December 2007

Tis the Season for Online Fundraising... and Socially Responsible Shopping

by Claudia Zorn, Senior Corporate Communications Manager, Convio

Seva Foundation recently launched its new "Gifts of Service" ecommerce Web site, just in time for the holiday fundraising season. Seva was an early innovator of alternative gift giving, starting in 1986 with a print catalog that now runs 22 pages, mailed to a house file and others totaling some 750,000 recipients. The print catalog has been the sole marketing channel, driving 40% of recipients to Seva's Web site to donate online.

Seva's Gifts of Service catalog and ecommerce site allows people to give highly targeted donations to projects Seva is involved in via three main program areas: Community Self-Development, Native American Programs and Sight Programs. Donors can also make unrestricted donations to support Seva's work through its Heart of Compassion and Kindness for Children gifts. For each gift, donors can choose to send the gift recipient a pre-printed gift card with a personalized message, send their own eCard, or choose not to send a card at all.

"People think of Seva's Gifts of Service as a shopping experience, which is very different from using a basic online donation page," said Robin Woodland, Director of Communications at Seva. "People often spend 20 - 30 minutes on our site selecting gifts for people on their holiday list. So we had to make it fun; it had to be a compelling shopping experience."

Seva's Gifts of Service ecommerce site is part of an entire package of Convio products and services, including email marketing, donation processing and DataSync to integrate its Raiser's Edge offline database with Convio's Constituent360™ platform and online database.

"Using ecommerce for Gifts of Service opens up new channels for Seva, such as email, Web links and social network sites like Facebook, eCards, Tell-a-Friend links, etc. — all of which generate more viral marketing for Seva," said Woodland. "Through a combination of Convio functionality and a chance to do a long overdue Web site redesign, we've made a dramatic improvement over our old site. It creates a more positive, reassuring constituent experience."

Other Convio clients offering socially responsible shopping this season include Defenders of Wildlife's Adopt a Wolf, Oxfam America Unwrapped, and Save the Children's Holiday Gift Catalog. Designed by Convio Alliance Partner Free Range Studios, Save the Children's ecommerce site is updated from last year's. Said Free Range Project Manager Melissa: "This is not your traditional 'click and buy' site but rather a cool, multi-media experience that allows gift givers and receivers to navigate through a map of the world and 'imagine' how simple gifts are extraordinary resources in the hands of families and children in need, and other organizations offering."

Tis the Season for Online Fundraising... and Socially Responsible Shopping | Convio