The summer of small-dollar donors continued in July as folks across the country ramped up their organizing for the midterms. Grassroots donors on ActBlue raised $83,743,916 for 7,229 candidates, organizations, and nonprofits — $50 million more than was raised in July 2016 during a presidential year! This is especially impressive because giving typically slows during the summer. Small-dollar donors are clearly more motivated than ever, and all of their energy last month led to an incredible milestone on August 1: $1 BILLION raised by small-dollar donors using ActBlue so far in the 2018 election cycle! For comparison, $781 million was raised on ActBlue over the entire 2016 presidential election cycle.
A big reason why we were able to reach this milestone is all of the new donors who are excited to get Democrats elected to Congress in November and make change in their communities. 59.3% of all people who have given on ActBlue since January 1, 2017 are first-time givers. We took a closer look and found that 77.6% of new donors this election cycle who have given twice or more have an average contribution size of $35 or less! People are truly embracing small-dollar donations as a way to fight back and make their voices heard, just in time for the midterms.
Check out all of the highlights from July below.
|July ’14||July ‘16||July ‘18|
|Average Contribution Size||$29.31||$33.08||$40.20|
|Unique Campaigns, Committees,
Grassroots donors made 2,083,356 contributions in July, more than double what was made in July 2016! The number of groups using our tools also more than doubled from 2016. Nearly half of the groups using our tools last month were state-level campaigns, which is incredibly exciting. State legislatures have passed some of the most conservative policies at the state level and are in control of redistricting for Congress, making it essential for Democrats to win back state houses in November if we want to make long-term change.
Many folks were moved to give when Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court at 9 p.m. ET on July 9. We saw contributions more than double in the hours after the announcement. Online grassroots donations give people a positive way to channel their frustrations and combat feelings of helplessness in situations like this.
|July ‘14||July ‘16||July ‘18|
|New ActBlue Express Users||75,753||60,391||117,781|
|% of Total Volume via ActBlue Express||57.1%||60.6%||61.5%|
|% of Contributions via ActBlue Express||61.4%||66.4%||64.4%|
The ActBlue Express universe of donors continues to grow as more people realize the power of small-dollar donations and want to give multiple times. 117,781 people signed up for ActBlue Express in July, and 64.4% of all contributions came from ActBlue Express users!
|July ‘14||July ‘16||July ‘18|
|% of Contributions via Mobile||28.5%||38.2%||45.2%|
|% Mobile for ActBlue Express||30.7%||41.0%||45.2%|
45.2% of all contributions in July were made on mobile, up from 38.2% in 2016. Fundraising programs that don’t prioritize mobile giving will miss out on a lot of money. That’s why all ActBlue contribution forms are automatically optimized for mobile. Donors can give just as easily from their phone at the beach as they can from their laptop in the air conditioning.
|July ’14||July ’16||July ’18|
|Total Recurring Volume||$2,811,282||$9,131,642||$18,038,185|
|% of Total Volume||13.1%||27.4%||21.5%|
Monthly donations allow campaigns to plan for the future. Democrats are in a strong position going into the fall as recurring donations totaled $18,038,185 on ActBlue in July, nearly double the recurring volume in 2016. That’s a whole lot of money for knocking on doors and get-out-the-vote efforts!
|Total Incoming Calls||10,681|
Grassroots donors are donating at unprecedented rates and making it possible for Democrats to get their message in front of more voters ahead of November. With only 89 days until Election Day, this participation and energy is really making a blue wave possible and laying a foundation for long-term change. If you have questions about this post or want help fundraising, get in touch with us at email@example.com!
Right now, our friends at Every Voice are running a “Fix Our Democracy Now” week of action, and we’re proud to be a participating organization. Every Voice is pushing for elected officials to pass legislation that would reform campaign finance law, protect voting rights, and end partisan gerrymandering. We’re excited to support these reforms because our government will only be truly democratic when everyone can run for office regardless of their economic background, vote without having to jump through discriminatory hoops, and know they are fairly represented.
