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I Will If You Will – We're Supporting Earth Hour To Save Our Planet

By in Customer Stories on March 26, 2012

Yammer users drive change through their use of social media. They transform their organizations from the inside out – across industries, across job functions, across the planet. It’s especially heartwarming when our customers use Yammer to become better at doing good. Such is the story of EarthHour, a non-profit organization whose vision is “Uniting People To Protect The Planet. The largest environmental event in history, Earth Hour connects hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world. More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet.  Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.

The Global Challenge:

Earth Hour had a herculean challenge ahead – to galvanize the population of the world to action, and do it through coordinating activity of multiple organizations. We had to do “a champagne project on a lemonade budget” said Andy Ridley, the CEO of Earth Hour. Flawless coordination of a global activity as a unified campaign across distributed teams was necessary, and Yammer worked where other tools failed. The team was looking for a way to share experiences, challenges, opportunities and relationships with other organizations to make the campaign more efficient and to grow. Introducing and emphasizing a culture different from the parent company (WWF) was a key consideration as well (Earth Hour is a non-profit collaboration between WWF, Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media).

The Results:

“[Yammer] has revolutionized how the campaign is working,” shared Andy. Here are some of the specific benefits that helped the company execute.

Adaptability and agility:

Moving quickly and on a tight budget, you don’t always have the luxury of building new materials. Through collaborating on Yammer, the team has been able to cross-pollenate ideas and repurpose work. Finding information and locating expertise has gotten a lot easier for the information seeker and the finder. New members could now onboard quickly, access the right materials, and no one had to answer the same questions over and over via email.

Diversity of ideas:

By collaborating across geographies, the team has been able to access a greater variety of ideas and experiences. They’ve been able to come up with more and better concepts and deliverables. The ripple effect of great ideas colliding has been akin to “throwing a petal in the pond”.

“We use Yammer to collect amazing stories. The thing that worked best for us was our first 24 hour Yam-Jam where we posed a single question and asked everyone around the network to chime in,” – shared Sid Das from Earth Hour. You can read more about it here.

Recently, the team faced an issue when Orchard Road (a large shopping strip in Singapore) became unwilling to participate in the Earth Hour event. Teams from across the world submitted ideas as to how they could encourage Orchard Road merchants to participate. An idea came from a place that no one expected to post pictures of landmark shopping strips – such as the Champs Elysees — with their lights out. It has since become a major incentive campaign.

Cultural impact:

The impact of collaboration has been felt not on simply the jobs that had to get done, but also on how these jobs were done. Rallying people behind a cause is certainly not easy, and inspiration and motivation play a pivotal role in success. Engaging a broad mix of people from diverse backgrounds can also be challenging if you aren’t playing from the same cultural playbook and respecting each other.

Beyond The Hour!

The earth needs our help, and it doesn’t end with turning off the lights for an hour. Sustainability must be a lifestyle choice that drives what we do and decisions we make. To help people make these choices and be accountable for them –in a fun and easy way — Earth Hour has launched an “I Will If You Will” campaign this year. It aims to drive participation by making “doing” more rewarding and more compelling. “I Will If You Will” is the evolution of 60+ (encouraging people to turn their lights out for 60 minutes +), providing the incentive and the mechanism for everyday people to “Go Beyond The Hour”.

Andy Ridley CEO will be joining us at the Sydney Yammer on Tour, speaking about the organization’s experience with global cause-based collaboration.

And of course, we couldn’t resist a global challenge, especially for such a great cause! The Yammer global team just pledged that we will volunteer our efforts in local cleanup if in the next 4 weeks, 1,000 people pledge to pick up 10 pieces of rubbish each. If 10,000 people pledge, we will volunteer and donate $15,000 to the cause.

So join our challenge by pledging to pick up 10 pieces of trash. If you want to have some social media fun, tweet or Instagram your photos with the #YWIYW hashtag (Yammer Will If You Will). We will display your photos in this blogpost.

Join the bigger movement, create your own pledge and don’t forget to turn off your lights on Saturday Mrach 31. Follow #earthhour for all the action.

Remember: if we all do a little, we can do a lot! Together, we can save the planet!

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