Driving Demand: Door-to-Door Outreach & Tracking Impacts (Text Version)
Marian Fuller: The topic of today is "Driving Demand, Door-To-Door Outreach and Tracking Impacts." We have a really wonderful set of panelists today. My name is Marian Fuller and I work with Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and I'm one of the technical assistance providers for the Department of Energy. So I just wanna spend a couple of minutes first talking about the Technical Assistance Program. It is a free program available to stimulus-funded cities and states and other local governments, particularly the block grant program and the state energy program funds.
Anyone - any local government who's using those funds to set up energy-related programs can request technical assistance from the Department of Energy. We do one-on-one assistance, webinars, such as this one, various events. We have a blog. We have online best practices. We do some in-person peer exchange meetings and we do it on - we do this technical assistance on a variety of topics - energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, program design, financing, performance contracting, state [break in audio] and a whole range of things and there's â€"
Female: Marian? We cannot hear you.
Marian Fuller: Hi, there. I'm sorry. This is Marian Fuller. I think the - my phone went out for whatever reason, but I'm gonna start over. We are offering this webinar on - I'm sorry - on door-to-door outreach and tracking metrics for energy efficiency programs. I think my phone went out before I was able to talk about the technical assistance that is available to grantees. You're able to get technical assistance on a variety of topics, including energy efficiency, program design, financing, performance contracting, state and local capacity building, a number of topics that grantees who are receiving stimulus dollars to run state and local programs are currently dealing with.
There are a host of experts able to support you in those needs. This is a quick slide on how to apply for those services. You can go online. You could submit a request. You can also call the number on your screen or email the solution center at ee.doe.gov.
So we have a great lineup of speakers today. What we'll do is all the folks who are on the line listening to the webinar, you can type in questions and you're able to - I'll able - I'll be seeing those on the screen, and I'll be responding to those or asking them directly to the panelists as they speak. So our presenters today: We have David Gershon, who's the founder and CEO of the Empowerment Institute. He's one of the authorities on behavior change and large transformation. He'll be talking first about some of his direct experience on the ground with these programs.
We also have Alex Lofton, who's the managing director of DC Projects. He has years of experience working with political campaigns to get out the vote and to really organize and motivate people, and he'll be talking about that campaign organizing experience. We have Gabrielle Stevens from Efficiency Vermont, who is an implementation specialist for residential efficiency services. She's also the co-coordinator of the Vermont Community Energy Mobilization Project, and she'll be talking about that project today. And finally we have Max Harper, who's the program director of the DC Project. He'll be talking about some of the metrics to think about as you design programs to figure out what's working and what's not, how to track success, how to figure out which of the strategies that you're trying works better than other strategies, has done some really great thinking about that, so we're excited to listen - to hear all these speakers today.
Just so you know, a lot of this webinar is based on a report that LBL recently put out called "Driving Demand for Home Energy Improvements," and we have case studies of the DC Project and Gabrielle's program, the Vermont Community Energy Mobilization Project, in that report. David Gershon's work is also featured in there. If you're interested in that report or future webinars or a listserv we have for both an announcement list service, kind of a low-volume listserv for folks interested in the topic and also a discussion group for practitioners. You can sign up and get those resources at drivingdemand.lbl.gov. So I will go straight in to David. David, can you hear or can you _____ ______?
David Gershon: I can hear you, yes.
Marian Fuller: Great. Thanks. Go for it
David Gershon: So thank you, Maian, and thank you, everyone, for attending this call and for all the good work that you're doing. So what I wanna speak about is how to actually engage people to adopt an environmentally sustainable lifestyle practice and how to get a lotta people to do that effectively, what it is we're talking about, through a program that we have built and have been running now for the past 20 years, and it builds on our research in two key areas: how to actually get people to change behavior and how to get a lotta people to do that. There are five design principles, so, Marian, if you could connect me with the next slide. Marian, thank you. So there are five design principles and what I wanna do is I wanna lay out first the design principles, the framework, if you will, about why this works and how it works, and then I'll go into a case study on our program and the results we achieved. Next slide, please.
The first principle, we call empower or the ability to get people to voluntarily adopt a new behavior, and I'm gonna run through these quickly. They'll be available to you if you wanna go back, but I just wanna give you the background, if you will, of what's in the black box that allows the result to be achieved. The next slide. So in the work of empowerment, the core is being able to change behavior, and this is the challenge of all of these programs, not only in this space but in lots of spaces, including corporations and many other social issues that we need to get people to adopt. We've built a framework - the next slide, please - that we call the empowerment framework, and that empowerment framework basically - while I'm not gonna go into a lot of the detail, it has one core idea and that is to move people to a compelling vision, a vision that attracts them, that excites them, that energized them to wanna do something. The more compelling the vision, the more powerful the ability to engage people. Next slide.
So along with empowerment, the next thing we have to look at is how to invent possibilities that do not currently exist or solutions, so a lot of our work is about how to tap in to social innovation or the ability to meet an unmet need or address a social problem, again a core part of our work. The next slide, please. At the end of the day what we've tried to do is not just create incremental change but transformative change or how do you change the game. How do you get something to really happen so that you can have a big impact on a social issue? So again, a lot of our design is creating these kinds of transformative changes.
And the next slide speaks to the ability to bring the whole system together. Probably the operative term for everything I'll be talking about is whole system solution or whole - a holistic approach bringing people together, approaching them from a holistic point of view, bringing lots of different resources together so that you touch many different places within a person or within a community. Next slide, please. If you can't pay someone to change ultimately, which all the research has indicated in behavioral economics, you have to empower them or motivate them to change from intrinsic reasons or from a reason that is motivating them beyond just the external rewards or motivations, so you have to learn how to disseminate these kinds of solutions where people want to tell others about it. So the next slide, please.
So the key here is to develop what we call a tipping point, and we'll move right on to the next side, and the key to a tipping point is leveraging disproportionate influence, and the guy who's really done the most thinking on this is a guy named Everett Rogers at the Stanford University who created a body of research called "Diffusion of Innovation" and wrote a really profound book on this topic, and what he did basically is he said, "For people who respond, what types of people respond to an innovation?" The first group he called early adopters and, by the way, this research was based on 1,500 case studies over 50 years. He said early adopters seek out the new and have a high tolerance for experimentation.
What he found was that if you can get about 15 percent, that is to say 15 percent of the people on a block or 15 percent of the blocks in a neighborhood, to participate in a social innovation, if the social innovation is capable of scaling, is designed replicably and has the wherewithal to scale, you hit a tipping point where it begins to diffuse on its own momentum. What he basically said is you need to preach to the choir, and they will sing loud enough to bring everyone into the church. The traditional way of social change is don't preach to the choir. This is counter to that, and it's a foundational idea for how to be effective and elegant in your strategy. Next slide.
So as we address the issue of helping Americans develop environmentally sustainable lifestyles, we found that there were four questions they were asking. Rather than creating a solution, what we were trying to do was find out what the criteria for the solution needed to be. Where do I start? Which are the important actions? How do I take them and will it make a difference? And I could see that being applied explicitly to energy efficiency or sustainable living or any social/pro-social behavior you want to bring about in society. Next slide, please.
