Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started with ActBlue

Information for Donors

Contribution Forms

ActBlue Express

Data Integration

Recurring Contributions

A/B Testing

Reference Codes

About ActBlue and ActBlue Technical Services

Other

Getting Started with ActBlue

How do I get my campaign, committee or non-profit listed on ActBlue?

Visit www.actbluesetup.com and fill out the short form. An ActBlue staffer will be in touch shortly to get you set up and fundraising in no time.

What types of organizations can be listed on ActBlue?

If you’re wondering if you can fundraise on ActBlue, check out the guidelines below. If you still have questions about your eligibility, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.  

  • All Democratic candidates for federal office, federal political action committees, and non-federal 527 organizations may raise funds using ActBlue. ActBlue can list candidates for state office in every state except Connecticut, but campaigns in some states may require additional paperwork before we can set them up. Local campaigns in Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington D.C. as well as these cities and counties can also sign up for ActBlue as part of our local races pilot program. 501c(4) organizations may request an ActBlue Civics listing.
  • To begin the setup process, please visit www.actbluesetup.com
  • If we're missing a candidate, please let us know and we will post them ASAP. We list all Democratic candidates for each U.S. House and Senate seat, and do our best to add new candidates as soon as they emerge and register with the FEC.
  • We've included other groups and organizations that we think our user community would be interested in supporting. The organizations conduct different types of political activities, including issue advocacy, media campaigns, voter registration, get-out-the-vote and more.
  • ActBlue also lists social welfare organizations that reflect the interests of our donor community.
  • Is ActBlue active in X state/locality?

    We can help state candidates in every state besides Connecticut due to their current laws. Here is the large and growing list of localities where we are active:

    3.95% Pricing Require Merchant Accounts
    Arapahoe County, CO Austin, TX Kings County, NY
    Chicago, IL Baltimore, MD Long Beach, CA
    Dane County, WI Charlotte, NC Los Angeles, CA
    Honolulu, HI Chicago, IL (over $52,600) Los Angeles County, CA
    Madison, WI Cook County, IL Memphis, TN
    Massachusetts (all cities) Cleveland, OH Milwaukee County, WI
    Omaha, NE Columbus, OH New York, NY
    Outagmie County, WI Dallas, TX Oakland, CA
    Portland, OR Denver, CO Philadelphia, PA
    San Diego, CA Franklin County, OH Pittsburgh, PA
    San Francisco, CA Houston, TX Phoenix, AZ
    Virginia cities over 20k people Indianapolis and Marion County, IN San Antonio, TX
    Washington, DC Jacksonville, FL Santa Clara County, CA
    Yonkers, NY

    Can you help local candidates fundraise?

    Yes! We can help city and municipal candidates in a number of locations. The list of where we are currently active is above. If your city isn’t listed, let us know and we’ll look into it. We can’t make any promises, but hearing from you will help us figure out how to prioritize our work.

    Can you help judicial candidates fundraise?

    We are not active in judicial races at this time.

    My favorite candidate isn't listed. Why not?

    See the previous questions for our listing criteria. If the candidate meets all of the criteria, it may just be an oversight on our part. Please help out and let us know.

    Is it possible to get a draft campaign listed on ActBlue?

    On a limited basis, draft campaigns for federal candidates can be listed on ActBlue. Please contact us for more information.

    How much does ActBlue charge?

    There is a flat rate of 3.95% that we charge on each donation you receive to cover the processing cost. That’s it. There are no set up fees and no last minute charges for the services we provide. That way you can do the math.

    For local campaigns and a few state-level campaigns, we are required to operate through merchant accounts. Although fees will vary depending on the type of card being processed, you can expect them to average around 3.95% as well. Donors and fundraisers can use our tools for free.

    I'm weighing my fundraising platform options right now. Why should I choose ActBlue?

    We'll help you raise more money. Period.

    We’ve never lost a legitimate A/B test and there are a lot of reasons for that. Our pages have been tested hundreds of times to maximize conversions. Our pages are mobile-optimized and can take PayPal. There are 570,000 (and growing!) ActBlue Express users who have saved their credit card information with us and they convert at double the rate of regular users. We’re a non-profit, so we’re only here to help you win!

    Want to know more or set up a test? Drop us a line.

    What’s the difference between a hub page, a customized page, and my overall account?

