Nonprofits Resolve that “Now is The Time” to Use Technology to gain Efficiency and Effectiveness

Nonprofit community can share resolutions and participate in resolution poll at www.convio.com/resolve2009

This year as millions of individuals resolve to exercise more and eat better, Convio, the nation's leading provider of on-demand constituent relationship management software and services to nonprofit organizations, is encouraging nonprofit professionals to resolve to make 2009 the year that they put technology to work for them so that they can focus on fulfilling the mission of their charity. The campaign is aimed at educating nonprofits on how they too can take action and benefit from technologies that help them to more efficiently and effectively move people to support their cause.

“Even in the difficult economy, online marketing, fundraising and advocacy continued as growth engines for many nonprofit organizations,” said Gene Austin, chief executive officer for Convio. “The success of these nonprofit organizations, combined with Election ’08, magnified just how significant the Internet and technology are in mobilizing support on a large scale. By nearly every measure, 2008 will be remembered as the year when online constituent relationship management reached the tipping point – the point at which the use of online channels became a preferred method to reach, inspire and engage supporters.” 

Now is the time

From a technology standpoint, among the most advantageous and impactful resolutions a nonprofit organization can make for 2009 include:

  1. Get to know volunteers and donors better. Organizations have often grouped supporters by various giving levels and other demographic data to determine how and when to communicate to those individuals. In 2009 it is more important to segment people based on their behavioral and attitudinal differences to create the greatest level of connection possible. Today many supporters have expectations of nonprofits based on how they have become accustom to using technology to manage their relationships with businesses they frequent online and offline. New technology and software are available to help nonprofits better meet these expectations and manage relationships through more sophisticated channels.
  2. Inspire your most passionate donors to help tell your story; bring new people to the organization and raise funds. As human and financial resources have tightened, nonprofit organizations should encourage and help to enable their donors, volunteers and other supporters to use the Internet to reach more people and raise funds. Charities can provide content and ideas to donors that help them to leverage their own social network connections, and applications such as YouTube, to reach out and involve their friends and loved ones in the causes they care about. Given the right technology tools, these people are a low-cost, high return resource for nonprofit organizations to help spread the word.
  3. Put technology to work in fulfilling your mission. Successful nonprofits are maximizing time and resources by using partners and technologies to solve problems. For too long technology vendors have required nonprofit organizations to invest in on-premises systems, and then be responsible for the burdens and worries associated with upgrades, back-ups and systems infrastructure. Today, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Cloud Computing model provides nonprofits with software applications and services through a model that adds value, is more reliable, scalable and less costly than on-premise systems. These open systems and the communities around the vendor’s software and services provide nonprofits with a network of partners that help drive results and achieve their missions.

Data shows charities and supporters are aligning around the Internet

The cost of traditional fundraising and communications channels, such as direct mail, telemarketing and direct response, continues to rise at the same time that response rates are declining. Results from leading nonprofit organizations and a study by Strategic One and Convio shows that when traditional efforts are combined with effective Internet communication, these programs can be more effective.

At the same time that traditional methods are waning, research indicated consumers and donors are turning to the Internet to engage with charities. Research from JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company that was commissioned by Convio, also shows that more than half of online consumers, more than 89 million people, planned to go online to support charities in the last eight weeks of 2008. Another survey in 2008 by Edge Research, Sea Change Strategies and Convio indicates that more than half of the “Wired Wealthy” prefer online giving. More than 80 percent of these mid-level and major gift contributors reported giving online with forty-six percent saying that they planned to do more of their giving online in the future. This same research indicates that online channels are yet another important way to help donors feel more connected to the charities they support.

According to initial findings from the 2008 Bank of America Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy, conducted in partnership with The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the primary reason wealthy donors stopped giving to charities was because “they no longer felt connected” (58 percent). Respondents to our “Wired Wealthy” survey reported that nonprofits were not making the best use of the Internet and electronic communication to connect with them. The results of these surveys suggest that there may be no better time than right now for nonprofits to make greater use of technology in order to better communicate with and engage supporters.

 “Modern technology and open applications can help nonprofits more effectively cultivate and steward donors, create a Web presence that personally engages supporters, integrate their online and traditional campaigns and get to know their donors, volunteers and other supporters better than before,” added Austin. “Market uncertainty, the often changing expectations of donors, and the opportunities offered by technology make now the time for charities to evaluate and invest in software and services that help them efficiently turn ideas into action so that they can focus on their mission, not their infrastructure.”

Resolve to join the discussion and act

Convio has teamed with leading nonprofit bloggers and partners to create an online poll as well as a community discussion on technology resolutions that can help nonprofits more efficiently and effectively move people to support their cause at www.convio.com/resolve2009.

The community is also sharing the obstacles to successfully using technology to drive results and support mission-critical needs, so that together they can help one and another by sharing tips and ideas to keep their resolutions and fulfill their mission.

Interested nonprofit professionals, volunteer-leaders and others can participate in the online poll, share their resolutions and ideas, and join in the discussion by visiting any of the participating blogs or linking their own posts to www.connectioncafe.com and/or these leading nonprofit blogs:

• A View from Judi Sohn - http://www.momathome.com/ - Judi Sohn
• Beaconfire Wire - http://beaconfire.com/blog/ – Michael Cervino
• Beth’s Blog - http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/ – Beth Kanter
• Connection Café - http://www.connectioncafe.com – Jordan Viator
• Donor Power Blog - http://www.donorpowerblog.com/donor_power_blog  - Jeff Brooks
• Everyday Giving - http://everydaygiving.typepad.com/ - Roger Carr
• FI Space - http://www.fispace.org/ - David Neff
• Mobile Commons - http://mcommons.com/blog/ - Matt Wilson
• NTEN Blog - http://www.nten.org/blog - Holly Ross, Nonprofit Technology Exchange Network
• Social Actions Blog - www.blog.socialactions.com - Peter Deitz
• Tech Soup - www.blog.techsoup.org – Robert L. Weiner
• Robert L. Weiner Blog - www.rlweiner.com/blog - Robert L. Weiner
• TREW Marketing Spotlight - http://www.trewmarketing.com/spotlight/ - Wendy Covey

About Convio

Convio is the leading provider of on-demand constituent relationship management (CRM) software and services that give nonprofit organizations a better way to inspire and mobilize people to support their organization. The company’s online marketing suite offers integrated software for fundraising, advocacy, events, email marketing and Web content management, and its CRM system, Convio Common Ground™, helps organizations efficiently track and manage all interactions with supporters. All Convio products are delivered through the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and are backed by a portfolio of best-in-class consulting and support services and a network of partners who provide value-added services and applications focused on the unique needs of nonprofit organizations.  

Convio clients include nonprofit organizations, Institutions of Higher Education, Associations and Faith-based organizations around the world such as American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Easter Seals, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, Sierra Club, and National Public Radio. For more information, please visit www.convio.com

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

Nonprofits Resolve that “Now is The Time” to Use Technology to gain Efficiency and Effectiveness | Convio