My Dad and Other Real People Designed Our Online Strategy

Does this sound familiar? Three nonprofit staffers walk into a conference room…

No joke, that’s the way many nonprofits plan their online strategies. At ForestEthics we threw out the standard templates, stepped out of the board room, and began a creative journey with humility and empathy embedded in our strategic process. Using the Human Centered Design toolkit created by design thinking company IDEO, we interviewed influencers, experts, supporters, and people who had never heard of us. What we discovered was enlightening and inspiring, but would have never surfaced if we had continued to sit in that board room with our bias and spreadsheets.

From framing the question and exploring assumptions, to listening to your community and testing possible solutions, human-centered design can put the humanity back in your digital strategy and transform your work.

You’ll walk out of this session with an understanding of how to use the human-centered design process to collect qualitative data, and come up with the best ideas and test them. We’ll review a case study of how it can be applied to nonprofit online strategy, and share practical experience in a lightning-fast design thinking experiment you can do with your team back home.


Trista Kendall

Development Associate
A first-time presenter at 16NTC, Trista has nearly a decade of nonprofit communications and development experience. Currently at Stand (formerly ForestEthics), Trista coordinates a robust grants program and works with funders to further their dreams of preserving wild places. Trista also works on racial, gender, and economic equity at Stand, with a focus on what equitable fundraising means, especially with foundation and institutional funders. Prior to joining Stand, Trista raised funds and rallied support for groundbreaking education, exhibition, and filmmaker support programs at the San Francisco Film Society and worked with clients at M+R Strategic Services to build successful online engagement and fundraising campaigns. Trista cooks her way through SF’s sustainable food scene, watches British crime dramas, and enjoys SCUBA diving. She is also an amateur beer historian.

Danielle Siembieda

Danielle is a Community Engagement Expert and Digital Strategist in the San Francisco Bay Area. She have over 15 years of experience building communities, executing creative campaigns and developing digital strategies around social media, SEO/SEM and web development. She currently is the Deputy Director of Leonardo/ISAST (International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology). Her evening career is as an Alter Eco Artist working in the intersection of community, technology and the environment. More can be found at

Return to Agenda