Call for change

Growing a following

Garden for Wildlife, part of the nonprofit National Wildlife Federation (NWF), has a community of seven million participants dedicated to helping local wildlife thrive in the United States in the face of habitat loss. The bird population, for example, has plummeted by three billion since the 1970s, in part due to a decline in caterpillars, as well as larger pollution and climate change issues at play. To help counteract problems like this, Garden for Wildlife educates people on the best ways to create habitats with native plants to support wildlife habitats in urban and suburban spaces. The program has proven popular and saw a 50% increase in participation in 2020, which has kept pace, in part because of more people staying home during the pandemic. NWF wanted to build on that momentum and increase participation and engagement, in particular among millennial parents keen on educating their children on environmental issues. NWF sought Accenture’s advice on how to reach them.

When tech meets human ingenuity

Tapping into a $13 billion market

NWF and Accenture brainstormed ideas during a two-day-long Rumble™ innovation workshop facilitated by Accenture Interactive. It focused on key priorities for the target audience and ways to increase donations and participation. Design and technology experts from Accenture helped turn ideas into actionable plans. NWF settled on the idea for a new business stream: selling native plant kits to gardening and nature enthusiasts across the country. The new business would inspire a whole new generation of gardeners, while promoting NWF and making a real impact on local wildlife. Individual garden plants could be tailored to the local ecosystem and chosen for their potential to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, and volunteer gardeners could be educated on the best methods for raising them without pesticides. Accenture recommended Salesforce as a partner; Nonprofit Cloud was chosen to deliver the core customer relationship management system (CRM); Experience Cloud to build an interactive website with personalized content and the ability to rapidly launch scalable new experiences; and Marketing Cloud to create a 360-degree view of customers from NWF data to build targeted email, advertising and social marketing campaigns. NWF fully trusted Accenture to develop the new Garden for Wildlife vision because of our unmatched technical expertise and close partnership with Salesforce.

Garden for Wildlife quickly identified that selling native plant kits nationally would only be scalable if NWF worked with a network of growers across the country. At the same time, research indicated that demand for native plants was outstripping supply by 14%—the potential market for that unmet demand was worth $13 billion. By building relationships with growers and helping with inventory management, NWF provided an incentive for suppliers to grow often challenging native plants NWF knew would be in demand. Accenture designed the business-to-consumer cloud-based ecommerce platform to connect interested gardeners with local growers, helping fill the 14% gap in the market by delivering a simpler, direct route to supply. In addition, the site sells plants known as keystone native plants that support the greatest number of pollinators and other wildlife. Accenture worked closely with NWF on the brand strategy and design for the new Garden for Wildlife website, social media campaign assets, and paid media planning. We helped NWF identify what was needed for a minimum viable product, which had to be ahead of Earth Day and planting season to deliver maximum impact. The initiative was fully designed during two-week-long sprints with pivots along the way, including a shift to a more mobile responsive site to accommodate millennial users that prefer to access sites on the go. We built the ecommerce function using Shopify and integrated it with the Salesforce Experience Cloud.

A valuable difference

Scaling sales to boost wildlife habitats

Garden for Wildlife was implemented in less than 12 weeks, launching in 20 states and the District of Columbia ahead of Earth Day on April 22nd and ready for planting season. Wildlife enthusiasts can now visit the website to easily select the most appropriate garden kits and supplies based on criteria such as motivation, location, and growing conditions. The project aims to go national within two years.

To increase engagement, Accenture helped deploy an interactive map on the website to provide updates on the program’s impact. As of September 2021, 18,000 plants have been introduced by the Garden for Wildlife community across 3,500 gardens, providing approximately 200,000 sqft of garden habitat. Each garden includes keystone native plants that support approximately 90% of butterfly and moth species in a local area. Combined, Garden for Wildlife plant collections support more than 200 butterfly and bee species and 96% of backyard bird populations. In the future, NWF hopes to harness further Salesforce tools to launch a citizen science angle to the project. The aspiration is to combine Garden for Wildlife participants’ photos with purchasing, image and social media data, to build a real time view of wildlife populations, and even migratory patterns in the US one day.

Accenture will continue to support the non-profit as it reaches out to influencers to spread the word and integrate new community engagement channels. Shopify is already fully integrated with Salesforce and manages all customer communications and orders. Accenture is also helping NWF harness Tableau—a visual integrated analytics platform that uses data to solve problems and empowers people and organizations to make the most of their data—to leverage Salesforce data and gain further insights around grower needs and gardener interests.

Meet the team

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