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Jun 2019

Growing a membership base in nonprofits and associations with digital skill building at scale

Blog posts



Shaping the future of learning

This blog post is part of our non-profit series and features a key project from our upcoming webinar

California Academy of Sciences increase educator membership 10-fold though digital skill building as scale

By Tracy Scott, VP of Global Marketing Strategy for Kineo

As we’ve stated in this series of blogs focused on Nonprofits and associations, while all of them have a unique focus or mission, they all have a common challenge—reaching as many people as possible and doing so with limited resources. In our blog series we are exploring 3 key strategies for leveraging the power of a digital platform. In this week’s blog, we introduce you to California Academy of Sciences and discuss how they used digital skill building at scale to significantly expand their out-of-school-time (OST) STEM educator and student base.

The California Academy of Sciences (CAS) is a renowned scientific and educational institution based in San Francisco dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life on Earth. CAS wanted to expand their impact beyond the walls of their institution in Golden Gate Park, so they decided to update Science Action Club (SAC) program.

SAC is a nationwide out-of-school time (OST) education program that leverages citizen science to address science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning goals, teach discrete STEM skills, and build STEM identities among the next generation of critical thinkers and environmental stewards. SAC originally trained activity leaders through in-person workshops, but the scaling limitations of that model quickly sparked a transition to a train-the-trainer approach. Even that program was limited, so they began work on a blended solution to enable them to train as many educators as wanted to participate in the SAC program.

SAC collaborated with the Kineo design team to develop a blended custom elearning solution that addresses the needs of both novice and experienced educators, as well as the entire age spectrum of its target students.

The results

Both the online and offline training approaches were well received by OST educators. 99% of activity leaders and trainers reported that the blended learning experience increased their interest in teaching science, Increased their enthusiasm for leading SAC, and was beneficial for their professional growth. What’s more, the new solution resulted in significant levels of increased youth interest, engagement, and value in learning of STEM.

As a result of this collaborative project, SAC has grown its reach from just two clubs in San Francisco in 2011 to hundreds of clubs in more than 400 cities and towns across the country.

Read the full case study to learn more about the specifics of this project! 

Every Nonprofit and Association has its own story to tell

If you want to hear some of our clients share their experience, please register for our upcoming webinar, Empowering change for non-profits and associations. This webinar on June 25, will feature the learning designers and several clients who helped bring their solutions to life sharing details about the design, development and deployment of these great solutions. If you want to attend that webinar, click here and register. Can’t attend the webinar? Sign up and we’ll send you a link to the recording following the webinar broadcast.

We’ll continue to share the stories of several global organizations who have put digital strategies into practice with remarkable results. Don’t want to miss them? Sign up here and we’ll send you a reminder. This blog series will also be available to download as an eBook following the Webinar.



Shaping the future of learning

Kineo helps the world’s leading businesses improve performance through learning and technology. We’re proud of our reputation for being flexible and innovative, and of our award-winning work with clients across the world.