Convio Releases First eCommerce Solution Designed for Unique Needs of Nonprofits

Convio eCommerce™ Provides Full Functionality for Online Stores Plus Powerful Tools for Converting Shoppers to Donors, Advocates and Volunteers

Convio, Inc. — the leading provider of software and services to help nonprofits use the Internet for building constituent relationships and driving support — today announced availability of the first ecommerce solution designed specifically to meet the unique needs of nonprofit organizations.

Convio eCommerce provides organizations with all key functionality for effectively selling online as well as converting shoppers to more involved constituents. No other ecommerce product on the market today offers nonprofits the ability to generate revenue online by selling merchandise, sponsorships, virtual "adoptions" and more while also building strong relationships with constituents to drive fundraising, advocacy, volunteerism, participation in special events and other types of support. To date, ecommerce options for nonprofits have been limited to narrow, or "point," solutions for displaying merchandise online and processing transactions only.

Convio is the leading provider of online constituent relationship management solutions (eCRM) for nonprofits. The company's software and services help organizations use the Internet for building strong constituent relationships to drive fundraising, marketing, advocacy and other forms of mission-critical support. Convio developed its new ecommerce solution working closely with some of today's most prominent nonprofits, including groups renowned for innovative use of the Internet, among them, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Jewish National Fund (JNF) and organizations dedicated to environmental and wildlife protection.

"Convio's solution redefines ecommerce for nonprofits by enabling an organization to not only sell over the Internet but also leverage the selling experience for deepening constituent involvement with and support of a cause," said Jo Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Development and Communications, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Now we'll be able to take what we learn about shoppers from their purchases and integrate it with ASPCA's other online programs to make our fundraising and advocacy efforts even more effective."

Tools for Full Featured Online Store

With Convio eCommerce, a nonprofit can create a full-featured online store that looks like the rest of the organization's Web site, includes all the features of a traditional online store and provides a familiar online shopping experience. Nonprofits using the Convio solution can sell anything online from physical products such as T-shirts and mugs to virtual items such as memberships and sponsorships. Convio eCommerce has tools for:

  • Creating and updating product catalogs;
  • Showcasing item attributes (e.g., sizes, colors);
  • Browsing, sorting and searching items for sale;
  • Up-selling, e.g., if a visitor to a wildlife preservation group buys a "save the wolves" T-shirt, the online store can automatically suggest purchasing a "save the wolves" mug;
  • Shopping cart and checkout capabilities; Calculating shipping costs; and
  • Offering member and/or other special pricing.

Boosts Fundraising and Constituent Involvement

Beyond selling merchandise, Convio eCommerce opens up new fundraising possibilities for nonprofits. Now organizations can use ecommerce techniques to "sell" virtual products such as sponsorships and certificates to supplement traditional fundraising efforts. Convio enables nonprofits to integrate the shopping and fundraising experiences by using the information obtained from a constituent's purchase to further involve him or her in supporting their organization. Convio eCommerce tracks each shopper's purchases, interests and online interactions with the organization, creating and continually updating an individual profile of him or her. The profile is stored in an online database shared with an organization's other Convio applications, which the nonprofit can use for personalizing email and Web content.

A nonprofit can leverage a shopper's profile information to ask for appropriate additional support. The shopper who buys a "save the wolves" T-shirt obviously is interested in wolves, so the online store can be configured to ask him or her to:

  • Donate to a "save the wolves" campaign;
  • Become a member;
  • Buy a virtual "adopt a wolf" sponsorship;
  • Register and buy tickets for a gala or fundraising event;
  • Sign up to do volunteer work; and
  • Participate in advocacy campaigns (e.g., respond to an action alert on proposed legislation affecting wolf habitats).

Jewish National Fund (JNF) is raising significant funds by selling virtual sponsorships. The group, which works to preserve and develop the land of Israel on behalf of Jewish people everywhere, raised $1.4 million online in 2004, in part, through online promotion of its tree-planting program. Web site visitors can "buy" trees by making an $18 donation to help JNF plant trees in Israel. Shoppers choose from several email certificate options to let friends or loved ones know that a tree was planted in their honor.

"As the leading Jewish nonprofit online fundraiser, we believe the functionality and ease of use provided by Convio's ecommerce solution will increase donations and help us retain supporters," said Russell F. Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of Jewish National Fund. "By selling virtual certificates for planting trees in Israel, we've raised a lot of money while also actively involving constituents in fulfilling our mission. With Convio eCommerce, we'll be able to build on our success to date by providing an even better online shopping experience, especially for supporters who purchase multiple items, and by leveraging tools for cross-marketing."

Ecommerce for nonprofits now has entered a new era, according to Gene Austin, Convio's CEO. "Our ecommerce product is the only such product designed from the ground up for nonprofits — it allows organizations to move beyond the transaction and build stronger, more sustainable relationships with people purchasing items online," said Austin. "These relationships — not single transactions — are what will help nonprofit groups generate deep support for their missions."

About Convio

Convio is the leading provider of software and services to help nonprofits use the Internet strategically to build strong relationships with constituents for driving fundraising, advocacy and other forms of support. Convio has online solutions for fundraising and membership, advocacy, special events, volunteer fundraising, Web site management and email communications. All solutions include the Constituent360™ platform, a sophisticated, online marketing database that centralizes constituent data and integrates with offline databases.

In addition to ASPCA and JNF, Convio's clients include American Diabetes Association, AVON Foundation, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Easter Seals, Farm Aid, Georgetown University, KCET Community Television of Southern California, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Trust For Historic Preservation, Ronald McDonald House Charities and The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. For more information, please visit http://www.convio.com/.

Press Contact:
Karoline McLaughlin
Director, Corporate Communications
Convio, Inc.

Convio Releases First eCommerce Solution Designed for Unique Needs of Nonprofits | Convio