Q&A with The Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center


You might have read our article  about the time we got to spend volunteering with this great organization. Now, find out more about the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center directly from someone who works there.


On ferry.jpgWe were able to speak with Elissa Bowling, the Corporate Partnership Manager at Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. She became very involved in the outing club and wilderness pre-orientation program while doing her undergraduate studies at Tufts University and is thrilled to continue working in outdoor education and adventure at Thompson Island Outward Bound. Elissa loves being an ambassador for Thompson Island’s mission and taking corporate volunteer groups like Constant Contact out to the island for maintenance, organization, and construction projects.


Tell us about Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center.
At Thompson Island Outward Bound, we believe that every kid can discover the freedom of possibility. Through our partnership with Boston’s public schools, each year thousands of students board the Thompson Island Outward Bound ferry to discover who they are and all they can become, on an island classroom that spans 204 acres of salt marshes, woods, campsites, labs, dormitories, and dozens of challenge structures. A local and national treasure, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center is located in the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, just one mile from downtown Boston. 


In order to reduce the achievement and opportunity gaps facing Boston middle schoolers, our research-based curriculum features hands-on field science infused with Outward Bound’s unique approach to character development. Our education programs are provided at no cost to schools or students, funded by a combination of philanthropy and the island’s events business.

Elissa and Scotty, another employee of the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education CenterElissa and Scotty, another employee of the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education CenterHow long have you been a customer with Constant Contact?
Thompson Island Outward Bound has been a Constant Contact customer since 2013.

Tell us how using Constant Contact has had an impact on your organization.
We use Constant Contact for all of our mass marketing and development emails. I typically use the software to send thank-you emails to our Corporate Volunteer groups (including Constant Contact!) and mass communications for our fundraising events.

How do you keep your contacts engaged with all of the various programs and events that you offer?
As an organization, we work with many different types of contacts (schools, youth groups, corporations, individual donors) so it really varies. In my role, I keep in contact with volunteers by sending emails through Constant Contact: thank-you emails, reminders about our fundraising incentives, information on further volunteer opportunities, etc.

What do you like the most about using Constant Contact?
The templates are relatively easy to work with, and the process of uploading contacts is pretty seamless. I also really enjoy meeting with people from Constant Contact – they seem genuinely interested in how we use the product and how we think it could be improved.

Volunteering.jpgWhat challenges do you face as an organization and how does Constant Contact help you with them?
Constant Contact helps us communicate with our many different clients easily and at a low cost. It’s easy to use so many people in the organization can help out and send beautifully branded emails.

How has marketing and promoting your organization changed over the past five years?
We have experimented with decreasing the amount of communications we send via the postal mail service and opting to only send emails instead. In some cases this has worked out great and in others we have decided to do both. This allows our clients to pick which medium they would rather hear from us in. Constant Contact also helps us spread the word about any great press articles we have received and increase viewers.

What marketing advice can you give to a non-profit that is just starting out?
Take the time to develop a brand identity and incorporate it in all communications. It will help your donors easily recognize and remember you. Also, take advantage of all the free marketing webinars and templates that are available.



Thanks for letting us spend the day with you, Elissa and letting us know more about the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. 


Want to know more about this great organization? Visit their website and you can also find them on Facebook and X. Also, read more about our exciting volunteering day here


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