April 28, 2016 Sierra Club: 5 Amazing Crowdsourced Ideas for Engagement

As the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States, the Sierra Club is facing a problem shared by most companies in today’s modern age, non-profit or not: how to recruit and engage members of the next generation. Founded in 1892, it is certainly not the first time Sierra Club has had to find innovative approaches to evolve its membership engagement practices, but with the acceleration of technology advances, they came to Topcoder looking for fresh ideas.

And ideas were found the world over. On March 18th, Topcoder and Sierra Club came together to launch the Sierra Club—User Engagement Ideation Challenge as part of Topcoder’s nascent Crowd for Good program. In two short weeks, 82 registrants come up with 30 checkpoint submissions and 26 final ideas. The results were astonishing both their breadth and their innovation. After looking through the checkpoint submissions Chris Thomas, the Chief Innovation Officer at Sierra Club, remarked: “These are even more impressive than I expected them to be!”

Narrowing down the final entries down to five prize winners was not an easy task. Ideas were judged not only on their innovation and creativity, but also on their feasibility. In the end, the following ideas rose to the top:


1st place [ToxicPixel]: “Digital Dissident” mobile app that takes a SeeClickFix crowdsourcing approach to reporting and acting on local environmental problems.


2nd place [chuxy111]: “Lights Out!” mobile app that allows users to report light pollution levels in their area.


3rd place [claygirl]: “DIY Hi-tech Birdwatching Kit” a blueprint for an inexpensive kit for kids to create an automated bird watching device to wake up and capture images of birds as they trigger a motion sensor located next to a bird feeder. The idea also extends to a website to help kids identify and share their findings.


4th place [rh_abror]: “Green Planet Festivals” series of ideas around college campus festivals to encourage young people to become interested in ecological causes.

5th place [Karan1996]: “The Naturedex” a portal that allows users to submit photographs of nature, creating a catalog of pictures tagged and available for reuse by others.


Sierra Club was very grateful for the wide range of creative ideas and they are anxious to try to put them into action. At the end of the whole experience, Thomas commented, “This has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done so far in 2016.”

Since this challenge was part of the Crowd for Good program, all members who submitted will be receiving the Crowd for Good badge on their profile. These virtuous people are:

[ToxicPixel] [chuxy111] [claygirl]

[rh_abror] [Karan1996] [SchrodingazCat]

[PatrickTalbot] [petetebe] [Misty_Misteque]

[Imran.Shaikh] [jaredh] [dmichaelmalloy]

[mannna] [pun_aga] [f0rc0d3r]

[tina_sol] [restoe_boemi] [Tewibowo]

If you missed the opportunity to submit for this challenge, keep on the lookout for future Crowd for Good Topcoder challenges.

In the meantime, get out there and do some good!

VP, Marketing


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