Convio Helps Mobilize Thousands For First-Ever Nationwide Bake Sale

Share Our Strength Creatively Uses Convio's Online Volunteer Fundraising System For Great American Bake Sale

AUSTIN, Texas, April 29, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Share Our Strength, among the nation's leading anti-hunger, anti-poverty organizations, is modernizing one of the most old-fashioned fundraising tactics -- bake sales -- by making Convio(R) a "key ingredient" in the first-ever Great American Bake Sale(TM) (

Share Our Strength and PARADE, the country's largest circulation magazine, are hosting this novel, three-month-long, nationwide event, during which volunteers conduct bake sales in their local communities. All proceeds benefit Share Our Strength, which will make grants to innovative nonprofits fighting childhood hunger in the states where the funds are raised.

Share Our Strength and PARADE are using a comprehensive mix of media to publicize and manage the campaign, with Convio powering the entire online component. Convio is the leading online Constituent Relationship Management (eCRM) company serving the nonprofit sector. The firm provides Internet software and services that enable groups to more effectively attract, motivate and retain constituents to donate, participate in special events, engage in advocacy and provide other forms of support.

"Most people are not aware that every fourth person in a soup line in America today is a child," said Bill Shore, executive director of Share Our Strength. "Everyone has a strength to share in this fight and we hope families, religious groups, Brownie and Boy Scout troops, civic groups, and everyone else joins us for The Great American Bake Sale. Convio's online tools for creating local teams, managing registrations, soliciting and processing donations, and building constituent relationships will help us to efficiently optimize participation in this very important cause."

PARADE officially launched The Great American Bake Sale with a cover story on childhood hunger on April 27. Also, ABC Entertainment, a sponsor, is raising awareness through its programming. The storyline for the April 29 episode of the network's hit comedy series, "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," ties to the campaign; additionally, the show's cast members -- John Ritter, Katey Sagal, Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson and Martin Spanjers -- appear in public service announcements and may make related appearances at malls and on national news programs.

Running through July 22, 2003, The Great American Bake Sale is a fresh take on a time-tested fundraising idea -- people raise money through old-fashioned, local bake sales but now with the help of powerful and highly efficient, online tools. Volunteers -- individuals or teams from religious congregations, youth groups, civic organizations and businesses -- can register at (or by mail or phone) to host bake sales in their communities. Convio's online tools make it easy for participants to:

-- Build their own engaging, graphical Web pages with information on why they are involved and local event logistics;

-- Email friends and relatives to drive them to these Web pages where they can make secure online donations and/or sign-up with a few, simple mouse clicks -- as individuals, members of an existing team or as new team leaders;

-- Submit bake sale proceeds online using a credit card (proceeds can also be submitted through the mail); and

-- Sustain communications with supporters before and after the bake sales to keep them updated and involved with the cause.

Participants also will find useful content and links on The Great American Bake Sale Web site such as information on childhood hunger as well as tips and tools to help volunteer leaders maximize fundraising and manage their events. Other sponsors, including Betty Crocker baking products, Tyson Foods, Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products, are offering online advice and recipes for baking.

Convio additionally is providing the master database for the event, enabling Share Our Strength and PARADE to keep all information on local bake sales, donations and participants in one place, regardless of whether it came from offline or online sources. Several offline vendors handling registrations and donations via mail or information from interactive voice response systems will be able to easily upload key data into the Convio master database using Convio's data synchronization and administrative tools.

"Share Our Strength's heavy use of the Internet to drive a nationwide bake sale is both very inventive and brilliantly efficient," said Vinay Bhagat, founder and CEO of Convio. "Waging such a large scale fundraising campaign through traditional media only, including direct mail, would be prohibitive from cost and manpower standpoints. Volunteer bakers now will become online fundraisers empowered to reach out to friends, family and colleagues en masse. Share Our Strength selected Convio because of our ability to support this complex event and scale to handle high volumes of Web site visitors and transactions."

About Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength, one of the nation's leading anti-hunger, anti-poverty organizations, fights immediate and long-term causes of hunger and poverty by awarding grants to the most effective nonprofits around the world. Share Our Strength raises these dollars through innovative fundraising events and corporate partnerships. Since its founding in 1984, Share Our Strength has invested nearly $70 million in more than 1,000 local, state, national and international organizations working to prevent the causes and consequences of hunger and poverty. For more information, visit

About Convio

Convio is the leading online Constituent Relationship Management (eCRM) company serving the nonprofit sector. Convio provides Internet software and services that help organizations attract, motivate and retain constituents for fundraising, advocacy and other forms support. Convio's product suite includes modules for Web content management, email marketing, general fundraising and membership, advocacy, special events, volunteer fundraising and also online directories and surveys. The Convio platform automatically shares data among all product modules and with offline databases, giving nonprofits a unified and more complete view of each constituent so staff can conduct personalized and targeted marketing. Convio also offers consulting services to help nonprofits adopt online marketing best practices.

In addition to The Great American Bake Sale, Convio's clients include Easter Seals, American Diabetes Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, National Trust For Historic Preservation, KCET-Los Angeles Public Television, Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin's alumni association, the Texas Exes. For more information, please visit

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