New Orleans' Audubon Nature Institute Selects Convio to Help Raise $60 Million for Rebuilding Renowned Aquarium and Zoo, Plus Other Facilities

Funds Will Help Restore Louisiana's Most Visited Attraction and Region's Tourism Industry

Almost as quickly as Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast region, New Orleans-based Audubon Nature Institute — renowned for its world-class aquarium and zoo — has launched a Convio-powered Web site to help raise $60 million for rebuilding its facilities and for continuing operations in 2006.

Audubon Nature Institute's family of 10 museums and parks annually attracts 2.2 million visitors and has a $330 million impact on the city of New Orleans. The Audubon Zoo and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas are among the crown jewels of the region's vibrant tourism industry. The aquarium, widely considered one of the best in the United States, is Louisiana's most visited attraction.

Although the zoo escaped catastrophic destruction, it did sustain noticeable damage. Hurricane Katrina dealt a significant blow to the aquarium. The storm disabled a significant portion of the aquarium's life support system and, without power to pump oxygen into the tanks, most of the 6,000 aquatic animals died. Surviving animals from the marine life collection — including sea otters, penguins, leafy and weedy sea dragons, fish and Midas, a 250 lb. green sea turtle — have been relocated to three colleague institutions in Monterey, California; Dallas; and Galveston, Texas. The Research Center sustained a large amount of horticultural damage, while the Nature Center remains underwater.

"We are working to get our buildings, grounds and infrastructure back in full operation as quickly as possible, so our goal is to swiftly and efficiently raise the funds we'll need for repair and restoration," Ron Forman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Audubon Nature Institute. "Convio was the obvious choice as an Internet partner because of the company's strong reputation of enabling nonprofits to rapidly reach constituents and inspire giving — during both good and bad times."

The Institute began working with Convio after Hurricane Katrina severely incapacitated the Internet infrastructure in the New Orleans area, rendering the organization's Web site virtually unusable. In a matter of hours, the Institute launched a Convio-powered site that:

  • Keeps visitors updated on the welfare of its animals and property conditions;
  • Makes it easy to securely donate online; and
  • Fosters additional giving by encouraging donors to send "tell a friend" links to people they know.

The Institute has been driving traffic to its new Web site, www.auduboninstitute.org, by sending constituents emails with information updates and links. Because the organization has made use of the Internet a priority in recent years, it has built an email file of approximately 30,000 constituents (individual donors, major donors, elected officials and VIPs) and can communicate with them regularly and in real time, including for appeals.

"By working with Convio, Audubon Nature Institute has been able to quickly deploy the right Internet tools so the organization can press on without missing a beat in garnering support for restoring its properties," said Gene Austin, CEO, Convio. "We're proud to be part of an effort that is key not only for the Institute but also for the region's tourism and economic vitality."

About Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute's purpose of celebrating the wonders of nature guides its mission to: provide a guest experience of outstanding quality; exhibit the diversity of wildlife; preserve native Louisiana habitats; educate our diverse audience about the natural world; enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation; provide opportunities for recreation in natural settings; operate a financially self-sufficient collection of facilities; and weave quality entertainment through the guest experience. The Institute's family of museums and parks dedicated to nature include: three parks, a zoo, an aquarium, the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Entergy IMAX Theatre, a nature center, a research center, and an insectarium. For more information, please visit http://www.auduboninstitute.org/.

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, advocacy, Web content management, event fundraising, ecommerce 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 Audubon Nature Institute, Convio's customers include American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Easter Seals, Feed the Children Georgetown University, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Trust For Historic Preservation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Thirteen/WNET New York. For more information, please visit www.convio.com.

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

New Orleans' Audubon Nature Institute Selects Convio to Help Raise $60 Million for Rebuilding Renowned Aquarium and Zoo, Plus Other Facilities | Convio