Profile: Conservation International
CI named one of the turtles after political satirist Stephen Colbert — actually, the turtle was called “Stephanie Colburtle, the Leatherback Turtle” — with the hope that the faux news anchor would take notice. It was a smart move: Colbert heard about it and discussed the race on his television show for four nights in a row last April. He also showed CI’s URL.
After Colbert discussed the site, an additional 10,000 people logged on. The organization then began promoting it virally online. It posted humorous videos about the race — including ones featuring Mr. Leatherback and one about Colbert — on YouTube. One of CI’s partners, Yahoo, also promoted the race on its sites via banner ads. And CI launched a MySpace page about the race.
“We ended up with 54,000 subscribers, 700,000 unique visitors and 2.5 million page views. It was through the roof for us,” Wishrad says, adding that CI “was able to convert 5 [percent] to 10 percent of those folks into donors.”
How so? As soon as the race was over, he says, CI sent e-mail messages to new visitors inviting them to join the community and promoting CI’s marine initiatives.
Social networking sites
Ahrens says that CI recently created a presence on Facebook.
Using Convio’s new Facebook application tool — which allows organizations to integrate Facebook into their Convio-powered campaigns — “we’ve created a thriving space for conservationists to share ideas, take action and stay up-to-date on CI’s work,” she says.
While Wishrad believes CI benefits from using sites like Facebook, he doesn’t view them primarily as fundraising tools.
“While Facebook works great as a branding tool, I would warn against it for actual fundraising,” he says. “It’s really not the best use of your resources if you are actively trying to get donors.”