Are you going to Convio's 2011 Summit in October?
Do you want to share your opinions so that we can make Convio more user-friendly?
The Convio Usability Lab will be back for its 4th year. No white coats or mad scientists here, just a team of user experience professionals who will be waiting to hear your opinions so we can make Convio software easier to use.
The process is simple. When you get to Summit, stop by the Usability Lab and sign up for a 30 minute time slot on one of the subjects we’re researching. At your appointment time, you’ll sit down at a computer with a User Experience professional who will walk you through mock-ups of potential changes, or let you interact with a prototype or existing functionality and give feedback.
We want to make sure any changes we’re making to our software improve the user experience, but the only way for us to know is to get feedback from you, the users. Your participation in our research will help us make Convio software better for you. Even better, by participating you’ll be entered in a drawing for an iPod touch!
Even if you’re pressed for time, stop by the Usability Lab to take our super-short Usability Survey. The first 50 people who take the survey will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card!
The Usability lab is open at the following times
Come by, say hi, and let us know how we can make Convio better for you!
On 1st July 2011, Convio entered the UK through the acquisition of Baigent Digital, one of the UK’s leading online fundraising and web agency supporting charities.
Having founded Baigent Digital and worked in the UK charity sector for 14 years, it’s been a very interesting experience for me to engage with Convio and the US nonprofit sector in-depth recently and as an organisation it’s enabled us to learn a lot:
When looking across the pond, there are a few striking differences between charities here in the UK and nonprofits in the US.
However, what’s been even more striking has been the similarity between the US and UK organisations, in particular the fragmented/siloed structures and practices that organisations are frustrated about and seem stuck in. Here in the UK we seem to be particularly struggling with this problem, especially because we’ve never before had a single joined-up solution of technology and services for fundraising. We’re very excited to see what a difference Convio can make to charities here on this side of the pond.
We’re looking forward to sharing your experiences in the US in person during Summit in October, but in the meantime I hope the video/photo will give you all a flavour of our team and culture!
Everywhere I go I keep hearing the same word – innovation.
Convio clients are innovating everyday… testing new combinations of multi-channel messaging, building on our open platforms, exploring social media, and shifting away from isolated departments and siloed technology to an approach focused on constituent engagement.
And at the Convio Summit – just a few short weeks away we’ll reward the most creative innovators in our community.
This summer’s launch of Convio Luminate was the introduction of a significant innovation as well, one several years in the making.
Innovation is officially one of Convio’s core values and something every employee is evaluated on, so it was a good topic for me to dig into last week when I attended the Texas Nonprofit Summit here in Austin.
The theme was officially “Leading the Charge for Social Change.” In a nutshell: innovation.
As Chuck Wall remarked in his session “Stop Competing…Start Innovating!” innovation is not invention. It is improving something that already exists. It’s first of all about identifying a need – whether explicit or unarticulated – and only when the problem is fully understood, exploring better ways meet that need, assessing their feasibility and testing them.
Some great examples from that session:
Later in the conference, in sessions not specifically addressing innovation, I heard about others:
Innovation seems to be an important topic everywhere lately. Which is not surprising. Innovation during boom times is a luxury, but right now many organizations are working to diversify funding, to get above the noise, and to solve evolving social problems.
And that is a good reason to remember that the most critical investment you make in innovation is not the ultimate funding you need to launch it. It’s the investment of time and resources you make now to understand the unmet needs of your donors, your clients and your community.
_____1 – From Charlotte Keany’s session, “Funding Outside the Box: Earning Revenue through Social Enterprise”
One thing I love doing is talking to people I don’t know. I just can’t help myself. I want to know where they got their shoes. What they ordered that looks so delicious. Where they’re from (this happens often in DC as my city is a spot tourists love to visit!) or the derivation of their message T.
While I was attending the Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s Social Media Day a few months ago, I decided to strike up a conversation with one of the presenters. I was specifically interested in where Tania purchased her shoes (they were sparkly flats which I’d been looking for since a similar pair I used to own died in a tragic walking-home-from-work-in-the-rain incident). We got to talking and I learned of her Convio savvy and love of all things Gigya. So, it was right there, in the middle of the conference, that I asked her to be the subject of my next Connection Café post. And here we are…
Tania Luciow is a lover of sparkly flats, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and Convio. This is her story:
EG for CC: What’s your elevator pitch about what the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund does?
