How the Santa Barbara Zoo named its new baby giraffe with Jotform

How the Santa Barbara Zoo named its new baby giraffe with Jotform

The Santa Barbara Zoo uses Jotform for a host of internal and customer-facing tasks, from marketing support requests to its Zoo Camp waitlist.

So when the Zoo welcomed a special new addition — a baby giraffe — the organization turned to Jotform for help.

The Zoo reached out to its fans to decide on the perfect name and fielded opinions via an online form. After nearly 2,000 votes produced a winner, the Santa Barbara Zoo used Jotform Report Builder to create a visual report of the results for the board of directors.

The data showed a close race between two name choices that are meaningful to Zoo staff. In the end, Malia won out.

Photo of a baby giraffe at a zoo
Baby Malia at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Wendy Campbell, creative/brand manager at the Santa Barbara Zoo, says creating a visual report with Jotform Report Builder took less than a minute, which saved valuable time.

Santa Barbara Zoo Case Study Results at a Glance in Three Headings

Two meaningful name choices, one close vote

Campbell has been with the Zoo since 2000 and started using Jotform in 2012. “It’s just generally time saving to me because it’s so easy to use,” she says.

Before Campbell created her voting form with Jotform, a lot of thought went into the two potential names.

Those who support the Zoo with animal sponsorships often name the Zoo’s new arrivals. This is especially the case for popular animals, and giraffes certainly qualify. (In fact, 13 Masai giraffes have been born at the zoo since 2012.) In this case, the baby giraffe’s sponsors wanted staff and the greater public to decide on a name.

Logo of Santa Barbara Zoo

The original idea was for the sponsors, the animal keeper staff, and the remaining Zoo staff to each come up with a name to be voted on. When the donors saw the two names the staff selected, they loved both and said a third choice wasn’t needed.

“This was really like a gift back to the staff,” Campbell says.

The winning name — Malia — is a combination of the names Michael and Adia, Malia’s parents. The other choice, Indira, was nominated in honor of a docent who has volunteered at the Zoo for more than 20 years.

Photo of a baby giraffe standing next to an adult giraffe
Malia standing next to her mother Adia

The final tally was close, with Malia earning 57 percent of the vote.

“It was a really tough call to choose a favorite because they’re both incredibly meaningful,” Campbell says.

There is yet more meaning behind the winning name. Malia’s father Michael died shortly after Maila was born. Michael fathered 12 calves over the years, and his memory will carry on through his last offspring at the zoo. Also, the name Malia means “the queen” in Swahili.

Even as a queen, Malia shares the spotlight at the Zoo with fellow giraffes Audrey, Theo, her mother Adia, and her brother Raymie.

Masai giraffes: An endangered species thrives at the Santa Barbara Zoo

The giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo are Masai giraffes. Masai giraffes are the largest giraffe subspecies, growing up to 17 feet tall and weighing as much as 2,700 pounds. These giraffes are also endangered, as their population has fallen by nearly 50 percent in the last three decades.

The Santa Barbara Zoo works closely with fellow Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos to revive Masai giraffe populations, often sending giraffe calves to other accredited zoos. Overall, 123 Masai giraffes live at 32 accredited zoos in North America.

Jotform Report Builder in the boardroom

Naming baby Malia was a big deal for zoo-goers, but the vote was important to Zoo stakeholders as well. After voting was complete, the Zoo’s marketing director prepared a report for display at a board of directors meeting.

The report took less than a minute to create with Jotform Report Builder. In just a few clicks, Campbell’s submission data was transformed into a visual aid fit for the boardroom.

Though the pie chart was polished enough to show to the board, creating it took minimal effort.

“It literally took me under a minute to create the report,” Campbell says. “It was super, super easy, and I hadn’t used it before in terms of making a graph or a visual representation. It was a nice surprise, how easy it was to do.”

Campbell also shared the report via email in the zoo staff’s weekly memo. Anytime the board of directors asks for a visual representation of data, Campbell and her team can get the job done in no time.

“I really like being able to just pop in there and pull out a chart. It’s so easy.”

Time saved with Jotform and Trello

Campbell saves additional time by automatically sending Jotform submission data to her preferred project management tool, Trello. The workflow has cleaned up a process that was previously too messy to be productive.

“It was a little sloppy before we started using the form,” she says. “Now, most of our forms go directly into Trello. All of the data goes into a specific column.”

That helps Campbell get more done with limited resources. Workflows with Jotform integrations can provide any organization with an edge, but for a nonprofit, saving time is vital.

Close-up photo of a baby giraffe standing next to an adult giraffe
Baby Malia, ready for her close-up
Photos courtesy of the Santa Barbara Zoo

“We’re a little bit scrappy, being a nonprofit. We all just try to get our job done in the most effective way possible.”

The majority of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s forms are connected to Trello or staff email. There are forms for marketing requests, including social media content, business card requests, the Zoo Camp waitlist, and more.

Campbell and her staff have saved more time by adding conditional logic to the Zoo’s preschool registration form. What’s more, Campbell embeds a variety of forms into the Zoo website and takes advantage of the real-time updates as she edits forms in the Form Builder.

How a small nonprofit team gets more done

Campbell had never added conditional logic to an online form before. When she thought conditional logic was needed for the Zoo’s preschool program registration form, she dove right in and realized how straightforward and intuitive the process is.

“Conditional formatting seemed complicated because we hadn’t done anything like that,” she says. “But it was really easy to find out how to do it and how to fix it if it wasn’t working how I wanted it to.

“The usability is really good for someone who’s not doing that type of work all the time. That’s another plus for me.”

The Zoo’s preschool program has different levels of enrollment: either two days a week, three days, or five. Campbell’s form displayed relevant options based on the respondent’s initial information, making the form much easier to complete and submit.

On the back end, Campbell raves about how her embedded forms update automatically.

“I’m always really grateful when I’m reminded that [real-time changes] are going on because we have a lot of forms embedded in our website. It’s so nice to know that I don’t have to go back to our website and update anything that’s been changed.

“I’m constantly reminded about what a nice feature that is: to have that update in real time. It couldn’t be more user friendly. Everything’s very intuitive.”

Bringing joy to fans of the Santa Barbara Zoo

Campbell and her team use Jotform because it helps them get more done. But it’s most important to keep fans of the Santa Barbara Zoo engaged, informed, and entertained. Jotform’s online forms keep the lines of communication between Zoo patrons and Zoo staff open, leading to positive outcomes for all who care about the Santa Barbara Zoo and the special animals there.

““If I have to choose between customer usability or staff usability, making it easy for our customers wins every time,” Campbell says. “If the back end has to suffer, I will take that. But I don’t feel like that about Jotform. It’s just as easy on both sides, which is very important.

“And I like the fact that if I ever decide to leave after being here so long, I don’t think it would be hard for someone to jump in and figure it out.”

Campbell doesn’t plan on leaving the Zoo anytime soon, especially as baby Malia begins her journey among her giraffe family and a community and staff that care so much about the Santa Barbara Zoo.

We’d love to hear the creative ways you use Jotform to help your organization succeed. Let us know in the comments below, and fill out this form if you’re interested in being featured in a future Jotform case study.

Luke is a multidisciplinary writer whose expertise encompasses B2B, SaaS and sports. He co-authored Jotform for Beginners Volumes 1 and 2 and covers product tutorials, customer stories, third-party connectivity and more for the Jotform blog. A former associate editor at NorthBay biz magazine, Luke moonlights as a sports writer. His work has been published by USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and others, and he’s covered live sporting events for the Argus-Courier in Sonoma County, Calif. You can reach Luke through his contact form.

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