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 admins of campaigns and organizations on ActBlue. 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.
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. Then click the “Create Form” button in the left-hand corner.
Once you click the "Create Form" button, 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.
A pop-up will open where you will fill out your form’s basic information.
First, give your form a title. You will be able to edit your form’s title later, so don’t worry if it is not perfect.
Then finish the web address for your form by typing a short, simple, memorable word in the “Web address” box. This word (or phrase) will not only be part of the unique web address for your form, it will also be the name of your form in your ActBlue Dashboard. Pick a short word or phrase and make a note of it so you can locate your form in the Form Management tab quickly.
When you click “Save and continue,” you will be taken to your contribution form and see the form editor open on the left.
Next we’ll go over how to use the form editor, but make sure you keep reading after that to finish setting up your form!
The form editor lets you preview your changes in real time! The main menu of the form editor includes all of the tools you need to customize and promote your form, from changing the text to customizing donation buttons and recurring settings.
You can also use the form editor to view your form as different people: yourself, a first-time donor, a returning donor, or an ActBlue Express user.
When you make a change using the form editor, a small reset button will appear next to the field you edited. If you want to undo that specific change, just click this button.
You can also click the gray “Discard” button at the bottom of the editor, but this will get rid of all of the changes you made in that tab (not just one field).
Make your changes public by clicking the orange "Publish changes" button at the bottom of the editor. This will make all of your changes in the tab public.
If you make a change in one tab of the form editor and then go back to the main menu without publishing, an orange dot will appear next to the tab name in the main menu to help you keep track.
This way you can make multiple changes across tabs in the editor, and when you click “Publish changes” all of those edits will go into effect. If you have unpublished changes and are on the main menu, clicking the “Discard” button will get rid of all of the changes you have made across tabs.
The form editor will always be time-stamped so you know exactly when your last changes were made and saved.
If you close out of the form editor, you will see a different menu on the left side of your form. This is the form menu. From here, you can open the editor by clicking the Edit button, duplicate your form, 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.
Once you’ve created your form, the first thing to do is add a donation ask. Go to the “Title, ask, and URL” tab in the form editor. In the "Donation ask" box, write 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. If you want to add HTML, click the "</>" button before typing your code.
To add an image, click the picture icon and then just select an image from your computer.
Creative control is awesome, but remember that when it comes to text on your forms, less is always more. You want to make sure it won’t take someone who is viewing your form on their phone too long to read your ask (40% of all contributions are made on mobile!). Test your form on your own phone to see how it looks.
Once you’ve added content to your form and published it, go back to the main menu of the form editor and select “Preset donation amounts.” Here you can also choose what contribution buttons 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 donation amounts will make it easy for your donors to quickly choose an amount, as you can see below. For more help setting up preset donation amounts, click here.
The next tab in the form editor is for a Goal thermometer. Go here if you want to add a thermometer to your form so donors have a visual representation of your progress.
In the “Branding” tab, you can add one of your group’s designed templates to your form. These templates can include logos and images so that your form reflects your brand identity. Below is an example of a contribution form with custom branding.
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.
Go to the “Recurring settings” tab to change the recurring contribution settings for your form.
Important: As a default, your form will be set up to accept unlimited monthly contributions. It will also automatically use pop-up recurring asks with a threshold of $101: This means that after a supporter gives a one-time contribution that is less than $101, a pop-up box will appear that asks them to make their donation recurring.
You can easily change both of these settings in the “Recurring settings” tab!
To change the pop-up ask threshold, just enter a different dollar amount in the “Pop-up recurring ask threshold” box. To turn off pop-up recurring asks, enter “0” in the box. Go here to learn more about pop-up recurring asks.
Instead of unlimited monthly contributions, which can recur as long as a donor wants to remain a monthly supporter, you can choose to use monthly contributions that recur for a specified amount of time.
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 amount that is smaller than their initial contribution. You can read more about smart recurring here.
You also have the option to disable recurring contributions on your form. Learn more about recurring contributions here.
In the “Remarketing” tab, we’ve made it easy for your campaign or organization to follow up with visitors who landed on your form but didn’t actually complete their contribution.
The remarketing feature ensures 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.
In the “Thanks and receipt” tab, write a short thank you note for donors in the "Email receipt text" box 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.
There are other features that you should consider using in the form editor, but once you’ve set these up (and published your changes!) your form will be ready for donors.
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.
Publish your changes, then close the form editor and click the Promote button in the menu on the left side of your screen.
To send your contribution form out to the world, just copy the link that’s generated at the top of the Promote box 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.
To find your form, go to the Form Management tab in your Dashboard and click on its name to open the form menu, or click the “Edit” button to the right of your form’s name to open the form editor right away.
The Dashboard is your central organizing station for all things online fundraising with ActBlue. It contains all of the important tools and information that you’ll need to run your program. We’ll go through each important section of the Dashboard and explain the basic functions, including how to grant access to other staffers and access your donor information.
When you’re logged in to ActBlue you’ll see the My Dashboards tab in the upper right-hand corner.
Clicking My Dashboards will bring you to a menu on the left-hand side of your screen where you’ll be able to easily navigate to your group’s page.
