Tag: campaign

Greenpeace’s Mobilisation Lab helps the organization transition into an era of people-powered campaigns. The right set of tools and an active social profile is helping Greenpeace to better support its community with campaigns that are community driven.

This case study was originally published along with a dozen others in our free e-book, Collected Voices: Data-Informed Nonprofits. You can download the e-book here.

NTEN: Tell us about how the MobLab fits into Greenpeace overall.

Michael Silberman (MS) and Wendee Parker (WP): We exist to help the global Greenpeace organization transition to a new era of people-powered campaigning shifting from Greenpeace-centric to supporter-centric campaigns. We’re working with staff in nearly 50 countries to design campaigns that enable the full power and potential of over 25 million supporters and activists to help us build stronger campaigns that win bigger. Our team has an independent budget to focus 100% on building capacity, challenging norms, sharing knowledge, and introducing new practices and tactics.

NTEN: Who are the Arctic 30, and how and why did MobLab get involved?

MS / WP: In September 2013, Russian security agents illegally boarded the Arctic Sunrise in international waters, seizing the ship and detaining all those on board at gunpoint. The ship was towed to Murmansk, and all those on board were locked up in cold, filthy cells, some of them in solitary confinement. They were charged with piracy and then hooliganism, crimes that carried lengthy prison sentences, because they dared to peacefully take action against destructive Arctic oil drilling and the onslaught of climate change, protesting at state-owned Gazprom’s Arctic drill platform in the Barents Sea. After 71 days in detention, the last of the Arctic 30 have been granted bail release, but severe piracy charges are still pending.

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Some tools the MobLab provided to supporters of the Arctic 30

We got involved because there was a critical need to ensure that we were doing everything possible as an organization to help free these activists and leverage the global media spotlight to grow the campaign to save the Arctic. We added capacity to test new messages and tactics, and enable a global strategy brainstorm across offices and teams. Understanding how to effectively spread the messages by mobilizing new and existing supporters who connect with this cause through digital channels: thats what its all about.

NTEN: This has been a highly charged international incident. How have you baked principles of measurement and transparency into the campaign?

MS: We had to determine what could and should be measured. This campaign has been an opportunity to think about some of our limitations to measurement and tracking, and to have everyone really consider whats working and whats not.

WP: An informal group from several offices assembled for a week to take a look at our tools and platforms. It illuminated something many of us already knew: that consistency within digital engagement data was lacking. Trying to develop, implement, and execute a standard way to collect, track, and report on those digital efforts is an enormous challenge. The meetings gave us a good sense of our “universe” both the great effort our colleagues were already making in these areas, as well as opportunities to improve towards a complete, holistic point of view.

NTEN: Aside from this campaign, are there other wins you can pinpoint in these areas?

MS: There are over 100 active Greenpeace social accounts online. Were now seeing organizers include data analysis in their campaign planning. We at MobLab are still pushing, but it wouldnt get completely lost if we werent. Im also heartened by the fact that theres a lot of independent testing happening. People are using Optimize.ly for A/B testing, for example, and then reporting the results to everyone else.

WP: The focus and culture has definitely shifted, but the job is not done. Success would be having digital analysis (starting at defining digital analytic goals, implementing digital tracking and analytic tools for ongoing reporting, testing and optimization, ending with a complete campaign wrap up analysis) fully adopted as part of the overall campaign planning process.

NTEN: You mentioned Optimize.ly. Are there other tools that stand out as particularly helpful (or that you wish were more helpful)?

MS: We have issues with our bulk email tool, which doesnt make A/B testing as easy as it could be. On the upside, were making good progress with Google Analytics and Optimize.ly. On social analytics, were using Radian6, Topsy Pro, and Facebook insights.

WP: Greenpeace’s situation is so complex. In every office you may find a different setup for supporter data, a different set of digital engagement tools, etc. Even within offices, data can be fragmented among departments. I’m not sure theres a “one size fits all” solution, but as we work towards a common framework and toolset, it lessens the challenges towards complete supporter data integration a place where all departments view the same data and can have shared goals and metrics.

NTEN: Where would you like to see your campaign leaders a year from today with regard to systems and culture?

MS: We always want to see the four essentials of a people-powered campaign. The end is not putting data at the center of our campaigns; the end is more engagement-oriented organizing. We put people at the center of our campaigns, but data is an enabling tool. If we can use data to more effectively move people along and support our journey more deeply, thats a success point.

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[Editor’s note: The following is an article in the September 2012 issue of NTEN:Change, NTEN’s quarterly journal for nonprofit leaders. Read the complete issue on “Data-Driven” when you subscribe to the journal for free!]

