June 02, 2010

How we used the Internet to break new ground

Monitor Institute Case StudyWhat do you do when you’re committed to a vision that you can’t realistically achieve? In 2004, we at KaBOOM! had to ask ourselves this tough question. After years of double-digit growth leading playground builds across the United States, we realized that we were not growing fast enough to ensure that every child in America has a great place to play within walking distance.

“The reality was, we were only making a dent in the problem,” says our COO Bruce Bowman. “We were building hundreds of playgrounds when we needed to be building thousands.”

After some hand-wringing, we decided to act. The report released today by The Monitor Institute, Breaking New Ground: Using the Internet to Scale: A Case History of KaBOOM!, outlines our strategy to give away our non-profit model online for free to empower others to act on our behalf. While the idea of giving away a non-profit model itself isn’t new, we are one of the first non-profit organizations to put this approach online.

Today, visitors to our website can take advantage of our Playground Project Planner and online trainings to fund, plan, recruit for and execute a DIY playground build in their community. In 2009, our online outreach efforts helped people build more than 1,600 do-it-yourself (DIY) playgrounds in communities around the United States—almost as many as we have assembled directly over the past 14 years.

For more about the challenges we faced and the seven key lessons we learned while pioneering an online strategy to scale our impact, see a summary of the case study or download the whole study here:

pdficon_small.gif PDF Breaking New Ground: Using the Internet to Scale (1 MB)


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