Over 15,000 students are on 130+ "Action Teams" that get involved in their communities to fight climate change. It's a great model for building an enduring grassroots movement, and helping develop the next generation of climate leaders.
ACE came to us with a terrific website created by our friends at EchoDitto. It's got a beautiful design, engaging content, and all of the multimedia and social networking you would expect for this audience. It's an engaging on-ramp for students and teachers to connect with ACE. But when ACE first approached us, it was something of an on-ramp to nowhere, because there was no systematic way for ACE to collect, track and act on all of the information the site might generate.
We implemented a relationship management system that could power their fast-growing, nationwide work. Step one was building a core CRM system using Salesforce.com and equipping ACE with solid, Salesforce-integrated email broadcasting powered by ExactTarget.
Once we had the basics up and running, ACE asked us to tackle the heart of their work—the process of organizing, scheduling, delivering and following up on the hundreds of high school presentations they do each year. When we started, ACE was doing the work, but it was chaotic, ad-hoc, hard to manage and harder to measure. When we finished, it was systematic, coordinated, tracked and followed-through.
We knew that the key to turning ACE into a lean, mean event organizing machine was clearly defining their event organizing process. How do requests come in? What information does ACE need to collect? When does an ACE staffer need to pick up the phone? How will ACE's educators, scattered across 10 states, coordinate their work? How will everything be tracked and measured?
We worked in close partnership with ACE to transform an ad-hoc, on-the-fly organizing process into a process that is concrete, specific and documented -- and thus something that we can build a tool to support. But more importantly for ACE, working with us to think about their presentation organizing process in this level of detail forced them to really grapple with fundamental issues about how they planned to execute and scale out their program for maximum impact.
By approaching its technology challenges in this manner, ACE wound up not only with tools that let it be more systematic, more efficient, more thorough and more scalable in its outreach work, but also with a much more solid understanding of how ACE does what it does.