So our job was to develop a scalable strategy that could transform these barriers and change behaviors. Next slide. So what we created in 1990 was a program we called the Green Living Handbook. Next slide. What we did in that program was we took the overwhelm of information and we broke it into six topic areas. Right at that point in time there was 50 simple things to save the world and many variations on the theme of lists and checklists, and we've seen the same thing now around climate change, but with so much information, people didn't know where to go, so we broke it into six topic areas: reducing solid waste, water efficiency, energy efficiency, transportation efficiency, green purchasing and then empowering others. If I act and no one else does, we don't get very far.
We then learned that just creating information by itself doesn't get the job done even though this is more coherent, and we learned how to create what we called recipes. We design the actions into distinct recipes. First, you do this; then you do this; then you do this. Any time there wasn't a clear sequence, it was a barrier to action and people would invoke the proverbial "I'll get around to it later" and never get around to it, so very critical to have the recipes. But that by itself did not win the day.
What we found was the thing that most effectively helped people to take the actions was a peer support group. Five to eight households is a good size because it's small enough that people can engage and what the peer support group did was it created peer pressure, peer motivation and peer learning, essential experience. When we had that piece, things began to happen. We then created self-directed meeting guides. We scripted them so people not familiar with running meetings could run with them. We created coaches who grew out of the program and then we would train cities or nonprofits to run with this program. Next slide.
What we experienced in this was that not only did the ecoteam enable environmental behavior change - and I'll speak to the results - but the process of building this group created the strong social bonds in ______ and, if you will, social capital that could be redeployed for many other issues, and it was the ecoteam, as I'll speak to a little bit later on, that created the social connection that got people to actually say, "This is a good thing to do. I'm going to prioritize my time and actually do it." And the teamwork was really what got people over the finish line. Next slide, please.
So we have worked with this program in many, many different places, but in light of this goal, one of the places we're now working is the city of San Antonio who took this program on to work with employees to help them develop more sustainable lifestyles, and because of this call and knowing the interest in energy efficiency explicitly, which was only one of our goals, we began to track the impact on that section of our program and what we found, to our - as we had already known but we hadn't tracked it before, was the team process was what got people to do this, and there were approximately 12 different behaviors in the energy section. Three or four of them dealt with specifically retrofit-type actions and on this particular team most of the people did it, and it was not difficult to get them to do it because they had all the ingredients, how to take the action, the local resources that were available and the team support and the social norms that were created around that. Next slide, please.
So this is another experience of the team. This was working with their local utility, CPS, which was giving out various types of support to do this, including access to some kinds of incentives and, again, the team went for it, and working with some 200 people we found that at least a third of the team took the hardcore actions of retrofitting and investing in their homes beyond just the simple habit changes. Next slide, please. So these are some of the results that we achieved in our work working with 20,000 households - 20,000 people, excuse me, and in the energy section we were consistently able to get across that number about a 14 percent energy reduction and these were some of the other co-benefits from the point of view of this program and the other resource issues within the community, and what we found was because the program was holistic we were able to actually get multiple partners and supporters because we were meeting many different issues that the community was trying to address. Next slide.
So once we discovered we could change behavior at a substantive level, the next question was if it's sustained over time. There were seven studies, and we found that from all the studies two years after the fact the behaviors were sustained and, in fact, new ones were added. Once people adopted these new behaviors, they stayed with them. Next slide, please. So the third question and one that's very critical to this conversation was how do you get enough people to participate? We tried to form ecoteams in workplaces and service clubs, in faith-based groups and social networks, but one particular platform was particularly powerful and that was the neighborhood because of the notion of co-benefits and here's where we start to look at intrinsic motivation and social connectivity together. The intrinsic is doing something for the sake of their children, the sense of purpose that that generates, getting to know their neighbors, a immediate social value above and beyond doing the right thing for the environment and building a more livable neighborhood, a healthier and safer neighborhood.
What we ultimately crafted was this statement. We did market testing and this was the statement that was that was successfully able to produce the result that I'll speak to in a moment. "Hi. I'm your neighbor from up the street. I'd like to invite you to a neighborhood gathering in my home this Thursday night, 7:30 to 9:00, sponsored by" - and then it would be one of the cities that would work with us, sponsored, let's say, by the city of Portland - "to learn how to better conserve resources for the sake of our children, get - to get to know our neighbors better and to be able to create a healthier, safer neighborhood. Can you make it?" Eighty-five percent of the people, that is to say, well into the late majority, were predisposed and said yes. Half came and 75 percent who came to that informational meeting in their neighbor's home said they would join the seven-meeting program, which got us a recruitment rate of 25 percent. Next slide, please.
So what we ultimately found was that we were able to hit a number of tipping points. We achieved full diffusion in numerous blocks in many neighborhoods. That is to say we got into the late majority. The program got adopted in some 25 cities and hundreds of other neighborhoods. It spread out to some 21 countries and began to be accepted as a policy tool for many different local, state and federal government agencies, and we began to diffuse the whole notion of sustainable living through lots of media outreach. Next slide.
The media picked it up. The whole notion really started to have a popularization when it got in The New Yorker and other major media like this where they took the key ideas of this program and began to - we knew we had hit some success when we saw this cartoon in The New Yorker. Next slide, please. So in the big picture what we found was that we were able to achieve the following societal transformation outcomes. We began, because of again the holistic nature of this program, to help people move from city and citizen as adversaries to partners. I'm doing my part. I need your help to go further. That was the new mentality that we saw happening, from wasteful use of natural resources to sustainable lifestyles.
When we began in 1990 that word was not in the vocabulary. As a result of some of this work we began to popularize this notion of a sustainable lifestyle, and that's a key piece of this work because approaching someone holistically to create a sustainable lifestyle is a lot easier sell than saying, "Will you learn how to - will you have a more energy efficient house or will you be retrofit - can you retrofit your house or will you retrofit your house?" When you approach people from the point of view of where they are, it's a lot easier to engage them. Thirdly, what we moved people from was isolated and somewhat alienated in their block, not knowing their neighbors to livable neighborhoods, and lastly, citizenship from entitlement to someone who's an empowerment - empowered participant in social change. So next slide, please. Ah, that's the last slide and I think I did it in reasonable time.
Marian Fuller: Great. Thank you.
David Gershon: Yes, welcome.
Marian Fuller: You did great time, David. Thank you so much.
David Gershon: Oh, good.
Marian Fuller: But quick question for you. You mentioned that you were able to track that this behavior lasted longer term. What data did you collect? We have this - a question from a member of the audience.
David Gershon: Yes. Well, we had five cities that had - that hired us and were very eager to find out if their investment was working, so they did longitudinal studies after the program, but the most substantial piece of research was a two-year longitudinal study done by a university that tracked - the people went through the program in a control group and what they found was that 21 behaviors were sustained two years later. Three were not sustained and four new ones were added, so study University of Leiden. It's on our website, empowermentinstitute.net, and you can go right to the research section where it has all the studies, including that one and all the city studies. Empowermentinstitute.net will get you that.
