Washington, DC

The Project
Green Schools Alliance (GSA), an international organization that promotes sustainability in K-12 schools, needed to gather and analyze feedback from its almost 8,000 member schools regarding a complex set of proposed changes to the metrics its uses to track and report on the sustainability of its members. They had previously used email to get this member feedback, but it made the process too cumbersome and hard to break down into real data. GSA contacted SmartComment to design a more efficient way to handle this crucial piece of the organization’s public engagement.

What We Did

  • Went over a detailed Excel spreadsheet with GSA staff that contained a comprehensive 53-section schedule of metrics for which they sought member input. With a full understanding of the data GSA desired and how they wanted it presented. SmartComment programmers then broke the document up by section and created a wizard-style survey that let users scroll through 53 different screens, commenting on sections they wished and bypassing other sections if they chose.
  • Built a back-end comment manager that partitioned any comment within the section to which it pertained. That way, GSA officials could analyze each individual section and the feedback it received, or pull back for a more comprehensive look at the entire data.
  • Established a custom database to store all member comments. Because GSA was exclusively using SmartComment’s web portal to accept public comments, all comments automatically flowed into this database with no agency IT or staff support needed.
  • Provided maps, graphs and other measurement tools so GSA officials could see which parts of the plan generated the most interest and how to address key issues.

The Results
Through the SmartComment platform, GSA received more than 660 comments on its proposed metrics from schools across the United States and beyond. This data flowed automatically through the system, requiring not so much as an email or a single spreadsheet cut-and-paste from GSA staff, which are currently using the data to address comments made during this public outreach campagin.

What The Client Said
“Because of the size of our organization, and the need to share these metrics with other non-profits and federal and state agencies, I needed a system that would allow for many responses without creating a large amount of work for my staff. SmartComment is allowing us to cast a wider net and providing a way to categorize and easily understand the information.”
– Sharon Jaye, Executive Director