Children’s Hospital Oakland goes mobile-friendly

Donordigital has been thrilled to work with Children’s Hospital Oakland and the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Foundation during the past six months on a number of online projects, including improving the organization’s donation forms, email templates, and email signup experience, as well as integrating its online and offline communications.

Our first project with Children’s Hospital Oakland was to create mobile-optimized email templates in Convio for email appeals and e-newsletters, thus assuring the best possible reader and donor experience.  We streamlined the design with a focus on call-to-action, images of kids, and organizational branding.  We determined the best design based on organizational needs, and ensured those could be delivered in a mobile-friendly format.

Here’s how they went from a non-mobile-friendly e-newsletter format to a mobile-friendly format (click to enlarge either screenshot):

old-enews    new-enews

And here’s how they went from a non-mobile-friendly email appeal format to a mobile-friendly format  (click to enlarge either screenshot):

old-eappeal     new-eappeal

Children’s Hospital Oakland is now employing these new mobile-friendly templates for their year-end fundraising campaign.

Please sign up for Children’s Oakland’s e-mail list today and see them for yourself!

WendyPhotoWendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company. 

Hunger Knows No Party: Social media engagement campaign for Share Our Strength

Hunger Knows No Party

Author’s Note: this post is part two in a two-part series, adapted from a session by Jesse Kelsey (Donordigital) and Jason Wilson (Share Our Strength), first presented at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We explored unconventional solutions to work with Blackbaud’s Luminate platform (formerly Convio).

PART TWO: Hunger Knows No Party

The goal of this campaign was for our network to engage the presidential candidates last October, and let them know that hunger is an important issue. The topic was timely (communications went out immediately following a presidential debate) and a great way to engage our core audience while raising awareness via social media.

This is the “recipe” that we used as a guide for the landing page, which enables advocates to post tweets to Presidential candidates’ Twitter pages:

  • Dynamic/interactive Tweets
  • Timely response
  • Add Convio survey/list building elements

Some of the secret ingredients used in this recipe:

  • JavaScript/jQuery
  • In-house social media formatting tool
  • Convio Pagebuilder/Convio survey

This “viral” version of the landing page, meaning the one that was picked up through social networks and shares by email (not the version that we sent to our in-house list), sent people first to a Convio Pagebuilder page with a very short survey, requiring first name, last name, and email address information.

Upon submitting information, the advocates, also newly subscribed to the Share Our Strength email list, were redirected to a page with interactive ways to tweet either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, who had just participated in a presidential debate (October 2012). People were encouraged to “Join Team No Kid Hungry in asking Mitt Romney and Barack Obama the tough questions they can’t ignore,” and provided with a few example questions to tweet, or the ability to send a custom tweet.

Tweet example for Hunger Knows No Party

Most of the magic on this landing page happened with the use of JavaScript. For example, once a question was selected, a preview window updated automatically just below the questions. Once either the “Tweet Romney” or the “Tweet Obama” buttons were clicked, a custom tweet was packaged up using JavaScript to include the selected question, two hash tags (#NoKidHungry and #election2012), a shortened url with the “viral” version of the page, and the appropriate candidate Twitter handle (“@BarackObama” or “@MittRomney”).

Let’s dissect one example, and choose the first question: “Will you help ensure that no child grows up hungry in America? #NoKidHungry #election2012

When the “Select This Question” button is clicked, the following is what happens in the code:

// the function below fires when the button is pressed to select question one
jQuery("#quest1select").click(function() {

// the border around question one is turned orange
jQuery(“#quest1”).css(“border”,”3px solid #f26722″);

// the border around the other three questions turn gray
jQuery(“#quest2, #quest3, #quest4div”).css(“border”,”3px solid #a69c91″);

// the text string within the question one box is turned into a javascript variable
var grabdesc = jQuery(“#quest1”).text();

// the text string is encoded as it will be used in a Twitter share url
var description = encodeURIComponent(grabdesc);

// a hidden section of HTML code is updated with the encoded text string

// the preview window below the questions is updated with the text from question one

Then, when the button for a specific candidate, let’s say Barack Obama, is clicked, this is what happens in the code:

// the button is pressed to tweet obama
jQuery("#tweetobama").click(function() {
// a text string, BarackObama, is created as a variable
var candidate = "BarackObama";
// a Twitter share url is constructed using the hidden tweet from the function above
var twitUrl = "" + jQuery("#descspan").text() + "%20%40" + candidate;
// the advocate is redireted to the newly assembled Twitter share url
window.location = twitUrl;

Within the first 24 hours, tweets generated nearly 1.1M impressions and reached an audience of 252,454 followers — generating hundreds of tweets from our network. Twitter advocacy isn’t necessarily an area we’ve put a lot of effort into up until this point, but as a result of this campaign, we will be building out more Twitter-centric advocacy campaigns.

