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Clean Water Action

Online Activism Portal
Clean Water Action is a preeminent organization working to empower people to protect America's waters through research, advocacy, grassroots organizing and legislative action. Their web strategy, however, did not reflect the efforts of the organization as a whole or their importance in the nation's environmental dialogue. With over one million members, Clean Water Action came to Trellon to develop an integrated online portal for delivering information, encouraging volunteer participation in grassroots initiatives, enabling online activism and promoting their environmental activities throughout the United States.

Clean Water Action has been working since the 70s to remedy the systemic power-imbalance favoring polluters in governace through grassroots organizing, legislative reform and a continual commitment to research on issues affecting the environment. A national organization with a presence in all 50 states, much of their activity is centered around projects in specific regions that affect members locally. They came to Trellon to help them construct a strategy for redefining their Internet presence that reflects the true face of the organization and takes advantage of the most sophisticated tools available for engaging their core audiences.

The Challenge

The organization's Internet strategy had to address challenges related to promoting the work of the organization as a whole while fulfilling their commitment to activity at the national, state and local levels. Part of the issue was the size and complexity of their operations - information comes in from a wide variety of sources, and putting the right information in front of users was key to the success of the project. Another key challenge was to engage people in the core organizational mission. Various systems had been set up to collect information and raise funds online, but their implementation had been fragmented and a lot of work went into maintaining these systems.

Trellon developed a strategy for Clean Water Action's main organizational web portal (along with it's sister organization, Clean Water Fund) to address challenges in these areas:

  1. Consolidate the publication of content into a single portal. Classify scientific, legislative, and research information for centralized access and highlight the organization's role as a thought leader in environmental affairs by promoting various subject matter expertise within the site.
  2. Intuitively incorporate online activism tools to engage citizens in the mission of the organization. Create methods to expand the base of volunteers by engaging them within the context of materials presented through the site and offering them opportunities to take action on specific issues.
  3. Personalize the user experience by geographically targetting information and allowing users to self-identify the content that is most important to them. Maximize the potential for engagement through fundraising tools targetted at specific regions nd users.

Publications, Research and Media

Clean Water Action generates a lot of content, and Trellon used the Drupal content management system to control the varieties of information delivered through the site. We configured numerous content types within the portal, providing the users throughout the organization with the ability to quickly publish and classify information into sections throughout the site. Reports are published in multiple formats, including PDFs for sharing content in a printer friendly format.

Great care was given to usability concerns on the backend, including features aimed at making the system easy to use for non-technical users. Drupal's rich text editor, image processing and file upload features and other tools were incorporated into the deployment to make publishing content a breeze.

Geographically Targetted Information

People looking to get involved with Clean Water Action are by and large concerned with regional water issues that affect them locally. Information published through the site is geographically targeted, and users are able to drill down on content based on state. In the communities section, information is further broken down into topic, displaying information to users about programs and activism opportunities that are directly relevant in that area.

People Powered Activism

Trellon integrated Drupal top to bottom with e-activism tools from the Democracy in Action platform as part of this project. Content authors are able to deploy online petitions, letters to the editor, write in campaigns and other forms of outreach using the same content management tools they use to edit content within the site. Fundraising forms and donation drives can be conducted through the site and automatically link back to DIA payment processing pages, providing a seamless user experience through a uniform presentation of content. Data collected from users maintaining accounts on the site is stored in the DIA CRM system, providing a consolidated system of up to date information at all times.

Keep It Personal

Users within the site are able to get involved with the organization at multiple levels, ranging from participation in e-activism campaigns to volunteering for offline activities. Trellon configured the site to provide multiple levels of personalization, which include personalized email newsletters and user generated content. Users can share links to popular content through various link aggregation portals and participate in the site through blogs, forums and other forms of social content.