What are refcodes?
Refcodes (short for reference codes) are URL parameters that you can add to your contribution form links in order to collect useful data about where your donations are coming from.
For example, did a donation come from the first link in the email you sent yesterday? Or was it from your website? Refcodes will record that information for you.
Here are some common use cases for refcodes:
If you’re testing content, refcodes will help you determine which message is working best for your supporters.
If you’re asking supporters to fundraise on your behalf, or planning an event with fundraising hosts, you can give them custom links with a refcode pre-loaded to track their donations.
If you’ve got multiple links in an email, you can find out which link most people are using to give.
We recommend using refcodes for every fundraising link you send out.
After you’ve created a contribution form, head to the Promote tab of the form, and take a look at our guide below.
The pink section is your refcode. You can also preset the amount and whether or not the form defaults to recurring here. Orange is the amount, and green is the number of months a contribution will run (if you’re pre-setting for a recurring contribution that will run for a specified number of months). If you’re pre-setting for unlimited monthly contributions, you can set the number of months to ‘1’ like in the screenshot above.
Pick a short word or phrase to use as your refcode (you can use letters, numbers, or underscores, but no spaces or punctuation) and type it into the refcode box. Your link will generate above. To get accurate data, make sure that you don’t repeat any refcodes on the same contribution form.
Just copy that link and place it in a fundraising email or on your website.
If you’re comfortable, you can also add the refcode, amount, or recurring parameter to your links without using our generator. Just place each parameter after the “?” in your link (the order does not matter) with ampersands in between them.
If you’re using ActBlue Express Lane, refcodes are critical for determining which donation link amounts people are clicking. If you have questions about creating refcodes and using them with ActBlue Express Lane, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Analyzing and Visualizing your Refcodes
To see which refcode raised the most money, head to the Statistics tab of your form.
Your contributions are listed by refcode. You can see how much money each refcode brought in, as well as the conversion rate, mobile donation rate, and recurring numbers.
If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll be able to see the total funds the form brought in.
If you need to, you can search for a specific refcode. The search bar is in the top right-hand corner of your Statistics page.
You can also see a visual breakdown of your refcodes, by clicking “Toggle refcode chart.”
You’ll see a chart like the one below that visualizes your contributions by refcode.
Refcode charts give your team a look at how much your refcodes have raised within a certain time period, how much they’ve raised over time, and even how much they brought in on an hourly basis.
You can take a look at this chart at various points after sending an email, so you’re able to check in on how each refcode is performing.
Each refcode will be represented by a specific color. To take a look at your best performing refcodes, you can limit the chart to your top 10 or 20. It’s a quick and easy way to figure out which content and which links are working best.
Using Multiple Refcodes
Sometimes using a single refcode to collect all of your data can get too complicated, especially if you’re running a complex testing program. That’s why we allow you to build a second refcode into your links, using the “refcode2=” parameter. Here's what it looks like:
The refcode2 parameter won’t be displayed on your Statistics page, but you’ll have access to all of that data when you download the CSV for your contribution form.