In 2009, the Jane Goodall Institute, in an effort to cut costs associated with fundraising, looked to replace their existing technology stack, powered by Convio, with a cheaper, more flexible solution. They came to Trellon, an internet strategy and software development company I worked for at the time, to help them develop a fully integrated, open source advocacy, fundraising, and CRM system. Being the FOSS advocate that I am, I welcomed the challenge to design a system that could show the nonprofit industry that open source software is more than a viable alternative to expensive, proprietary systems.
The design of the site was handled by JGI’s in-house designer, Bryce Tugwell. I led the digital strategy on the project, working with key stakeholders across the organization to analyze their existing online marketing and fundraising efforts to ensure the platform we developed provided all the tools their Online Communications, Fundraising, and Technology teams needed.
My pride and joy from this project was designing the Activism module, a full-featured online advocacy suite that plugs into the Drupal content management system. The module allowed activists to launch online petitions, write letters to the editor and Congress, setup “tell-a-friend” pages, and launch e-card campaigns. It took ALOT of research – interviewing online organizers about their specific technology needs and analyzing other products and platforms the offered similar functionality – and many late nights designing and redesigning the UI around Drupal’s content workflow. The end product exceeded the client’s expectations, and has since been used on 100 other Drupal sites.
The integrated platform really pushed the limits of Drupal and CiviCRM. Under the hood, we built in bells and whistles such as:
- A custom module that allowed supporters to make a contribution on top of their purchase from their online store (powered by Ubercart)
- A custom module for doing A/B testing of advocacy campaign pages and donation forms
- Custom CiviCRM feature that allowed people to make donations in honor or in memory of someone
- Source coding features across their advocacy and fundraising tools to allow for easy tracking of campaign performance
- Tight integration between CiviCRM and their 3rd party caging system
We also scaled CiviCRM to handle hundreds of thousands of records and send out 100,000+ emails per hour – possibly the fastest performing CiviMail setup at the time.