution form editor is a more streamlined, user-friendly way to make changes to your forms. Now you can preview any edits you make in real-time, so you can test out what adding a branding or more text looks like. You can also view your form as different types of ActBlue users, so you can get a clear picture of what your form will look like for donors who land there. But rest assured that even though you can see your form changing as you make updates, your edits won’t be visible publicly until you save them.

Here’s how it works:

You can still create or duplicate a new form in the same way, but once you’re viewing your form, this is what it will look like:

 

menu

 

You’ll see a form menu on the left with options allowing you to edit your form, duplicate it, or visit the form’s Stats page where you can track donations for the form. You can also set contribution alerts for the form, add refcodes and build links using the Promote function, or head back to a list of all your contribution forms.

Clicking the Edit button will open up the new form editor. While the layout has changed, you’ll still find all of the tools you’ve always had access to. With the new form editor, each section of tools is broken out into its own tab in the menu. Clicking on any one of these titles will open up all the tools within that section. Here’s what it looks like:

 

editor

 

You can now preview changes as you make them, making it easier to customize your form in a way that makes sense for you and your supporters. You can see how this will work in the gif below:

 

 

As you make edits, you’ll see an orange dot appear next to the item that you updated. When you finish making edits, you’ll need to click “Publish changes” at the bottom of the editor menu to make them live. The form editor will be time-stamped so you know exactly when your last changes were made and saved. If there are unpublished changes you’ll see an orange dot indicating that some edits haven’t been saved.

If you click off of a section but have unsaved edits, you’ll see the orange dot next to the section title in the editor, to help you keep track. This way you can make multiple changes across sections in the editor, and when you click “Publish changes” all of those edits will go into effect.

If you make a change and try to close out the editor before clicking “Publish changes,” you’ll see a pop-up prompting you to either save your edits or close the editor and discard them.

 

pop-up

 

If you’ve made changes and decide you don’t want to publish them, you can click “Discard changes” at the bottom of the editor.

 

discard

 

One of the biggest changes we made in this update is giving you the ability to view the form as different types of users — a first-time donor, a returning donor, or an ActBlue Express donor. At the bottom of your form editor menu, you’ll find buttons for these three options. Toggle between them to see the different views, and click “Yourself” to go back to viewing the form as you normally would.

 

different views

 

As for accessing all of your forms, you’ll still do that in the Form Management tab on your Dashboard, or within the form menu on any contribution form.

 

forms

 

forms

 

We hope these changes will make the form editing process easier than ever. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at info@actblue.com if you’ve got questions or comments.

Finding your active recurring donors just became really easy

Recurring fundraising programs are important because they allow groups using ActBlue to budget, plan, and build for the future, so they can do more (and better!) organizing work.

Recurring fundraising benefits donors, as well, because they can commit to supporting your work for the long haul and really feel like they’re investing in the movements and causes they care about.

To make the most of a recurring program, campaigns and organizations need to be able to figure out how much recurring money is slated to come in. And a part of that process is being able to answer the question, “who are my recurring donors?” That’s why we now have a CSV available to every group using ActBlue that provides them with the data they’ll need.

How to download a CSV of active recurring contributions:

Navigate to the Recurring tab of your Dashboard menu, where you’ll see an option to “Download active recurring contributions CSV report.”

download-csv

Our system will generate a CSV with a detailed look at your currently active recurring contributions, including info like the date of the initial contribution, the date of the most recent recurrence, and the amount. Please note that for most groups, we expect the spreadsheet will download quickly, but if a group has a lot of active recurring contributions, it could take a few minutes to download (and it could take ~30 minutes for an especially large recurring program).

There are a lot of potential use cases for the data you’ll find in this CSV. You can use the CSV to help target future fundraising asks, like excluding donors who already have recurring contributions running. You can also use the CSV to keep track of your active recurring contributions over time to help make projections and plan ahead. Or, you can use the list of email addresses to send recurring donors updates, keeping them engaged and excited about the work they’re helping you do.

We’d love to hear about how you’re using the active recurring CSV to better your fundraising program, and as always, we’re happy to answer any questions that come up. You can reach out to a member of our team at info@actblue.com.


