Trees for Life

This nonprofit wanted to build a product catalog to drive donations, and in the process integrate several web tools into the website while building a central donor management system. Innovation for People lead the design, development and support for the organization as it evolved.
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Trees for Life

The Client

Trees for Life develops models that empower people in poor countries around the world to improve their living conditions and inspire hope.   What started as a tree-planting project in India has grown into a global people-to-people initiative that addresses the root causes of poverty, hunger, and disease.  Through planting trees (over 40 million to date), establishing schools and libraries, digging water wells, building fuel-efficient stoves, and sharing knowledge, Trees for Life helps community leaders in developing countries work with dignity to help themselves and teach others to do the same.

The Challenge

Trees for Life recognized that it needed help to improve its web presence and relationships with donors. Getting content onto the website was hampered and delayed by the fact that only programmers could make updates. They wanted a low-cost tool that made it easy for non-technical staff to update website content, while retaining the ability to control what gets posted. They wanted to be able to send information captured from website visitors directly into a database that improved their understanding and relationship with stakeholders, integrated with email and their donations/store, and produced reports.  They also needed enhancements to their online marketplace to improve and simplify the experience of visitors making purchases.  Additionally, Trees for Life hoped to share their story in more dynamic ways thereby capturing the attention of a more diverse and younger audience.

The Solution

ifPeople provided Trees for Life an effective, integrated set of solutions suitable for budget-conscious nonprofits with ambitious goals.  The solution leverages best-of-breed web technologies that are open source and free, and also provide robust, flexible features. ifPeople designed and developed a website with a content management system, donation processing, and integrated relationship management database that combined open source tools (Plone and GetPaid) and Salesforce.com (free to nonprofits).  Plone provides an intuitive, easy to use interface that allows users with no technical knowledge to add text and upload documents, images, and multimedia to the website with just a few clicks. We integrated the Salesforce.com CRM tool so that transactions on the website are also tracked on a central record about each donor. ifPeople built a store that generates significant revenue for the organization.  Trees for Life staff can now update the site regularly and reach out to its stakeholders more effectively with targeted email and print campaigns.

“Our donors are writing to tell us it was a great experience ordering on our site! It's because of ifPeople's hard work, thoughtfulness, skill and expertise that things like this happen. We love what ifPeople is doing and has done for us.” David Kimble, Executive Director

The Outcome

ifPeople helped Trees for Life (TFL) increase their donations by working with them to develop a strategy to reach a broader audience with a personal, timely message and make online giving more appealing. This strategy drove our implementation of integrated communications tools that help site visitors understand the quality and nature of the organization's impact. At the same time, TFL is saving money in lower administrative costs and software licensing fees over both their previous situation and the other technologies TFL considered (Convio and Kintera). The quality and commitment of volunteers has increased through more targeted communications. Volunteers now handle a large portion of the effort to maintain the TFL website thanks to the ability to safely and securely control data access and editing rights. The website also supports a social media strategy to spread their message more broadly, resulting in more donations, more volunteers, and greater awareness about the organization. They have been able to increase revenues due to enhancements in their online marketplace, enriches the user experience, and makes it easier to make purchases.

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