ActBlue donations are on track to exceed $1 billion in 2019 alone, officials said. For comparison, the total amount raised through ActBlue in the 2017-2018 cycle was $1.7 billion.
The surge in donations made online in small increments points to the enthusiasm among Democratic voters as the 2020 presidential election ramps up. The average donation in 2019 was $30.50, they said. In the third quarter, there were 1 million new unique donors on the platform, officials said.
The small-dollar fundraising boom has reshaped the donor base of both parties in recent years.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and President Trump successfully raised money from lower-dollar donors in the 2016 campaign, helping generate a reliable source of campaign funds for candidates who cultivate a loyal following.
In the 2018 elections, ActBlue helped drive the Democrats’ small-dollar boom that drove a record amount of money to House Democrats, who regained the chamber’s majority.
More than 11,000 Democratic candidates and organizations are using ActBlue as of third quarter 2019, nearly double the number from this point in the previous election cycle, officials said. These committees and groups range from 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls to state legislative candidates and nonprofits advocating for liberal causes.
“We’re really excited about what we’re seeing here. It’s only going to accelerate as we get closer and closer to 2020,” said Erin Hill, ActBlue’s executive director.
Earlier this year, Republicans launched WinRed, a platform modeled after ActBlue and designed to capitalize on Trump’s historic small-dollar fundraising to help down-ballot candidates and enhance the party’s data operation.
Officials said WinRed generated $30 million in the third quarter, which was its first full quarter. The majority of House and Senate campaign committees and state parties have signed onto the new platform, they said. It is unclear how many have begun raising money using the new platform.
WinRed processed more than $13.7 million in donations from more than 276,000 contributors in the six days since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the impeachment inquiry last month, officials said.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed to House GOP “nominee funds,” officials said, referring to the fundraising vehicles to raise money for Republican challengers to vulnerable Democrats who support the impeachment inquiry.
“Turning major news events into big time fundraising numbers is a key goal of WinRed — and we had a super-charged example of that last week after Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry against President Trump,” WinRed president Gerrit Lansing wrote in a memo released in early October.
Democratic online donors are increasingly giving money using their mobile phones, and the majority of donors giving through ActBlue in 2019 made their contributions that way. Users can save their credit card information and give money with one click on their phone.
More than half of the donations made on ActBlue in 2019 were made using mobile devices, marking the first year that the majority of donations on the platform were made on mobile, officials said.
The single biggest hour for mobile donations came the night of the Sept. 12 Democratic debate, when 82 percent of donors giving through ActBlue gave using their mobile phones, officials said.
“We have been trying to make it very easy for small-dollar donors to give and meet them where they are, and increasingly, they are on mobile devices,” Hill said.
Donations made through ActBlue and WinRed will be revealed Jan. 31, 2020, in public reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly said that ActBlue drew more money in the third quarter of 2019 than in any previous quarter. It drew in more individual contributions in that quarter than ever before.