A Mammoth Mess
One of the first online fundraising campaigns ANI ran was a virtual adoption where people could adopt an animal for a set donation amount. A second campaign in early 2006 called Bring Back Our Fish centered around raising funds to restock the aquarium. It included a contest for supporters to send in stories of their favorite aquarium memories, with the winner earning a free trip to the aquarium. And ANI recently launched another campaign in conjunction with the release of “Hurricane on the Bayou,” in which it asked constituents to send e-cards to friends and family to build awareness of the movie and ANI’s continuing need.
Despite the devastation it wrought, Hurricane Katrina snapped into focus the benefits of using the Internet and took ANI’s online strategy to another level.
“One of the things that ANI found out is the Web is an absolute lifeblood because chances are your Web capabilities are not going to go down in the event of a disaster,” Convio CEO Gene Austin says. “They can now appreciate the CRM potential of the Internet and the ability to really build relationships with their membership.”
Schultz adds that he’s worked with many organizations recovering from natural disasters in his 30-year career, and the biggest difference in the case of Katrina was the online giving capabilities that were available.
“Crisis [management] means a lot when there’s a disaster like this. If you can communicate with your donors right away, they’re going to respond to you. The Internet’s made it so much more instant, and it’s never going to go back in the other direction, that’s for sure,” Schultz says.
One of the biggest shifts in terms of ANI’s online program is its new focus on measurement of things such as clickthrough rates, funds raised online, etc. The management structure for the Web site has changed, as well. In the past, all ANI departments wanting content added to the Web site would contact Juge, who was the sole manager of the site. The Web site now is managed by a committee, which meets once a month to select Web content and hierarchy.