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A Strong Voice for Early Childhood Education

Parade group photo.

Founded in 2014, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) is the advocacy arm of Save the Children Action Network. SCAN holds elected leaders accountable to invest in kids from birth to age 5. The organization influences public policy on the federal, state and local levels through advocacy, mobilization and political action to ensure lawmakers make children in the U.S. and around the world a priority.

By focusing on key target states – Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Washington, and engaging a national network of activists, SCAN is expanding access to early childhood education in the U.S. and working to end preventable deaths of moms and kids around the world.

The Challenge:

Access to early education ensures a better future for everyone

By the age of three, a child's brain is already 80 percent developed; by age five, the child's brain is 90 percent developed. From 2010 to 2012, more than four million three-and four-year-olds were not attending preschool, representing more than half of all children in that age group. Children from middle- and lower-income homes do not arrive at school with opportunities equal to those of their more well-off peers. These numbers reported by the U.S. Department of Education are staggering and without access to high-quality early learning programs, children will fall behind. Many will never catch up.

"Everything is integrated with Salsa. It's just what we need to help spread the word, build targeted campaigns and track the performance of our campaigns."

"High quality early childhood education is an investment this country needs to make in order to give all kids a strong start," said Diana Onken, director of mobilization for SCAN. "We are building a community of supporters to take action and hold our elected leaders accountable. We work to make sure government leaders are hearing from their constituents that early education is a critical investment. It helps to build stronger communities and economies. And, it helps kids live better lives in the long run."

With the support of Salsa's online advocacy and communications software, SCAN distributed just more than 100 email messages during the first six months this year. Since moving to Salsa, SCAN’s open rates have averaged 20 percent. They have grown their supporter list from 40,000 to 120,000 both organically and through list acquisition.

The Solution:

Integrated tools with boundless possibilities

SCAN knew successful organizing would come down to a comprehensive communications outreach strategy. To effectively execute that strategy, the right combination of technology and messaging is required to be able to tune and refine a campaign as needed.

Utilizing Salsa's broadcast email and advocacy management functionalities, along with its event and website tools, SCAN was able to personalize its messages and target the appropriate audiences more effectively. With less than a year as an active organization, SCAN is already seeing the efficiencies of Salsa's email tools.

"One of the efficiencies we incorporated quickly was to create an automated welcome series for new supporters. This helps save time for our small staff, which means we have more time to focus on building great campaigns," said Onken.

Mother and child parade photo.

In the last two quarters, SCAN's email distribution included 51 state-specific alerts and 51 alerts related to a national campaign that was segmented based on a variety of factors, including action history and legislative targets.

"We do a ton of targeting using Salsa's tags – we have supporters who are really interested in early childhood education and some who are more passionate about our global work to end preventable deaths of children under age five," said Onken. "We have a lot of different committees that we are targeting and Salsa really lets us zero in on where we need to focus our efforts."

Getting relevant information to the right audiences has never been easier. Salsa Advocacy meaningfully engages supporters in online advocacy and legislative issues. Supporters who choose to get involved with a certain issue or bill only needed their address to send off advocacy messages matched to their appropriate district or to a custom target.

Salsa’s tools have proven to offer flexibility with many of SCAN's events. In the spring, SCAN and Save the Children held an advocacy summit to urge members of Congress to invest in kids. The event included both adult registrants and students. When minor children signed up, SCAN was able to quickly modify its settings in the Salsa event package to suppress minors from receiving SCAN’s main organizational messages per ADD NAME compliance rules, while still receiving relevant event information.

With Salsa's custom query and reporting tools, SCAN has complete control of its own data and can take advantage of accurate campaign reports and statistics. SCAN's database links supporters, actions and events, giving them access to unlimited measurements.

Onken added: "Everything is integrated with Salsa. It's just what we need to help spread the word, build targeted campaigns and track the performance of our campaigns."