    A hub page is a place for supporters to find and join in publicly.

    A customized page is one of the many variations that you can make via your ActBlue account. The options include a branded template, merchandise page, event tickets page, and email and web forms.

    Your overall account is all that activity put together. We call it your dashboard. It’s the money that comes in from all these sources and your ActBlue command station.

    What does it mean if I'm a "page owner"? Where do I find my pages?

    Pages can only have one owner (unlike accounts which can have multiple users) and page ownership is automatically given to the person who creates it. Page owners can delete the page. Everyone who is a user on the committee’s account can edit the page and see the fundraising total.

    You can find and manage your pages under the “Fundraising” tab while you’re logged in.

    Where can I find my dashboard and contributor info?

    Click on the name of your committee under the “My Committees” menu when you’re signed in.

    This will bring you straight to your dashboard. To access your contributor data in real time, click the “Compliance” tab in your dashboard. Here you’ll find the reporting center, with everything you need to follow up with your donors and legally comply with your reporting body. We make it easy to use with instructions on how to handle your data and options to download NGP or .csv data. You can also view and download information from individual checks.

    Can I be an admin on more than one account? How do I switch between them?

    Yes, you can be an admin on more than one account. You can switch between them by choosing the appropriate committee from the “My Committees” menu after you’re logged in.

    I just created a page, why doesn’t it show up on my hub page?

    Pages will not show up until they receive at least $1 in donations. Once you receive your first donation, it will automatically be visible on your hub page. You can still share the link with supporters before you’ve received any donations. You should also make sure that you’ve checked off the line that says “Promote my page by displaying fundraising totals...” on the “Edit” tab.

    I just got my first ActBlue/ActBlue Civics check in the mail, what should I do?

    Your treasurer should deposit your check into your campaign savings account. If you lose or damage a check and need one reissued, you may contact us.

    In order to report your donor information, you should login to your ActBlue account and visit the “Compliance” tab on your dashboard. There you’ll find instructions on how to handle all of your donor information. You can download your data to integrate into NGP, view it in a CSV, or see details of individual weekly checks.

    If you have questions about how to access your donor information, please let us know.

    Information for Donors

    Where does my money go?

    It goes directly to the candidate or cause you specify when you give.  Campaigns and organizations use the fundraising software on our site to enable you to make your contribution.  We act as the conduit for your contribution, passing the donation on.  The cost of processing the contribution (mostly credit card fees), comes out of your contribution. We are legally required to charge that fee.

    As a non-profit, tips are how we pay our bills. We don’t profit from the contributions going through our site. You can add your tip on the page where you enter your credit card information.

    Are there limits on how much I can contribute?

    Yes. Because it takes time and money to process a donation, there's a $1 minimum on all contributions made via ActBlue.

    Contributions made via the ActBlue website are the same as those made in other ways (e.g. through the mail, at a fundraiser, etc.) and are counted against relevant contribution limits.

    Contribution limits for 2013-14 are as follows. (Note that some differ from the 2012 limits due to the FEC's adjustments for inflation.)

    • U.S. House and Senate candidates — $2,600 per election to each candidate. (Primary and general elections are counted as separate elections, even if the primary is uncontested.)
    • Federal PACs (e.g. ActBlue) — $5,000 per year to each PAC.
    • National Party Committees (e.g. the DNC, DSCC, DCCC) — $32,400 per year to each national party committee.
    • Aggregated limits to Federal candidates — In 2013-14, you may give a combined total of up to $48,600 to Federal candidates (i.e. candidates for U.S. House and Senate).
    • Aggregated limits to PACs and Party Committees — In 2013-14 you may give a combined total of up to $74,600 to Federal PACs and Party committees. No more than $48,600 of these funds may go to Federal PACs and state and local party committees.
    • State and Local Party Committees — Combined $10,000 limit for party committees in each state.

    For state and local campaigns, the contribution limits vary by state or municipality. We’ve built ActBlue so that each contribution form is pre-set to accommodate each jurisdiction’s contribution limits, but if you have follow up questions, you can be in touch with us or your own counsel.

    There is no limit on the amount you can donate to superPACs or social welfare organizations listed on ActBlue.

    Are my donations tax deductible?