 

Randomize your Tandem Fundraising

One of the most beloved features on ActBlue is Tandem Fundraising, and lately it’s been hugely popular. It’s a feature that is exclusive to our platform and allows folks to raise money for multiple groups on a single form. Organizations and small-dollar donors alike have been hard at work in recent weeks, building forms with multiple Democratic nominee funds or candidates they’d like to support, and giving millions of dollars to Tandem forms to help oust House GOPers in 2018.

Meanwhile, campaigns and organizations have been using ActBlue’s Tandem Fundraising feature to raise money for multiple candidates running in elections across the country. And as the election cycle heats up, Tandem forms will be a great way for campaigns using our tools to team up and raise money together.

We just introduced a new feature to make Tandem Fundraising forms even better. Now, when you’re raising for multiple groups on a single form, you can opt to have us randomize the order of the groups on the form each time it reloads.

When a donor lands on the form, they’ll be able to pick one contribution amount to split evenly among all the groups listed on the page. If they want to give individual amounts to certain groups, they can do that by clicking the linked text on the form.

default

 

The list will expand and donors will be able to see every group on the page. At that point, they can enter an amount in the “Split it!” box to divvy their contribution up evenly, or enter individual amounts next to the groups they want to support.

In that case, it can turn out that the first couple of groups on a form will receive more funds, simply because that’s where the donor lands first. But we know it’s important that each group on a form gets exposure to donors, so this new feature will shuffle the list that donors see each time the form is loaded.

list

 

What this means for campaigns, organizations, and donors creating contribution forms:

Randomizing the order in which different groups display on your contribution form is easy! Once you’ve created your form just head to the Edit tab:

edit-tab

Click on Options to see a dropdown menu with customizations and edits you can make to the form. Check off “Randomize the order of the groups on your contribution form.” Scroll down and hit save. It’s that simple!

check-box

With the box checked, every time the form is loaded, the groups on the form will randomize in a different order.

If you don’t want to randomize the groups on your form, just leave the box unchecked and the groups will appear in the same order in which you added them.

You can also scroll to the bottom of your form’s Edit tab and manually drag and drop the groups you’re working with to shuffle them in a different order.

reorder

Tandem Fundraising is proving to be a key tool in the resistance movement. With tandem forms, donors can give quickly to multiple candidates and organizations they care about, or they can build their own contribution forms listing groups they want to support and rally their networks to give. And it’s also a great way for candidates and organizations working toward the same goals to work together and maximize their fundraising.

We hope this will help make the Tandem Fundraising process even easier and more effective, especially in these unpredictable times. If you have questions or comments about this new feature just drop us a line at info@actblue.com.

Introducing the AB Events app: Just swipe right

One of our biggest priorities at ActBlue is to help folks carry out every aspect of fundraising as easily as possible. That includes putting on successful events, which can involve a lot of moving parts for campaigns and organizations and their staff or volunteers. That’s why our tech team built out our latest feature, the AB Events app for iPhone, which allows event organizers to manage the guest list right from their iPhones.

The AB Events app upgrades the event planning process in a lot of ways for campaigns and organizations, but it makes ticketing and attendance easier for donors, too. Event volunteers or staffers can use the AB Events app to check people in at events just by knowing the guest’s name, or they can scan the ticket barcode right from a guest’s mobile device, or printed ticket. In addition, we’ve added a free ticket option to the ActBlue Events form, so guests can easily RSVP to events that do not require a ticket purchase. Keep reading to get all the info you need about using the AB Events app.

What this means for campaigns and organizations using ActBlue:

With the AB Events app, volunteers and staffers are able to keep track of guest lists worry-free — no more printing lists and cross-referencing them at the door, or losing track of who has been checked in already and who hasn’t. Multiple event organizers can check people in at once, and view attendees’ ticket levels and special requirements. Guest lists update in real time, and sync across iPhones, iPads, and your ActBlue Dashboard. Campaigns and organizations can also decide if they want to scan tickets from a printed copy or a mobile device at the door, or simply take down guest names and check them in using their app. Plus, volunteers or staffers can use their own iPhones or iPads to get the job done.

