Sept/Oct 2008

Convio's New MultiCenter Simplifies Life for Federated Organizations

by Alan Cooke, Product Marketing Manager, Convio

Many nonprofit organizations operate on a chapter or affiliate model, with a national presence and regional and local chapters that provide services to their immediate area and rely on local support.

There are many challenges associated with managing a complex multi-affiliate organization; notably, maintaining a consistent brand and coordinated constituent communications across the entire organization. At Convio, we've recognized these challenges, and have worked directly with our clients, including AFL-CIO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, American Diabetes Association®, Easter Seals, and Planned Parenthood®, to design functionality that meets the unique requirements of multi-affiliate, or federated, organizations. The result: Convio MultiCenter.

MultiCenter, functionality within Constituent360™, solves the most common challenges of federated organizations by making it easy for chapters to coordinate and share data and best practices across the organization, as needed. In addition, MultiCenter makes it easy to build and manage micro-sites that map to an organization's most popular programs, while still providing a holistic Constituent360 view of constituent interactions across all sites.

The problem

Most constituents view their connection with a multi-affiliate organization as a single relationship. They don't know, nor do they care, about the business rules that determine data and content sharing within the organization; they care about maintaining a consistent relationship and feeling valued. If they update their address on the web, then they expect that change to immediately be reflected by the local affiliate. They don't want to receive multiple mailings, emails or phone calls simply because there is a disconnect somewhere within the organization they support.

In order to put the constituent experience first, the organization must share constituent lists, exchange content, and provide a single web location for constituent interactions. In a perfect world, all of this data and content would be shared without qualification, and each organization involved in the constituent relationship would respect the other's business rules. Easier said than done!

Nonprofits need a technology solution that can help manage the constituent experience, while respecting the autonomy of each affiliate. Before MultiCenter, no such technology existed.

The solution

MultiCenter offers crucial functionality for federated organizations which, until now, have had limited software options to manage their fundraising and communications activities in a coordinated manner. MultiCenter allows organizations to maintain several different organizational administrative units (e.g., chapters, departments, micro-sites) within a single Convio site. Each separate administrative unit maps to a Center so that a Convio site contains multiple Centers, like this:

With multiple organizational units using a unified database structure, it is now much easier to coordinate activities across the organization:

  • Cross-Center administrators can move between Centers with a highly intuitive user interface. They also can assign merchant accounts for use by a single Center or for use by every Center.
  • Each Center within a single Convio site can manage its own data, campaigns, and constituent relationships without assistance from an administrator from the organization's headquarters.
  • Centers can share constituent records, campaigns, content and branding across the entire organization.
  • Data from individual Centers can be rolled up for aggregate reporting so that a central administrator can see, at a glance, how the organization is doing as a whole.
  • Best practices, strategies and ideas can be shared easily across the entire network.

With MultiCenter, the benefits for constituents are equally valuable. Constituents of multi-affiliate organizations have more control over their experience than ever before. For example, with a single click, they can opt out of email communications from specific Centers while remaining opted in to national communications. This feature can lead to increased constituent satisfaction, particularly for those individuals who complain frequently about too many emails.

Early users of MultiCenter have provided input, which we have incorporated into the product feature set. These features include:

  • The ability to automatically add contacts to specific Centers according to geographic location (ZIP code).
  • Affiliate codes so that constituents can be assigned to a specific Center as their primary affiliation.
  • Expanded permissions providing national, regional and local administrators with view-only access to multiple reports.
  • Ability to assign each Center a unique web address so that all eCRM pages are clearly identified as belonging to that Center.

MultiCenter offers a powerful, intuitive solution for federated organizations wishing to run multiple independent autonomous business units (e.g., affiliates, chapters, locals, departments) from within the same Convio site. Some of the most demanding multi-affiliate organizations in the nonprofit world have helped us design this solution which is unique in our industry.

For more information, contact your account manager or info@convio.com.

Convio's New MultiCenter Simplifies Life for Federated Organizations | Convio