By Carie Lewis, Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States has a well-established and successful online communications program. But here’s one thing we’re not so great at: the world of data. And we know it. But we decided to turn that around this year, and so far it’s been successful for us.

Our online team is 30 staffers strong, broken up by channel: email, website, social, mobile, and online advertising. There is no specific role for reporting; we all are pretty much on our own to evaluate our work. We’re always winning campaigns and creating real change for animals, but what if we could do that in a way that was – smarter?

So we made a commitment to move towards a more data-driven culture. We wanted to know: how can we use statistical data to work smarter and make better decisions about how to be more effective in our work?

Not having any existing structure, we made the mistake of getting in too deep to start. Each channel manager came to a meeting where we’d fill out this huge excel spreadsheet full of numbers, as well as a word document filled with explanations and screenshots. It seemed brilliant – every data point we could possibly get in one place!

Until we had to do it again.

It was such a huge task (not to mention exhausting) that we just gave up on it. We couldn’t even make meaning of the data anyway because there was too much of it. So we stopped meeting. And tracking. And we failed.

Then, we realized our problem. We were trying to do too much. We decided we had to narrow down the stats to what meant the most to us (which for us is usually advocacy and fundraising-focused). We then had to determine what really mattered for the whole process — why were we doing these reports? For us, it was to evaluate what we did, what worked (and what didn’t), and determine how we could do things differently next time. And from that was born our new reporting system which has worked very well for us so far in 2012.

The New Reporting Process:

Each time an online campaign is over, the channel managers meet to discuss how the campaign performed. We all have our own metrics and data, depending on what’s important to our channel, and have only 10 minutes to share with the rest of the group. (We’re all about reducing meeting time here at HSUS as well.) The discussion is usually very productive and eye-opening. We’ve found that metrics change from campaign to campaign, so it’s helpful NOT to have a standard template with every metric available.

But the most important metric to focus on across all campaigns is conversions – in the end, did people do what you wanted them to do?

After the initial meeting, each channel manager sends the campaign’s project manager a summary of the most relevant information, and the project manager compiles it into a one-pager. It’s easy for everyone (including executives!) to digest, and breaks the campaign down into what we did, what we learned, and what we recommend for next time. In the end, that’s exactly what we want the data to tell us.

The Lessons We Learned:

  • Data matters. Do track – even if it’s exhausting.
  • Educate others on the importance of tracking and how to do it consistently.
  • Don’t try to do too much – it’s better to track a few key metrics consistently than to track a lot of data inconsistently or to the point that you give up.
  • Narrow down the stats that matter most to your bottom line.
  • Present data in a way that is easily digestible by anyone at your organization.

As I mentioned, our biggest “ah-ha” moment was when we realized we were trying to do too much, and we lost focus and interest and just gave up. Figure out what really matters and how you can get that data.

It was essential that we educate others about the importance of using trackable links and come up with a naming convention for those links so that when we pulled the data, we’d know where conversions were coming from. There’s a huge cross-organization education task here. We had to teach colleagues that don’t work in Online Communications why a page view wasn’t an acceptable success metric (it’s about conversions!)

So, how is it going?

I’ll let you know next year when we pull out the one-pager during the campaign planning process! The goal is for these one-pagers to help us make informed campaign planning decisions. Each one-pager represents the key take-aways from this year’s campaigns so we can see what worked and what didn’t. We can replicate the tactics that worked and improve or eliminate the tactics that failed.

I can tell you that since we instituted this new tracking system we’ve garnered over 100,000 action takers from social media so far this year, which is double our goal for the year! That’s really great information as I work to prove the impact that social media has on our bottom line here at HSUS. And that’s really what it’s all about – meeting your goals and working smarter.

button_subscribe.pngRead more articles like this in the September 2012 issue of NTEN:Change.

Does your organization have a good process for sharing information about your data analysis across the organization? Please share your tips and stories below.

Nothing tells the real, impactful human stories of actual constituents like video. In the years that I spent as an advocacy program director, collecting user-generated video from our supporters – advocate stories, testimonials, and messages to legislators – was always high on the priority list.

These programs, no matter how well conceived or how good our intentions, were always difficult to manage. Folks would use a variety of ways to capture the video: flip cams, their laptop’s camera, their smartphone, etc. The video got back to us in different ways: email, links to YouTube pages, posted to our Facebook fan page, etc. So, organizing the footage to make the desired impression on potential advocates and/or legislators was a time suck. And, regardless of how well we crafted message points for our supporters to simplify the process and make it less stressful, the video that came back had varying levels of usability. In short, these programs were a hot mess.

