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Imagine the possibilities — Non-profits find long-term
value, increased ROI, with interactive Web-based kiosks

By George Williams, Communications Specialist - Planned Legacy Inc.

Interactive kiosks for non-profits. The future. In 1996, during the true beginnings of a recognized interactive and Web-based kiosk market, Microsoft chief and co-founder Bill Gates said in his book The Road Ahead, "Access to kiosks will be essential, and available everywhere." Gates was right.

For-profit companies are leading the way, sensing a more efficient method of creating awareness, announcing new products and company information, enhancing their relationship with their customers and of course, increasing sales, but non-profit organizations aren't far behind.

Non-profit organizations are using interactive Web-based kiosks to display their history, their successes and their community initiatives. They are also using kiosks to provide detailed information to donors and the public about how their money is being spent. In addition, they are using the kiosks to recognize donors with multimedia feature stories that include video and audio. All of the above features work to help donors, prospective donors and the public, identify with their organization, increasing their desire to participate. Interactive feedback forms and surveys contained on the kiosks are also being used to create new relationships and strengthen existing relationships.

Jewish Foundation of Manitoba achieves
high ROI with interactive kiosk

David Cohen, Executive Director of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba (JFM), has already seen the value of interactive kiosks. In 1997, his organization implemented the most successful fund raising system in the history of their organization — the Endowment Book of Life — a planned giving program which includes an interactive Web-based kiosk that features information about the JFM's history, successes and programs. More importantly, the JFM kiosk features the life stories of those who are members (termed Signers in the Endowment Book of Life).

PlannedLegacy's Tribute allows you to interactively recognize donors, volunteers and corporate sponsors.
  • Recognize donors and volunteers
  • Profile a corporate sponsor
  • Feature upcoming events
  • Applaud a successful campaign
  • Showcase your latest achievements
  • Learn more about TRIBUTE interactive donor recognition

In 2001 their Endowment Book of Life had 225 participating Signers, with 55 more slated to join the program in 2002. From only 10 of the 225 Signers to date, the Endowment Book of Life has already generated over $1.5 million in legacy gifts and an additional $500,000 in cash. This does not take into account:

  • future legacy gifts to be realized from the remaining 270 Signers
  • future cash gifts generated from members due to their enhanced relationship with the JFM
  • future cash gifts and legacy gifts generated by increased community exposure

When the Return on Investment (ROI) for the Endowment Book of Life is calculated conservatively it equates to approximately 40-50 times the initial investment. Additionally, the Endowment Book of Life has reached the point where it now has the critical mass of Signers required to become a self-generating fund development solution. It is expected to grow exponentially.

The increased exposure that has resulted from the implementation of the Endowment Book of Life and the interactive kiosk has allowed the JFM to create hundreds of relationships with potential new donors and future Signers. The system's ability to simultaneously connect with multiple generations of donors also ensures long-term growth and continuity.

The Endowment Book of Life immediately creates a rewarding and gratifying experience for the donor with the writing of their life story, dedication and/or tribute. It then celebrates these life stories at an exclusive Signing Ceremony. The life stories are placed along with photographs on an interactive kiosk located in a high-traffic area at the JFM's venue, as well as on their Web site. The kiosk acts as a powerful outreach tool, attracting visitors and community members, who browse through the life stories and start to identify with both the donors and the organization. They develop a desire to participate.

"I can't think of anything we've done that has been so successful," said David Cohen, Executive Director of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. "It has allowed us to reach people right across the socio-economic spectrum of our community. We have achieved outstanding social benefits and financial results using the system."

For-profits already know the value of interactive kiosks

Research shows that the public has become dramatically more comfortable with interactive kiosks and online transaction processing in the last few years. Summit Research Associates Inc. produced a report in 2001 that indicated an average installed kiosk received 48 uses per day, and many kiosks recorded much higher numbers, such as organizations that sold tickets (over 200 per day). The estimated installed-kiosk base in the United States was 152,000 in 2000 and was projected to grow to 407,000 units in 2005. In Europe, 86,000 units were in place in 2000 with estimated growth predicted at 272,000 in 2005.

