Convio Go! List-Building Strategies

OMRF Shows New Supporters that “Geek is Chic”

Working with small, resource-strapped nonprofits, we often find that many have the same questions about engaging new supporters: How often should we communicate? Are we saying too much? Too little? What’s the best way to approach someone who’s never been in contact with our organization? What tools do we need? What channels should we use? What should our message be?

To help the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (a nonprofit medical research organization) find the answers, the Convio Go! team helped design a quirky multi-part campaign to engage new supporters and build their file. Read on for a good example of how to capture and keep the attention of new supporters.

1. Select the right campaign structure
With limited funds and a desire to reach a wide target of potential supporters, OMRF opted for an incentive campaign—specifically, a giveaway. The goal of an incentive campaign is to increase awareness about your organization and attract potential supporters who identify with the work you do.

The email campaign was original and hard to ignore: OMRF emailed their existing supporters with a Tell-a-Friend-eCard that featured a chance to win a “Geek Pack” (including protective goggles and personalized lab coat). This pass-it-on eCard encouraged recipients to register to win. Completion of an online registration form on the OMRF website captured the recipient’s email address and other relevant information required in order to be eligible for the Geek Pack. 

2. Establish a clear pathway to participate
To keep the momentum going, OMRF engaged email recipients further with a brief eCard reminding them to register to win and inviting them to forward funny content (in this case uber-cool eCards which OMRF designed based on a Convio template) promoting the campaign to family and friends. OMRF also sent out a thank you for entering eCard that kept the pass-it-on theme alive by reminding entrants that they could further increase their odds of winning every time they passed the eCard along.

3. Continue the conversation with a welcome series
Entrants that opted-in to receive future communications from OMRF were sent a two-part welcome series of communications that introduced the organization and suggested ways to learn more and get involved.
Because supporters are usually the most passionate when they first engage with an organization (Go! participants commonly see high open rates in the 25-30% range with click-through rates averaging around 3%), the welcome series was a great way for OMRF to keep the momentum generated by its creative campaign going.  It also helped evolve participants’ interest beyond the level of a fun diversion to an actively supported cause.

4. Results
OMRF supporters were proud to expose their “inner nerd”.  Many of their supporters forwarded information about the foundation’s cause – to the tune of a 9% response rate.  The efforts of these supporters combined to build community awareness and help the “research is cool. pass it on.” message reach more than 300 new inboxes.

Identifying a core group of outgoing supporters proved to be a game-changing strategy for OMRF as they successfully ramped up their online fundraising efforts.The foundation continued to work with their Go! team of consultants, trainers, and hands-on production assistants to execute the full 12 months of best-practice online communications—and their biggest gains were yet to come.

To read more about OMRF’s success story or learn how Convio Go! can help you identify, develop and execute the best list-building strategy for your organization, visit

To learn more about the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), please visit