Enter Viddy, the latest mobile-based, social video collection/sharing app. Viddy has created a platform that streamlines and simplifies video production, collection, and display. And, IMO, it’s the best available tool right now for advocacy organizations to make user-generated video campaigns at once easier to manage and more impactful.

This post won’t focus on the laundry list of Viddy’s features. You can find good feature-based reviews and comparisons of Viddy vs. Socialcam elsewhere. I’ll note only the features that I think make this app unique for use in the nonprofit and advocacy space.

Viddy’s focus is on keeping mobile video short and simple—in other words, perfect for users with varying levels of experience and comfort with video. In fact, it’s been described as “the Instagram of video.” Setting-up your organization’s presence couldn’t be easier. Just go to Viddy.com or download the app from the AppStore, enter a username and password, and upload your logo. (Viddy video can only be collected via mobile device, so regardless of where you sign-up, you will need to download the app.) The main drawback, as of now, for Viddy is the lack of an Android version, but that’s coming soon. The sign-up process for your supporters will be just as easy. Finding and following other organizations and friends requires a simple search.

The video collection process is where Viddy really shines. Response rates from advocates on video asks are low for lots of reasons, the biggest being that people are just going to be nervous capturing themselves on camera. Though Viddy can’t change this aspect of human nature, it does smash many of the other barriers.

First, it limits the length of any video to 15 seconds (a limit which does not exist on Socialcam). Some are going to look at this as a drawback, but to me it’s a key differentiator. After you spend some time looking at the video on the Viddy platform, you start to realize just how long 15 seconds really is and how much you can communicate. Returning to my advocacy program experiences, no matter how few message points we gave people for their videos or how well-written those points were our supporters always stressed over ‘performance’ aspects—how to combine the points, how long they needed to talk, etc. Because the video ask was, in their minds, still so amorphous few attempted it. A 15 second limit provides all the structure you need. There’s only time for a name, key message points, and an ask for a legislator (or a one or two sentence story). A short time limit reduces the level of effort and stress.

This also got me thinking about just how many times I needed more than 15 seconds from an advocate video. I couldn’t really think of any. Whether it was a testimonial for our program or one of our events, a message urging a legislator to support our issues, or a thank you message for a legislator, pretty much all of them could be accomplished in 15 seconds or less. And, invariably, I’d find myself having to edit down the longer videos I did get to combine them with other clips or to fit with typical short attention spans that people have with most online platforms.

Second, Viddy provides just enough in the way of production effects to improve the overall video quality without overwhelming the user. As you get ready to shoot, it gives you tools to track your audio and light levels—just enough to make sure the video looks good. After the video is completed, you have only three options (should you want them): choosing a thumbnail image, adding a visual effects package, and choosing a soundtrack.

The troubles I described above with collecting and managing the video I received? Viddy solves these as well. Each Viddy production can be tagged. So, you can give your supporters specific instructions to tag their video with your organization’s name, an issue name and/or a legislator’s name. As these videos are completed, they’ll show-up in your feed (assuming you’re following your supporters). You can also search by tag to see your videos nicely grouped. The quality of the videos will also be consistent since they’ll all be generated by the higher-quality video cams available on iPhones and, soon enough, Android-powered phones.

Social sharing with Viddy, as you’d expect, is also very user-friendly. You can quickly share your advocates’ videos on your organization’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+ page. (The one caveat I noted is sharing through your organization’s fan page. You can do this through Viddy.com using your page admin’s Facebook accounts but, from what I see, you can’t do this through the mobile app. Let me know if this is possible in the comments below.) You can also grab the embed code for your website or blog. Through the mobile interface, you can also quickly post the video to your Tumblr or share it via SMS.

To be sure, I’d like to see additional features added over time, most notably the ability to include overlays to drive additional advocacy actions. And, for Viddy to be a feasible mobilization platform the Android version will need to be reality. But once that happens, issue campaigners will have a widely-available platform that:

  1. Limits the stress of video collection by providing a short time limit
  2. Provides for a higher level of quality by using higher-quality video cams and basic production effects
  3. Makes video collection and organization drop-dead simple
  4. Facilitates social media campaigns around user-generated video by making social sharing quick and easy

Think about how Viddy can build your video library and how you can roll this user-generated content into your future video projects and production. Mashups of constituent messages? Check. A wall of advocate message videos on your website? Check. A quick solution to create video contests? Check. A constant stream of simple and direct advocate testimonials? Check.

Has your organization tried Viddy for an advocacy campaign? What do you think of the overall feature set? Let me know in the comments below. If you want to learn more about how your org can use video for advocacy, fundraising and more, drop See3 a line at info@see3.com.