Let Me Tell You About the Data and the Trees

4,700 volunteers at 231 forestry events…236,839 students touched by campus projects…more than 700 volunteers caring for our park…1,981 trees planted and more than 9,500 plants nurtured…

There is a lot going on at TreePeople, to say the least. And that means a lot to track and plan so that we can handle it all – with success!

Trees Count on Us, so We Count Our Work

When most people think of nature, they tend not to think of a database. Data, however, is an integral part of all our work.

At TreePeople, we use Salesforce, a customer (or in our case, community) relationship management database (CRM), to track nearly everything we do.

As our Database Administrator, I know that if our data is not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist. It’s how we make sure we’re ready for each upcoming event, every volunteer, and all the students we engage.  It’s also important that we track our impact on local communities to be able to tell the story about our overall successes, providing numerical data that proves the scope and incredible impact of our work.

Telling the Story of LA’s Urban Forest through Data

Through Salesforce we track EVERYTHING from tree plantings, tree care events, outreach volunteers, eco-tours to environmental education events and more! Through this we have records of all the trees we plant and care for; the rain barrels and fruit trees we have given away, and our generous volunteers and donors all in our database. We use this data in our reports and visual graphics, such as our fact sheet, to tell the rich story of TreePeople’s legacy, growth and reach.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest, and No One’s There to Track It…

When we track our data, we also track our environmental impact. This data provides insights we need to improve our work and fulfill our mission to “inspire, engage and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share our process as a model for the world.”

‘Knowledge is powermay be an old adage, but it’s true when it comes to our databasewith our data, we are not simply guessing what our next steps should be, we know the exact route to take.

Through the use of Salesforce, we see which communities have become greener, how many students who have become more environmentally conscious, and which wonderful individuals have been inspired by our work to become Volunteer Supervisors or TreePeople EcoClub leaders. We can also see which communities need us the most and which relationships could use more nurturing, because Salesforce helps us predict what our next steps should be and what we can, perhaps, do a little better.

Ultimately, Salesforce gives us one of the tools we need to be a ‘model for the world’. As our Founder and President, Andy Lipkis says, “As we change it here, we change it everywhere.”

First, LA and our database, then the world.


Interested in helping us track and improve our work? Sign up to volunteer in our office!