    No, political donations to federal candidates and committees are not tax deductible, whether they are made online or in person. Likewise, gifts and contributions to social welfare organizations and (c4)s are not deductible as charitable contributions, nor as a business expense to the extent that the funds might be used for lobbying activities.

    How can I change or cancel recurring contributions once I have created them?

    Your recurring contribution receipt contains a link that allows you to modify the number of months remaining on your contribution or cancel it altogether.

    Unfortunately we cannot change the amount of the contribution, the day of the month it is charged, or the recipient. If you’d like to change any of these factors, you can cancel your recurring contribution and sign up for a new one that reflects the changes you’d like to make.

    If you’d prefer you may contact us at any time to edit or cancel your contribution. Just provide your name, zip code, and information about the contribution.

    I made a mistake while donating. Who should I contact?

    You can email our customer service team or call us at 617-517-7600 and we can help you out. We’re in the office Monday-Friday from 9 AM - 5 PM EST. We return every phone call and email that we receive, and make every effort to do it within the same day.

    How do I know your site is secure?

    ActBlue is PCI compliant, which means that we have passed rigorous security tests to ensure that all donor credit cards are fully protected. We’re required to conduct quarterly security tests and annual external audits, so we’re always thinking about security. You can click on the green security certificate that appears in front of our web address to learn more.

    How can I fundraise for my favorite candidate(s)?

    You can create a fundraising page for your favorite candidate or a group of candidates. Just log in to your ActBlue account and then search for the first person. Once you’ve found your candidate, click the “Create a Page” arrow next to their name. Fill out all of the prompts (check out the Contribution Forms section below for more tips).

    If you’d like to add other candidates or organizations to the page, you can click on the “Add” tab, find them in the directory and click add. We recommend sticking to just one or a few candidates. If you’re doing a group, make sure you give a reason why all of the candidates deserve support.

    Once you’re done you can share the link to your page with family and friends. Personal pitches work really well in persuading people who they should vote for and support.

    Contribution Forms

    How do I create a fundraising page?

    Choose the committee you’d like to fundraise for from the “My Committees” drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of the page. This will bring you to your campaign dashboard.

    From your dashboard, choose the type of form you’d like to create (you can find a breakdown of the differences in the next questions). The form will prompt you to fill in all of the relevant information, including the public page title, web page url, a fundraising pitch, and thank you text that will be sent out with email receipts. If you’d like the page to be visible to site visitors, make sure you check off the “Promote my page by displaying fundraising totals...” option under the “Edit” tab.

    You can also do more with your pages by adding a fundraising goal thermometer, embedding video, choosing custom presets, setting up an A/B test and adding a customized branding to match your website.

    You can still edit everything once you’ve created and saved the page. Just click on the appropriate page from the “Manage Pages” menu and use the tabs to edit the various features.

    What's the difference between the various types of contribution forms?

    We have four types of contribution forms: Web, Email, Event, and Merchandise.

    You should create a web contribution page as soon as you get your account set up and link to it on your website so your donors land on a customized page. This page should contain general campaign pitches and should have a wide variety of preset donation amounts as it will not be targeted to specific supporters.

    Email forms are the best choice for sending out an email blast. You can customize the text to fit the message in your email and select presets based on your list’s demographics. This is also a great time to run an A/B test to compare different fundraising asks.

    Event forms allow you to sell tickets online. Choose prices and names for each supporter level, set ticket limits, and provide location and contact details. You can download your guest list before the big day to ensure everything goes smoothly or even use a laptop to sell tickets at the door. If you have multiple host committees, you can give each one of them a link with a unique reference code so that you can easily track how much they’ve raised.

    Merchandise forms allow you to sell campaign or organization branded goods, from bumper stickers to t-shirts to novelty mugs. You can compile all the available options into a campaign store and donors can order as many as they would like.

    How many fundraising pages can I create?

    As many as you want! There’s no limit to how many pages you can create, and no extra charge for adding or maintaining a page.

    Can I change the layout of the form?

    We’ve done hundreds of tests over the years and gone through many redesigns to ensure that our forms are optimized to convert as many donors as possible. Therefore, you can’t change the layout of the page - but we swear you wouldn’t want to anyway!

    You can add a campaign branding to the page, customize your text and preset contribution amounts, and add thermometers or video, all of which will help you build the best contribution form for your needs.

    How do I use thermometers to set goals?

