At Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre last November, 16,000 screaming youth welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the first lady of Canada, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, to the stage. It was Trudeau’s first speech after the Liberal Party won the election to form a majority government – and only students and educators that earned an invitation to We Day were there to see it first-hand.

We Day is an event series that takes place across 14 different cities in North America and the U.K., and features celebrities and athletes giving inspirational speeches mixed with live musical performances from platinum-level bands. The events attract thousands of students and educators, but they don’t just buy tickets, they earn them by completing social justice actions organized by the Me to We Foundation.

Every attendee at We Day has taken a different road before arriving there, says Jaclyn Hicklin, marketing manager of school and youth engagement at Me to We. She makes sure to reflect that in communications leading up to and at the event.

“It’s been pretty revolutionary to see all the interactions each individual stakeholder has,” she says. “You can see everything they’ve done and how to support them in their journey.”

Me to We uses several solutions on the Salesforce platform to organize its relationships with We Day participants. A customer of the cloud software firm for six years, it subscribes to Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Pardot, and Social Studio, explains Jessica Sinclair, associate director of youth engagement at Me to We. Salesforce was implemented after the company graduated from a proprietary piece of software that was developed for its business.

From onboarding, to guiding the path to We Day, to interacting with them at the event, Sinclair says Salesforce has proven to be the right tool for the job.

“We want these youth to be highly engaged in social justice issues. Salesforce makes it possible to take action right away,” she says. “We find it so helpful and cool.”

16,000 students and educators pack the Canadian Tire Centre on November 10, 2015 for WE Day Ottawa. Photo Credit: Quame Scott for We Day
16,000 students and educators pack the Canadian Tire Centre on November 10, 2015 for WE Day Ottawa. Photo Credit: Quame Scott for We Day

Many of the youth involved in We Day start their journey to the event when Me to We’s curriculum reaches them in the classroom. The organization invites teachers to access materials through its We Schools program. Interested teachers can create an account with Me to We’s portal to access the materials, and are also put in touch with a Me to We coordinator for their region. Salesforce provides the tool to manage both the relationships between coordinators and educators, and educators and their students. It offers tools to schedule meetings, share literature, and it keeps a record of all the interactions.

As teachers lead their students through the social justice actions, there’s also online tools to help track progress towards a goal. Students might hold a bake sale for charity, collect donations for a food bank, or even travel overseas and volunteer as part of a trip.

“We keep track of fundraising dollars so we know how much you’ve collected, which is really exciting,” Sinclair says.

Support features add a personal connection

Salesforce’s support features also play their part in engaging with students or educators. A “click to chat” button in the portal connects users with a live employee to talk with in realtime. When that chat is initiated, the support team views a user profile with a history of their transactions with Me to We.

“That gives our team on the other end a better person of who this person is and they can have that conversation better, quicker, faster, and with better authenticity,” Sinclair says.

When it comes time to issue the tickets and register attendees of We Day, Salesforce helps with that too. Invitees receive a custom invitation with a link to a registration form that is customized to their role, their location, and the interests they’ve demonstrated to Me to We.

Hicklin says that the form not only adapts to what the user needs – if you’re coming from out of town, a section to arrange travel and accommodations appears – but also helps her track ticketing numbers to know what to expect in terms of attendance.

“The information is incredibly easy to access, we can see what part of the registration process they’ve reached,” she says.

Realtime event reporting

On the day of the big event, Salesforce continues to play a role. We Day organizers hand out badges outfitted with RFID chips to each attendee. The badges are the pass to every transaction at the event, from entering contest, swapping social media profile details with other guests, or making a connection with an exhibitor.

Sinclair says she can set up automated communications to update We Day guests based on what they show interest in at the event. For example, if they tapped their badge at a booth about a volunteer trip to Ecuador, an email about the trip could be sent to them afterwards.

Me to We also sets up realtime dashboards that deliver analytical reports, Hicklin says. This helps provide feedback to the organization’s own logistics team, and can be shared with exhibitors interested in who’s visited their booth.

“Once 20,000 young people fill the stadium, you start seeing the data populated.”

We Day isn’t done exploring the Salesforce eco-system yet. It’s planning to deploy Community Cloud, which Sinclair sees as a way for educators to talk to each other and share best practices. She sees the potential of gamifying the communications with badges to add more motivations to stay engaged.

“We can keep the network alive and excited to make a difference,” she says.

For those that do engage, who knows, a few years from now and they could be in an exclusive audience watching another Justin Trudeau speech – maybe this time, his last as prime minister.

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