If you’re hosting an event, you’ll get started planning and selling tickets like you always have. You’ll want to set up an event form with ticket levels and customizations to get the word out to your supporters.

After folks have started purchasing or reserving tickets for your event, you should download the AB Events app to your mobile device. Note: The app is only available in the Apple app store.

 

event-code

 

Once you’ve got the app loaded and opened up on your iPhone or iPad, you should see a screen like above that will prompt you to enter the event code, which you can find in your form’s Guests tab (see below). You can also use your iPhone’s camera to scan the event’s QR code and load your guest list.

QR-code

You’ll be brought to your event page with a complete guest list. The list will update as more folks buy tickets to your event, so when it comes time for you to check supporters in, you’ll have a completely up-to-date attendance list.

Ready to check people in? Just swipe right on the guest’s name — it’s that easy!

 

swipe-right

 

The best part is that once someone is checked in on your device, they’ll be marked as checked in across every volunteer or staffer’s device. Every ticket taker will see a green bar to the left of the guest’s name, so there’s no room for confusion.

Do you want to see tickets from your guests before checking them in? We also email a ticket to donors, so you can scan their ticket from their mobile device, or from a printed ticket. Just choose the orange button at the bottom of the guest list and scan the barcode on their ticket (which you can see in the screenshot below) to check them in.

e-ticket

Do you want to add volunteers or staffers who can check guests in? They just need to download the app and enter the event code or scan the event QR code with their camera. You can easily share your event code with a new ticket taker by clicking on the menu in the top right corner of your app. That will bring you to a page with the event code, like in the screenshot below.

 

ticket taker

 

Once the new ticket taker has entered the code, they’ll be all set to help you check guests in right away.

Hosting an event where guests will be coming and going throughout? You can also check folks out of the event. Just swipe to the left on someone you’ve already checked in if you need to check them out.

 

check-out

 

As your event starts to fill up you’ll be able to track in real time how many supporters have actually shown up.

 

big-event

 

Are you hosting an event, but not charging guests for tickets? As we mentioned, you can now also add a free ticket option to event forms going forward. If you’re hosting an event like a rally, where you’d like to offer tickets at no cost, supporters can sign up for a free ticket, so they’re on the guest list. You’ll be able to plan for the number of people committed to showing up, and your attendees will have all the info they need emailed to them.

We hope the AB Events app will help you execute your events in the most efficient way possible, and that you’ll let us know how it’s working for you once you get a chance to try it out. As always, you can reach out to us at info@actblue.com.

Meet our newest recurring tool: Smart Recurring

Recurring contributions are a popular feature on ActBlue because they help donors contribute to the long-term stability of organizations and campaigns. With a recurring contribution, donors have the opportunity to contribute a small amount on a monthly or weekly basis, rather than a large, upfront contribution. Meanwhile, campaigns and organizations can use recurring pledges to help budget and plan for the future, and at the same time build a community of committed supporters who become a real part of their work.

Our pop-up recurring feature allows campaigns to set up a pop-up that asks donors who have just completed a one-time contribution if they’d like to make their donation recurring. It’s been a useful feature because it offers donors another action to take to support the causes they care about, and it helps campaigns, organizations, and nonprofits build a pool of recurring donors that they count on to fuel their work.

We know that all recurring programs are different, and we want the groups fundraising with our tools to have options that suit their particular program’s needs. With that in mind, our tech team built Smart Recurring, a pop-up feature similar to the original pop-up recurring tool. Smart Recurring takes a donor’s initial contribution into account and offers up a smaller monthly contribution amount that makes sense for the donor based on their original one-time donation.

So what does it look like in practice? Say you just made a $25 contribution. With Smart Recurring turned on, your contribution would go through and you would see a pop-up similar to the one below, asking you to commit to a smaller amount every month.

pop-up

If you do decide to make a monthly recurring contribution, you’ll still give your original donation of $25 immediately, and starting the next month your $6 monthly recurring donation will be taken out each month on the same day.

