Located in Grassy Key, Florida, Dolphin Research Center has first-hand knowledge of hurricane recovery. During the hurricane season of 2004, the center was evacuated three times, and weathered four storms; in 2005, it felt the impact of both Katrina and Rita.
When a hurricane hits, the Center must close, resulting in a loss of the tourism dollars it relies upon to operate, provide education, and continue marine life research. Hurricane conditions also threaten the safety of the dolphin family that resides at the center. Last year, two dolphins were lost to storms.
In the past few years, however, ePhilanthropy efforts at the Dolphin Research Center have evolved into an important post-hurricane fundraising strategy. In 2004, it used the internet to reach and reach out to its constituents soon after the storms had passed. With the investments made in online tools, the center was able to integrate its email, website, donation/membership pages, and a direct mail campaign.
Now, a year later, Dolphin Research Center is seeing growth in online giving; in fact the average gift amount for online gifts is higher than the average gift amount for non-web gifts. The Centerís also is seeing the benefits of an integrated fundraising approach of direct mail, email, websites, online credit card processing, newsletters, and disaster outreach.
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