A look back at ActBlue's 2016 election cycle

Small-dollar donors have always been a force to be reckoned with, but never more so than during the 2016 election cycle. And the small-dollar donor support hasn’t slowed down since November. With Trump in office, more and more people are getting involved in the political process, and learning that chipping in a little bit to power the resistance is one of the easiest and most impactful actions they can take.

At ActBlue, we helped campaigns and organizations raise $746 million during the 2016 cycle. At that scale, we’re able to track patterns and gather insights. Below we’ve visualized some of that data for you, as well as highlighted a few of the innovations that made a big difference this cycle. We hope it’ll be useful as you build out your small-dollar donor programs this year. Check it out, and as always, we’re happy to talk it through with you and answer any questions.

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01.
Topline Numbers

Over 6,000 campaigns, committees, and organizations used ActBlue's tools to collectively raise nearly three quarters of a billion dollars. With an average contribution size of $33.92, it was a small-dollar donor movement in action.

02.
Donor Participation

Small-dollar giving made countless headlines this election cycle, and for good reason. Over 3.5 million unique donors gave through ActBlue’s platform, and the majority of them were new donors.

03.
Express users

Our total number of ActBlue Express users reached 3.3 million (and is up to 3.7 million as of February 2017). Those are donors who have saved their credit card information with us and can give to any candidate or organization using our platform with a single click. The ActBlue Express user community will continue to be an incredibly powerful piece of shared infrastructure for all the fights to come.

04.
Giving & Giving Again

This cycle, we saw an incredible number of supporters give more than once, and often to multiple groups or candidates. That’s in part because campaigns and organizations really embraced Tandem Fundraising, an ActBlue feature that allows donors to split a contribution between multiple candidates or organizations.

05.
Recurring

Recurring contributions don’t just provide a steady source of income — they can help groups raise more money per supporter, and help supporters build stronger connections with the causes they support. This cycle, campaigns and organizations put a lot of effort into building robust recurring programs. And it paid off — recurring contributions generated an incredible $160 million, $45 million of which came in from weekly recurring asks.

06.
Innovation

This cycle, we launched new features that instantly brought in extra money for campaigns and organizations. These innovations — in addition to the constant optimization tests we run — meant that all Democrats had the best tools available to them.

Apple Pay

We launched Apple Pay as a pilot program in the last few weeks before the election. It helped raise over a million dollars before Election Day, and we’re hard at work rolling it out to state and local jurisdictions.

Remarketing

These emails, which prompted donors to complete their unfinished contributions, were quick and easy moneymakers that helped raise over $2,146,025 before Election Day.

ExpressPass

Our mobile donation feature made it easy for people to give on their phones via a text message.

07.
Security

Security issues really came to the forefront during this election cycle. We’ve always had security experts on our tech team and have trained our staff on security best practices. But this year, we went further, enabling 2-factor authentication for anyone logging into ActBlue’s campaign and organization dashboards, and providing training to the larger progressive community.

Looking to the future

More people than ever are motivated to get involved, asking what they can do to help shape the future of our country, from their local communities on up. That’s why small-dollar donors are going to be the backbone of the resistance movement. We’re planning to put our heads down and do hard work with all of you over the next few years.

Building contribution forms, moving money, ensuring donors are happy, and keeping sensitive data safe are complicated jobs that no campaign or organization should have to take on. The core value of ActBlue has always been that we are shared infrastructure, and we’re going to continue to make sure that Democrats and progressives have a competitive edge. Onward.

Thank you to everyone who support ActBlue's work this past cycle. Forward into light.