TL: We commemorate the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers, killed in the line of duty by maintaining a national monument in their honor and promoting law enforcement officer safety. Each year we help in organizing National Police Week and hold an annual Candlelight Vigil, with over 20,000 attendees. In addition, we are building the National Law Enforcement Museum, to tell the story of law enforcement in America.
EG for CC: How do you describe your role at the organization to friends at parties?
TL: For starters, I am not a law enforcement officer (a majority of people first assume that after hearing the organization’s name). I manage the Memorial Fund’s online community (Facebook/Twitter/Blogger/Flickr) and am also the staff photographer/videographer, designer, and handle some online marketing and messaging.
EG for CC: Of Convio’s selection of online resources, what have you found most useful?
TL: Hands down, I would say the Convio Community. Many times when I am stumped about how to accomplish or create something, I’ll search through the Community to find an answer. The tutorials and guides have helped, in addition to asking questions if something does not work right the first time.
EG for CC: What are you most proud of regarding your use of Convio with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial?
TL: Convio has really allowed us to communicate important information to our constituents. Having access to all of the Convio tools allows us to disseminate “Recently Fallen” email alerts, sent out every time an officer fatality is reported. Concurrently, we are also able to provide a forum for supporters and surviving family members to honor the officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty.
EG for CC: Share an anecdote about a project or specific campaign you worked on through Convio that was particularly exciting or interesting or productive. (I know you’ve got ‘em!)
TL: The beginning of 2011 was a particularly deadly time for law enforcement. In one 24-hour period in January, 11 law enforcement officers were shot, with three killed and eight wounded. In response to the increase in violence, we created a “Stand with the Thin Blue Line” pledge. The response was incredible – in the first hour, hundreds of individuals had signed the pledge. To date, over 11,000 individuals responded.
EG for CC: If you had advice to share for a new Convio admin, what would it be?
TL: Use the training sessions online and in person. Also, ask a lot of questions to other Convio users, they can usually help steer you in the right direction, as well as bugging your account manager about solutions.
EG for CC: What’s one secret tip or trick you’ve picked up along the way related to the Luminate Online platform?
TL: Copy and paste. I rarely start anything from scratch. Sometimes tearing already existing content apart is faster than a blank canvas.
Word on the street is that acquiring new donors and then retaining them is getting more and more difficult and more and more expensive for nonprofit organizations. Smart organizations are not only looking to make their acquisition and renewal campaigns more efficient, they’re also evaluating places where they may be leaving money on the table. Here are a couple examples of money left on the table, from the donors’ point of view.
I signed up as a sustaining donor to an organization just a month before my card was due to expire. Only the first $10 donation was processed and then the next month my additional gifts immediately started failing. So, rather than donating the intended $120 a year to this organization (until I told them I was no longer interested), my gift that year totaled $10. That happened sometime in 2008 or 2009. This organization has reached out to me via direct mail and email in the time since then, but always through an acquisition or renewal campaign. They never called or emailed to say, “Hey, Michelle! You’re one of our most committed supporters and pledged to give us $10 a month – all we need from you is an updated credit card.” It’s always bothered me a little that this organization has never acknowledged my previous commitment.
Similarly, a friend of a friend recently was the victim of credit card fraud and had to get a new card issued to her. “Esther” told me that she was so pleased that one of the nonprofit organizations she supports proactively reached out to her to let her know that her card was failing and provided an easy way for her to log in and update her gift with her new billing information.
To some degree these two experiences illustrate the two diametrically opposite philosophies that organizations seem to have when it comes to managing their relationships with recurring donors.
As a donor to your organization (or another one just like it), I want to let you know that I’d prefer to be treated like your most loyal donor.
If your organization isn't already there, don't worry, you can be. Your infrastructure, specifically technology, can make achieving that donor-centric model a little easier. As your trusty product manager for the Convio Luminate Online Fundraising solution, I’m here to let you know that if you are a Convio Luminate Online user – good news! We just released a bunch of exciting new features that will help you make your sustainer gift program more donor-centric. They include:
Check out the Convio Customer Community or your Account Manager if you want to learn more.
Good luck on your journey to donor-centric success!
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