Want to learn more about using ActBlue? We cover all the stuff you need to know below.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.




Campaign needs

Q:

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

A:

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.



Q:

What types of organizations can be listed on ActBlue?

A:

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 these cities and counties can also fundraise on ActBlue. 501c(4) organizations may request an ActBlue Civics listing.



Q:

Is ActBlue active in X state/locality?

A:

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



Q:

Can you help judicial candidates fundraise?

A:

We are not active in judicial races at this time.



Q:

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

A:

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



Q:

How much does ActBlue charge?

A:

Visit our pricing page to get all the details.

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. You can read through our Merchant Account FAQ if you have additional questions.



Q:

I had an ActBlue account in the past and I want to fundraise again, what do I do?

A:

If you need to reactivate an old account or set up a new one please email us at info@actblue.com, making sure to include “reactivate” in the subject line, and we will be back in touch regarding next steps!



Q:

I just received an ActBlue check and I don’t know who contributed, what should I do?

A:

You should log in to your ActBlue account and visit the Reporting tab in the left menu of 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, download it in a CSV, and see details of individual weekly checks.

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



Q:

How do I receive my donations?

A:

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.



Q:

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

A:

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 or organization that’s raising over $5,000 every day, we may be able to offer you wire transfers. Just contact our customer service team at info@actblue.com or give us a call at 617-517-7600.

If you have a merchant account, we're already getting your funds to you 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.



Q:

I need to remove an admin from my campaign, how do I do that?

A:

We understand that campaigns and organizations are always changing so we make it easy to manage access to your account.

Please be advised that if a removed user is the owner of a contribution form, your campaign will no longer have access to that page in the By Form tab. Your campaign will still receive the funds that form generates, but you will not be able to edit the form. Be sure to switch over ownership of forms to an active member of the campaign prior to removing a user. You can do that in the User Access tab of your Dashboard by choosing “Reassign forms.”

Once you’ve reassigned the user’s forms, click the “Remove User” button to the right of the listed email on the User Access tab of your Dashboard. Once an email is removed, the user no longer has access to the Dashboard.



Q:

I use the same email address to donate to campaigns and to access my Dashboard, is that a problem?

A:

It is perfectly fine to use the same email address to donate to other campaigns and organizations listed on ActBlue and to access your Dashboard. This means you have two separate portals: “Your Account,” where you’ll access your donor information and “My Committees,” where you’ll access your Dashboard(s).



Q:

How do I issue a refund?

A:

If the donation is still in the “Undisbursed contributions” section of your Reporting tab, then you can certainly refund the donation. Go to the Search tab and type in the first and last name of the donor. Then select the date the donation was made. Once you find the donation, click on the date and it will take you to the next page where you can process the refund. For your records, please choose the most accurate reason for the refund.

Please note that these search fields are case sensitive. Further, if you have trouble finding the donation we recommend making sure there isn’t a space at the end of the last character.

If you are using a merchant account, you can issue refunds even after the contribution has been disbursed. For more information, please see the Merchant Account FAQ.

If the donation was already disbursed via check, we can issue a refund for you as long as there are pending funds in your account. For a refund, send us an email at info@actblue.com or give us a call at (617) 517-7600. All we need is the donor’s information and we’re happy to take care of it for you!



Q:

Once a donation is refunded, can I still access the compliance information?

A:

Once a donation is refunded, it will be listed in the Refunds tab of your dashboard. If you click on the order number on the left hand side, you will be able to view the original donation.

In the refunds center, you will also see the date of the refund and the date that the donation was originally disbursed.



Q:

I see a deficit disbursement on my Dashboard, what is that?

A:

Please contact us if you have questions about accessing or reporting deficit disbursement data.



Q:

I just made a custom contribution form but I can’t find it in my Dashboard, what happened?

A:

Once you make a custom contribution form, you can access the form by going to the Fundraise tab on the green bar at the top of the page and select “Manage Forms.”

Once your contribution form accepts a donation, then it will also be listed in the By Form tab on your Dashboard.



Q:

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

A:

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

You can find and manage your forms under the “Fundraise” tab in the green bar along the top of your page while you’re logged in.



Q:

Where can I find my Dashboard and contributor info?

A:

Click on the name of your committee under the “My Committees” menu when you’re signed in. You’ll find this in the green bar along the top of your homepage. This will bring you straight to your Dashboard.

To access your contributor data in real time, visit the Reporting tab in the left menu of your Dashboard. This tab will provide you 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.



Q:

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

A:

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.



Q:

What are Express users and why are they helpful?

A:

Express Users are donors who have saved their credit card information with ActBlue, and can donate with just a single click. That means they’re more likely to give to you, and other campaigns and organizations they support, again. Because the Express donor universe is so large (1.3 million and counting), you’ll find many of your supporters are already a part of it.



Q:

What is Express Lane and how can I get it?

A:

Express Lane lets Express Users (people who have saved their credit card information with ActBlue) contribute instantly from an email. Donors just click the link for a specific amount and their card is charged. The donors don't have to spend time filling out a contribution form. All the work's done for them! If you’d like to try Express Lane, let us know here.



data integration

Q:

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

A:

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.


Q:

How do I download my donor information/compliance reports?

A:

Visit the “Reporting” tab in the left menu of 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, and see details of individual weekly checks. Read more about accessing your donor data here.



Q:

How do I integrate ActBlue data with NGP?

A:

If you’re a federal campaign using the compliance software NGP, we make it really easy for you. Go to the Reporting tab of your Dashboard, where you’ll see a breakdown of your individual check disbursements. You’ll see both a CSV and an NGP download option.

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Merchant Account FAQs

Q:

What is a merchant account and how does it work?

