Heifer International

Online Marketing & Partnership

Heifer International and Beaconfire have partnered since 1997 to develop one of the most innovative and successful online fundraising programs-Heifer's online alternative gift catalog (catalog.heifer.org). Beaconfire has served as a strategy, marketing, and technical partner to Heifer throughout the relationship, and the joint effort has generated more than $15 million in online contributions from more than 110,000 generous donors.

The Challenge: Since 1944, Heifer has helped 4 million small-scale farm families in 115 countries and on five continents become self-reliant by providing livestock, training, and agricultural tools. In 1997, Heifer recognized the importance of the Web as an additional channel for engaging and educating the public on hunger and poverty - and for raising funds to support its programs. Heifer needed a full service Web development partner with the expertise to realize its online goals of raising awareness, disseminating valuable information to the large and growing Internet audience, and raising funds through an online alternative gift-giving catalog.

The Solution: In partnership with Heifer, Beaconfire designed and custom developed Heifer's first online Gift Catalog and public website in 1998. As user experience and Internet protocols have evolved, Beaconfire and Heifer have redesigned the user interface and creative design. Recent enhancements include upgraded reporting and tracking functionality, application tuning for improved performance, user experience improvements, and a blend of contemporary e-commerce navigation with Heifer's visual brand to create a distinct online catalog.

Since its original deployment in 1997, the Heifer online catalog has been enhanced to include an expanded array of gift-giving options and honor cards, customizable and printable PDF cards, and-most recently-"remember me" capability for repeat donors. The solution also includes a suite of online reporting tools for real-time updates on fundraising results and trends, campaign and promotional results, and overall site traffic. Beaconfire also partnered with Heifer to integrate online constituent data with its back-office database and the business processes of the Donor Service group. In 2002, Beaconfire worked with Heifer to evaluate and select a new email marketing solution (see separate Case Study).

For six years, Beaconfire has assisted Heifer with the ongoing management, maintenance, and enhancement of the catalog and public site. This has involved Web planning, technical and creative services, and performance analysis. And each year, Heifer International has called on Beaconfire to develop and execute Internet marketing efforts to promote its alternative-giving program. These have included paid media placements for banner and email campaigns, viral marketing (or "pass-along") campaigns, and integration of the online marketing efforts with Heifer's offline direct marketing and public relations partners.

In February 2003, Beaconfire was selected to develop the Internet strategy for Heifer's next five years, and to redesign www.heifer.org.