Acterra: Action for a Healthy Planet V

Palo Alto, CA
Round
Spring-Summer 2021
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Market Analysis,
Marketing & Communications
Organization Type
Environment

Organization

Acterra focuses on the most urgent issue of our time: climate change. Acterra’s programs educate people – across beneficial electrification, climate-friendly food, and community resilience – to build collective action in fighting climate change.

Situation

While Acterra has a deep history and strong local presence, it has struggled with how to measure and communicate its impact. Most existing metrics are focused on process, not outcomes. Acterra’s Board and management believe that (1) outcomes measures are needed to effectively guide the organization and (2) funders and volunteers will expect it. 

Project Objectives

ACT helped Acterra to define outcome measures for its work and provided recommendations on how Acterra could use impact metrics to better tell its story. This entailed researching how other environmental organizations evaluate their programs, understanding what the expectations of donors and grant-makers are, how these measures could be applied at Acterra, and how best to communicate Acterra’s impact to key constituents.

Project Overview

The project consisted of 4 stages: discovery, research, analysis, and recommendation. During the discovery stage, the ACT team focused on understanding the current state of Acterra’s programs and measurement capabilities through interviews with key Acterra personnel and the former head of the board and through examining Acterra documents. During the research stage, the ACT team conducted interviews with client contacts, external funders, and competitive benchmarking. During the analysis stage, the ACT team developed impact models for Acterra’s programs and developed insights from research and discovery. Lastly, during the recommendation phase, the ACT team delivered final usable models and storytelling recommendations, as well as other observations and thought starters. 

Key Recommendations

The ACT team developed a set of impact models for Acterra to use in a turnkey fashion and made recommendations around operationalizing the models in order to be able to quantify the CO2 reduction impact of each of its programs.

In addition, the ACT team made a number of recommendations to improve Acterra’s storytelling, such as:

  • including metrics throughout its public-facing communications,
  • rolling activities into a single overarching metric and inviting stakeholders to contribute to the metric through their engagement with Acterra,
  • and simplifying its messaging to a more impactful statement. 

Final Report Outline

  • Project Plan: Review deliverables/project approach
  • Mid-term Review highlights
  • Phase II findings:
    • Recommended improvements to metrics
    • Model details and output
    • Operationalizing the metrics and model
  • Recommendations for Acterra’s storytelling
  • Additional insights and considerations