Improving Efficiency and Helping the Environment
Environment America | environmentamerica.org
Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues through research reports, news conferences, interviews with reporters, op-ed pieces, letters to the editor, and more. Grass-roots organizations in 29 states are affiliated with Environment America, which is supported through private donations. The national group and state affiliates each work through two sister organizations with different strategies for fulfilling their missions and different IRS statuses.
What They Needed
With limited resources and a small staff dedicated to supporting its Web presence, Environment America needed a cost-effective and flexible approach to maintain the more than 60 individual websites that make up the Environment America network.
The challenge was finding a way to enable each state organization to maintain its own unique content, branding, and imagery, while still retaining the consistent look and feel shared by all Environment America websites. State organizations also needed to be able to easily share content with other sites in the network who could then customize it to meet their specific needs.
How We Helped
Palantir used the open source Drupal content management platform and the Domain Access module suite to develop a common platform to enable Environment America to provide consistency across all of its sites and reduce training, support, and hosting costs.
Domain Access enables a group of affiliated sites, each with its own unique domain name, to run from one Drupal installation and a single shared database. Each site can have its own unique look-and-feel, content, and users, but can also share content, design assets, and branding with other sites in the network. Editors may produce content for a single site, a group of related sites or the entire Environment America network. Likewise, a single site administrator can create new sites or adjust the settings and behavior of all sites with a few simple operations.
By using standard templates across all sites, the editorial teams were freed to focus on content creation and targeting their message to members and potential donors. Integrating with a third-party donations system, editors can tailor fundraising calls-to-action to match the content where those appeals are presented.
Palantir also built custom workflows to match the unique concerns of a tax-exempt agency. Certain content can be automatically cross-published between a local advocacy site and its partner research site. Editors may also “localize” content by replacing nationally syndicated content with details and calls-to-action specific to a particular city, state or region.
The Environment America sites have gone from expensive inefficiency to streamlined efficiency, easily manageable by a small staff. The new installation provides a shared infrastructure that allows the not-for-profit organization to split the costs and use member money much more effectively. See the national sites at www.environmentamerica.org and www.environmentamericacenter.org, or an example set of state sites at www.environmentmassachusetts.org and www.environmentmassachusettscenter.org.
- Lowered hosting, maintenance and training costs for client web sites.
- Enabled the sharing of content across local, regional, and national site networks.
- Provided presentation tools for non-technical users to optimize the impact of professional photography, artwork and design services.