    You can create a fundraising goal on any page that you create. Just choose which contribution form you’d like to use and fill out the first page and proceed to “Goal.” You can either set a goal for the number of donors who give or the total donations you receive. Just choose which one you’d like to measure and enter your goal along with the date from which you’re measuring. You can also edit this information once you’ve created your page under the goal tab.

    Note: you’ll probably want to pick a reasonable goal. If supporters feel like they’ll help push you over the edge, they’ll be more motivated to donate. If you would like your goal to increase as your fundraising total does, enter a comma-separated list of additional goals. ie: 500,1000,2000. Moving the goal posts really works, so don’t set just one!

    How do I sell event tickets?

    Event pages work much like regular pages, but you’ll want to be sure to include all the details guests (or potential guests) will need - including contact information, host name, location, event time, and dress code. We’ve provided sample text on the form so you don’t forget anything.

    On the “tickets” section of the form, you can add as many different supporter levels as you’d like - so if you want to offer discounts to young professionals or dedicated supporters, do it here. If you need to limit the number of tickets in any category, check off the limit box and save the appropriate number. Once you’ve sold all of the allotted tickets, that supporter level will no longer be available.

    Finish up with your thank you text and branding. It’s a good idea to include all the party details in your thank you text so that donors will have an email copy of it.

    How do I sell merchandise?

    For merchandise pages, you’ll need a page title and a contribution form pitch, as well as customer service contact information and a shipping timeline. A word of advice: if you’re planning on selling merchandise, make sure you have your supply chain and shipping plan in order before you start selling it.

    We ask you to give a reasonable time frame on the page for shipping orders, and the customer service contact information you give out should be an email and phone number that you regularly monitor. The more prepared you are, the happier your supporters (and your team) will be!

    Once you’ve filled in the basics, you’ll be prompted to enter each of the “gifts” you’d like to sell, along with a price and a limit (again, be honest - if you can only produce 100, make sure you don’t sell more than that). You’ll also need to upload an image of each gift so donors know what they’re purchasing.

    Once you’ve saved an item, you can add a description as well as variations (such as size and color). The page provides specific instructions for setting this up. Click on the recipients tab to find shipping and order information for each donors, and use the promote tab to share your store with the world.

    How do I customize/design my form and what does it cost?

    Like all features at ActBlue, custom designed forms are free! You can create one yourself by going to the "Brandings" tab on your dashboard and filling out the lite branding categories with a logo image, color, and branding title. Or you can email us and we’ll create one for you for free! Just send us a high-res image of your logo or a campaign image you’d like to use, and we’ll create one with complimentary colors. You can create as many brandings as you'd like, so try creating a special version for an upcoming event!

    How do I update the contact information on my committee's account?

    Visit your committee’s page (by selecting it from the “My Committees” dropdown menu when you’re logged in) and click on the “Settings” tab. Scroll down to find the contact information, including website, twitter handle, address, and main contact person, that you’d like to edit and hit save once you’re done.

    How do I add/remove other users on my account?

    Visit your committee’s page (by selecting it from the “My Committees” dropdown menu when you’re logged in) and click on the “User Access” tab. There you can add or remove users as well as set up contribution alerts for users. If you want to add a user to the account who has never used ActBlue before, enter their email address and we’ll send them instructions on how to create an account as well as grant them access.

    How do I receive my money?

    If you’re a federal candidate, a c4 non-profit, or a state-level candidate that did not have to set up a merchant account, you’ll receive a check each week containing funds from the previous week. We cut and mail checks every Monday, containing funds through Sunday at midnight.

    If you’re a local candidate or state-level candidate that had to set up a merchant account, the money will be deposited directly into your bank account.

    How can I request a check/get my money faster?

    If you receive checks from us, just give us a call. We can cut and mail you a check any day of the week containing funds raised through midnight of the day before.

    If you’re working on a large campaign that’s raising over $5,000 every day, we may be able to offer you wire transfers. Drop our political team a line.

    If you have a merchant account, you’re already getting your money as fast as possible. Because we act as a conduit, we process hundreds of thousands of dollars on a daily basis. We leverage the amount of money that we move to get fast processing times and great rates from our bank.

    Can I customize the preset contribution amounts?

