Person

Erin Hill

Erin Hill is the executive director of the left-of-center ActBlue PAC and is also the CEO of the  advocacy nonprofit ActBlue Civics. Hill also works for ActBlue LLC and the ActBlue charitable arm ActBlue Charities. ActBlue was launched in 2004 as a fundraising platform for left-wing organizations and candidates. [1]

Before joining ActBlue, Hill worked in fundraising for the Democratic National Committee and the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign. [2]

Education and Early Career

Hill graduated from Wellesley College as Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English literature and a concentration in Public Policy Studies. She then went to work in the Massachusetts State House on legislative research. Later she went to Capitol Hill. Then she went to work at the Democratic National Committee. [3]

In the 2004 Presidential Election, Hill joined the campaign of then-U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA). She would work on fundraising for the campaign and would remain on the campaign staff throughout the entirety of the campaign. [4]

ActBlue

In 2004, ActBlue was founded as a fundraising platform for left-wing candidates and causes. The complaint with traditional online fundraising and other types of political fundraising was that it was not user friendly and instead was more difficult for donors to use. The founders of ActBlue wanted to create a platform that was easy for candidates and other fundraisers to use that would help them squeeze every dollar possible from a fundraising email or a donate button. [5]

Hill joined ActBlue after the 2004 election and soon became executive director. The founders of ActBlue did not have any campaign or fundraising experience. Instead, the two men who founded ActBlue had a technology and coding background. [6]

ActBlue grew steadily and developed a de facto monopoly in left-progressive online fundraising as Democratic candidates and other left-wing organizations moved their online fundraising to the platform. But the platform did not really explode in relevance and popularity until the 2014 congressional elections, in which ActBlue doubled the amount the money it had previously raised through the platform since its founding. [7]

The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign led to another boomlet for the platform. The Sanders presidential campaign was fueled by a surge in online small dollar donations. Sanders routed the bulk of his fundraising through ActBlue. [8]

As a result of Bernie Sanders’s campaign fundraising, ActBlue had to change how it was structured. The platform’s staffing and structure resembled that of a Silicon Valley startup that just had a successful IPO. As a result of the 2016 presidential campaign, it had the credit card information of over 2.7 million people. [9]

After the election of Donald Trump as president, ActBlue also exploded in popularity as left-wing organizations and candidates raised money to oppose his agenda. In the 2018 midterm elections, ActBlue helped raise $1.5 billion which was double what it raised throughout its existence. ActBlue helped give Democrats a massive fundraising edge as candidates embraced small dollar donations and made them front and center in the campaign. It helped Democrats outraise Republicans in that election. [10]

After the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020, ActBlue saw another surge in donations. The platform raised over $100 million for Democrats. [11]

References

  1.             Hartmann, Michael. 2018. “Actblue Fundraising Platform Strikes Gold — For Liberals”. Real Clear Politics. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/01/23/actblue_fundraising_platform_strikes_gold_–_for_liberals_136068.html. ^
  2.          “Actblue”. 2020. Start Hub. Accessed October 19. https://www.starthub.org/startups/actblue. ^
  3. “Actblue”. 2020. Start Hub. Accessed October 19. https://www.starthub.org/startups/actblue. ^
  4. “Actblue”. 2020. Start Hub. Accessed October 19. https://www.starthub.org/startups/actblue. ^
  5.   Hartmann, Michael. 2018. “Actblue Fundraising Platform Strikes Gold — For Liberals”. Real Clear Politics. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/01/23/actblue_fundraising_platform_strikes_gold_–_for_liberals_136068.html. ^
  6. Halper, Evan. 2016. “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Legacy Could Be How He Raises Money From So Many People”. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-sanders-actblue-20160324-story.html. ^
  7. Brand, Anna, and Nisha Chittal. 2016. “The Women Bridging Tech And Politics In The 2016 Election”. MSNBC. https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/women-bridging-tech-and-politics-the-2016-election-erin-hill-msna614241. ^
  8. Halper, Evan. 2016. “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Legacy Could Be How He Raises Money From So Many People”. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-sanders-actblue-20160324-story.html. ^
  9. Halper, Evan. 2016. “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Legacy Could Be How He Raises Money From So Many People”. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-sanders-actblue-20160324-story.html. ^
  10.     DeCosta-Klipa, Nik. 2018. “Actblue: The Somerville Nonprofit Powering Democrats’ Small-Donor Wave”. Boston Globe. https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2018/10/30/act-blue-somerville. ^
  11. Lyons, Kim. 2020. “Actblue Sees Huge Surge In Small-Dollar Donations Following Ginsburg’S Death”. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/20/21447684/actblue-surge-donations-ginsburg-death. ^
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