Ashden is a London-based charity that works to promote the use of local, sustainable energy. Through conferences, media relations, awards, and knowledge publications, Ashden creates worldwide advocates for green jobs, energy security, lower fuel bills, and reduced fuel poverty.
Once a year, the company hosts the Ashden Awards Ceremony, where they recognize trailblazers in green, sustainable energy from around the world. Award hopefuls must apply through Ashden’s website, and winners are determined by a panel consisting of environmental figureheads from around the globe. Hosting a large-scale awards show means lots of admissions – around 200 each year.
Initially, Ashden used simple Word document attachments for the applicants. However, as the applicant numbers grew, so did the need for a different way of collecting submissions. At first, Ashden tried using a specially-designed spreadsheet to help automate the process. However, after experiencing several technical problems, the spreadsheets were no longer an option.
“We wanted to shift to using an online form,” said Mike Pepler, the UK awards manager at Ashden. “Using a form would enable us to add a registration stage, so we could gather people’s email addresses and remind them of closing dates, as well as limit the amount of text applicants could enter.”
When a new partner suggested giving Formstack a try, Ashden signed up for the free 14-day trial. Quickly learning how to navigate Formstack, Ashden discovered many benefits to using forms for its awards process. With added features, Formstack allowed Ashden to capture names and email addresses of those who registered to apply but didn’t complete the entire application, so the company could remind them about finishing the form.
“We make fairly complicated forms, and we are sometimes pushing the limits of the features in Formstack, using lots of dynamic logic, different formatting, and the Google Docs integration,” said Pepler.
Hosting an awards ceremony and making it a success requires feedback from participants. Ashden found that creating a quick follow-up survey was easy with Formstack. Using conditional logic, the form fields were easily customized to each recipient’s response, making them easier to complete. Additionally, multi-lingual forms were a must for Ashden, as it reaches out to several different countries.
“Multi-lingual support was key, and Formstack sorts this for us with no problems,” said Pepler. “We’ve successfully made forms in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Chinese.”
Ashden’s use of Formstack doesn’t stop when the curtain falls at its awards ceremony. The nonprofit continues to use Formstack to plan for the next annual ceremony, as well as for minor marketing tasks throughout the year.
“Without Formstack, We’d be working slower, handling large numbers of documents, and incurring more costs,” said Pepler. “Formstack provides a competent and easy-to-use website that has enabled us to put together some great forms.”