Case Study

Designing a lever for change: Engagement Architecture for the MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including advancing global climate solutions, decreasing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in the U.S., and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program and the global 100&Change competition, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy as well as the vitality of their headquarters city, Chicago.

MacArthur Foundation LogoLever For Change Logo

The Challenge

They wanted to build on success quickly

After the very successful and highly publicized execution of their first 100&Change grant-making contest to award a $100,000,000.00 grant to address a long-standing major sector issue, MacArthur wanted to share their experience, expertise, and wisdom with the community by creating a platform that would allow other organizations to run other very large award campaigns, access the amazing proposals put together by contestants, and create a central place for the community to rally around. They tapped PTKO to help them design an Engagement Architecture that would allow them to expand and build upon their existing technical platform, orchestrate the MacArthur brand in concert with both the new Lever for Change brand and the already well-known 100&Change contest name gracefully, and help them understand how they could effectively use their powerful market clout to drive traffic.

Our Approach

An audience engagement strategy & technical implementation plan in just nine weeks.

The Lever for Change team was able to quickly understand how their three major web properties would work together, where and how they could use their marketing to drive awareness and interest in the platform, and what technical changes, and more importantly what staff changes & needs they would need to support a multi-contest platform. Using the easy-to-understand visual diagrams we created for them, they could easily communicate to potential users of the platform how the process would work, and how they themselves could use their own marketing to support contests, and they successfully launched the platform in record time.

Flow chart depicting relationship between platforms and tools currently used by the client

Valuable Outcomes

Twelve sector-wide award contests successfully run on the platform

In the years since the Lever4Change outreach strategy was designed, MacArthur has successfully stewarded and supported twelve major awards contests on the platform, and has built upon the amazing contest submissions they have received from nonprofit actors to create the Bold Solutions Network that helps funders find proposed solutions to problems that have already been professionally evaluated by experts utilizing the Lever for Change platform and methodology.