Download the full presentation slides here, from C is for Cookie: Convio Platform Townhall, a presentation from the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference.

C is for Cookie: Convio Platform Townhall (part one of two)

Share Our Strength Cooking Matters Quiz

Author’s Note: this post is part one in a two-part series, adapted from a session by Jesse Kelsey (Donordigital) and Jason Wilson (Share Our Strength), first presented at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We explored unconventional solutions to work with, and around, a familiar platform, Convio (a.k.a. Blackbaud’s Luminate product).

I’ll explore two of these examples, in depth, during this short series, by highlighting some front-end coding tricks.

PART ONE: Cooking Matters Quiz

Our main goal for this quiz was to drive awareness to a study called It’s Dinnertime that Share Our Strength conducted about how low-income families plan, cook, and shop for healthy meals. The full report can be found at The report included the full study, press events, and an infographic in addition to the quiz.

This is the “recipe” that we used as a guide for the quiz, which is a standard Convio survey with some front-end bells and whistles:

  • Turn a Convio survey into a quiz
  • Give feedback to users on quiz score
  • Make dynamic score sharing possible
  • Implement a more visually engaging design

Some of the secret ingredients used in this recipe:

  • Cookies
  • JavaScript/jQuery
  • HTML Captions in the Convio survey

In essence, we combined the recipe and ingredients above in order to make the Convio survey more visually engaging, and to make the survey-turned-quiz into a more interactive experience, such that visitors could take the quiz and be provided with a score, as well as dynamic sharing tools to help increase awareness around the It’s Dinnertime study.

Web browser cookies played a key role in allowing for the quiz to be scored and for the score information to be used within javascript functions on the survey confirmation page. We borrowed a javascript function, called createCookie() from Quirksmode that lives on the first page of the Cooking Matters Quiz, as well as a function called readCookie(), which resides on the thank you/confirmation page of the quiz. Quirksmode provides a great, general, tutorial on how to implement and use cookies here.

Each question on the Cooking Matters Quiz is a set of radio buttons. In order to create and update the cookies on page one of the quiz, we needed to call the createCookie() function during an onclick event. Since the Convio survey module writes the survey question HTML from the server, meaning that we didn’t have direct access to edit or rewrite the HTML, I chose to hide some sections of the HTML written by the survey module with javascript, and to rewrite the HTML inputs (radio buttons) within HTML caption sections on the survey. This allowed for the addition of inline onclick events for each question, like these: onclick=”createCookie(‘Question1′,’True’,0)” and onclick=”createCookie(‘Quesion1′,’False’,0).”

Dynamic Facebook Post

On the thank you page for the quiz, using the readCookie() function, I grabbed the current cookie information from the browser and created javascript variables, like this: var q4 = readCookie(‘Question4’);. Then, still using javascript, created some if/else statements that did the scoring. The logic worked like this: if the cookie value for question four is “Price of healthy grocery items,” score 1, else score 0. After a quick tally, a variable called “totalscore” was created and used throughout the thank you page, for dynamic Facebook and Twitter links, and feedback to the quiz takers, etc.

In the end, Share Our Strength attracted 1,138 new advocates to the cause through the quiz alone, and through a small Facebook ad campaign, had over 11 million impressions and just shy of 3,000 clicks (2,860). The quiz was a key engagement factor that helped people not only understand the content of the report without having to read it, but also gave us a way to capture more names of individuals interested in cooking skills education — a core component of Share Our Strength work.

In part two, I’ll cover one more in-depth example, which was a dynamic Twitter landing page, called “Hunger Knows No Party,” and built into the Convio Pagebuilder module.

Download the full presentation slides here, from C is for Cookie: Convio Platform Townhall, a presentation from the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference.

Bonus: view, dissect, and use a simple, cookied quiz recipe here.

Convio Quiz Cookie Recipe

Yum, it's a cookie

With some creativity and the use of standard front-end code, a bland online survey can be sweetened and transformed into an engaging, interactive, and shareable quiz that keeps advocates energized around a cause.

Our client Share Our Strength engages constituents online using Convio fundraising software in service of their mission to end childhood hunger in America.

Convio has a handy set of tools and can wrangle lots of data in meaningful ways on the backend, but creating a default survey experience for constituents can leave nonprofit advocates and donors hungry for a little bit more. We at Donordigital worked with Share Our Strength to create a quiz experience that would offer all the bells and whistles to deeply engage people with Share Our Strength’s mission.