Marian Fuller: And so when they do those longitudinal studies is that looking at the particular indicators that you have identified, you know, the bills for electricity, the water use? It's actually looking at those folks' bills a year later, two years later and so on to connect appropriate â€"
David Gershon: Well, and what we have fortunately in The Netherlands, unlike - which is one of the 21 countries that worked with us, they actually had all the hard data. In the U.S. we weren't able to get all that data, but in The Netherlands they had all that hard data, yes, so they were able to look at both the actions that were indicated that were taken, what people said they were doing afterwards, as well as the bills in this case. We weren't able to get that quality of data in the U.S. because we weren't able to track the utility bills, but in there they have gas. They have electricity. They have water. They have everything metered, so they were able to actually do this with very hard data.
Marian Fuller: And you also mentioned that there's a financial savings of about $250.00 on average. I believe that's per year on average for all the measures that the average household adopted. Is that _______?
David Gershon: That's correct. Yeah, that's what we found and what was also interesting, Marian, again for the people that are working in the area of energy efficiency was we didn't put any special emphasis on energy efficiency and what we're now paying attention to is when you put emphasis on that, can you actually increase the results, particularly the energy efficiency results, the savings. That's a new area for us to start exploring, but the money savings was pretty solid across the board and, you know, sometimes it went as high as $400.00 or $500.00, sometimes as low as $100.00 and $150.00, depending upon the utility company and where they were located.
Marian Fuller: Great. Well, thank you so much, David. We're gonna move on to Alex, who's gonna be talking without slides, a modern miracle here, so David, thanks, and we'll - and just for folks on the line, if you have questions, please just put them into that question box in that little bar at the side of your screen, and I'll be trying to answer them as we go, and we'll also have some Q&A at the very end for all panelists, so just keep the questions coming. Alex, I'll turn it over to you.
Alex Lofton: All right, Marian. Can you hear me just fine?
Marian Fuller: Yeah, we can hear you.
Alex Lofton: All right, great. Well, thanks again, everybody, and thank you, David, for that presentation. _____ _____ piggybacking nice off of what you just talked about, which was very, very valuable. I am coming to you guys today. Currently I work for the DC Project. I'm gonna let Max go ahead and talk a little bit more about our organization, but I'm really coming at this call with a ______ working on Barack Obama's presidential campaign and a couple of other campaigns. Previous to my work here, given your perspective on kinda political organizing and organizing especially rooted in field campaigns including the _____ _____ and groups-on-the-ground tactics and kind of techniques that have been - and kind of important things to remember when doing that that will be helpful no matter whether in the political sphere or outside of that.
Just real quick, I do wanna get a little more depth, but first of all intro. Just so you know kinda where my - where I'm coming from and the lens that I have 'cause it's hard to kinda ______ ______ everybody is - the types of folks that are organizing the political realm especially in the field where we oftentimes come from. We come from a house full of organizers, a schoolteacher and a social worker parents that both are head of their respective unions at their specific school and at the state level. My sister and brother-in-law both organize in north - New Orleans. My brother - other brother is an organizer here in D.C., so really to give you an understanding that, you know, whether it be politics or otherwise, there's a reverence that I have just from day one of people power and kind of how to insert that people power no matter whether it be for electing a president or working on energy efficiency.
I previously spent 19 months organizing for Barack Obama in the field. One had a mantra that rang true from top to bottom in the operation of respecting everyone's contribution, being able to empower everybody to own the process and the owner outcome so you can increase your capacity and being able to include every single person that wanted to be included. So after that 19 months and traveling all around the country to organize, I spent another month doing a runoff race for Jim Martin in Georgia after the '08 election. I learned some valuable lessons there and then finally spent a year building Organizing for America over at the DNC based here in D.C. but in charge of seven southern states, really the operation of political field operation for the Democratic Party, kinda translating a lot of those lessons learned to the campaign in this new era of political organizing into the current political atmosphere.
On the - and again on the campaign spent time in a variety of states and cities that really taught me and woke me up to just how many people in this country are - venues are desperate for change and desperate for a chance to realize a dream that they've been told for so long will come to them, and so that really reinforced this idea of people power as a part of organizing, and specifically I wanna talk about two examples and experiences I had, kinda highlight what we did and how, whether it be for politics or otherwise you can use on-the-ground tactics to really get your message across and get an outcome achieved. My experiences in South Carolina and Georgia were really formative.
And before I dive into those two experiences and give you some examples, I wanna give a quick overview of what I see as kind of four main points of political organizing that can be taken away for any type of organizing that's done, first being grass-top power-mapping, second being relationship-based community organizing, third being using online tools to scale your work, and fourth, create a media strategy. So on grass-top power-mapping what that really means and the way I look at that is look - going into any community or working with ______ may be a very first step to look at is what already - what resources you already have at your disposal, what power is already there in your community that would be interested in your trying to achieve.
And so a lot of the operations sprung up from state to state for the Obama campaign spent a lotta time on talking with leaders, not only political leaders but, you know, community organizational leaders, you know, conditional leaders of all sorts in the religious community, et cetera, kinda figure out how their interests play into the overall vision for the campaign that you're trying to run or put out there. That's second and then coupled with relationship-based community organizing, and really that's something that David did a great job of kind of highlighting the importance of, having community groups that can bring forth the work that they do and bring forth each other when they're kinda going for some sort of goal.
We - and this is where a lot of my work came in the field focused on building what we called Obama teams during this campaign of citizens who - many of which had never been part of politics before but had got a chance to become a 101 conversation with somebody who was able to connect the vision of the campaign to their vision of how they want to see the world work and see - and give them a chance to figure out how they could be plugged in no matter how much time, a lot or little, they had to the campaign so that it was a valuable contribution and that was a contribution that could be tracked and celebrated along the way, so that was a big key part.
The third part of using online tools to scale your work, that kind of has three parts within itself - data tracking, obviously something that we always do on a campaign when you're doing a field campaign with, "Well, you know, great if you go out and pass out a hundred flyers, but if you don't know who they - you passed them out to or who you talked to, the work never really happened," so being able to track data using online tools to do so, using online to make your information about your project, your campaign going viral. Obviously that was really - you know, through YouTube, through emails, through all sorts of other methods online is a way that we spread a lot of information and thirdly at-home tools, that people could really participate in your project and in your campaign no matter where they were. If they weren't able to come to an office or your campaign or organization's unable to have a bunch of physical locations are able to get people to take the interest in the campaign and make it into actual action from their home.
Fourth then, like I said, was media strategy, which is oftentimes kind of glossed over or forgotten about, but it's really an important component to any strategy that's done on the ground. It's being able to how we said with air cover so that when you're - when individual conversations are being had between a supporter or non-supporter or a potential activist and a current activist, that actual conversation relationship being built is the most important thing that could happen. You can multiply that effect simply by getting stories written about that experience, getting stories written about those very people making that happen, so being able to couple traditional outreach to TV and newspaper and other outlets to be able to tell that story for you can multiply the work you're doing on the ground already in talking on a day-to-day basis with field organizers and volunteers.
So all that leads me to kinda give you a specific example of my own experience really quickly here. Like I said, in South Carolina that was back in - ooh, long time ago, the end of 2007, beginning of 2008, and it was the Democratic primary where the primary base was mainly composed of African-American voters in a state with notoriously low turnout rates, and it was a state in a political climate that was very used to organizations and political campaigns coming in and taking advantage of the _______ voting block, basically knocking - making - what was taking folks into consideration as voters or individual folks who had something to contribute but then just had a number that could be paid off to vote one way or another and that was in the form of direct voters and also volunteers just being to paid to hand out leaflets and ______ _____ relationship with the campaign other than ______ some sort of money being given and not have nothing to do with the outcome of what the campaign was gonna bring.
