(Nonprofits+Politics)2.0

September 23, 2010

ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from Young Professionals

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — kgilnack @ 2:00 am

I have been asking for money for organizations or campaigns, or at least working for organizations and campaigns that ask for money, for a long time.  Despite that, I rarely give.  When I did give, it was been because someone I know was asking, which figures:

“Asked who could get them to donate to an organization, most Millennial donors say they would be likely or highly likely to give if asked by a family member (74.6%) or a friend (62.8 %). Only 37.8% would be likely or highly likely to give is asked by a coworker.”

But lately, that’s been changing; I’ve gotten a bit addicted to supporting progressive causes I believe in (e.g. here, here, here, here and more that hasn’t been reported yet).  Multiple, small contributions – aren’t I just the millennial online donating cliche :)

Partially, it’s because there’s an incredibly important election happening in Massachusetts and I’ve been happy to give to Governor Deval Patrick because I appreciate that he’s helped Massachusetts lead the country in access to healthcare, job creation, student achievement, and because his administration represents an important change of pace in Massachusetts government (actually passing reforms, working with unions to get concessions that work, closing the Mass Turnpike Authority [don't ask], and investing in infrastructure across the whole state).

But part of it’s for another reason.  It’s the same reason I’ve been able to raise $335 for our volunteer-run Young Democrats of Massachusetts with no financial investment on our part – or more significantly, that Gov. Patrick has raised more than $1.3 million from nearly 6,000 contributors online.  Online giving makes you feel good, and is good for you.  And ActBlue is an incredibly easy way to make your campaign feel good, too.

For those not familiar with ActBlue, there are a few great benefits you should be aware of – and then you should sign-up:

But the great features aren’t the only reason to get connected:

And what got me to enter my credit card information on a website other than GrubHub or eBay?

  • For me, low dollar events in almost every case – from a Turkey Fry in Dorchester, bash in Downtown Crossing, evening with David Plouffe, and the list goes on.  Young professionals like the opportunity to network or the sense that they’re getting something directly from their contribution, so events are a great way to get the wallet opened up – and ActBlue makes the registration process easy.
  • As mentioned before, being asked by someone you know will always be the most likely way, and some of our YDM Board members have done a great job of introducing new donors to our PAC through ActBlue’s easy tools
  • What about emails? While I think Governor Patrick’s campaign is doing amazing things on every front, none of his email appeals have resonated.  They tend to run on for four or five paragraphs, and lack the bullets, bolding, images, and linking that I think would increase response rates (seriously, guys, there should be a link in the first two paragraphs of a fundraising appeal).  I’d also encourage more targeted appeals (“hey young people.. yada yada yada.. give $5, $15, or $50″), more exigency (“help us meet this deadline,” “give today so we can stay on the airwaves tomorrow,” etc.), and more talk of specifically what my contribution will enable.

Regardless of what you give, or to whom, it’s important you get involved now.  And even if you can’t give, you can find a candidate you like and create a fundraising page for them.

Until we are able to undo the notion of “corporations = people” and take money out of politics, campaigns are some of the most important causes you can give your time and/or resources to.  I’m not saying give less to the 501c3’s charitable organizations you support, but I am saying stay in one extra night, skip a few coffees, or otherwise redirect $25 to a candidate who represents the values you care about (like Deval Patrick).

And if your a progressive campaign or qualified advocacy organization, sign up for ActBlue now.

Nonprofiteers: Don’t just give, get involved. Government has a direct impact – and all to often neglect – for the nonprofit sector.  You can blame some politicians – on both sides – for not being involved enough in our sector.  But you can absolutely blame the thousands of nonprofits that don’t understand that the third sector needs to act like all the rest and play an active role in the political process.  There are some things you and your organization can legally do (PDF) related to ballot initiatives (PDF) and public policy, but budding nonprofit leaders would be wise to start finding ways to get involved in other aspects of the political process.

Part of the reason I’m so adamant in my support for Gov. Patrick is because I know he looks at the role of government the same way I do.  Government should help strengthen our communities by helping people help themselves.  And I know he knows nonprofits play a crucial role in that.  Helping people with disabilities lead independent lives, included in our community.  Empowering the most vulnerable people in our communities.  Enabling people to go to work because they don’t need to stay home to take care of a loved one every day.  Employing more people that many of the other sectors we’re investing heavily in.  Acting as an economic engine. Check out the leadership he showed addressing nonprofit human service agencies in 2008 and  2009.

For some quick tips on getting your campaigns online giving and other strategies off the ground, check out Learning from Obama: Lessons for Online Communicators in 2009 and Beyond and Internet Media Strategy Tips for Political Candidates.  Happy campaigning.

Whether you’re a 501c3 nonprofiteer, advocacy organization, or campaign, let us know your favorite fundraising tool and the most important features to you!

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8 Comments »

  1. [...] Here is the original post: ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … [...]

    Pingback by Political Campaign Expert » Blog Archive » ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … — September 23, 2010 @ 2:05 am

  2. [...] View original post here: ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … [...]

    Pingback by ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … « Harrington Fundraising — September 23, 2010 @ 4:14 am

  3. [...] Read more: ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … [...]

    Pingback by Political Fund Consultant » Blog Archive » ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … — September 23, 2010 @ 5:10 am

  4. [...] Read more here: ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … [...]

    Pingback by Get Political Fund » Blog Archive » ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … — September 23, 2010 @ 6:11 am

  5. [...] Read the original here: ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … [...]

    Pingback by ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … « Politics And Funds — September 23, 2010 @ 8:59 am

  6. [...] See the article here: ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … [...]

    Pingback by ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from … « Politics And Funds — September 23, 2010 @ 8:59 am

  7. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by actblue, Kevin B. Gilnack, Kevin B. Gilnack, Kevin B. Gilnack, Serge Butman and others. Serge Butman said: ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from …: Government has a direct impact – and all to oft… http://bit.ly/b537j5 [...]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention ActBlue: The Best Kind of Addiction, or How to Fundraise from Young Professionals « (Nonprofits+Politics)2.0 -- Topsy.com — September 24, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  8. [...] is, and what the easiest way is for that to be achieved.  For example, I wrote recently that I’d like to see Governor Patrick’s campaign use more of those cliche writing-for-the-web….  The goal of sharing that content is to inform supporters and request their support.  The [...]

    Pingback by Content Still King « (Nonprofits+Politics)2.0 — September 27, 2010 @ 12:56 am


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