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Groundspring.org Acquires ActionStudio, Adds Engagement and Advocacy Tools

Groundspring.org Acquires ActionStudio, Adds Engagement and Advocacy Tools

Published 10-27-03

Submitted by Groundspring.org

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Groundspring.org, a nonprofit organization created by the Tides Foundation in 1999 to help small and mid-size nonprofits use the Internet for fundraising, communications and advocacy, has acquired ActionStudio, a Seattle-based nonprofit technology start-up.

ActionStudio offers a suite of web-based tools that help nonprofit groups build organizational capacity and engage their members online. With ActionStudio, nonprofits can enhance an existing Web site with interactive database-driven features such as newsletters, surveys, action alerts, discussion forums, and calendars.

ActionStudio tools are currently used by several national and regional organizations to power their Internet presence, including NPower, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Grist Magazine, ONE/Northwest and Adbusters Magazine.

Nonprofit organizations of all sizes have actively participated in the development of ActionStudio's product line. "The environmental advocacy groups we work with needed an effective outreach tool - so we worked closely with ActionStudio to develop their newsletter publishing system and action alerts," says Gideon Rosenblatt, Executive Director of ONE/Northwest."ActionStudio's team strives to address the special needs and challenges nonprofits face with technology tools - as opposed to for profit software developers who treat us as an afterthought or a secondary revenue stream."

ActionStudio was founded in 2001 by Jeff Reifman, a veteran in running start-up organizations while successfully keeping a foot grounded in activism and the nonprofit community. Jeff worked at Microsoft Corporation from 1991 to 1999 where he helped to launch MSNBC.com. He has been involved in several community-centered businesses in Seattle including Habitat Espresso and the Four Angels Café. In 1999, Jeff founded GiftSpot.com, an electronic gift certificate company, which was later acquired by GiftCertificates.com.

"I founded ActionStudio to help nonprofits use the Internet more effectively. By building web-based tools, I could apply my technology skills while creating a more leveraged social impact than by just working for specific organizations," said Reifman. "We're very excited about our merger with Groundspring. Our values, mission and goals match extremely well. With our combined efforts, our products will more quickly and affordably benefit the nonprofit sector and its use of Internet tools for communication, fundraising and engagement."

"The ActionStudio tools are a critical addition to Groundspring's family of software products," says Dan Geiger, Groundspring.org's Executive Director. "By integrating ActionStudio's tools with DonateNow, EmailNow and ebase®, we will be able to offer a full suite of Internet engagement systems integrated with a powerful database - affordably priced for the small and mid-size nonprofit. Nonprofits will be able to pay for the entire suite, or just the pieces they need."

Groundspring will release the first ActionStudio.org tools - online surveys, online petitions, and a newsletter publishing tool - in early 2004.

ActionStudio was incubated and advised by Aspiration, a Seattle nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for nonprofit organizations to use the latest and best technologies to meet community needs. Aspiration does this by building relationships among tool builders, funders, nonprofit organizations and technology assistance providers to ensure that mission-critical software tools are available, supported and sustainable.

Melissa Pailthorp, Executive Director of Aspiration, says: "Aspiration is both pleased and proud to have played a constructive role in the incubation and evolution of ActionStudio and its merger with Groundspring. Since Action Studio's inception, Aspiration has provided strategic advice to and fiscal sponsorship for Action Studio, recognizing early on the compelling potential of a suite of web tools for small and grassroots nonprofits, particularly those engaged in advocacy work."

ActionStudio received investment support during its startup phase from the Omidyar Foundation. The Omidyar Foundation made a recent $750,000 investment to Groundspring to support the development of an integrated online system to help small and mid-size nonprofits use Internet tools for fundraising, communications and advocacy, in addition to a $300,000 investment earlier this year.

About Groundspring.org

Groundspring.org (formerly eGrants.org), serves almost 700 nonprofit customers with its DonateNow and EmailNow services, supports the ebase® database system used by about 3,000 organizations, and has processed over $6 million in online gifts made by individual donors to U.S. charitable organizations.

Groundspring.org offers a suite of software services to nonprofits nationwide. DonateNow is an online donation service that nonprofits use to raise money on the Internet. EmailNow is an email messaging service that helps nonprofits communicate with supporters. Ebase is a community relationship management system that helps nonprofit organizations manage donors, prospects, volunteers and activists. ActionStudio is a toolkit to help nonprofits develop a presence on the web more quickly, easily, and inexpensively to promote activism and build community support through the Internet.

In addition to its software development activities, Groundspring offers several learning programs on online fundraising and Internet strategy, including national training workshops, a free, downloadable "Online Fundraising Handbook," and a series of free Internet strategy documents.

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