So at the beginning of that when I got down in South Carolina in that climate, with Barack Obama being a guy that no one can pronounce his name at the time during the primary, we had about a 10Â percent support rate and for - this is a very important step to this campaign winning and over the long haul I kind of - I was there to be able to see that 10Â percent support rate going from that number to a landslide victory in January of '08, and this is long before the ______ bus coming in for the general election, before everybody kinda knew Barack Obama's name, and so that was all really focused and done by a field operation that was - that I was - you know, first hand and helped to orchestrate the focus on shifting those attitudes on Barack Obama voter by voter, step by step, and the - you know, this is a good example for smaller campaigns, smaller operations, because it was an operation that had a much smaller voting block than you would in a really big state at a general election.
There was a clear kinda timeline that we wanted and needed to get certain results done, et cetera, so these steps I'm talking about really kinda comprised the following. First was hiring a core group of strong talented organizers, many of which were first-time organizers but had a kinda passion for the work that was gonna be done. We spent a _______ time focusing on building relationships with community members so that could build a committed infrastructure of people, a human infrastructure that was gonna be able to actually run the campaign and so that translated to forming - finding individual leaders to form their own Obama teams, as we called them, that consisted of people of different roles. Each member of that team was doing different roles. Then together on their own what we called turf that they were able to kinda say, "I know the number of voters I need to get on Election Day and everything I do from now to Election Day is about building our capacity and getting those voters."
We then translated that kind of consist, strong, committed infrastructure to the actual actions it was gonna take to reach these voters, so consistent high-volume phone-calling from targeted lists, for volunteer teams, as I described before, those lists coming from data purchased from consumer data to actual data in the Democratic coffers of former voters, et cetera, to kinda figure out who the best ______ supporters are and then being able to follow up with people and have a continuous conversation, taking that conversation then from the door - I'm sorry, from the phone to the door and being able to go door-to-door canvassing with specific targeted lists and having that same conversation. Those conversations of kind of first steps were translated to then getting folks to attend neighborhood house meetings, which was something that David actually talked about, which is great in the previous presentation, but a big part of it was not just having a primary conversation but getting to have that secondary tertiary conversation in a comfortable setting with - as a neighbor, your own neighbor telling you why they're gonna vote for Barack Obama, why they're gonna volunteer for Barack Obama, and getting that commitment to be tracked there afterwards, the organizers and these Obama teams to follow up and carry people all the way down and turning that committed vote into an actual vote and then running the whole get out the vote operation on Election Day, hopefully getting those people to be volunteers themselves.
That whole process was about taking one specific person and saying, "Yes, I like this guy or I love this guy" and exponentially increasing your outreach is what it was - what all this was about was that exponential growth and going to pale of what you wanna try to do. And, finally, all that is wrapped up in the fact that you have to track everything on those conversations, and it has to be something that people know actually happened so you can follow up. I was able to kinda personally take that to Georgia during the general election. I ran the operation in Georgia for the general election. ______ really ______ it up well with a well-orchestrated communications and media plan not only enhanced that work that was happening on the ground and what I was able to do is get people to focus on a strategy that was all kind of one and the same, but get - were able to empower folks through our ______ techniques of own the tactic for how they're gonna reach there.
So our strategy was to register a bunch of voters 'cause there's a political climate of change and we needed more people on the rolls to vote for Barack Obama. We focused on voter registration. That was a strategy. What the tactics were were varied from place to place whether it was urban, rural, black, white, et cetera, and so therefore had to act and had to demand of the volunteers and organizers to figure that out on their own and that kind of relationship where you empower the - to have a structure to do that allowed us to register, 220,000 people, blowing our goal out of the water of 100,000 and while we didn't get to win that state and the political climate didn't change, definitely our piece of puzzle there worked because we kinda committed to the strategy.
I've got some other examples but for the interest of time I think the only thing I'll say about kind of when this doesn't work and when to think about how we have to take other consideration, my experience in the Martin campaign was a month-long campaign, didn't have a lot of time to build those relationships around a shared narrative about why this is so important right now to change the ______ date, et cetera, and the people weren't as committed to be in order to have infrastructure size that we needed to have the same sort of level operation. Also, I've seen in other campaigns and other experiences there, if leadership doesn't commit to this type of strategy where you build the capacity first and translate that into outcomes later and kinda gives up along the way then you'll never get to see this going to scale as I talked about before, which is frankly what we all try to build for and achieve, so that's a really important thing to keep in mind as well. But with that, Marian, I'll go ahead and turn it back over to you.
Marian Fuller: I've got a question. Yeah, thank you, Alex. It was a great presentation and I just - I have a question. I've worked in a bunch of nonprofits and it's often - it often is a net drain on time to engage volunteers if you don't do it right, and it sounds like you're engaging hundreds of volunteers to do all this active outreach, and we're talking about local governments who are looking to start new programs, and is there any - what do they need to have in place to make a volunteer-based program successful? It doesn't sound like it's easy. Do you need to get someone who knows how to do the volunteer organizing? Is it - I don't know if the online tools actually manage everyone. Like what factors have to be in place to make it work? 'Cause I can also imagine putting a ton of time into organizing volunteers and then not have the staff and management capacity to keep it together and to really make the most of it.
Alex Lofton: Oh, sure, and I think the _______ lighter points, I think, all things you eventually wanna have, but I think that first place to start honestly when you're - is with the - kind of the grass tops or community-based organizations that already exist in communities that actually have a lot of infrastructure available and have the relationship already built, not - I know I think I described an experience that had a lot to do with spending time building from scratch, whole groups of people and a whole operation, but I mean that's kind of a soft, I think, picture because a lot of that infrastructure really came from organizations that already existed, whether it be for people who cared about specific policies that they saw this president being the venue to be able to pass or the base community that was really behind the - Barack Obama at the time for - as president that - those are the folks that we really were able to go to first and have that conversation to figure out and map out what potential is there.
I think that's the first and foremost most important basic thing you could do. I think from there, I think it really is about figuring out what are simple ways that you're gonna translate your message about what needs to happen now versus what needs to happen later in clear communication channels, and that can be in the form of online tools that are - lots of organizations here have really focused on translating from political world to the nonprofit world that are easy, accessible, oftentimes free, and just simple - very simple tools allow you to kinda figure out where you're going from step - day one to day two are the most basic things that you would need.
Marian Fuller: Great. Thanks, Alex. I just wanna remind everyone that there is a case study on the DC Projects program in D.C., WeatherizeDC, in the Driving Demand Report, so that's at drivingdemand.lbl.gov and that walks through some of the stats and some of the strategies for how these tools have been applied in D.C. to energy projects, so thank you so much, Alex, and we'll move on to Gabrielle. Let's see if I can un-mute you. Can you see if you can be heard, Gabrielle?
Gabrielle Stevens: Can you hear me?
Marian Fuller: Great. Yep. Okay, great, so _______.
