Cosmic

Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship

Activating an Active Community 

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The Challenge

After two decades of mountain trail advocacy and stewardship, Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship has evolved from a mountain biking advocacy group into a broader outdoor stewardship organization.

Previously known as Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, their advocacy has expanded to include professional trail construction and maintenance services performed in partnership with landowners and land managers. This new business model, name, and stewardship focus led them to realize that they needed to update the way they were communicating and connecting with their community of volunteers and the land managers who hire them for trail building and conservation.

The Outcome

A new Action Center and Digital Hub marketing site provides the organization with a fresh, modern brand extension that conveys the energy of the organization and the nature of their work while highlighting their vibrant and supportive community. They are now equipped with the tools and messaging they need to express the value they bring to their community and the environment.

SCMTS is able to highlight services sought by landowners and land managers. Their new positioning also emphasises the expertise, skills, and passionate volunteer base they bring to maintaining the extensive trail networks in balance within the delicate ecosystems of the Santa Cruz Mountains and San Francisco Bay area.

  • Strategy
  • Branding
  • Messaging
  • Digital
  • Content
  • Campaigns
  • Climate Action & Environment
  • Policy & Advocacy
  • Education & Research
  • Arts & Culture

An Integrated Digital Experience

The SCMTS Digital Hub marketing site and Action Center acts as a loop to inform the community about the organization, get people to engage with their mission, and encourage volunteers to take both real world and virtual actions.

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SCMTS Marketing Website Homepage
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SCMTS Action Center Homepage

Strategy Development

Our collaboration began with a detailed discussion about the organization’s origins and their gradual transformation. We aligned around how we could best build the digital and communication tools they need to move their organization into its next phase.

In order to understand them from a client and community perspective, we interviewed land managers they work with as well as long-time volunteer community members. We also explored similar land stewardship organizations to discover where SCMTS sits within the space.

The Results: Strategic documents that lay out our insights and recommendations along with a roadmap for the design, writing, and development of a community-centric digital hub.

Carving Out a Niche

The organization pivoted from being a mountain biking advocate organization to one focused on outdoor stewardship. The overall brand strategy involved encouraging their long-term volunteers to embrace this change in perspective.

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SCMTS Volunteer Event

Gaining Insights

Our stakeholder interviews included land managers, trail building and maintenance volunteers, and leaders at partner organizations. Together they provided us with a holistic view on SCMTS and their impact in the community and the region.

Two Sites Working In Tandem

The Action Center and Digital Hub act synergistically. Visitors to the Hub learn about the organization and get context for taking Actions. The Action Center refers visitors to the Hub if they lack context when they arrive there. Together, they give SCMTS a design system with all of the tools they need to engage their audiences, make it easy for them to volunteer, and also demonstrate to land managers the capabilities of the organization.

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Components used across the Marketing Website and Action Center
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SCMTS Special Projects Page and Individual Fund

Setting the Tone

The site is written using simple digestible headlines and with a professional yet casual tone that matches the way the executive team writes and speaks.

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The site language connects to the people behind the organization

Expressing the Mission

The mission is communicated on more than just the About page. It is also strategically placed throughout the Action Center so that people who arrive there first understand the organization.

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The site language connects to the people behind the organization

Short and Simple

To reduce friction for visitors, we kept the copy light, succinct, and to the point.

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Membership sign up flow

Optimizing User Engagement

Best practices were employed to make Actions on the Action Center quick, clear, and easy. Each action prompts a call for deeper engagement. For more on this, see our article on how to increase supporter and donor action using an engagement pyramid.

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Forms appear above the fold. No scrolling needed.

A Smooth Digital Experience

The action flow moves supporters quickly and easily from multiple choices to a clear and concise action.

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Get Involved Landing Page and additional volunteer flows.

Flexible Site Architecture

Because events play a large part in supporter engagement, the site allows the SCMTS team to build custom pages for any fundraising campaign or raffle. They keep core brand elements while allowing for distinctively different pages.

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Two very different raffles

Context Setting

For people new to the organization, the Digital Hub marketing site includes additional information about their mission, the projects they’ve completed, as well as the trails they’ve built and the ones they maintain.

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Digital Hub marketing website Homepage

Conveying Culture & Values

People support an organization not only because of what they do, but who they are and what they believe in. The Digital Hub provides potential supporters with messaging that tells their story and demonstrates the organization’s place in the community.

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Honoring Their Roots

SCMTS began their journey to outdoor stewardship as a mountain biking advocacy organization. Their core audience is bikers and they continue to serve the community that provides the vast majority of supporters and volunteers.

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Blog featuring news, updates and mountain biking resources
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Featured Trails including trail map and trail status

Scope of Work

  • Brand Strategy
  • Research
  • Interviews & Focus Groups
  • Design Systems
  • Voice & Tone
  • Topline Messaging
  • Copywriting
  • Integrated Digital Experience
  • Action Center
  • Information Architecture
  • Content Strategy
  • Branded Copywriting
  • Holistic Communications Strategy

Let's Connect 

Are you ready to take your social impact organization to the next level? Let’s explore our fit for working together.

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