McDonalds and Burger King are testing touch-screen kiosks that will allow push-button ordering. At Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida, America Online is installing kiosks that will allow people to check their e-mail, make dinner reservations, stay in touch with other family members in the park and get access to the Internet. US-based Amtrak has installed kiosks that allow a customer to select their itinerary and pay for the ticket(s) with a credit card.

Virtually every major retail chain in the United States, and many internationally, are researching or installing kiosks that will allow them to provide a store without boundaries. Small businesses will no longer be limited to selling the stock they have on their showroom floor. Products will be available overnight via a warehouse and the push of button. Major retailers are using the kiosks to provide extensive product information and introduce their Web sites to customers - smoothing the transition to online ordering.

Airports, malls, restaurants, public transportation and communications companies, movie theatres, hotels, businesses and government, have all started to see positive benefits and in many cases an increasingly positive ROI, after installing kiosks.

The State of Retail Technology 2000, a report produced by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said that shoppers should be able to use a kiosk to shop, to pay for their purchases with credit or debit cards, to check the status of a product ordered over the Web, to obtain useful product information, or to check on loyalty account status. The report also said that retailers are increasingly focusing on the customer with their kiosk strategies, and that a key reason for investing in kiosk technology is to provide self-service shopping options and information access to customers.

The report also stated that retailers have recognized that new technologies are offering solutions that are more viable. The retail business is becoming increasingly consumer-centric and customers are demanding faster and better service. Customers now expect a level of service that cannot be achieved without sophisticated and progressive in-store systems. The retailers that recognize this will be the ones who survive, and thrive, in the future.

Retailers are using in-store kiosks to provide customers with access to their Web sites, online catalogs, coupons and loyalty programs, credit card and employment applications, personalized greeting cards and detailed product information, in an effort to improve customer satisfaction, customer retention and ultimately sales.

Kiosks are working to increase customer loyalty, identify cross-selling opportunities, efficiently acquire new customers, make more effective use of use of advertising dollars, lower inventory costs, create better pricing and to enhance awareness of new products and services.

Kiosks also allow retailers to engage in interactive sessions with their customers using feedback forms and surveys, while also tracking variations in customer behavior based on what Web pages the customer is viewing on the kiosk. The surveys and tracking functions let the customer remain anonymous unless they are participating in a rewards program or other activity that requires detailed information.

The report, Mixing Bricks With Clicks, 2000, from Forrester Research, said that consumers in the United States no longer view technology as a mystery and use it to accomplish tasks like buying groceries and managing finances.

Healthcare leads the way

The installation base of health-related kiosks is rapidly increasing due to the demand for alternative methods of delivering secure information and services. Hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, pharmacies, healthcare groups, healthcare organizations and even employers are finding interactive kiosks appealing not just because they centralize services, but because so many successful applications exist to support kiosk trials. 

Interactive kiosks sponsored by the Marion County Health Department and Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Inc. at Castleton Square and Washington Square malls, offer mall visitors current information on a variety of health topics. More than 18 million annual mall visitors have access to the latest information on diabetes, heart disease, cancer, smoking, etc. Shoppers can also access the Health Department's Patient Education Institute for more healthcare information. The kiosks are successfully increasing awareness and educating people on the healthcare options available to them. Browsers can also access Novo Nordisk's comprehensive Web site using the kiosks. In 2001, over 5,000 patient education encounters were recorded.

The Hygeia Foundation of New Haven, Conn. is using kiosk technology to deliver a variety of valuable support resources. An international community resource for maternal and child health, loss and bereavement, The Hygeia Foundation is using Internet technology to help people cope with the critical illness or loss of a child. Their Web site,, features original poetry, medical information, educational and support resources, community message boards and real-time chat for sharing experiences. The Hygeia kiosks have been installed at the New Haven-area Ronald McDonald House, the state Department of Health office and other locations in the community.