Gabrielle Stevens: Yeah. Thanks for the opportunity to present on the Vermont Community Energy Mobilization Project, also known as VCEM, and, yes, we need to change the name. My name is Gabrielle Stevens. I'm community energy and renewables program manager with Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, also known as VEIC. VEIC is a nonprofit in Vermont that manages the state energy efficiency utility, so first a little bit about the program context. We already have a statewide energy efficiency retrofit program, so in many ways this was sort of an additional program element to our preexisting energy efficiency retrofit program.
There were a few pieces that really created the environment in which VCEM could be launched. One was that the summer of 2008 we had very high fuel prices. Another is that Efficiency Vermont for many years had been receiving requests from many states and local town energy committees to provide some sort of program in which volunteers such as town energy groups could really make real energy savings and not necessarily just hand out flower - flyers at a conference or at a energy booth. So we've got a lot of volunteers and then there was repeated requests for a program to be designed for them to sort of leverage what we could provide with their energy.
There was also a fair amount of legislative support. It was an election year. With the high fuel prices and the volunteerism combined with recent market research study that we did for our Home Performance with ENERGY STAR retrofit program, also know as HPwES, that research report basically said that the best way to get people to move forward with retrofits was word of mouth. We had broad program goals, and I mention this because our program goals were different than what a lot of the listeners on this webinar have for program goals.
Our program was to develop programs so volunteers could immediately assist neighbors with energy savings and, as a result, our tracking was different than I think potentially what you guys may be trying to track. Additionally, it was only a two-month period from program design to implementation. That also had some tracking implementation - tracking issues, and I would encourage, to the extent that you can think a little bit about what you want to track beforehand, it's far easier than hiring an intern later to input data after the fact. Finally, the VCEM project was really more of a neighbor-to-neighbor, not so much a door-to-door project. Vermont's pretty geographically spread out and neighbor to neighbor is a lot more relevant for Vermont. Next slide, please.
About the program design, I preferred David's image of the dandelion seeds blowing out, but essentially we had Efficiency Vermont which designed the program, developed materials of which there were 16 different program forms - it was very paper-heavy - trained volunteers, assisted local coordinators, paid for and tracked energy efficiency measures and savings, also wrote up a final report and has done repeated follow up with the home participants, the people who had these home visits. A local coordinator was responsible for recruiting volunteers and participants, for scheduling home visits, for managing inventory, but going back to what both the previous speakers have commented on, in many ways Efficiency Vermont used the local coordinator and the local town energy group as their - for their great leverage in the sense that they were the ones that really provided the credibility. They were the ones that provided and in many ways were the local opinion leaders. If you have your town manager signing up to do some home visits, it just gives the impact of that home visit so much more strength, and they were also the ones that really developed the community buy-in and had the preexisting relationships, which is why we could roll out this program in two months.
Really quickly, the home visit concept is that volunteers would go into a home, immediately install or direct install, as the industry lingo refers to it, compact fluorescent light bulbs, water efficiency measures, pipe insulation, hot water tank wraps and programmable thermostats. There would also be a brief walk through the home in which they would look at the attic, the basement. Is there attic hatch insulation? Is the basement a dirt floor? And then the most important part was the kitchen table conversation. Again, this is where you develop that support and the trust in the program.
Part of that kitchen table conversation was talking about what had been installed and what the volunteer found as they walked through the participant's home, but the bulk of the conversation was crunching through bills, energy bills, and getting a sense of the square footage of the home and the energy usage and comparing that to the Vermont average and saying, "Hey, you only have two people living in this, you know, X square foot home, but you're using so much for your oil. Potentially you've got a savings here." And the final part of that kitchen table conversation was, "Looking at your energy use, we suggest these next steps. These might be where you could really find more comfort addressing mold issues or just saving energy and money." Next slide, please.
Since this presentation is about driving demand, first I have the little picture of the leaf, again thinking about the dandelion seeds, spreading the word. Efficiency Vermont provided the program but really spreading the word rested with the town coordinator. In terms of your message, your message needs to be really clear. You don't want different customers getting different messages, but it also should be flexible. We have worked with over about 15 groups, and our groups had different messages. Some of the town energy groups wanted to provide a rounder, most holistic sustainable message, so our message needed to be able to be tweaked to fit their needs and address what would help them with their community buy-in.
We developed every outreach tool we could imagine from public service announcements to calendar listings to case studies to putting together a list of what the organizations were that we knew of in the area, faith-based, environmental, human resource and educational so that there was the leveraging and meeting with other organizations of like mind and spreading outreach that way as well. VCEM did not use paid advertising, but if I had had the funding I would certainly have offered that to my groups. In terms of driving demand, VCEM tried to employ all of these elements. In terms of modeling success we had case studies. We also had open homes, which is sort of a newfangled twist on a Tupperware party so that, you know, once a month someone in your neighborhood or someone in your town could open their home and show you what a retrofit looked like. How did their bill change? Are they much more comfortable? Is the mold problem gone?
Engaging community leaders. Again, most of our coordinators were community leaders so that helped. Engaging the participant. The volunteer visitor did not just go in the home and install everything. It was required, as much as possible given it was volunteers, that the home participant really walk through the home with the volunteer, and we had as part of our training that the volunteer could frame their comments. "By the way, did you know, homeowner, that by me installing this CFL you will see X amount of savings?" In terms of commitment, we did have the home participant sign a pledge and we did follow up in a survey later to find out what additional steps they had taken. Normative messaging, comparison to others and feedback, all of those pieces were based on terms of looking at the overall household energy use and then letting them know what the Vermont average was, and the repetition of that clear but flexible message started with the initial announcement in the town local newspaper and went through the home visitor and then all the way back to Efficiency Vermont when we followed up with customers. Next slide, please.
In terms of tracking, as I mentioned, it depends on what your goals are. Obviously we tracked our energy savings. We tracked our customer site information. We also did track how many times we communicated with the customer. What we found was the more that you follow up without irritating them, the more you will see your retrofits, but I do not suggest once a month but potentially once every six or seven months.
Customer feedback. We followed up with a survey. Why did they move forward? Was it saving energy, saving money? Was it comfort? Was it mold? And why didn't they move forward? There are different answers to these two questions, why they did and why they didn't, and it's best to try and model your program so that you're addressing both why they might move forward and why they might not.
And then also in terms of our survey, to get a sense of why they moved forward and what parts of our program helped them, we asked them please rank our program elements according to what was most helpful for you. Was it our incentives? Was it the kitchen table conversation? Was it explaining what would be your best next step? I do think you guys may have - it can be a challenge to create a clear message but then to try and track what motivates different customers differently. You would have to actually roll out the program slightly differently and that could be a challenge. We didn't - we addressed that in VCEM by providing the same program but then again asking the participants to rank which program elements moved them the most.
Database flexibility. I would certainly encourage looking at online resources, but your database flexibility will also determine what and how easily you can track things and in terms of the time lag, this is critical. You could have a great program and if you're trying to find out what the response is, you need to give it some time. It can't be that you roll out a program and two months later you're expecting retrofits. It takes people a while to actually think about installing $8,000.00 to $10,000.00 home improvement project. It requires a lot of looking at different budgeting, conversations with your partners, so there's usually a time lag that we've witnessed. Next slide, please.