When Share Our Strength released It’s Dinnertime: A Report on Low-Income Families’ Efforts to Plan, Shop for and Cook Healthy Meals, we worked together to create this short “Cooking Matters” quiz with the goal of increasing mission awareness and promoting the report.

During the implementation for this quiz, which is a survey that is built on top of the Convio platform, we encountered several desired features that we couldn’t quite make happen with the features in Convio. One example is the lack of a straightforward way to score the quiz in order to give the constituent immediate feedback.

So we turned to a more front-end approach and created a few cookies on the quiz page, in order to read those cookies and do more fun stuff with them on the thank you page. Then, on the survey thank-you page, we were able to score the quiz, highlight the answers, create some dynamic sharing features, and, generally, sweeten up the user experience.

Here is a quick cookie recipe, if you’d like to try this yourself at home:

Convio Quiz Cookie Recipe:

  • Include a javascript function to createCookie() on the quiz page (this is the best resource I’ve found to date on implementing cookies).
  • Call the createCookie() function to set a cookie when a quiz answer is selected. It looks kind of like this on a survey question in Convio:
  • Include a javascript function to readCookie() on the thank you page of the quiz.
  • Define some variables on the thank you page and read the cookies. That looks like this:
  • Use the javascript variables to add up scores, display answers, create dynamic share descriptions, etc.
  • To view the code (you can—since it’s front-end code), take the quiz and see what’s happening when you view > source in any web browser.
  • Enjoy!

Jesse Kelsey is a Web Developer at Donordigital, and will be speaking at NTEN’s upcoming (April 2013) Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Look for his session, called “C is for Cookie: Convio Platform Townhall.”

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.

Convio founder tech & consumer predictions for 2012

Let the 2012 predictions begin. Vinay Bhagat, founder and chief strategy officer of Convio shares his thoughts on technology and consumer trends for 2012 in a guest post on the Guidestar blog.

Convio is an enterprise-class, cloud-based platform that many of Donordigital’s clients use for email messaging, constituent management, peer-to-peer fundraising, and online gift processing.

Here are Vinay’s top five predictions for the nonprofit sector in 2012:

  • Online and new media channels will continue to extend their influence
  • Peer-to-peer marketing will continue to be more important
  • Donor fatigue will get more pronounced
  • Supporters want to control their experience
  • Integrated marketing practices will mature

The way I read this is that email messaging will decline as an impactful way to raise money online, and other tools and channels will grow in influence. This is sure to add new challenges to nonprofits and the agencies that work for them to experiment with new techniques and tools to reach supporters and donors.

Vinay’s comment that donating decisions will be more guided by campaigns from friends, family and co-workers is an insightful prediction, as I observe a big desire by individuals of all walks of life to raise money online for the causes that are meaningful to them.

On that last point, I would challenge all software-as-a-service providers to evaluate the features and user experience of their own “friendraising” tools, and make a commitment to improve them in the year ahead. Having recently rolled them out for several clients, there is clearly some room for improvement.

Vinay’s other theme of consumers wanting to control their user experience is certainly a central challenge to nonprofits.  There is too much one-size-fits-all publishing going on across the nonprofit world, which is holdover from direct mail. The online world calls out for us to invent ways to diversify content by all means necessary.

Please take a moment to read Vinay Bhagat’s insightful article

The Convio Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study

Gene Austin wrote in the June 2011 issue of Mal Warwick’s Newsletter that Convio recently released its fifth annual Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index™ Study designed to help nonprofit professionals understand beneficial online marketing metrics, evaluate the effectiveness of their organization compared to similar organizations and determine strategies for future success.

Key findings of the 2011 study include:

  • Online fundraising continues to grow. Overall, 79% of organizations included in the report raised more in 2010 than 2009.
  • Advocacy continues to play an important role. Total number of advocates on file increased by 20%, and 6.4% of advocates on file were also donors, up from 5.9% in 2009.
  • An increase in gift count and average gift size primarily drove fundraising gains. This indicates more people are moving online to give even if inspired through other channels.
  • Email files continued to grow strongly.  The median total email file grew 22% to 48,700 constituents. The increase in people engaging online means organizations need to ensure their communications and fundraising asks match the channel preferences for their constituents if they hope to maximize the value of each relationship.
  • Haiti relief played a strong role in growing aggregate online fundraising. The vertical most impacted by the Haiti event was the Disaster & Relief vertical, growing 38% from 2009 to 2010. Independent of the Haiti event, however, Disaster & Relief still grew at a healthy 23% from 2009 to 2010.

The entire report as a PDF can be downloaded here.