If you’re working with multiple groups on ActBlue, you’ll see a list of the campaigns or committees you have access to, and you’ll be able to toggle between them.
You can also choose to click the arrow at the right of each campaign or organization to see a list of that group’s contribution forms.
This is the home section of your Dashboard -- here, you can analyze all of your fundraising data and create new contribution forms. You can also create event or merchandise forms here.
You can view fundraising data from the last week, month, year, or any customized length of time. You can get to know your donors and make smarter decisions by tracking how many people used ActBlue Express, PayPal, Apple Pay, or a mobile device when donating. Everything is tracked in real-time so you can make faster decisions when it comes to your fundraising program.
This page will help your team track your recurring donations.
There are a lot of benefits to a recurring program, but the main one is more money. That’s because donors can chip in a small amount each month, rather than making a large upfront contribution. It also means that you’ve got a good sense of what the next round of fundraising might look like at your organization. You’ll be able to see a projection of how much you’ll bring in each month, which will allow for better monthly budgeting decisions.
Check out this page for a more detailed breakdown of everything you can learn from your team's Recurring page. And check out our guide to building a recurring contribution program, which includes our visualization features to help you evaluate your recurring program.
Here you can access your campaign or organization’s forms all in one convenient place.
They’re listed in descending order by default, starting with the most recent form that was created. Click on any of the headers to sort the forms the way you’d like.
This list shows your form names (or slugs), the number of contributions they received, the amount of money they raised, and whether or not you chose to brand your forms. You can also duplicate a form from this page, with just the click of a button.
Further, if you want to hide a form, just hit the Archive button that looks like a box at the right of the table.
If you choose to archive a form it can no longer be viewed, which also means it can no longer receive contributions or be edited, but you can revive a form if you need to. You can read more about archiving forms here.
Here, you also have the option to Download a contribution form CSV report. This report will give you a detailed breakdown of your contribution forms, including how much they raised and the forms’ titles.
Finally, you can search for a specific form by page name. Simply type in the name you gave your form in the box at the upper right-hand corner of the table.
You can also use this tab to assign default settings to your contribution forms. Follow this link to learn more about adding default settings to your forms.
If you are viewing your form, you can get to the Form Management page of your Dashboard by clicking on the "View all forms" button in the menu on the left.
You can update your team’s contact information in the Settings section. The address listed here will be the same place we send your checks, which means it’s extremely important that it’s always up to date. We want to make sure you get your money!
Great fundraising comes from a great team! You can add team members to your account in the User Access tab.
Just type in your colleague’s email address and click “Grant Access.”
If that person doesn’t have an ActBlue account yet, we’ll send them an email with instructions for creating one. Users who already have an ActBlue account will be able to see your campaign or organization's Dashboard the next time they login. Click “Remove User” to revoke access.
You can set up email alerts for contributions or refunds over a certain amount. When viewing your form, click the Alerts button in the menu on the left.
Then click the orange "New alert" button.
Enter the email address that will receive the alert, choose whether the alert is for contributions or refunds, and set the threshold for receiving an alert. You can sign up both admins and non-admin email addresses for email alerts. Although it might be tempting to hear from us about every donation or refund, we recommend choosing a relatively high number so you won’t be inundated with emails.
Click the small orange "Save" button to the right of your alert to finish the set up. If you no longer want an alert, click the small red "Delete" button. Use the small grey "Edit" button to change an alert.
Your team will need to file contribution reports in order to be compliant with federal and state law. We’ve made it easy for you to access your contributor info so you can have the data you need to meet any and all reporting deadlines.
Head to the Reporting tab of your Dashboard, which contains all of the contributor information you’ll need to complete accurate reports.
Please note that what you see here might be a little different if you’re a group with a merchant account.
First, you should read through the compliance and reporting guidelines we’ve laid out for you. Just click the link within the Disbursements tab.
Reminder: we’re glad to offer some helpful information, but this is not legal advice. You should consult with your counsel and your compliance team when filing compliance reports.
Once you're up to speed, download your CSV contributor data. CSV, which stands for comma separated values, is a popular and universal format that should work with all types of donor tracking software, including Excel and Access.
Visit the Downloads tab and click the Download button to export your CSV data. You can download contributions for a specific time frame or contribution form, or a report for all contributions.
You can also download a CSV for a specific check or disbursement of funds. Just head to the Disbursements tab underneath the Reporting center heading.
Scroll to find the date or check number you’re looking for and choose the CSV button all the way to the right.
If you want to view data for a specific check or disbursement without downloading a CSV, just click the Details button next to the CSV link.
There, you’ll be able to view both contributions and refunds for a check or disbursement right from your ActBlue Dashboard.
You can also download a report for a specific contribution form by visiting the Statistics page for that form.
You’ll find the Stats button in the menu on the left side of your screen when you are viewing your form.
The Statistics page will show you a table of the contributions that specific form received, broken down by refcode. Below the table, you should see an “Additional tools” option. Toggle the drop-down menu and you’ll be able to download a CSV of contributions.
If you’re a federal campaign using the compliance software NGP, we make it really easy for you. Click the link to download NGP data next to a check disbursement, just like you would if you were downloading a CSV.
If you're interested in learning about how to visualize your donor data, you can read about it here.