    Yes. On the “Customization” tab of the contribution page setup form there is a box to enter the presets that you like. You can enter a maximum of 7 values and must separate each of them by commas. The maximum value you can enter is $5,000, but if you have a lower contribution limit for your race or organization, you should be sure to to cap your presets at that amount. You can always change them later on the “Edit” tab.

    What contribution amounts should I preset on my form?

    It depends. Is this an email or a website fundraising page? Are you running a grassroots campaign or appealing to big ticket donors? For an email, you’re making an ask to a diverse group of supporters, so you may want to include a contribution amount as low as $3. Some choose to make the lowest contribution amount $15 or $25. Whichever you choose, just make sure you have a fairly wide range of amounts available - donors can always enter their own amount, but it’s easier and more effective to offer them good options.

    The best way to figure this out is try and try again. Analyze your data after you’ve completed a fundraising ask and see which contribution amounts were most common and which contribution amounts people entered in themselves. If there’s a trend, you’ll know which amounts to try out next time. If you have a large email list, you can set up a test to see how two or more contribution pages fare against each other. If you’ve got questions about how to do this, drop us a line.

    Can I use personalized text to thank my donors?

    Yes, we encourage it! You can enter your own thank you in the “Email receipt text” box on the “Customizations” page of the setup form, or later in the “Edit” tab once the page has been created. We suggest something that references the important work donors’ contributions will help fund. Let them know they’re making a difference!

    The information in the receipt portion of the thank you email is not editable because we need to ensure that all donors receive a complete record of their contribution information.

    What's a tandem fundraising page and how do I make one?

    A tandem fundraising page is a page where one organization or committee raises for other organizations or committees.

    Why raise for someone else? Because it helps you build coalitions, keep your list engaged, support others doing work you admire and raise some money for yourself at the same time. We handle all the hard work of getting the money to the right source. You get all the credit and donor information. No additional compliance burden.

    Create a normal fundraising page for your organization that contains your tandem fundraising pitch and all the settings you’d like. Once you’ve created it, click on the “Add” column and search for the group(s) that you’d like to add to the page.

    That’s it! The contribution page will ask donors to “Split It!” meaning that whatever donation they give will be split evenly between each of the recipients. Donors can also choose to enter individual amounts for each candidate.

    I'm new to writing fundraising emails or just want to get better. Any tips?

    Email writing is best when it makes a personal appeal or addresses a specific need, since you want your argument to be compelling. If you’ve got an upcoming fundraising deadline or your organization is about to launch a big advocacy campaign, make sure you tell your supporters. Be specific and believable when describing your need or goal. Above all, make sure your mission has a sense of urgency!

    Try to keep your paragraphs short, and include multiple donation links. Make the links stand out by bolding them or putting them on a separate line.

    While it’s tempting to provide as much information as possible to donors, when you’re writing a fundraising email don’t link your donors to anything other than a contribution form. The best way to increase conversion rates is to decrease distractions in your pitch.

    What are some benchmarks for figuring out if my email was successful?

    This depends on the individual organization, but the best way to figure it out is to set measurable goals ahead of time. Set reasonable targets that reflect your organization’s past successes. Use fundraising thermometers to share your goals with your supporters and encourage them to help you reach those targets.

    When should I send a kicker?

    This depends on your organization, but generally it’s a good idea to send out a kicker for any fundraising email that exceeds your expectations or was sent out before a big deadline. End of quarter or end of month fundraising deadlines help spur supporters into action. Challenge them by adding in a fundraising thermometer and ask them to help you beat your goals. Yup, moving the goal posts actually work. Humans like hitting goals.

    Again, testing out different kickers and approaches will help you figure out what is right for you. If you’d like some advice, we’re always here.

    Donors are contacting me with questions about ActBlue, what should I tell them?

    Our customer service team here handles all donor inquiries. Have them send us an email at info@actblue.com or call us at 617-517-7600. We return every phone call and email we get, and we make every effort to do it by the end of the EST business day, so rest assured your donors will be taken care of.

    Donors are contacting me with questions about ActBlue, what should I tell them?

    Our customer service team here handles all donor inquiries. Have them send us an email at info@actblue.com or call us at 617-517-7600. We return every phone call and email we get, and we make every effort to do it by the end of the EST business day, so rest assured your donors will be taken care of.

    One of my donors wants a refund, how do I handle this?

