Nov 16, 2023

New Moves: Biden Campaign Explores New Tools in Digital Fundraising

In a move that could have far-reaching implications for Democratic fundraising, Politico reported this week that President Biden's campaign is exploring alternatives to the online platform that has served as the backbone of the party's small-dollar fundraising efforts.  The move away from ActBlue is apparently being considered to reduce the cost of processing the expected influx of small-dollar donations the campaign is likely to see in 2024. 

ActBlue has been the go-to digital fundraising platform for Democratic candidates at all levels of government since its launch in 2004. Known for its user-friendly interface and ability to seamlessly process donations, ActBlue has facilitated over $1.26 billion in contributions. During Donald Trump's presidency, ActBlue played a pivotal role in the Democratic online fundraising advantage.

ActBlue's dominance in the online fundraising space is undeniable, but there has been a growing sense of discontent among Democratic digital strategists. They point to factors such as the platform's fees, which are often higher than those of less prominent payment processors. Some also express concerns about product stagnation and ActBlue's recent layoff of 17% of its staff. For some strategists, ActBlue's perceived vulnerabilities have created an opening for exploration and potential competition from other fundraising platforms.

According to Politico, the Biden campaign has begun testing other Democratic donation platforms, including those run by NGP VAN and Action Network, as potential replacements for ActBlue. The campaign aims to evaluate their impact on fundraising, and depending on the results, could switch to another platform entirely or adopt a mix of platforms. Only time will tell, but any departure from ActBlue by the Biden campaign, with its large donor base, would undoubtedly have significant implications for the Democratic Party. It could prompt other campaigns, both high-profile and down-ballot, to reassess their reliance on ActBlue and consider alternative platforms

Will this be the catalyst for big movement among democratic campaigns to other platforms? Would such a big shake-up truly create a more competitive landscape and maybe lead to new innovation and the development of more competitive infrastructure in Democratic fundraising tools?

We’ll be following these developments and providing updates in future blog posts. 

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