We know this because we’ve been fighting the corrupting influence of big money in politics ever since our founding in 2004. We started building grassroots fundraising software way back then because we saw there was a huge barrier to entry for people who wanted to get involved with the political process: both potential candidates and supporters felt like they couldn’t make a difference if they didn’t have millions of dollars to burn. This prevented diverse, smart people with good ideas from running for office and left room for candidates controlled by mega-donors to cruise to victory. And especially after Citizens United, conservative mega-donors like the Koch brothers not only bankroll entire campaigns but also pay for dark money groups that lobby for voter ID laws and fund court cases that contest district lines.
Luckily, thousands of groups have now realized how small-dollar contributions fuel widespread civic engagement. When people can easily chip in $5 or $10 to a candidate or cause, they become invested in the outcome and are more likely to volunteer, ask friends and family to donate, and give again themselves. And the conversations these donations spark are what get more people to the polls. We even hear from donors that being able to give a few dollars online is sometimes the only way they can support a cause. This is how small-dollar donations add up to democratic people power that conservative mega-donors can’t beat.
What’s more, we’re seeing an unprecedented amount of participation across ActBlue right now. Since Trump’s election, more and more folks have realized the power of grassroots donations and are donating for the first time, fundraising for their favorite candidates, or choosing to run for office with the support of their own small-dollar donors instead of big money. More than a quarter of all people who gave via ActBlue in Q2 2018 were first-time donors, and grassroots donors have raised nearly $1 BILLION using our platform so far this election cycle. It’s clear Americans are more engaged in our democracy than ever before and want the playing field to be leveled — now.
These reforms couldn’t come at a more important time for our country. The Koch brothers are spending $400 million on the midterms, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson recently gave $30 million to a GOP super PAC, and the list goes on. That’s why everyone who believes in our democracy needs to fight for reform now. Small-dollar donors are countering the impact of these mega-donors by raising more money, talking to their communities, and turning out voters, but we need to get Democrats elected so they can enact reforms before Trump and his enablers do more damage.
Momentum is on our side right now, but we’re going to have to put in a lot more work before Election Day. To learn how you can take action to Fix Our Democracy Now, visit www.fixdemocracynow.com. And if you’re interested in fundraising for your favorite campaign, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help getting started!
In a quarter filled with exhilarating highs and devastating lows for our democracy, small-dollar donors were the one constant we could count on. Not only did donors break fundraising records on ActBlue once again (more on that later), hundreds of thousands of people were moved to give for the first time this quarter. Many were activated by the Trump administration’s horrific separation of families at the border, as well as the new opportunity to vote for primary candidates who looked like them and embraced small-dollar donors over super PAC money.
This increased participation is reflected in our latest cycle-to-date numbers: Small-dollar donors have now raised over $900 million this election cycle and are on track to hit $1 billion this summer! Additionally, the number of unique groups using our fundraising tools this cycle is nearly double the number that used us in the entire 2016 election cycle! Grassroots donors are truly uniting behind Democratic candidates and successfully leveling a playing field traditionally stacked by conservative mega-donors.
Small-dollar donors aren’t just breaking cycle records — this was also the biggest quarter ever on ActBlue in terms of dollar volume ($210,747,320), and it includes our biggest dollar day ever (June 30 — $9,373,597). On top of all of that, we also officially crossed 5 million ActBlue Express users! Keep reading to see everything grassroots donors achieved this quarter.
With so many brand-new grassroots donors getting off the sidelines and jumping in to help more candidates and organizations than ever before, we once again broke the record for the number of unique groups using our tools in a single quarter: 9,070 campaigns and organizations. Q2 was also our second-biggest quarter ever for number of contributions. Small-dollar donors gave 5,177,216 contributions, nearly matching the current record of 5,615,070 from Q1 2016, which was in the midst of a heated presidential primary! This is yet another example of the participation and activism we’re seeing build as we near November.
