Step 1: Make a Custom Contribution Form
The first thing you should do once you’ve set up your ActBlue account is create a contribution form to be used on your website or in your fundraising emails. You can create as many custom contribution forms as you’d like -- it only takes a few minutes!
Note: This guide is for ActBlue admins. If you are a supporter or organizer, visit our Guide to Community Forms to learn how to fundraise for your favorite campaigns and causes on ActBlue.
1. Choose your form
Once you’ve logged in to ActBlue you’ll see the My Dashboards tab in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Click to open up a side menu that lists all of the campaigns or organizations you work with on ActBlue.
Visit your group’s Dashboard by clicking on the appropriate organization within the menu. Click the “Create Form” button in the left hand corner, or navigate to the Metrics tab and choose “create a contribution form” in the blue box.
If you press the "Create Form" button in the top left corner, you'll be given the option to create a contribution form, an event form, or a merchandise form. Be sure to select the option for contribution forms.
2. FILL IN THE ESSENTIALS
The basics come first. Give your form a title and a short blurb explaining why a supporter should donate. Being specific about why you need the money and what you’ll use it for will help motivate your supporters to give.
You can add basic formatting like bullet points and bolding, as well as add images.
Please note your image file must be a link, not a JPEG or PNG. If you don’t have a file in a link format, you’ll need to host the image on an image hosting website like Dropbox or Google Drive. And if you want to add HTML, click the "</>" button before typing your code.
Creative control is awesome, but remember that when it comes to text on your forms, less is always more. You want to make sure your forms are readable on all devices, particularly mobile, where 40% of all contributions are made. You should preview the form on your phone to be sure your donors won’t have any trouble viewing and contributing.
We suggest making a note of the name you give your form in the Web address section (called the slug). Having the form's name on hand will allow you to locate it in the Form Management tab quickly.
You can choose whether or not to display your form’s fundraising totals. Just check or un-check the box labeled "Public" at the bottom of the page. If the box is left un-checked, the funds raised from that form won’t be reflected in your public totals across ActBlue.
We also provide you with the tools to add goal thermometers to your contribution forms, as a visual representation of your team’s progress for the donors who land on your forms. You can click the linked text to find out more. But for now, click the button in the lower right-hand corner to skip this step.
Now that you have the basics down, you can customize your contribution form. You can make these selections now, but you’ll always have the opportunity to change them later.
You can add a branding to your form, like the one below, to include a logo or color scheme on contribution forms you’re sending out to donors. Below is an example of a contribution form with custom branding.
Essentially, a branding layout is a template that you can apply to any contribution form, specific to your campaign or organization. If you’ve created one already, click the drop-down menu and select which one you’d like to use for this form.
If you haven’t created a branding for your campaign or organization, we make it easy for you. You can find out how to create your own branding with your group’s colors and logo here.
We strongly encourage you to check the box to enable recurring contributions. You can learn more about them here, but for now turning them on is enough.
You can choose to use monthly contributions that recur for a specified amount of time, customized by your team. Or, you can use unlimited monthly contributions, which can recur as long as a donor wants to remain a monthly supporter.
You can also choose to use unlimited monthly recurring and smart pop-up recurring together, which will show one-time donors a pop-up prompting them to commit to a monthly contribution of a smaller amount than their initial contribution. You can read more about smart recurring here.
We’ve built Remarketing into our contribution forms, so your campaign or organization can follow up with visitors who landed on your form but didn’t actually complete their contribution.
Donors who abandon your form before completing their donation will automatically receive an email thirty minutes following their incomplete donation. So, if a donor selects a contribution amount and fills in their email address, but leaves the page before going on to fill in their credit card info, we’ll make sure they get a reminder with a link to your form asking them to complete their contribution.
Remarketing is enabled by default on every ActBlue form (except for Tandem forms, which can't use this feature). If you want to learn more about remarketing or how to turn it off, just follow this link.
PRESET CONTRIBUTION AMOUNTS
You can also choose what contribution amounts appear on your form. Donors will always have the option to type in their own amount, but it’s a good idea to make sure that the amounts that appear on the form are in line with the type of supporters you’re targeting.
Presetting contribution amounts will make it easy for your donors to quickly choose an amount, as you can see below. For more help setting up preset contribution amounts, click here.
When your donors chip in to support your cause they deserve some thanks! Write a short thank you note for donors and make them feel like they’re a part of your movement. Your message will be added to the top of the automated receipt sent via ActBlue after a donor makes a contribution.
Time to get the word out! Donors aren’t going to find your contribution form on their own. You’ll need to put in some hard work to raise your funds.
To send your contribution form out to the world, just copy the link that’s generated on the top of the Promote page and paste it in an email, on your website, or anywhere else you’d like to fundraise.
If you’re planning on using reference codes to track your donations (and we think you should), read our guide here.
You can also get to the Promote page when you are viewing your form. To view your form, go to the Form Management tab in your Dashboard and click on the name of the form you want.
Then select the Promote button in the form menu that will appear on the left.
5. MAKE CHANGES
Once you’ve completed the contribution form setup process, you’ll see a Form Tools menu on the left-hand side of the form. Select "View your form."
This will take you to your form with a menu on the left. The form menu has options for you to edit your form, duplicate it, promote it using refcodes and links, set contribution alerts for the form, visit the form's Stats page, or go to the list of all of your contribution forms.
It will be easiest to edit your form by starting here because you will be able to preview the changes you make to your form in real-time! Just click the Edit button to open the form editor, which includes all of the tools you need to edit, customize, and promote your form. When you make a change, save it by clicking the orange "Publish changes" button.
Another advantage of the form editor is that you can actually view the contribution form as multiple different types of donors:
Learn more about the form editor here!