A:

A merchant account is a type of bank account that enables your committee to process credit card transactions. Our platform is designed to work exclusively with merchant accounts that are provided by Vantiv, our payment processing partner. The setup process for establishing a Vantiv merchant account is completely free and requires only a few documents for underwriting.

With a merchant account, all funds that donors contribute to your committee through ActBlue are processed by your merchant account. Once the funds are fully processed (generally 1-2 business days after the contribution is made), Vantiv will automatically bundle multiple contributions into a single ACH transfer directly to your bank account.



Q:

Why do I need a merchant account?

A:

Certain states and localities have campaign finance regulations that prohibit ActBlue from directly processing the transfer of funds from your donors to your committee. In order for us to legally operate in these jurisdictions, we are required to do so through merchant accounts.

You can find a list of states and localities in which we are active that require merchant accounts here.



Q:

What will I need to get set up?

A:

Setting up a merchant account requires three basic documents (submitted electronically):

  1. Voided check from your committee’s bank account (a starter check will unfortunately not be sufficient). Alternatively, Vantiv will accept a letter from your bank (on bank letterhead and signed by a bank employee) that includes the name of your committee, account number, and routing numbers.
  2. Vantiv merchant account setup form. We’ll send a link to this form via email to your committee’s authorized representative. This form is completed and signed electronically. The person filling out the form will need the following information:
    • your committee’s Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
    • bank account information
    • personal information (including SSN) of the person taking responsibility for the account
  3. IRS letter SS-4 or 147C, which Vantiv will require for EIN verification purposes (unfortunately they will not accept a SSN in place of an EIN). If you do not already have an EIN, you can quickly and easily obtain one by visiting this page.



Q:

How long until my account is ready to start fundraising?

A:

Once the forms are submitted, Vantiv will get your merchant account up and running within seven business days. Once the merchant account is good to go, Vantiv will send us the necessary information, and we’ll activate your fundraising account immediately!



Q:

Which payment methods will my merchant account accept?

A:

Right off the bat, you will be able to accept contributions made with VISA, MasterCard, and Discover. With a few additional steps, American Express can also be enabled.



Q:

How do I enable American Express?

A:

To accept donations via American Express, call the American Express merchant services customer line at 800-528-5200. Explain that you have a merchant account and want to get set up for American Express. Once they set you up with an account, we will need to know your committee’s Service ID (or passthrough number) so that Vantiv can enable your account to accept American Express. You can do this when you initially set up your Vantiv account or at any point afterwards.

Contributions made via American Express will be deposited into your account separately and appear as transfers from American Express on your bank statement.



Q:

How much does a merchant account cost?

A:

The merchant account setup is entirely free, and there are no monthly maintenance fees! Fees are only assessed on funds that are raised through ActBlue. The table below provides a brief breakdown of the fees you can expect to see (and if you’d like to see a more detailed fee schedule, we’re happy to provide that!):

Processing/Authorization Fees $0.05 per contribution + 0.02% of each gross contribution amount
ACH Funds Transfer Fee $0.50 per ACH transfer to your bank account
Passthrough Fees Credit card transaction fees—these are set by the credit card provider and vary by provider and card type
ActBlue Service Fee 1.5% of each gross contribution



Q:

What information will I need to reconcile my committee’s bank account?

A:

You can see the gross amount and ActBlue service fee for every contribution through your ActBlue Dashboard. The merchant account processing fees are deducted prior to the transfer of funds to your bank account, and these will not be reflected on the ActBlue dashboard. This means that the deposits you see in your bank account will not match up with the information in your ActBlue Dashboard

However, Vantiv provides comprehensive fee and reconciliation activity reports that will give you an accurate view of your account activity and bank transfers, as well as all passthrough fees for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. Reports detailing passthrough fees for American Express contributions must be obtained directly from American Express. Between these reports and your ActBlue Dashboard, you will be able to easily determine the total amount of fees assessed during a given period of time.

If you need to request a report from Vantiv, send us an email at info@actblue.com, indicating the committee name and requested date range, making sure to include “Vantiv” in the subject line. We’ll send back the requested reports as soon as possible, and we’re happy to help walk you through them!



Q:

How do I refund a donor’s contribution from a merchant account?

A:

If you have admin access to a committee with a merchant account, you can issue your own donor refunds.

Find the contribution in question using the “Search” tab on your campaign or organization’s ActBlue Dashboard. Once you find the contribution, click on the contribution date to expand to a more detailed view. From there, select the reason for refunding the contribution for your records (optional) and click “Process Refund.”

Please note that if there are no pending contributions to be disbursed, the refund will be debited from your committee’s bank account. Make sure your bank account has sufficient funds before processing a refund.



Q:

My committee has stopped fundraising – why am I seeing a small debit from Vantiv in my bank account?

A:

When Vantiv deposits funds into your bank account, the funds transfer fee for that deposit is deducted from the next deposit. If you stop fundraising for several days and there is no settlement against which to assess the fee, Vantiv will debit the fee from your bank account. If you need more information, please drop us a line at info@actblue.com.



About ActBlue and ActBlue Technical Services

Q:

Who are you?

A:

You can read all about us here. 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.



Q:

What is ActBlue?

A:

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.



Q:

What is ActBlue Civics?

A:

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.



Q:

What is ActBlue Technical Services?

A:

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



Q:

Are you hiring?

A:

We’re always looking for engineers! We also offer paid internships for the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Check out our jobs page for information and other openings.



Q:

How is ActBlue funded?

A:

We’re a non-profit organization, so we rely on tips on the contributions we process as well as our own fundraising campaigns to bring in income. The low fees charged on contributions only go toward processing fees. In other words, we are powered entirely by our amazing donors.