Many of the new donors in Q2 were motivated to give to charities fighting for parents and children who were separated at the border. When the crisis began, activists and elected officials used our Tandem Fundraising feature to build contribution forms that listed multiple nonprofits advocating for families so that folks could support all of their work with a single click. Over 380,000 people gave their first contribution through ActBlue this quarter, and 51.3% of those folks gave that donation through one of these forms.
|Q2 ‘14||Q2 ‘16||Q2 ‘18|
|New ActBlue Express Users||137,998||231,463||280,319|
|% of Total Volume via ActBlue Express||53.5%||62.3%||58.3%|
|% of Contributions via ActBlue Express||58.7%||70.1%||62.2%|
With ActBlue Express, donors can save their payment information and give to any campaign or organization using ActBlue with a single click. In Q2, 62.2% of all contributions came from ActBlue Express, and 280,319 folks created ActBlue Express accounts. We officially hit 5 million ActBlue Express users on June 30 during the end-of-quarter rush — only a year and a day after hitting 4 million users in 2017!
|Q2 ‘14||Q2 ‘16||Q2 ‘18|
|% of Contributions via Mobile||23.7%||39.8%||43.0%|
|% Mobile for ActBlue Express||26.2%||43.1%||43.1%|
|Q2 ‘14||Q2 ‘16||Q2 ‘18|
|Total Recurring Volume||$3,914,199||$25,403,318||$41,456,595|
|% of Total Volume||8.2%||19.2%||19.7%|
Recurring contributions sustain campaigns that have to make it from primary season to November and enable the nonprofits fighting for families at the border to support the affected children and parents for months to come. This quarter, recurring contributions made up 19.7% of total sitewide volume.
|Total Incoming Calls||28,015|
Q2 made it more clear than ever before that we are living in a new age of American activism that is being powered by small-dollar donors. From protesting to voting to donating, the left put in an incredible amount of organizing that will set us up for victory this fall. And with months still to go until Election Day, we know this movement will only continue to expand! If you want to fundraise for your favorite campaign or cause, or if you have questions about this post, get in touch with us at email@example.com!
This is a guest post written by Janice Chan, who often writes for our friends at Wethos over at The Nonprofit Revolution. In over a decade in the nonprofit sector, Janice has written fundraising appeals and grant proposals, led social media outreach, managed volunteers, executed rollout plans, managed donor and program databases, and learned the hard way that changing to a new website host means you’d better make sure that donation form still works!
Ever played that team building game, “All Aboard”? You’re in a group and you are given say, a hand towel or a telephone book (showing my age here, I know), and the goal is to get everybody on board without anyone having a foot touching the ground. Depending on the variation or the prop used, the boat may get smaller (e.g. towel is folded in half) or your group may get bigger — and still you need to get everyone on board without any feet touching the ground.
Often, working at a nonprofit organization can feel that way. You’re trying to serve the same number of people with fewer resources, or serve more people with the same amount of resources. This metaphor is not only apropos to programming, but to fundraising as well. You’re trying to raise funds from more supporters (get more people on board) with the same number of staff or resources. And yet, the more you raise, the more people (donors and clients) you can get on board.
It does not need to be an endless game of chicken, egg, chicken, egg.
That’s why you focus on major gifts and/or grants, right? We know it’s important to respect donors at all levels, but in terms of where we spend our fundraising resources (time, budget, attention), it is clear that we prioritize funders who can give large gifts. But it’s easy to take those smaller dollar annual gifts for granted — just send or share it out to enough people and build our lists and followers because it is a small percentage of volume, volume, volume.
Or is it?
We tend to believe, particularly if we are smaller organizations, in the myth of scarcity. That if we spent time focusing on small-dollar donors, it would take away from the time we spend on major gifts and grants, and that would cause much bigger problems if we didn’t have those. We act as if this were a game of musical chairs instead. And so we close ourselves off to the people who could help us.
Worse, we leave people feeling like their contributions won’t matter unless they can write a check with more than two digits in front of the decimal point.
The trick to playing “All Aboard” is that when you have more people, you can use each other to hold all of you up. The more people you have, the more people you can get on board. This is not musical chairs. But you have to involve every person on board.
One, value small-dollar donors.
Valuing small-dollar donors isn’t simply the right thing to do; it’s a key part of any smart fundraising strategy. Small-dollar donors provide increased revenue, can be more vocal supporters and ambassadors for your organization once they’ve invested in your work, and can donate multiple times.
Valuing donors is not about what we say but whether our donors feel like they matter to us. You know how we rush to address whatever it is that a major donor, funder, or board member raised as an issue, no matter how small? Or how we otherwise pay attention to all aspects of their donor experience? Sometimes it’s because they are important details; sometimes the details are simply important to them. Donor experience is key at all levels. What if we took the same care and put the same level of thought into how all of our donors experience supporting our organization?