Findings and results. In terms of the table, if you take a look at number of completed and in progress Home Performance with ENERGY STAR retrofits, you'll see that there are different percentage amounts. Overall we have 50 completed and in progress projects resulting from the VCEM program. In 2009 that means that 5.7 percent of the homes that received a visit in 2009 ended up moving forward with a retrofit. In 2010, 3.4 percent so far of the homes that have moved - that had a retrofit - sorry, that had a visit moved forward with a retrofit, and you'll see that time lag again right there. It's also helpful to note that overall the last couple of years Home Performance with ENERGY STAR has seen about 500 projects move forward, so 50 over 500 is not insignificant.
Findings and results. It was really helpful for us to try to sit down, even though we were rolling out in two months, and really plan what we were hoping to achieve. This will help you with your tracking and then to go back again and again and see what's working and tweak it. Since energy costs are manageable, you do need some community buy-in or at least energy costs are manageable by a lot of the people who have $8,000.00 to $10,000.00 to do a retrofit. In terms of outreach, we offered our local coordinators everything we could think of, but then they should use what fits. We had one fellow who in January would drive around with a door-hanger and look at which roofs had the most ice.
In terms of social behavior, try everything on and then survey what works. In terms of making the project results public and real time, I found it really helpful once you have that community buy-in to put out a big kiosk in front of town hall and let the community know what the results are, what's improving, what's working. Neighbor to neighbor works. Efficiency Vermont did follow up with a survey and what we found was that 37 percent of the people who had had a home visit had never heard of Efficiency Vermont, so clearly going through neighbors were targeting an audience and a community that we hadn't actually been able to reach and, finally, follow up as much as you can. Check in with the customer and make sure you're not gonna irritate them, but that has helped with our retrofit rate. Yes, please, next slide.
Reasons for not moving forward. I won't read this off to you, but these were the - from highest to lowest the reasons why people chose not to move forward, and if you can try and think about why they didn't move forward and how you can design your project to follow up with them, that might help address why they're slowing down and not moving forward. Thank you.
Marian Fuller: Gabrielle, thank you so much. That was really helpful. Two quick questions for you. One is: Are there any liability concerns of having volunteers go into homes and do pipe wraps or install thermostats?
Gabrielle Stevens: Yes, and that's one of the reasons why we actually are probably not gonna do tank wraps next year, and we only did programmable thermostats the first year. A couple of thoughts on that. We did have insurance out for all volunteers. We - part of our training was very much do not install anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Part of our training was showing where flue pipes are, and if they're located within a certain of inches from your pipe insulation, do not install it there, but, yes, there are several elements there. Also in terms of if you do install a tank wrap jacket, you need to put new warning signs on the outside, so it can become logistically a little bit of a headache, both in terms of the training and in terms of the materials, you know, making sure you have the stickers for the tank wraps, all of that, so to the extent that we can install the easier items, you'll make your program move a little bit more easily.
Marian Fuller: And one last question, the training â€"
Gabrielle Stevens: Oh, and â€"
Marian Fuller: Oh, go ahead.
Gabrielle Stevens: The other piece is we did have - on the home intake form, home participants had to sign both a pledge but then they also to had to sign that they couldn't sue us or the home visitor.
Marian Fuller: In terms of the training you provide to volunteers, who created that curriculum and who administered it? Was that all Efficiency Vermont and is that a curriculum available somewhere?
Gabrielle Stevens: Yes, and I can certainly provide that to you if that would be helpful.
Marian Fuller: That would be great. I think lots of folks would love to see that and, in fact, maybe what I'll do is if I can get that from you I can post that onto the drivingdemand.lbl.gov website for everyone.
Gabrielle Stevens: Sure.
Marian Fuller: That sound okay?
Gabrielle Stevens: Yeah.
Marian Fuller: Okay. Thanks so much. Really appreciate it. So we're gonna go to our last speaker, Max Harper from DC Projects. He's gonna go through some of the metrics and methodologies to think through as you're designing and implementing your program. Max, are you there?
Max Harper: I'm here.
Marian Fuller: Great. Take it away.
Max Harper: Yep. Hi, everybody. My name is Max Harper and I have the pleasure of being a cofounder of the DC Project, a nonprofit that we - a number of former Obama organizers and data folks and online folks that came off the Obama presidential campaign in '08 set up this nonprofit out in D.C. with the goal of enabling communities - disadvantaged communities opportunity in the clean energy economy. I currently act as the program director of WeatherizeDC where we've been working day in and day out for just over a year now trying to bring hope and change to the retrofit industry. Next this - okay, no, this is the slide here.
So this slide is a diagram kind of our program design. The WeatherizeDC program is kind of a retrofit program and for the most part in its entirely minus direct access to rebates or financing. We mobilize volunteers and homeowner to get homeowner to invest in weatherization. We work with contractors developing contractors to do that work, and we work with workforce development partners to supply workers recently trained out of backgrounds of poverty levelized disadvantaged situations through a community workforce agreement to be able to do the work that we supply.
So the diagram before you shows kinda the entire confluence of the overall system. What we're gonna be focusing on today is marked in color, and it's what we have come to term the weatherization pathway, which is taking a homeowner from an initial - from their initial targeting and outreach and engagement and moving them all the way through the retrofit process there in green and finally to what we call feedback where we're tracking qualitative and quantitative outcomes and outputs from their experience and reengaging them in the engagement process. So, yes, and we'll go ahead to the next slide, please.
So this is - there's a lot going on here. I understand and I invite you to kinda drill into this and the next couple of slides when you get a chance afterwards. I'll kind of help for the next few slides kinda focus your attention on a few areas. So this is that weatherization pathway that I was describing just before, and it goes from left to right and what we've got is essentially the discrete steps, and we've kind of divided up the process into some discrete steps which enable tactical communication and data design. At any given time in our office you'll see this up on the wall or up - I mean up on a whiteboard, and we've got sticky notes in every different location with - that are color-coded and they mean all kinds of different things.
What's really important about kinda this system's methodology is that it enables us by tracking people's progress through these discrete steps to track conversion rates and lag time so we can kinda keep a - keep tabs on the system dynamic that we're experiencing and from left to right you see kind of the - in the targeting purple column and the outreach red column the different channels by which we're doing outreach, the three main entry points into our engagement system, which would be direct data entry off of a in-person or on-the-ground event, a phone call where they've called in or sign up onto our website and through our CRM we now start engaging them through a variety of tactics.
This engagement low and engagement high can kind of be thought of together, but we've subdivided it because we recognize that there is some folks that aren't ready to attend a house meeting and get into a peer-pressured room and kinda commit to weatherization. They might wanna take it a little more slowly, so we have an engagement level for them, so all the tactics are - will be placed sort of in there around engagement low and engagement high, and those tactics include all of these neighbor-to-neighbor or door-to-door tactics that we've been talking about, canvasses, home energy meetings, volunteer walk-throughs, community energy meetings, a variety of things, and we're not gonna focus too much on all of the tactics but more on the methodology by which we track people's progress through this.
Ultimately, just an important marcation here is the distinction between yellowing and green. For us that's the commitment point. This is someone essentially pledging and committing and saying, "I'm interested in not only getting an audit but ultimately weatherizing" at some price range that you've been able to communicate to them. At that point they become a lead. They go through the weatherization process. We track their progress through that through a collaborative data system with our partner contractor and then ultimately follow up with them and have the feedback stage there where we sort of see what their experience was like and reengage them.