    You can forward their written request or contact us at info@actblue.com or 617-517-7600. Donors should include their full name, email address and the amount and recipient of the contribution for the fastest response. We’re almost always able to issue donors a refund directly. However, if you don’t have enough pending funds in your ActBlue account you’ll need to refund them directly with a check or wait until you have enough funds in your account. In that case, we’ll get in touch with the contact person on your account.

    Can I get contribution alerts when my candidate, committee, or organization receives a large donation?

    Yes! Finance directors, this one is for you. Select the committee you’d like to add an alert for from the “My committees” drop down menu. Click on the “Users” tab and click “Set up a contribution alert” under your email address. Enter a threshold amount. You’ll receive notifications for any donation you receive over this amount.

    ActBlue Express

    What are Express users and why are they helpful?

    Express users are donors who have saved their credit card information with ActBlue, and can donate with just one click. Because the Express donor universe is so large (570,000 and counting), your supporters are already a part of it. On average, 40% of your existing donors will already be Express users.

    Express users also donate 21.5% more frequently than non-Express users and contribute 8.5% more dollars over time.

    What is Express Lane and how can I get it?

    Express Lane lets Express users (people who have saved their credit card information with ActBlue) contribute instantly from an email. Donors just click the a link for a specific amount and their card is charged. The donors don't have to spend time filling out a lugubrious contribution form. All the work's done for them!

    We’re rolling out Express Lane slowly to federal campaigns and larger state campaigns. Contact us if you are interested.

    Will you match our list so we can find out which of our members are Express users?

    We’re happy to match your list to our Express users. On average, 40% of your existing donors will already be Express users.

    Data Integration

    Does ActBlue integrate with Salsa, Blue State Digital, NGPVAN, Trilogy and ActionKit?

    Yes, we integrate with all of the above!  We’ll push all your donor and fundraising tracking information directly into your database. If you have questions, contact us here.

    How do I download my donor information/compliance reports?

    Visit the “Compliance” tab on your dashboard. There you’ll find instructions on how to handle all of your donor information. You can download your data to integrate into NGP, view it in a CSV, or see details of individual weekly checks.

    How do I integrate ActBlue data with NGP?

    We offer one-step integration of our disbursement information into your NGP contributor database. If you’re an NGP Desktop customer, make sure you have downloaded the latest software update.

    Visit the “Compliance” tab of your committee’s dashboard and click on “Download NGP Data.” There you’ll find your data broken down by checks. For each ActBlue disbursement check, you'll need to download two files from the table below: your campaign's NGP fundraiser database file, and the contributor database file for that disbursement. Once you have copies of each file, select Imports from the File menu, then select ActBlue Import.

    Recurring Contributions

    How do I ask for recurring contributions?

    You need to work on your pitch. Why should donors help you build or sustain your organization? We make the mechanics easy, allow you to track your results and help donors update their payment information.

    To set up a recurring contribution page, first make sure that the “Allow recurring contributions” option is checked on the “Edit” page. Then go to the promote tab to fill in your ask, including the number of months and amount you’d like as the page’s default and we'll generate the link for you. We’ll let you track the results make it easy for donors to update their credit cards or make other adjustments later.

    The maximum number of months is 48 and credit cards will typically expire before that time is up. Donors can always alter the number of months it will run, but it’s better to put in some of the legwork for them.

    What are some of the best practices for recurring contribution asks?

    Make sure you tell people up front that you’d like them to make a recurring contribution, and lower your donation presets a little - the more reasonable the ask is, the more likely people will sign up for and stick with their donation.

    You should also make sure to stay in touch with recurring donors and remind them that they’re continuing to make a difference with their support. Connecting with your donors ensures that they’ll see their recurring contribution all the way through.

    Why should I send out a recurring donation ask?

    Recurring asks bring in much more money over time than one-time asks do. Besides the dollar amount, having a recurring fundraising program helps you budget for expenses because you can predict your contribution flow. It also helps you build relationships with your donors. While a one-time donor might give and then forget about you, a recurring donor is continuing to invest in your cause, which makes them more avid supporters.

    We’re really big advocates of recurring donation asks. If you want to see the data to back it up, check out the results of one of our most recent recurring vs. one-time donation tests here.

    A/B Testing

    What is A/B testing and how does it work?

    A/B testing is a popular way to test two versions of a variable to see which is more successful. By directly comparing different text or visual formats, you can make smarter, data-based decisions about your fundraising, even if you don’t have an analytics team.

