Today’s “Behind the Convio Admin Curtain” installment is full of juicy Convio best practices, and even a restaurant recommendation for stellar chocolate chip pancakes right outside Boston. Read on to learn how Jamie-Alexis Fowler pushed fundraising goals to bring in more dollars for Pathfinder International and leveraged the services of Convio’s Strategy team to amplify her organization’s message.
PS—We call ourselves Convions, but I’ll take Convio-ers too!
EG for CC: What’s your elevator pitch about what Pathfinder does?
JAF: Pathfinder provides women, men, and adolescents with a range of quality reproductive health services—from contraception and maternal care to HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment. Reproductive health is critical to giving people everywhere the ability to make choices about their lives. When a woman has access to reproductive health care, she can make choices about her body and her future—and that leads to more choices about staying in school, starting a business, or perhaps pursuing a role in local government.
EG for CC: How do you describe your role at the organization to friends at parties?
JAF: I handle our public relations and online communications. So pretty much anything online–website, Twitter, email–as well as our outreach to media.
EG for CC: Of Convio’s array of online resources, what have you found most useful?
JAF: Pathfinder has been a Convio client for many years and having worked at Pathfinder for nearly five of those, I’ve used quite a few of Convio’s resources! I’ve found the survey tool quite useful for Pathfinder’s online work, whether for building our ‘Contact Us’ section of the website, or establishing RSVPs for events. I’m also a fan of the email tools. From setting up an email send, to running reports, to establishing various email series (ie, a Welcome Series), I’ve always found it pretty easy to use and effective in meeting our needs.
EG for CC: Please share a few random (unrelated to Pathfinder and Convio) facts about yourself (a fave destination in Boston, perhaps?)…
JAF: I absolutely am obsessed with chocolate chip pancakes from the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown, MA (near Pathfinder’s office). Not only have they formed the basis of many post-training run breakfasts, they have also become an integral part of our weekly website overhaul breakfast meeting.
EG for CC: What are you most proud of regarding your use of Convio with Pathfinder?
JAF: Two projects using Convio that I’m most proud of are: Girl2Woman.org, a microsite that we developed on Pagebuilder, and our online fundraising. Girl2Woman.org started as a small idea to raise awareness about the importance of sexual and reproductive health care throughout a woman’s life. It turned into our most successful constituent engagement and list-building campaign. Outreach utilizing Girl2Woman.org skyrocketed our organic registration rates drove our Facebook following to record numbers.
In terms of online fundraising, Convio’s tools have helped Pathfinder meet goals that a few years ago, many on our team would have thought impossible. For instance, our 2011 end of year online fundraising campaign brought in what we raised over the course of the entire year in 2007. We have a long way to go, since Pathfinder has a smaller individual donor base than other groups of our size, but we’re pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished so far!
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.
JAF: We did our first online matching gift campaign, ‘Two Months, Twice the Difference,’ in 2009 with a goal of reaching $25,000. Some staff were nervous that we had set our goal too high and were worried we wouldn’t be able to do it in only two months. We ended up raising nearly $25,000 one month in and raised the goal to $35K! In part, the success of that campaign was due to the great help we had from Convio providing strategy and advice. Based on that initial success, last fall, we held our third online matching gift initiative, raising a whopping $80,000, not to mention that the match was a $2 for $1!
EG for CC: If you had advice to share for a new Convio admin, what would it be?
JAF: Save, save, and save! I learned early working in Convio products that if you’re in the midst of something–an email, a page edit, etc–that if a colleague pops by your office, or a Skype chat distracts you for a few minutes, you will likely lose your work! Convio’s security is great to protect access to your information, but it can also spell trouble if you don’t save early and save often!
EG for CC: One secret tip or trick you’ve picked up along the way related to the Convio platform…
JAF: That Convio staff are among the best. Any time I have ever had a concern, needed help, wanted a new product feature, or am curious about the best way to do something, I know I can always reach an amazing Convio staff person. It is a treat to catch up with Convio-ers (if that’s a word!) at the Convio Summit or even just a friendly chat on the phone. Their enthusiasm for helping nonprofits achieve their missions, and their friendliness in helping us all do it, are pretty much unparrallelled in my experience!