Underneath you see the analytics section. That gives you an idea, you know, of people's progress through what we're able to track and what we're focused on at any given stage and so if you track somebody from yellow to - from the orange section to the green section that's how good are we at these different tactics, how engaging are we at house energy meetings. We're just focused on the step from red to orange. We're tracking how good was our outreach, how good is our - how good are our materials. Could we have written a better email? Could we have written a better blog post? Those kinda things and then there's at the very bottom there a line across the entire bottom is, you know, tracking people that we've targeted and seeing how they've - if they were good partners, if we did good with the data targeting and if they ultimately proceeded through. Another piece that's in here, which we're not gonna really talk about, is the use of an energy tracker which was on there, but okay, we'll skip ahead here. So metrics â€"
Marian Fuller: Oh, sorry. Sorry about that.
Max Harper: Go ahead on the next slide there.
Marian Fuller: Okay.
Max Harper: I see I know ______ is here, so we're gonna show a couple of examples of how we're building metrics around this kinda template for our _______. What you've got here is an example of one stream of tactics and - or targeting through retrofit, and this one is mass mobilization so that we're gonna focus on a neighborhood canvass which will lead to people going to the home energy meeting, which will lead to leads generated, ultimately them moving to the process of retrofit and hopefully becoming a referrer. So looking from left to right in the purple column, we've got a targeted universe, our full universe of targeted homeowners, for example, 40,000, and we've targeted them by some publicly available data - house age, block level, energy use data, home ownership - and if we've purchased consumer data maybe heating type, mortgage status, et cetera, and we've kinda whittled down a targeted universe, and it's from that targeted universe that we're gonna go knock on doors.
So then we're gonna look at the red column and we're doing our outreach. This is us going and knocking on that targeted list and knocking on a select group of doors and what we're tracking is the outcomes of that tactic, so we're tracking the number of attempts, which means door knocks, the number of contacts, which means conversations, and we're asking where we have our canvasses of speaking a script and asking them in this case to go to a home energy meeting in their neighborhood hosted by their neighbor, and then we're tracking the number of people that say yes to it and looking at that contact to house meeting that's conversion rate and we're tracking a few other things along the way. You can kinda read through them.
I wanna point your attention to just a couple of things. It's important to be tracking the date of all of these things and - because you wanna be keeping of the lag times, and you wanna keep track of the script, what script were you using, and could you have been using a better script and if you try a new script, how are you able to compare Script A to Script B and did Script B work better and then some context notes. So then now we've got - we've - we're having them go to the home energy meeting. In between those steps, I wasn't able to fit it, but you would have phone banking and emails for RSVP, so we would have a list of people that have RSVP'd.
And we're gonna track now at the meeting with a sign-in sheet how many people are attending, what are the number of no-shows, what's our flake rate, how many said they would show up but didn't, and then we're tracking the same kinda things with the canvass scripts and the date, maybe making notes of improvement areas so we can constantly approve and - improve and adapt our techniques and ultimately we're tracking our conversion rate. How are we doing at this type of house meeting? Was it a successful house meeting? Would have been better if we approached in a different way? So we've got our conversion rate there and then they would go on and go into are the - those that committed to weatherizing. We would then track them through the retrofit work, much in the way that you heard in the previous presentation. And let's go to the next slide.
Marian Fuller: Can I interrupt for a second? Can I just interrupt for a second?
Max Harper: Yeah.
Marian Fuller: What is the source of the block level energy use data? Where do you get that from?
Max Harper: I believe that actually comes from the census. I could double-check with our data associate, but that's - that was my understanding.
Marian Fuller: Okay, and then on the consumer data â€"
Max Harper: And it looks â€"
Marian Fuller: Oh, go ahead.
Max Harper: Yep, go ahead.
Marian Fuller: Oh, on the consumer data you look at mortgage status. What are you inferring from mortgage status in that case?
Max Harper: Yeah. We put a couple of data points in there, and we did some analytics of our six-month pilot, and we found a couple of things, and we found a number of other things that were in there. We decided not to put them all in there partly because of the physical significance at this point. We have some hunches, but the mortgage status, I think, we see it potentially being something very neutral and in a - well, we saw it being very useful in a case-enabled environment and potentially for prequalification, so â€"
Marian Fuller: Okay, great.
Max Harper: - yeah, I think that's partly why that's - that would be why that's on there. If you look at the statistics â€"
Marian Fuller: So we just have a few more minutes, so, Max, just something. We just have a few more minutes, and I'm thinking that this slide is actually gonna be a good one to talk about just in that couple of minutes as you close up. Is that okay? We just have like five more minutes till the webinar is over.
Max Harper: Sure. Yeah, the last slide, when guys go back to it, it's about the way work one-on-one with grass-top leaders as Alex earlier kind of spoke about on the campaign. There's a variety of what we've kinda deemed core metrics that are listed here. I wanna point out just a couple that are significant. One that's really significant and not often talked about is the referral rate and for us we spend a lotta time kind of experimenting or exploring how we can increase the referral rate, which is the number of folks that have done a retrofit and they're now out organizing for us or hosting energy meetings in their weatherized home, and I think that's to us a marker of long-term sustainability and also a mark of reaching the tipping point. These are the choir that you preach to. We're trying to figure out how to make them sing as was mentioned earlier.
I could go into any one of these and sort of a question. I think another one I wanna talk about is long-term volunteers, and you had - Marian, you had mentioned earlier in a question how challenging it might be to engage volunteers and it might be the cost-benefit analysis might not work out. We spend quite a bit of our time in looking at the ways we can build long-term engagements for volunteers and one of the things that we've been experimenting with and had a lot of success is training volunteers in doing those volunteer home energy assessments, those kinda clipboard audits, if you will, and it's been showing a lot of success for us in that it gives a volunteer something other to do - something else to do other than knock on doors and make phone calls and it engages them.
It makes them feel empowered and as their learning through this experience, and they get T-shirt and they get a special packet and 'cause that's a key thing for long-term stability because ultimately our vision is to see ideally WeatherizeDC be able to step out of the picture and see the early adopter out there organizing in the community to get the early majority moving. So if people have some other questions about the core metrics and wanna pick out a few more, we can do that in questions. Do you think, Marian, we wanna take a look at another slide? There's one example of â€"
Marian Fuller: Yeah, let's see. Do you have another one?
Max Harper: Oh, go ahead. There's one example on the next page, just a tangible - these are some of the challenges that we found.
Marian Fuller: Yeah, let's â€"
Max Harper: I'd like you to take a look at some of those. The real - the one in the middle has been most notable for us in that the amount of demand that we generated really outstretched the capacity of our partner contractor, and that's something, I think, to be of [break in audio] to a lot of programs about - to mobilize a lotta demand and just making sure contractor capacity - not just being able to do the installation work but more specifically to be able to manage the amount of audits, phone calls, back office sales management and project management, so I would, you know, put that out as a warning. Good lesson learned for us.
And the next slide, I think - the next slide is just a - is a - the next slide is a little bit about what we're doing currently. We've got a program set up to do national training and technical assistance, a combination of complication, assisting in kind of program design, field design, strategy and packet, kinda touching on these three areas of looking at the outreach engagement, making sure that the drafter's organizing and the mass organizing strategies are possible or how they could be possible in a given location, a program design making sure that the systems and relationships are enabled or to enable organizing strategies and be able to enable a lot of the data tracking. For us, it's all under one roof, so we have a lot more control.
