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Clinton OBrien 6 min read

Get ‘Em While They’re Hot: New “Convio Connector” Helps Care2’s Nonprofit Partners Connect with Donors Faster

Today (Tuesday, Oct. 26th) at the Convio Summit in Baltimore I joined Chris Burley of Defenders of Wildlife in a session to unveil a new online tool that Care2 built to greatly benefit our nonprofit clients. It’s called the “Convio Connector,” and we built it using Convio’s API. The new Connector allows Care2’s database to communicate directly and automatically with the database of any organization that uses Convio’s online software platform. It's free for any of our clients using Convio.

Why is this valuable to nonprofits? It has to do with speed, avoiding headaches and -- most of all – letting you connect and engage with your new supporters ASAP.

We have successfully tested the new tool with Defenders, the terrific environmental advocacy organization that protects wolves and other wild species and their habitat. I’m proud to say that Defenders has relied on Care2 for many years to mobilize and recruit hundreds of thousands of new Care2 activists and supporters, from among our 14 million “do gooder” members. The many campaigns that we’ve run for Defenders have helped them win major advocacy victories while also substantially growing their base of grassroots donors.

The Convio Connector is a major improvement in Care2’s ability to quickly deliver our supporters’ contact information (with their permission, of course) to your nonprofit. For example, when we previously conducted a Defenders-sponsored campaign to recruit Care2 members to sign up for Defenders’ email list, we would deliver the signup information to Defenders in big batches -- large Excel files, usually -- every week. That approach was OK, but it had several drawbacks. For one thing, Defenders’ staff had to spend time manually uploading the signup records to their database. But more importantly, it wasn’t practicing what Care2 and Frogloop always preached to our nonprofit clients about the importance of immediately starting to communicate with the Care2 members who sign up for your email list -- as soon as possible after they have signed up.

With the new Connector in place, the signup information of a new Care2 recruit can now be automatically and securely (via encryption) delivered to Defenders’ database very quickly after the Care2 member signs up for Defenders’ email list. Because it's automated, nobody has to manually upload data. And the faster delivery enables Defenders to quickly start sending welcome email messages to begin cultivating a relationship with the new supporter, while it’s still fresh in the person's mind that they signed up for the Defenders list. This prevents the “lead” (the new signup) from getting “cold,” which boosts the likelihood of converting that new supporter into an actual donor and/or advocacy action-taker. That’s why Chris Burley and I called our session at today’s conference “Get ‘Em While They’re Hot: Using the Convio API to Deliver Fresh Donor Prospects to Nonprofits in Real Time.”

One caveat: In practice, we expect that most of our nonprofit clients will want us to intentionally delay delivery of fresh signups to their email list -- but only long enough for us to perform our customary verification step to ensure that the email address is not a hard-bouncing (e.g. fake or inaccurate) address. This is one of the more popular guarantees that Care2 provides to our clients, who appreciate knowing that they'll never get a non-working address from Care2 (and if somehow one slips through, we will replace it with a working address, no questions asked!).

My Care2 teammates and I are very excited about this new tool and its benefit to our nonprofit clients – hundreds of whom are also Convio clients. We are also exploring the idea of eventually building “connector” tools to help our other nonprofit clients that use different (non-Convio) database platforms with open API’s, too.