There are a few big forces having to do with online work moving around within the castle walls at Greenpeace at the moment. The Greenpeace Planet Content Management System, which I’ve been part of shaping through two iterations and now serves all but a few of our offices worldwide, is due for a replacement. We’re moving toward a globally agreed single fundraising database/CRM system. And we concluded last year a major assessment of our identity which gave us some lighthouses for our organisational communications and development strategies.
One of the strongest trends over the past few years that our identity work crystallised was the concept of Greenpeace as “Empowering hero” — being the hero that inspires others to act, rather than the hero everyone sits back passively and watches save the day on their own. This has been a central development thread in our public engagement work on the web and one I’m convinced we can take farther.
Yesterday, in thinking about the process we’re about to embark on in choosing a content management system, ensuring it talks to our fundraiser database, re-imagining how our websites and blogs interact and behave and look and feel, and doing all the cat herding and shuttle diplomacy that these efforts entail in a global, distributed-decision-making institution like Greenpeace, I decided to think about first principles, and came up with the following rough cut of ten principles that I think need to guide our thinking.
Digital Direction and Empowering Heroism
Ten implications of Greenpeace’s Identity on our relationship to our supporters and the digital properties they interact with.
1. Our digital properties should be designed to inform, inspire, and activate – though not in that order. Greenpeace leads with action.
2. A supporter is anyone who supports Greenpeace: with money, time, words, or actions. The first measure of success of our digital properties is the degree to which they help us win campaigns. Without supporters, we win nothing. The primary ongoing mission of our digital properties is to recruit and activate supporters.
3. When an individual chooses to support a global organisation like Greenpeace, they support the entire organisation – not just a national sector or a single campaign. Our digital properties need to make clear they contribute to more than one sector, they can participate in more than one way. By supporting any part of the organisation’s work, they support the entire organisation.
4. A supporter is not an object – it is a relationship. The second measure of the success of our digital properties is the degree to which they provide supporters with easy ways to find the right relationship with the organisation: every transaction should offer the option of a national or local context, an option to receive information in the supporter’s own language, an option to receive precisely the right level and frequency of information. Every transaction should provide options to move to a higher level of involvement — from casual reader to information subscriber, from information subscriber to online activist, from online activist to monetary donor, from monetary donor to time donor, from time donor to evangelist – or any of a dozen other paths to more involvement that we might provide.
5. The relationship to our supporters is not owned by Greenpeace, or any part of Greenpeace. The supporter owns it. Our digital properties should allow the supporter to easily determine
· the information they want Greenpeace to give them
· the information they want Greenpeace to have
· the information they want other supporters to see.
6. Every supporter should be recognised as a supporter in any exchange with the organisation – via web, phone, email to supporter services – no matter what office they are signed up with. All our digital properties need to be able to exchange information with a single universal supporter identification system.
7. If our supporters choose to offer up information about their identity, our digital properties should welcome them by name, know what they like and dislike, remember what they have done, and always provide them with options to do more.
8. Everything we publish should be created in a way that maximizes its chances of being republished. If a supporter has a blog, our digital properties should know that, and offer immediate opportunities to replicate content. If a supporter passes information along to friends or shares information from their address book, our digital properties should offer the option to store that list of contact information for the supporter to use again.
9. Our digital properties should encourage community and supporter network interactions – not simple us-to-them or them-to-us pathed interactions. Our digital properties should encourage user-generated content alongside our institutionally-generated content.
10. We encourage action to save the planet – not only the actions that we design and endorse, but in a wider sense of encouraging people to take actions in their daily lives, to take personal responsibility for protecting our planet for future generations. Our digital properties should not simply be about inspiring people to take action with Greenpeace – they should provide paths and tools and stories which inspire action, full stop.
Selah. Work in progress. Comments welcome.