We recently spoke with Amy Shellenberger, Director of Development and Outreach Strategies of Polar Bears International, and asked her some questions about how they have grown their organization by using Salsa. It’s always great to spotlight a client whose work is so inspirational.
1. What is your organization’s mission?
Polar Bears International’s mission is to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. Through media, science, and advocacy, we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate.
2. How long have you been a Salsa client?
We are still relatively new to Salsa—we moved everything over last August, so about a year!
3. In your first year using the Salsa platform, which area of your organization saw the greatest improvement? List growth? Advocacy actions? Fundraising?
We had never included an advocacy component in our outreach, and we launched our first petition to correspond with Polar Bear Week last November. We now have over 16,000 petition signatures!
4. What were your challenges before you started using Salsa?
Our biggest challenge was tracking who did what as a result of what kinds of contacts. With Salsa, we now have our donations and e-communications under one platform and tag our contacts liberally, so we have a much better idea of which approaches are effective and which could use some work.
5. What is your favorite Salsa feature/tip?
I am an analytics junkie, and once I figured out how the brain of the custom reports feature works, I became addicted.
" — the support techs are rock stars and can almost always help you find a solution to your problem."
6. Tell me about your most successful campaign. Why was it so successful? How did Salsa help make it successful?
Our 2014 year-end appeal was wildly successful. We pushed out several year-end eblasts that definitely helped us meet our goal. Our number of online donation increased 65% in December 2014 (to 570!) and the total amount given online in December increased 35%. I attribute this to having the capacity to target certain groups of people for different types of communications, which we didn’t have the ability to do prior to moving to Salsa.
7. If your nonprofit was a book/movie, what would its title be?
Polar Express? Miracle? No, really, we have a small and passionate staff, but we do accomplish an awful lot.
8. Which Salsa feature/tool do you plan to use more of in the coming year?
I plan to master the auto-responder by the end of the year. We have such a robust fall schedule that I can barely keep up with the communications. If we get everything dialed now, the auto-responder will be my best friend!
"I attribute this to having the capacity to target certain groups of people for different types of communications, which we didn’t have the ability to do prior to moving to Salsa."
9. What advice would you give new Salsa users?
You can do pretty much anything with Salsa, but sometimes you have to get creative. If you have an idea and aren’t too sure how to implement it, search Salsa Commons. If you don’t find your answer there, submit a support ticket—the support techs are rock stars and can almost always help you find a solution to your problem.