Miami Waterkeeper
Capture the Lead

Miami Waterkeeper is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to defend, protect, and preserve Biscayne Bay and it’s surrounding waters through citizen involvement and community action. When Miami Waterkeeper first approached us, they were looking to expand their online presence and digital organizing toolset.

Building a Digital Strategy

We worked closely with Miami Waterkeeper to help them develop and execute a digital strategy to grow and engage more deeply with their supporter and member network. Here are few highlights of our digital strategy work with Miami Waterkeeper:

Taking a holistic approach to digital

An effective digital strategy means making sure that your digital tools and online activity isn't siloed off from the rest of your operations, and thinking of your outreach, communications, field, and advocacy strategies as one. That's why the first step in building an effective digital strategy for Miami Waterkeeper involved taking a look at their operations as a whole.

By having an understanding of their overall goals, objectives, and theory of change, we were able to identify which online actions and tools would be the most effective in helping Miami Waterkeeper achieve these goals. We were able to use this information to help define a ladder of engagement for their supporters, giving us a clear framework to work from.

Powered by NationBuilder

A key part of executing an effective digital strategy is to make sure it's powered by the right tools. We helped Miami Waterkeeper set up NationBuilder as the central pillar of their digital strategy.

NationBuilder is so much more than a platform to create a website — it offers a suite of integrated digital tools that you can use to grow your community and deepen the level of engagement of your supporters.  Get in touch with us to find out why NationBuilder is one of the leading platforms used by non-profits, political organizations, advocacy groups, businesses, and more to lead their communities.

A well-rounded, integrated digital toolset

While NationBuilder is the central pillar to Miami Waterkeeper’s digital strategy, but it is by no means the only tool in their digital toolbox.

In addition to integrating their social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with their website and nation, we also helped Miami Waterkeeper get up and running with DoGooder. DoGooder is a third-party tool that allows you to facilitate your supporters in lobbying their locally elected representatives by email and phone. DoGooder will log the results of your lobbying and outreach efforts, and even push that data automatically to NationBuilder so you can track all of your engagement data in one place. We helped integrate DoGooder into their digital strategy to empower their supporters to lobby local government officials to ban styrofoam from beaches, parks and marinas in the Miami-Dade county. 

Crafting an awesome website

A large part of executing Miami Waterkeeper’s digital strategy involved crafting an awesome new website that acts as an online action center and digital HQ. Here are a few key features of Miami Waterkeeper’s new website:

Action-oriented design built to capture leads


Rather than just describing the issues affecting Biscayne Bay and it’s surrounding waters that Miami Waterkeeper focuses on, we paired every issue with an easy-to-complete, lead-generating action. This effectively turned every issue into an opportunity to capture new leads, expand their supporter base, and catalog the interests of their supporter network.

Chained actions to drive user engagement


We helped Miami Waterkeeper chain online actions together as a series, so that supporters are prompted to engage more deeply after every action they take. For example, users who sign up for email updates are immediately prompted to share on their social networks and become a paid member after they sign up.

Personalized experiences designed to build relationships

personalization.pngMiami Waterkeeper's website is designed to target each supporter with personalized messaging and calls to action designed to drive engagement. By crafting a website that could recognize who each supporter is and what actions they've taken, the website itself becomes a tool that streamlines and automates relationship building with supporters.

Automated membership management


We helped design and implement an automated membership management system, automating a lot of the heavy lifting involved with keeping memberships current and building relationships with paid members. Supporters can purchase memberships directly online, and receive automatically generated welcome emails when they sign up. Members will also receive automated friendly reminders to renew their membership when it’s about to expire, prompting them to renew their membership online.

Empowering Miami Waterkeeper with the tools and knowledge needed to organize and build their community

Part of our mission is to make sure we empower our clients with the tools and knowledge they need to manage the day-to-day digital operations independently.

In addition to building a digital strategy and crafting an awesome website, we designed and delivered a series of other custom-designed communications tools like multiple HTML email templates and shareable graphics for social media so Miami Waterkeeper would have a complete consistently branded communications products to work with. We provided personalized one-on-one training sessions tailored specifically to their resources, tool and goals, and provided custom documentation and reference materials to help guide them to success.

Our Impact

Our work with Miami Waterkeeper had a huge impact on their supporter engagement and network growth.

In the first five months since launching their new website, engagement with their website grew by leaps and bounds. For example, the number of sessions on their website grew by +387%, page views increased +1,095%, the number of pages visited per session grew by +145%, the average session duration grew by +439%, bounce rates decreased by -39%, and the percentage of returning visitors grew by 22%.


Their supporter and member network also grew significantly following the launch of their new website. In the first five months with their new website, the number of supporters in their network more than doubled in size, the number of paid members that were part of their network doubled in size, and they saw a huge return on investment in donations and sponsorships.


Using their new website & digital organizing tools also help Miami Waterkeeper secure a campaign victory — they were able to successfully pressure Miami-Dade county to ban Styrofoam products from beaches, parks and marinas in the county. Miami Waterkeeper's Executive Director attributes this victory largely due to their new website and digital organizing tools.

Update: Miami Waterkeeper’s website announced as finalist in the 2017 Reed Awards

On January 9th, 2017, the Miami Waterkeeper website was announced as a finalist for Best Grassroots Website in the 2017 Reed Awards. The Reed Awards take place February 16th-17th, 2017.


Interested in crafting an effective digital strategy to grow and engage more deeply with your supporters? Get in touch with us!

Ryan Vandecasteyen
About Ryan Vandecasteyen
Ryan is Van City Studios' chief strategist and design expert.
Capture the Lead
Capture the Lead
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