Today Jackson River turns seven. I am so grateful for our clients, friends and partners who have cheered us on every day. Back in 2008, when Tom, TJ and I started talking about what our company would look like, we had some big ideas. Looking back on those early conversations and reflecting on where we are now, I am content that we have created:
- Better Tools: We wanted to explore and re-imagine what nonprofit fundraising and marketing software could look like if modeled after (and built to include) some of the best for-profit marketing tools.
- Superior Support: We wanted to offer highly consultative, smart support to the organizations using these modern tools.
- Clients Who Make a Difference: We wanted to work with organizations that are making a difference in the world: from protecting human rights and alleviating poverty to taking care of the planet, its people and animals.
- Strong Culture: We wanted to build a virtual company with a strong, loving culture that supported the careers of people who shared our values and their families.
- Open and Giving Back: We wanted to engage in the open software movement and contribute back to larger communities.
- Holistic Approach to People and Process, Too: We wanted to solve the big challenges that nonprofits face in implementing digital programs and technologies that work by helping them with staffing, processes, and change management.
- Have fun and keep learning: Enough said.
Springboard, our digital marketing platform, powers nonprofits’ online fundraising, advocacy, and other engagement activities. It is ideally suited for progressive nonprofits that are eager to understand the effectiveness of their marketing across each channel, and to access the related data and analytics to make informed decisions about their marketing spend. Our clients appreciate that Springboard is flexible and extensible with functionality that enables them to pursue marketing automation, sustainer giving, and integration with other systems for tracking constituent engagement and other activities. They also appreciate the portability of their data, enabling them to extract what they want, when they want it.
Both the Springboard platform and the Drupal websites we build are supported by a dynamic team with deep expertise at the intersection of nonprofits, marketing, and technology. Our team of 30+ people have contributed their best skills and good ideas to the tools. Our clients are also strengthened by complementary strategic consulting services that focus on optimizing an organization’s online engagement strategy and its internal effectiveness in running a digital program.
Clients Who Make a Difference
Springboard is used by some of the most digitally-sophisticated nonprofits, big and small, including the ACLU, NPR, US Fund for UNICEF, International Rescue Committee and the ASPCA. We’ve been lucky to partner with creative and effective organizations with inspiring missions, which inspire us and make it all worthwhile. But most of all, we wanted to work with wonderful people, and our clients are our best friends – collaborators in this lovely experiment we’ve undertaken. We are so grateful for their trust and belief in us.
We believe in supporting our staff by being a virtual company and by offering flexible hours and working arrangements where we can. While our headquarters is in Washington, DC, we’ve had folks in more than 10 states on our payroll. We never outsource our client projects, and we work hard to create a strong and energized company culture that feels like family. A recent survey of our staff said the number one reason they loved working at Jackson River was each other – the camaraderie and community we’ve been able to build.
Open and Giving Back
We wanted to build software and websites that give back to our clients and the nonprofit technology community. Our client websites are built in Drupal, the leading open-source development platform. Whenever possible, we strive to use other open-source tools, and all the software we build is portable, so that our clients are never locked into working with us as a vendor.
Holistic Approach to People and Process, Too
Undergoing any shift in technology requires a significant amount of internal change for our clients, including the resetting of internal stakeholder expectations, changes in work processes and roles, and the restructuring of the day-to-day activities of people’s jobs. When the tools change, the work changes, and the skills required often need to change, but we find that technology change almost always offers the opportunity to improve processes. Jackson River’s approach to change management and digital capacity-building considers the “people” part of a project as equally important to the technology--just as important as writing the new site’s code or implementing beautiful designs.
And along the way, we’ve continued to have fun.