The kiosks are regarded as an innovative means of providing comfort to families experiencing the devastation of a newborn death or a child's critical illness. The sharing of information and feelings among families enduring such profound stresses helps to create a healing experience. The kiosks also help parents to reach out and overcome their feelings of isolation in such situations. Parents can also use the kiosk to research their child's medical condition and participate in real-time or message-board chats with other parents who are coping with similar situations, such as a child's illness or loss.

The American Cancer Society is using kiosks to provide information to individuals concerned with cancer-related topics. Another kiosk used to help the battle against cancer was the one developed for the Christie Hospital in the UK. As part of the "Christie's against Cancer" campaign, the kiosk featured positive aspects of the work of the hospital and its staff, information about various fundraising projects, details on where the money is spent after it is raised and thank you messages to supporters and donating companies. The American Heart Association and the American Pharmaceutical Association have teamed up on a kiosk project that provides information and behavior modification programs in pharmacies. The goal of the program is to help people identify their risk, while improving their lifestyle.

Florida-based Lee Memorial Health Systems has one of the longest running interactive touch-screen kiosk programs still in existence. Started in 1994, their kiosk system has been a gateway for nearly 1400 volunteers at either of Lee Memorials two hospitals. Volunteers can log in and out of the hospital using the kiosk and over 250,000 volunteer hours have been recorded. Volunteers also have a profile identifying their skills on the kiosk, which helps the hospital know what type of skills are available at any given time.

Kiosks are now recognized as a legitimate vehicle for delivering comprehensive information, and healthcare information is big business. Healthnotes has a network of over 6500 kiosks that offer an unbiased, live resource of information that includes drug information, nutritional research, clinical trial results and health news. Using a whole health solutions approach to personal and family needs Healthnotes kiosks offer information on over 1000 different topics including alternative medicines, herbs, supplements, healthy eating, and recipes.

Imagine the possibilities

The family of a patient in your critical care or emergency ward is sitting patiently in the waiting room. They are attracted to your interactive kiosk. Rather than read a magazine, they start to browse through the information on the kiosk, learning about your programs, community initiatives and successes. They read emotional stories involving former patients, family members and visitors, who have now become donors. They start to identify with your supporters and your organization. They develop an enhanced awareness of all the good that your organization does. They develop a desire to learn more — and to participate.

Plasma displays enable you to attract, inform, persuade and communicate with your contributors and your community - beginning at at first point of contact.   The patrons attending your play, ballet or gallery opening, file out into the lobby during an intermission. Your interactive kiosk, complete with plasma screen, attracts a number of patrons. It creates a buzz. As patrons begin to interact with the kiosk, reading about upcoming events, exploring interesting biographies and donor life stories, and playing video and audio files, passersby see the information as it is being accessed — displayed on the large attached plasma screen. More patrons are attracted to the kiosk, they start to identify with the donor life stories and start to appreciate the history of your organization. They develop a desire to learn more — and to participate.

A member of your Endowment Book of Life program is visiting your community foundation. They're among friends, family and peers. They wander over to your interactive kiosk to show their friends their story, their life history, which they have already shown to family and friends in other parts of the world via your organization's Web site. Their friends and family start to develop an interest in your organization, complete with an emotional attachment. They develop a desire to learn more — and to participate.

Interactive Web-based kiosks are much more than just machines. Used properly as part of an overall fund development program, and with a touch of emotion, they function as efficient, tireless outreach and promotion tools. They display information about your organization and create an unmatched awareness of who you are and what you do. They help people to identify with your organization and its supporters. They create and enhance relationships. They develop a desire to learn more — and to participate.

Just imagine!

For more information

For specific project examples and demonstrations, or more information on interactive displays, digital messaging systems and integrated donor wall projects, please contact Planned legacy.


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