Nov/Dec 2008

Leveraging Social Networks for Real Fundraising Results

by James Young, Senior Product Marketing Manager

In 2007, Convio launched its Open Initiative with the hopes that the nonprofit world would unleash its creativity and build amazing constituent experiences, both on and off of Convio. The examples have persistently come forward, from Facebook applications and custom donation forms to integrated communities and external registration forms. Boundless Fundraising™ is a recent example that bridges Convio TeamRaiser™ with Facebook — extending fundraising capabilities and multiplying the value for an organization.

Built by Charity Dynamics, a Convio partner, boundless Fundraising (www.boundlessfundraising.com) exceeded all expectations in its first implementation — helping Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Austin Affiliate (www.komenaustin.org) towards the $1 million fundraising goal set for the 2008 Komen Race for the Cure, a 5K race benefiting the fight against breast cancer. Boundless Fundraising is a customizable Facebook application that race participants place on their Facebook pages, extending their fundraising on behalf of the Komen Austin Race for the Cure to their network of Facebook friends. From the branded boundless Fundraising application, Facebook friends are directed to the participants’ fundraising pages on Komen Race for the Cure where they can make donations and become directly involved in the organization. The boundless Fundraising application was made possible through Convio’s Open application programming interfaces (APIs) and extensions.

Boundless Fundraising was part of an integrated online strategy to support the 2008 Komen Austin Race for the Cure. Launched by the organization only 16 days prior to the event, the boundless Fundraising social networking application was adopted by 676 participants. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Austin Affiliate received more than 2700 referrals from Facebook as a result of the application. Yet, boundless Fundraising did more than spread through participants’ networks, attract new constituents and help raise funds —  it substantially improved the fundraising performance of its adopters. Participants who added boundless Fundraising to their pages outperformed non-adopters by 595 percent, garnering more than three times as many donations, sending nearly 10 times as many emails, and exceeding their goals by a 2:1 margin. Read the full case study (PDF).

The Komen Austin story demonstrates the profound effect social networks can have in engaging new constituents. By leveraging the viral communication made possible by sites like Facebook and MySpace, nonprofits can hand over the promotion of their mission to passionate people and watch it spread. However, there is more to it than that. Tools, like boundless Fundraising, that integrate into social networks provide a new set of engagement opportunities for existing constituents. Now, your supporters can receive your organization’s news and opportunities without ever leaving the online places where they spend most of their time. 

For more information about Convio Open, including client examples and sample code, our website about the initiative at http://open.convio.com.

For more information about Charity Dynamics’ boundless Fundraising, visit http://www.boundlessfundraising.com.

Leveraging Social Networks for Real Fundraising Results | Convio