The latest figures show an eagerness on the part of Democratic donors to provide financial support to their preferred candidates and causes — from local candidates to groups helping migrants detained at the border to the many 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls — long before the November 2020 election.
“These donors reflect a tremendous amount of energy and interest,” said Erin Hill, ActBlue executive director. “Seeing that kind of energy early is a testament to how engaged and empowered the grass-roots [donors] are.”
The Federal Election Commission will release ActBlue fundraising figures July 31.
The advantage of ActBlue, a payment-processing service similar to PayPal or Venmo, is that nearly every Democratic campaign and group raises money using it. ActBlue makes it easy for donors to give money with one click on their smartphones or in response to email or text appeals, and to give to multiple recipients at the same time.
So far in 2019, donors have given to more than 9,000 Democratic campaigns and groups, surpassing the number of recipients at this point in previous nonelection years, according to ActBlue. More than half the donations given through ActBlue were made on mobile phones.
Democrats are looking to ActBlue to help them compete with President Trump, who is a formidable small-dollar fundraiser. His ability to raise money online has helped his campaign as well as the national Republican Party.
“Donald Trump has raised a bunch of money from small-dollar donors and has been an effective small-dollar fundraiser. So it’s important for us to make sure that we’re building the networks . . . on the left,” Hill said. “Small-dollar donors on the left are going to be key to beating Trump in November.”
Last month, Republicans launched their own small-dollar fundraising platform, named WinRed, in an effort to capitalize on the president’s small-dollar donor base. They modeled WinRed after ActBlue, which boasts of raising more than $3.5 billion for Democratic candidates and causes since its founding in 2004.
Donors are engaging for reasons beyond the presidential contest. Much of the small-dollar energy in 2019 is around Democrats in state legislative races and donations to groups that are helping migrants and children separated at the border, ActBlue said.
Of the donors who gave to both a presidential candidate and a nonpresidential recipient, 56 percent gave to the nonpresidential recipient first, officials said.
The average donation so far in 2019 was $32.28, officials said.