Global Update: IFAW Uses the Web to Reach the World
Seeking to end the slaughter of white-coat harp seals on Canada’s eastern shores, a small group of citizens gave birth to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) three decades ago. The nonprofit has since become one of the largest global animal advocacy groups in the world with more than 2 million supporters and offices in 13 countries.
International direct marketing is not new to this nonprofit. Each year, IFAW drops 12 million to 24 million mail pieces worldwide. Now, its “online division finally is catching up,” says Cassandra Koenen, IFAW’s manager of marketing and online campaigns.
Until recently, the organization’s Web site had a U.S. focus. Currently, 65 percent of IFAW’s online donors reside in the United States; however, the balance is shifting, notes Koenen.
Recognizing the role its Web site can play in generating global support, IFAW determined it needed to communicate with its supporters in their native languages and accept donations in the local currency. To gain this capability, IFAW enlisted the expertise of Kintera, a software provider for nonprofits.
Together, Kintera and IFAW began tailoring its online messaging and marketing for 13 countries more than six months ago. The revamped site will be rolled out in stages, the first of which has been completed. The site, www.ifaw.org, is built using Kintera Sphere, an enterprise-grade software system that provides content and contact management, communication tools, commerce applications, community-building features and reporting functions. This gives IFAW staff the ability to offer personalized content in many languages and still maintain the organization’s brand.
Kintera’s technology also supports IFAW’s e-mail campaigns, which the nonprofit is starting to translate into other languages. IFAW sends, on average, two e-mails a month to its housefile of 65,000 e-mail registrants worldwide. E-mails may include its newsletter, an action-oriented advocacy message, or a fundraising appeal for a special project. IFAW also may send an alert in response to a disaster, such as the message it sent to raise funds for animals affected by the recent oil spill in Norway.
Since it rolled out the first stage of the improved site, IFAW has gained a considerable number of donors in Russia, Holland and Germany.