Through conversations with some of our initial partners on the PNPA front we found that it - that can be a bit more challenging once the org structure gets more spread out and then, thirdly, the customized data tools and tactical assistance. We've been, you know, integrating - we've been building and integrating a lotta data tools into kind of a streamlined - a single streamlined system to, as Alex said, take kind of a lot of the political organizing tools and make them powerful in organizing in the energy space, the home energy space. So in the next slide â€"
Marian Fuller: I have a question for you.
Max Harper: Sure. The next little â€"
Marian Fuller: So one question â€"
Max Harper: The next little - the next slide is actually the last slide, but â€"
Marian Fuller: Okay. Yeah, we'll just go there. So for the house meetings that you guys organized, is there a script that you found works well for that? Is there, I don't know, a series of points you need to make or a way of running it that's been really effective that - in your experience?
Max Harper: Yeah, I think we've found a variety of what we deem at this point best practices for us and one of them that's really notable is being able to have an advocate there, having a - like a homeowner that's gone through the experience, potentially an energy auditor be there as well. Having an energy auditor there, really important for fielding a lot of the technical questions that are inevitable in this space and having an experienced homeowner just be able to talk about their personal experience and provide that element of to a degree peer pressure, but I think it's important to distinguish between peer pressure and trust, and I think we - so having a person that can be trusted, their trusted neighbor, be able to talk about the importance of this stuff as opposed to a business, you see, who stands to profit is an important part.
Additionally, we've also seen good success with having it happen in a weatherized home. Another thing is being able to have samples of energy audit or audit reports, an estimate, so those things aren't mythical. Those things are very tangible. You can pass them around. You can look at them. It looks just like an estimate you might get on some other projects and people can see the actual dollar figures right there on an invoice and what it looks like and, well, we're just talking about, you know, false promises or something.
Marian Fuller: Great. So I just wanna let everyone know that technically the webinar would end now, but we're gonna continue with some questions. Feel free to leave if you need to. The webinars that are on your screen right now are upcoming webinars. The next driving demand webinar will be on NovemberÂ 9 and it's on working with and learning from contractors, and that link you see at the end of - at the bottom of the screen is where you can find both past webinars, the slides and audio for this presentation will be up there, and that's also where you register for these future webinars.
So we'll just go forward with a few more questions for those of you who are interested in staying. So, Max, we have a question here. Matt is asking - saying that this - the whole process you're setting up sounds kinda bureaucratic. Does it really work? Is this something that a local government could really use or - when it's kinda presented all at once it just seems kind of complicated and a lot of steps, so in your experience of actually using it on the ground, what's that like?
Max Harper: It's a great question. I mean we have the - we recognize that we're in a unique place being a nonprofit, and I think where it could be bureaucratic, we talk about data discipline to a degree and just knowing the power of it and for us one of the key things is the data systems and the kinda protocols that surround it. A lot of the data systems that we've been using are designed to easily facilitate data in, data out and the survey instruments like the sign-in sheets and sign-out sheets, they're all systematized. When we go to our house meeting, our house-meeting packet includes a script. It includes handouts. It includes sign-in sheets. It includes, you know, sign-out sheets and sign-up sheets for people to sign up with.
And all that stuff is all easily - it's easily - for people - it's easily facilitated because it's been systematized and it's also, and Alex kinda points out, that it comes off very natural in organizing, and we're looking for a kind of - capturing kind of the organic organizing work that when people show up at a house meeting we're gonna collect all the names, partly because we are building a community in very real terms, and we wanna know who those people are and keep relationships with them. If one of those people at a house meeting says, "Oh, I'd love to host a house meeting," gosh, we wanna make sure we record that and put them in the part of the system where we're gonna follow up with them one on one.
Marian Fuller: Yeah, and I would just add to that, I - of all - we at the lab here have looked at a ton of different programs, and it's surprising how frequently even the simplest things aren't tracked like conversion rates or if you try one strategy what's the impact versus another strategy, so I think some form of collecting metrics like this is extremely important and the way Max has laid it out is kind of like at all the different steps what information you - can you can collect - can you collect, and I think thinking about it that way is really important and then maybe you say it's these five data points that's really gonna define our success and that's really all we have time to collect. Fine, if that's the resources you have, but making sure you have these different metrics is really, really important.
I think that Gabrielle's firm, Efficiency Vermont, also offers some really great survey information. What was in the way? What were the barriers that were getting between people going from this home energy visit to a full retrofit? Making sure you're talking to people and getting feedback and then adapting your programs over time is something that's really not done enough in these programs and can be fairy - fairly affordable if you do it kind of on whatever scale you can manage. One more question for Max. Do you have an in-house system that you developed to track all this information or is it an off-the-shelf product that you're using?
Max Harper: We were using a variety of systems that we're now currently building into kinda one integrated system. The tools that we were using were largely adapted from campaigns. We had a field system known as the voter activation network. It's really useful for volunteer engagement and a lot of the canvassing and the phone banking side of things. We had an online CRM that was for handling the online sign-ups, the mass - the targeted and mass emails. We had an energy tracking system powered by Earth Aid.
We just used a Real Document for transferring the leads to and sharing those with the partner contractor in the pilot and additionally National Field, which was a volunteer management tool which really facilitates almost a hierarchy/social network of your volunteers and tracks their in - their output, their experience, their ideas, that was built by a number of folks that had come off the Obama campaign as well, some patriots ______ that really tried to simplify volunteer management on a mass and kinda distributed level. And we're currently integrating all of that stuff on a Salesforce platform that is built out to take advantage of organizing and enable organizing in the home energy field, so.
Marian Fuller: And, Max, what's a CRM?
Max Harper: Oh, it's contact relations management system. That's the system that allows you to basically manage the database of your contacts and relationships and not just their names and contact information but furthermore their interest, the interest level, what groups they're affiliated with, and it allows you to parse through those areas and be able to say, "Oh, let's email that house meeting group up in the Palisades neighborhood," and we'll make a Palisades email that quickly goes out the day after a house meeting and says, "Thank you all for participating, you know, in the Palisades home energy meeting. Those of you who didn't make it, you can, you know, sign up here. Those of you who did, you can sign up here" or "We're excited for you to move to the next step" or that, so it enables you to kinda micro-target on the individual or enables you to micro-target kind of your relationship, the management in mass, so - but you're able to make it not as - where it could become cumbersome and bureaucratic, it becomes a more organic, natural just relationship-building on a larger level.
Marian Fuller: Great. Well, thank you all. I really appreciate all the presenters that were willing to share their time with us today. I think we'll end there. If anyone has questions they feel like were unanswered by this webinar that you need to contact one of the speakers and you don't have their contact information, you can feel free to email me. It's email@example.com, and we really encourage you to check out the resources we have drivingdemand.lbl.gov. A lot of these case studies are there, future webinars, past webinars, trying to collect as much information on this topic in one place and, of course, welcome your feedback at any time on future webinars or how we can improve the webinars that the Department of Energy is offering. So thank you all for joining, and I hope you have a great day. Bye.