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San Diego High Tech News

Jan. 1, 2001: Kintera Campaign Brings in Bucks to Help Find Arthritis Cure

Most companies trumpet their marketing/advertising campaigns with catchy/kitschy ads and promos. San Diego-based Kintera achieves recognition by creating innovative branding campaigns for its nonprofit clientele.

The company bills itself as a 'marketing infrastructure service provider offering Internet fundraising solutions to charitable, educational and political organizations.' Last month it launched a marketing campaign for the San Diego Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation's 'Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk for Arthritis.' The event was held on Dec. 9 in Balboa Park.

After not holding the event in 1999, the Arthritis Foundation decided to use this year's event to boost income. So to beef up contributions, Kintera unveiled a multi-media marketing strategy designed to reach the Arthritis Foundation's targeted audience - not only competitive runners but entire families and students.

Billboards highlighting the event Web site and sponsors were placed inside the Fashion Valley mall, along Pacific Coast Highway and in five major bus shelters. Flyers were distributed at various run and walk events, through mailing lists, and athletic stores. Hundreds of e-mails were blasted to area high schools and selected businesses. Financial institutions formed teams using their clients and other co-workers. Students formed teams among their key clubs.

The key element that facilitated participation was the Jingle Bell Web site created by Kintera. The Web site address was highlighted on all marketing pieces and advertisements to draw individuals to the Web site to register. From the beginning of November to event day, an estimated 3,000 viewers logged on to the site.

The Web site provided an automated system for the athletes to register and collect donations. Participants who registered for the event were provided with their own personalized Web page to send to friends and family for collecting donations. An Applet ticker displayed contributions in real-time (as of Dec. 1, contributions were over $12, 000).

Was the multimedia campaign a success? Kintera says yes. Two-thirds of all transactions were completed online. Compared to 1998, more individuals took part in donation collection before the event, increasing donation totals. Also, there was a significant increase in the number of corporations and schools that formed teams. Donations for the event are used to help find a cure for arthritis and help support various community programs that benefit the estimated 480,000 adults and children affected by arthritis in San Diego.

The innovative fundraising techniques utilized by Kintera won't result in an overnight cure for arthritis, but they have helped raise awareness of the disease in San Diego, and that in itself merits kudos.

Marketing expert Neal Leavitt heads up Fallbrook-based Leavitt Communications, which also has affiliate offices in Paris, France and Hamburg, Germany. He'll look at different local marketing campaigns each month. He can be reached at

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