Making the Most of Convio for Online Fundraising

Each of our clients goes through the important process of selecting a technology platform for their online fundraising and constituent management needs. Part of our role at Donordigital is to help our clients optimize the use of their platform to maximize the organization’s fundraising performance.  Most of our current clients are using the Convio platform (now a Blackbaud company).  While Convio has some powerful capabilities right out-of-the-cloud, we’ve implemented some creative solutions to raise more money online.

  1. Present a donation page after an advocacy alert is completed.Most online advocacy systems offer a thank you page after a visitors signs a petition or takes an action, but this can be changed in Convio to present a donation page.  The text on the page should first thank the visitor for their completed action since it’s crucial to thank your supporters. Then make a brief case on how a financial gift will help even more. They’re already on the donation page so it couldn’t be easier for them to give right away!  We’ve seen higher than ordinary completion rates for donation pages when using this technique.
  1. Use the full name of a constituent’s state to create a more personalized experience.Prospective donors love it when something feels personal, and Convio allows you to spell out the first name of their state (e.g. California or Texas) rather than the abbreviation (CA or TX) in subject lines or in the copy.  The long version of the state name is useful for many scenarios; for example, a national organization can send an email message nationwide thanking “You and other supporters in [your state] for helping to [feed hungry kids].  Just remember to include an “else” in your conditional for constituents with email addresses but no physical addresses. Here’s the s-tag you should use (the exact conditional command may vary): [[S1:home_stateprov_long]].
  1. Refresh an imageeverywhere it’s used for ease of updating.This makes it possible to, for example, easily change the image of a donor premium on multiple pages—so that the prospective donor sees the same brand experience everywhere she looks. Include relevant premium information in the image, and by updating the image in Convio (as opposed to putting in a separate new image), Convio will refresh the image anywhere it’s used within about 20 minutes. So if you have that premium featured on three (or 34!) donation pages, all three locations will be updated by this one change.
  2. Customize an appealaccording to interests.You can send the same message to everyone on your list, but conditionalize part of the message so that those with a marked interest in a particular program area are served up a fundraising ask that will be more appealing to them. For example, an email describing the work of your organization could have a general appeal for everyone, except for those who have indicated elsewhere that they’re interested in a new program you’re launching—those constituents could see a different ask for a restricted gift to that initiative.
  1. Schedule when your donation forms are automatically unpublished, and select an evergreen form where people will be directed to instead.Is there a deadline for your donation campaign? This method makes it possible for those who try to give after the deadline to still make a gift, but any reference to the expired campaign (e.g. an expired premium offer or matching gift opportunity) will no longer be visible.
  2. Use an action alert as a petitionif you’d prefer to deliver e-signatures to the target of your action alert instead of having them emailed directly by the Convio system.Just set up the target with an email address at your organization that you can use just for this purpose (the inbox will get flooded with action alerts). This method allows you more flexibility; you can access those emails anytime you need them. You can download all the signatures (responses) once you’re ready to deliver them and can then choose to deliver via email, mail, a media-covered in-person delivery, or some other method.

Using fundraising thermometers in multi-channel and multi-goal campaigns

When you’ve set a goal for your campaign, whether it’s for a number of donations, new members, or a dollar amount, the goal and deadline can create excitement and urgency to compel constituents to donate. A dynamic thermometer can provide an update of real-time progress towards that goal.

PETA’s recent Global “Stop Animal Tests” Challenge had a goal of $500,000 that would be matched towards their work of stopping experiments on animals in laboratories around the world. This challenge is a great opportunity for the organization, not only because it’s a generous amount, but because the matching gift offer can motivate a lot of people to donate! PETA made the most of the challenge by rolling out a multi-channel campaign to their constituents: direct mail, telemarketing, and online.

In direct mail and telemarketing, PETA explained to constituents that there was a $500,000 match opportunity. While telemarketing pledges and reply cards from direct mail can take weeks to come in, online efforts produce much more immediate responses. To accommodate this we specified that $250,000 of the goal we aimed to raise online. This subset of the goal allowed us to set up the thermometer to a $250,000 goal and anyone who visited the page could see the current progress. It also allows PETA to communicate to their donors within just a few days that the goal was reached, instead of needing to wait for all offline gifts to be mailed and processed.

Direct mail and telemarketing URL’s directed people to an online donation page that included the multi-channel $500,000 goal. We still included a thermometer here, but it wasn’t dynamic. The alternative is to have a manually updated thermometer. At set intervals this page was updated to match the progress of the multi-channel campaign. This strategy allowed for a lot of cross-channel integration and accommodated some inherent differences between those channels.

Amanda MacCullough is an Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.  Contact: amanda@donordigital.com.