From Buttons to Blogs
Koenen says IFAW’s Web content was once so vast and daunting that the organization would be inundated with phone calls from supporters saying, “I want to learn more about what you’re doing to protect elephants.” Now the site features a special “SAVE ANIMALS” community — featured prominently on the homepage, adjacent to the “DONATE NOW” tab — where visitors can select a species of interest and learn more about its natural history and endangered status.
Web-savvy animal conservationists can read up on harp seals, dolphins, porpoises, whales, bears, elephants, rhinoceri and primates. On each continuation page, which vets the plight of blue whales, for example, IFAW provides a navigation bar for visitors to “Make a Donation,” “Take Action,” “Sign Up for Action Alerts” or “Log In.”
“It was extremely important to us when we rebuilt this site that we were able to have an ‘action’ on every page,” Koenen notes. “We wanted to create a community where people are saying, ‘there’s always constant change here, there’s always action steps to take. I’m going to keep coming back to see what IFAW wants me to do next.’”
According to Koenen, IFAW e-mails one fundraiser and one action alert a month to its online database of supporters.
“The fundraisers clearly are the emotive hard asks, something you would find in a direct-mail piece,” Koenen says, commenting on the 300,000 individuals worldwide who receive IFAW e-mail appeals. “But there are some that we send that are just purely, ‘here’s something of interest.’ It’s one of the brilliant things about the Web. If direct mail wasn’t so bloody expensive to produce and create and mail out, all of the environmental groups would have a potential to tap into, but because it’s so expensive, and you’re not going to get a return, it limits what you can do through the mail purely for activism purposes. With the Web, it doesn’t cost us a penny more to send out an action alert.”