Nov/Dec 2006

Five Ways to Drive Funds and Involvement Through Constituent Passion

by Kim Gilbert, Product Marketing Manager, Convio

The time has never been better for nonprofits to reach out to constituents online and empower them to raise funds or drive activism on the organization's behalf. Constituents want to make a difference, and they are increasingly using the Internet to engage with and support organizations. The newest Internet tools and approaches now provide more ways than ever for organizations to enable constituents to get involved.

Here are five ways to encourage constituents to help drive support and further your organization's mission with the help of existing and upcoming Convio Internet tools:

  1. Host fundraising events with online team participation
    Fundraising events such as walks and runs are proven ways to raise funds and generate interest in your organization's mission. Online software, such as Convio TeamRaiser™, allows an organization's constituents to set up team Web sites for walks and runs and encourage others to join teams or donate toward team goals. These sites not only create a sense of community around a cause, but also generate revenue. Since 2001, organizations using Convio TeamRaiser have raised nearly $300M online in fundraising events.

  2. Provide a template for "in honor" or "in memory" sites
    Constituent passions are rarely higher than when the constituents themselves have been directly affected by an issue. By allowing constituents to create memorial or tribute Web pages, your organization can provide a compelling outlet for conveying their passion as they generate personalized and heart-felt content. Convio Tributes is a set of online tools that let your constituents quickly and easily create their own highly personalized Web sites that help build awareness and generate fundraising in honor or memory of a friend or relative. Tribute pages help put a personal face on your organization's mission by enabling constituents to post their stories about a loved one and then send emails to friends, family and other contacts asking them to visit the site and make donations or get involved in other ways.

    A supporter could create a tribute site honoring, for example:

    • A loved one who is battling or has died from breast cancer, with funds going to a breast cancer research organization;

    • An outstanding community teacher, with donations earmarked for a local literacy program; and

    • A grandmother whose lifelong passion has been or was promoting animal welfare, with contributions designated for a humane group.

  3. Allow constituents to create personal pages
    For constituents who wish to support your organization without dedicating a Web site to an individual, Convio's personal Web pages allow supporters to express their passion and promote your cause. Personal pages can be used by board members, volunteers, members and staff to celebrate weddings, birthdays, graduations or other events. Constituents decide on their site's personal content, but the cause is still determined by your organization. Since they're not restricted to a specific event, personal pages can provide an ongoing source of revenue and outreach for your organization.

  4. Make it easy to pass emails on to a friend
    Passionate constituents often have passionate friends. When your organization sends an online communication to constituents, you have an opportunity to empower supporters to conduct proactive outreach and help attract new constituents. By creating compelling, attractive emails with "tell a friend" links, you can make it easy for constituents to forward emails to friends, family and other contacts who may be interested in supporting your organization immediately and in the future.

  5. Provide "virtual bumper stickers"
    Many constituents today spend a large amount of time online communicating with friends, family and colleagues while sharing information and promoting their passions. In early 2007 Convio will offer portable call-to-action blocks of code that constituents can use wherever they publish HTML content. These blocks of code look like smaller banner ads and link to a target URL on an organization's Web site where new visitors can donate, register or respond to an advocacy alert. By empowering your most enthusiastic and passionate supporters to spread the word about your organization in their personal networking sites, blogs and emails, your organization can more efficiently help build its constituent base, raise funds and drive activism.

By using the latest Internet tools and strategies, organizations can effectively channel constituent passion in support of their missions. Nonprofits can leverage the online channel in new ways to help constituents participate in events, create tribute or personal pages, spread fundraising and advocacy information to their friends and family and post call-to-action advocacy or fundraising banners on their emails, blogs or personal networking sites. The result — increased fundraising dollars, stronger outreach and an empowered group of passionate constituents. 

Five Ways to Drive Funds and Involvement Through Constituent Passion | Convio