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Jane Goodall Institute

Online Activism and Educational Portal
The Jane Goodall Institute is a non-profit organization empowering people by improving global understanding of community and the environment through research, public education and advocacy. Much of their fundraising and online advocacy is dependent on maintaining an effective dialogue with members, and the organization looked to social media as a way of creating deeper relationships with their supporters.

JGI partnered with Trellon in the development of their organizational web portal. After looking at various other systems such as Convio and Democracy in Action, they settled on Drupal and CiviCRM as a platform because of the flexibility of the content management tools, the availability of online activism features, and the ability to integrate CiviCRM with their existing CRM systems.

The Challenge

Delivering a web portal that met JGI's needs was a process of understanding how the organization works and the impact that a new site would have upon it. The organization has developed well-established channels for communications and fundraising over the years, and a big goal for the project was to find ways to make them more efficient. Trellon conducted extensive design and definition with JGI to ensure that the solution we delivered would compliment their existing processes, not replace them, and that the portal would be able to talk to external systems. Another goal for the site was to implement tools in a manner that allows for a high degree of customization, so that online fundraising and activism campaigns could be deployed in a branded fashion.

Our team developed a strategy for JGI that addressed the following areas:

  1. Enabling the organization to deploy educational materials alongside official communications, to easily manage that information, and to reduce the overall amount of labor involved in maintaining the site.
  2. Providing highly customized tools for fundraising and online activism that go beyond the standard fare presented by other organizations.
  3. Allowing the website's CRM system to synchronize with external CRM systems, in order to preserve existing development activities.
  4. Implementing e-commerce tools as a way of allowing consumers to directly support the organization through financial donations.
  5. Communicating with the online community through bulk mailing tools that are fully bonded and whitelisted.

Content Management System

Trellon used Drupal as a content management system for their web site. Content, including stories, photos, videos and other multimedia, is published through a uniform set of tools that gives them total control of the look and feel, navigation, and organization of content. Besides organizational information and educational materials, JGI uses Drupal to manage products in their online store, news and event information for supporters and information about their staff and partners.

Fundraising and Activism

Trellon used Drupal's activism module as a tool for conducting online outreach and allowing users to participate in the organization's mission. The site features the ability to send letters to congress, conduct petition drives, distribute online postcards and engage in other forms of activism as seen in other online platforms. Fundraising is accomplished through CiviCRM's CiviContribute module, which allows the organization to deploy an unlimited number of online donation forms that feed contributions into multiple payment accounts.

An important aspect of these features is the ability to customize their appearance to meet branding standards present in other forms of JGI communications. Donation pages give users the ability to take a stake in the lives of specific chimpanzees by earmarking their funds. Online postcards include dramatic photography taken by JGI that grabs the attention of recipients.

Systems Integration and Outreach

JGI continues to use traditional postal mail as a primary fundraising vehicle. Trellon integrated their external bulk mailing system with CiviCRM in order to allow all outreach and donation activity to happily co-exist. This means the details of contact information are managed jointly, allowing JGI to ask questions about and report on their contacts in ways that span multiple systems. Data is synchronized in near real time, ensuring that information will be up to date when people use it.

JGI also uses CiviCRM's CiviMail component as a tool for sending newsletters via email to supporters. Emails coming from the system are fully bonded with all major ISPs and whitelisted to avoid deliverability issues. This has allowed JGI to maintain high list quality and deliverability rates on all mailings without the burden of synchronizing lists with another system.


The JGI web site features an online store that fully integrates with the CRM system. As users purchase goods from the site, contact records are updated to reflect their purchases. The store uses Drupal's Ubercart module as a tool for maintaining inventories, storing details of specific products, providing online shopping carts and conducting transactions in real time.


Despite our efforts at making the system compliment their internal processes, the new web site did lead to some changes at JGI. Maintaining the web site and conducting outreach suddenly became a lot simpler, allowing people in the organization to focus on other goals besides putting together online campaigns. Affording their web site has become a lot simpler too - JGI reported achieving a 500% ROI within 6 months of adopting Drupal and CiviCRM as their core platform.