Note that I said thought, not necessarily time. Often, we know more than we give ourselves credit for knowing. Like the fact that increasing numbers of donors give via mobile devices. Or that A/B testing is an effective way to experiment and see what works best for your particular donors.
But getting there seems overwhelming and, as a small or medium nonprofit, like it’s out of our league. However, technology advances all the time but so do the services available. Customizable, data-driven online fundraising platforms are no longer as out of reach as you think — not in cost or in staff capacity to manage and maximize.
Two, create a plan to grow the number of small-dollar donors.
Giving Tuesday doesn’t just magically happen as some type of positive penance amid the Cyber Monday hangover (Cyber Monday also not being a natural consequence of Black Friday).
Grassroots fundraising can change the game if you’re intentional about it. What does intentional look like? There is a strategy, there are planned efforts to grow the number of small-dollar donors, and these efforts are tracked, measured, and evaluated to inform future efforts. These strategies don’t have to break the bank, and the right expertise is also not as out of reach as you think! (Not entirely sure what you need? Platforms like Wethos offer free consultations that can help you define your project prior to hiring a freelancer.)
And remember how we talked about involving every person on board? Traditionally, fundraising has been about moving donors up the ladder of engagement over time, from smaller annual gifts to larger major gifts. But that’s ignoring a subset of donors who, for various reasons, wish to give lower amounts, or who perhaps would rather give smaller amounts more often, a.k.a. recurring gifts.
Flip the ladder of engagement sideways, like a platform you can build on. Challenges and matches can be a successful strategy for getting people on board, while giving your major donors a new way in which to support your organization and grow your capacity.
Three, set a goal to encourage recurring gifts from small-dollar donors.
Yes, we can ask small-dollar donors for recurring gifts, and yes, we can receive them. Even if the amount per donation is lower, the recurring nature means that a donor will likely give more than if you had asked them for a one-time gift. For example, you might only get $25 as a one-time gift but the same donor might be willing to pledge $5/month for 12 months (and $5 x 12 = $60).
You know what else? It is also a sign that this donor is more connected to your cause and your organization, which means they will probably be more likely to respond to your other calls to action. It’s also easier to ask friends to give when, hey, you support this organization every month.
Want recurring gifts? As with all fundraising, you won’t get what you don’t ask for. Build this into your strategy and your online giving forms. (Or take the time-saving approach and choose a platform like AB Charities where recurring gifts and management of them is already built in.)
Four, for any goals, figure out how you’ll evaluate your progress.
A big benefit of grassroots fundraising? Sample size. This makes it much faster to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. And whereas some donors may be fairly forthright about why they did or didn’t give to you, raising money online also gives you the benefits of tracking things like how many people visit your online donation page without clicking through — and where they dropped off in the process.
Five, apply what you’ve learned to value your grassroots donors.
And like that Brian McKnight song, we are back at one.
Best practices are not without merit, but they are not based on your particular organization or your supporters. Use what you learn to continue to figure out how to make all your donors feel valued, respected, and like their contribution matters. This will change over time. Good thing is that so do the tools and resources available to us.
You do what you do because your organization believes in our capacity to be better, in our capacity to make the world better. Believe in the capacity of your grassroots donors.
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!
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 user–friendly experience. The new navbar makes it much easier for users (especially campaign and organization admins) to navigate to the pages they need.
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 slide–out 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Check out all of the highlights from May below.
|May ’14||May ‘16||May ‘18|
|Average Contribution Size||$40.31||$32.45||$43.04|
|Unique Campaigns, Committees,
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 ‘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!
|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).
|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.
|Total Incoming Calls||8,982|
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 email@example.com.
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!
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you work for a campaign or organization that uses ActBlue, reach out to us at email@example.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.
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.
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.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
ActBlue admins will notice something new on their Dashboard starting today: A message regarding two-factor authentication.
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.
Open the app and select “Begin Setup” and then “Scan barcode.”
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 email@example.com!
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:
|April ’14||April ‘16||April ‘18|
|Average Contribution Size||$38.15||$30.25||$38.45|
|Unique Campaigns, Committees,
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.
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.
|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.
|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.
|Total Incoming Calls||9,927|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.