Internet is Boon to Smaller Nonprofits Providing Tsunami Disaster Relief

In Wake of Asian Crisis, Lesser Known Groups Tapping Internet Report Exponential Surges in Fundraising, Constituent Base and Awareness

Small-to-medium size disaster relief nonprofits that are utilizing the Internet to help victims of the recent Asian tsunami now are raising record levels of funding, expanding their online constituent bases by more than 50 percent in some cases and significantly increasing the profiles of their organizations.

“Although there has been a lot of focus on what the major, well-branded disaster relief groups are doing, there is another phenomenon unfolding with huge implications for the nonprofit sector,” said Gene Austin, CEO, Convio, Inc. “By using the Internet in their tsunami relief efforts, small-to-medium size groups have been responding more effectively than ever while vaulting their organizations to the next level. We are seeing now what we saw with Howard Dean’s use of the Internet in his presidential bid that an organization doesn’t have to be well-branded or have huge coffers to be able to quickly mobilize support and have an impact.”

Convio is the leading provider of software and services to help nonprofits use the Internet for attracting and retaining constituents to drive fundraising, advocacy and other forms of support. Several of the company’s clients are using the Internet strategically to drive their tsunami relief campaigns.

Ninety-nine percent of the nearly 9,300 nonprofits involved in public safety and disaster preparedness/relief are small-to-medium size organizations ($10 million annual operating budgets or less), according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Roughly 70 percent of all disaster response groups have annual operating budgets of $100,000 or less. The savviest of these nonprofits have moved quickly to use the Internet strategically to not only raise record funds, but also to attract and begin developing relationships with new constituencies and significantly boost their visibility within the fragmented world of disaster relief agencies. Convio client, Action Against Hunger, is a strong case-in-point.

Action Against Hunger After the Tsunami

Founded in Paris, Action Against Hunger is an international organization that combats hunger and malnutrition in emergency situations of war, conflict and natural disasters. The group is still developing name recognition and brand awareness in the United States. Also, it has been largely grant-funded, receiving minimal support from individual donors. Action Against Hunger’s profile has changed dramatically in the wake of the Asian tsunami because of the Internet.

  • Since December 26, Action Against Hunger’s U.S. organization has increased its online constituent base by more than 50 percent and by January 5, had raised $418,000 in tsunami-earmarked funds via the Internet, compared with $466,000 raised online (through Convio) for all of 2004.

  • From December 27-31 alone, the group raised $305,000 online specifically earmarked for the tsunami relief effort. That equates to 65 percent of all online funds that Action Against Hunger raised in 2004. It’s also a 60x increase compared with the group’s largest weekly online donation total prior to the tsunami, which was $5,032.

Equally important, this largely grant-funded organization now has a growing new constituency of individual donors a new revenue stream to cultivate and tap for ongoing support.

“We are a highly efficient organization, dedicating $0.90 of every donated dollar to our relief programs. Convio’s tools add to this efficiency by automating many administrative processes and helping AAH manage personalized communications with large numbers of people,“ said Anne-Sophie Fournier, Executive Director, AAH USA. “This is crucial to our capacity to translate donor support into life-saving programs, as we have been able to do during the recent tsunami emergency in South Asia. Convio’s tools not only help us reach more people, they help us channel their support where it is needed.”

About Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger (AAH) is part of an international network with headquarters in New York, Paris, Madrid and London. With more than 25 years experience in relief and rehabilitation, Action Against Hunger is one of the most important humanitarian organizations working to eradicate hunger today. AAH’s innovative emergency and revitalization efforts integrate programs in nutrition, water and sanitation, food autonomy and health.

Specializing in emergency situations of war, conflict, and natural disaster, AAH is dedicated to saving the lives of severely malnourished children and adults and helping vulnerable populations regain self-sufficiency for the long term. In 2004 alone, AAH assisted more than 5 million people. Every day, in more than 40 countries, 400-plus nutritionists, logisticians, nurses, medical doctors, agronomists and hydro engineers manage AAH programs in collaboration with more than 4,000 locally trained staff. For more information, please visit http://www.aah-usa.org/.

About Convio

Convio is the leading provider of software and services that help nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions use the Internet to build strong constituent relationships to drive support and participation. Convio has online solutions for fundraising and membership, advocacy, special events, volunteer fundraising, Web site management and email communications. All solutions include the Constituent360(tm) platform, a sophisticated, online marketing database that centralizes constituent data and integrates with offline databases.

In addition to Action Against Hunger, Convio’s clients involved in providing disaster relief include Catholic Medical Mission Board, Compassion International, Feed The Children and Mercy Corps. Additionally, Convio works with American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Easter Seals, Farm Aid, Georgetown University, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, National Trust For Historic Preservation and The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. For more information, please visit www.convio.com.

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

Internet is Boon to Smaller Nonprofits Providing Tsunami Disaster Relief | Convio