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Year End Donations Fund Running Water


Process Improvement Plan

Surfrider Foundation

Dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the ocean, waves and beaches, for all people.

The Challenge

Based in California, The Surfrider Foundation uses its thriving member activist network in coastal communities across the country to “protect our special coastal places, ensure our ocean is healthy and wild, keep pollution out of the water and make sure every beach is clean and accessible for all to enjoy.”
Previously, seeking a better system to manage and scale efforts of both donors and members, Surfrider partnered with CauseMic to undergo a digital transformation.
To complement the new technology stack and support their next phase of growth, Surfrider determined a need to (a) assess their project scoping, (b) scale existing processes, and (c) establish common procedures across teams for greater efficiency and transparency.
They desired to improve their staff collaboration to benefit as much as possible from their upleveled systems.

Engaging CauseMic to provide support, they had one overarching question for us:

  • How can we establish a cohesive and effective working environment?

Our Solution

  • CauseMic held a discovery session with executive leadership and both the Marketing and Membership teams to gather feedback on Surfrider’s current ways of working. Information we gleaned included (a) perceived barriers to a cohesive, effective team, (b) the main problem each person would like to have solved, and (c) resistance to change that needed to be addressed.
  • CauseMic then facilitated a full-day workshop with the same Surfrider teammates, with three particular objectives in mind: (a) determining how to improve the coordination between Marketing and Membership teams and prioritize their work for the highest return on investment; (b) holding a project retrospective for their year-end fundraising to develop ways to enhance future efforts; and (c) drafting a Disaster Relief Standard Operating Procedure to help Surfrider efficiently raise funds in the wake of disasters.
  • Information was synthesized into a key findings document. Through our synthesis, we uncovered the main themes and recommended solutions to optimize their ways of working.

The Results

Using the synthesized information, CauseMic recommended:

  • Initiating joint strategic planning between Marketing and Membership teams, aligning goals, messaging, and coordination for more impactful campaigns
  • Establishing clear ways of working, including agreed-to processes, roles, and responsibilities to deliver consistent, high-quality work across all internal Surfrider teams

We identified pain points and crafted an optimized framework that incorporates people, processes, and tools for delivering projects. This helps ensure an effective cross-team plan that all but eliminates redundancies. It also involves key decision makers in the upfront planning, reducing late feedback that had historically derailed projects.

Working in key roles alongside the Surfrider team, we successfully put the new project delivery system into play by running two fundraising campaigns: Treat It Better and Dirtiest Beach Day. In so doing, we demonstrated how the new delivery framework allowed their team to operate cohesively during a quick-turn project while keeping it on track and reducing its risks.

We created an internal standard operating procedure (SOP) to determine whether and how Surfrider would respond, communicate, and fundraise in the wake of disasters, like a large scale oil spill. The documentation is designed to align staff on the decision-making process, who was responsible for each area of the response, and the level of effort expected from teammates, depending on the scale of the disaster.  

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  • “Sometimes you need to know when to utilize outside resources like CauseMic, who are experts in these kinds of website migrations.”

    Surfrider Foundation

    Ruarri Serpa
    Senior Technology Manager

  • “CauseMic managing timelines and deadlines was everything.”

    Gus Gates
    West Coast Regional Director

  • “Project management work from Franny was very helpful to not have to keep track of the entire project and dependencies.”

    Ed Mazzarella
    Senior Director of Network Strategy

  • “HubSpot CMS was a good selection to fit our needs.”


    Michelle Kremer
    Chief Operating Officer

Turn friction into function.

Are your processes adapted to the ways you work now? We've helped nonprofits like yours uncover operational barriers, discover new opportunities, and create integrated systems and processes that allow them to grow and thrive. 

Let's talk about how we can help your team work more effectively.

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