    ActBlue offers free A/B testing tools to everyone using our site. The system automatically lets you know when you’ve got statistically significant results, so there’s no guesswork involved.

    What should I test for?

    We allow you to test different page names, contribution form pitches, thermometers (with or without), and videos (with or without). Just make sure you’re testing one variable at a time so you can accurately analyze your results!

    We also encourage you to A/B test when you’re sending out emails. While we don’t provide email software, it’s always a good idea to be testing your pitches and subject lines.

    My list is X size, can I learn anything from running A/B tests?

    We usually recommend testing for lists of 200,000 or more. Any smaller and you are unlikely to get statistically significant results.

    How big should I make my testing samples?

    We recommend making your sample size about 100k.

    What are some of the best practices for A/B testing?

    Start with the page you normally use. This is your control. Then, create a new one where you change one variable. You could add a thermometer to see if it motivates supporters or change the first line in your pitch to see if it’s more compelling.

    Make sure that you only change one variable at a time. Otherwise you won’t know what’s actually bringing in the most money. So figure out what’s the most important thing to learn and test that first. Once you’ve got a result from one test, then run another.

    Keep in mind that there might be external factors effecting the results, like the email content, so it’s usually a good idea to run a test from multiple emails to make sure you have clean results.

    Reference Codes

    What are reference codes?

    Reference codes (also referred to as ref codes) are additions to urls that allow you to track which link in your email or on your website donors gave through.

    Why do I need to use them?

    They help you make smarter decisions about how you write your fundraising emails and how you structure your website. For example, if you notice that there’s a big drop-off in donations from the first link in your email to the last one, you want to think about how you can write more engrossing emails.

    They’re especially helpful if you’re planning on A/B testing your fundraising email as they’ll help you determine the winner of your test.

    If you’re using your list to fundraise for another candidate or organization, make sure you use reference codes so you can show how much you’ve raised for them!

    How do I use them?

    Click on the “Promote” tab of your fundraising page. We provide a reference code generator for you here. Type in a reference code - something that is short, appropriate, and helps you identify where the link is - along with the donation amount and number of months (if you’re asking for recurring contributions) to which you’d like to default. You can then copy the link it generates and place it in the appropriate place.

    You can view your page’s fundraising statistics by clicking “Contributors” and then “View page statistics.” You’ll find your fundraising totals broken down by reference codes here.

    What are some of the best practices?

    Make sure you don’t repeat reference codes and that they are short and appropriate for all audiences. Ideally, your reference codes will help explain which link they refer to (like “link1” or “weblink”) so data analysis is easier, but it’s not necessary. Just make sure you keep a comprehensive list of all the reference codes you used on your page.

    You should add a reference code to every single link in every single email so that you have a complete set of data. If you’re A/B testing your email, you’ll want to create a separate set of links for each test variation.

    ActBlue and ActBlue Technical Services

    Who are you?

    ActBlue puts powerful online fundraising tools in the hands of Democrats and social welfare groups. Our mission is to democratize power by making it easy for donors to connect with the candidates and causes they support.

    We’re a diverse bunch, and we hail from all over the political and tech worlds. Learn more about the ActBlue Team.

    What is ActBlue?

    ActBlue is a non-profit political action committee registered with the Federal Elections Commission and state electoral authorities in over 20 states. We are also registered with the IRS as a 527 political organization for many of our non-federal activities.

    What is ActBlue Civics?

    ActBlue Civics is an issue advocacy group that supports the online fundraising efforts of left/liberal social welfare organizations. ActBlue Civics is filed with the IRS as a 501c(4) organization.

    What is ActBlue Technical Services?

    ActBlue Technical Services is a non-profit that provides ActBlue with the technical expertise that maintains our infrastructure. They’re always working to innovate to make our software do more for you and make it easier for donors to give.

    Are you hiring?

    We’re always looking for engineers! Check out our jobs page for information and other openings.

    How is ActBlue funded?

    We’re a non-profit organization, so we rely on tips on contributions as well as our own fundraising campaigns to bring in income. The low fees charged on contributions only go toward processing fees. The rest we come up with ourselves.

    Other

    What's with this missing/broken link?

    Whoops! Please let us know. To be really nice, try to find the correct link and include that in your message, too.