You’ll receive a receipt with the details of the contribution and a note letting you know that a donation will be processed each month going forward.

receipt

You will also see a note indicating that the donation will recur when visiting your contribution history on ActBlue.

receipt-note

Overall, Smart Recurring makes the donation process more flexible by providing a great additional option for campaigns and organizations. It also takes donors into account, and recognizes that the amount someone wants to give once might not be what they’re willing to give every month. And ultimately, it helps fuel the long-term work of campaigns and organizations that donors care about.

What this means for campaigns and organizations using ActBlue:

We know that every campaign and organization’s donors respond differently, which is why we’re excited to add another recurring feature to your toolbox. Smart Recurring is great because it can help move your donors up another step on the engagement ladder while they’re already motivated to support your work. We recommend experimenting with it and seeing how it works for your program. And, like pop-up recurring, even if a donor doesn’t choose to commit to a recurring contribution, the original one-time donation still stands, so you don’t lose out on any money.

To enable Smart Recurring, just head to the Edit tab of your contribution form and choose “Use unlimited monthly contributions + smart pop-up recurring” under “Recurring Contribution options.” Right now, Smart Recurring only works for unlimited monthly contributions.

If you’d like this feature enabled on every form you’re using, you can update your default form settings. In that case, every form with default settings will have Smart Recurring enabled. You can read more about default settings here.

 

enable

 

As with the original pop-up recurring feature, campaigns and organizations can write a customized ask for the pop-up. We recommend making it short, and talking specifically about why a recurring contribution will make a difference in your work. You can also use a gif or an image as a way to show your donors why you need their support.

It’s important to note that if a donor makes a one-time contribution of $210 or more they won’t see any pop-up asking them to make a recurring contribution on top of their initial contribution.We’ve set that as a limit, because we know that oftentimes campaigns and organizations don’t want to ask donors giving a higher amount for an additional contribution right away. With traditional pop-up recurring, you can choose your own amount threshold for the pop-up your donors see.

The chart below outlines how Smart Recurring upsell amounts correspond with one-time contribution amounts.

upsell

When you export contribution data from ActBlue there will be a column on the CSV specifying whether or not the contribution was made via Smart Recurring, and a separate column noting the amount the contribution will recur for.

If you give Smart Recurring a try, we’d love to hear from your team about how it works for you. Just drop us a line at info@actblue.com.

Our new integration with Account Updater makes recurring donations even easier

Over the past year, we’ve been working to integrate with Account Updater, a tool from the credit card industry that reduces disruption any time you get a new credit card number (i.e. when you receive a chip card or lose your card). Now that we’ve integrated with Account Updater, if we try your recurring contribution and learn that your credit card number has changed, we’ll try to seamlessly update your contribution with the new number, so your donation can go on uninterrupted.

We know how much of a pain it is to receive a new credit card number and have to find and update every recurring payment you’ve set up online. We wanted to eliminate that hassle for small-dollar donors. And, as an added bonus, if a recurring donor has their credit card stored on their ActBlue Express account, their stored card will also be updated automatically. That way the donor can continue giving in the future with a single click, without needing to go through the trouble of updating it on their own.

Account Updater has been gaining popularity in the e-commerce space — you might have noticed it’s a little less frustrating to update your Netflix subscription. It’s a courtesy for consumers and we are very excited to build this out across ActBlue to make the donation process as frictionless as possible. We want people to be able to give to the candidates and causes they support just as easily as they can buy concert tickets online or shop on Amazon. So far, recurring donors with automatically updated credit cards have given $6,190,367!

What this means for campaigns and organizations using ActBlue:

You don’t have to do anything to enable this feature. It’s available to every campaign and organization using our platform, and we don’t charge you any extra for the feature.

If your organization is running a recurring program, and you have a donor that lapses because their credit card is no longer valid, we’ll automatically attempt to update the donor’s card through their credit card company and retry the contribution three days later. If that works, their recurring contribution will carry on with the new card number.

We hope that this will make your lives easier — no more tracking down donors and asking them to update their information. To see what percentage of your donors have been able to seamlessly continue their contributions thanks to the integrated Account Updater, you can navigate to the Metrics page of your Dashboard, and scroll to the pie chart section.

pie-chart

If you have questions about the integration with Account Updater, let us know at info@actblue.com.