Wellstone Action was created to advance the progressive political goals of Paul and Sheila Wellstone, who embodied the belief that “we all do better when we all do better”. The organization continues the Wellstone legacy by weaving together electoral politics, community organizing, and progressive public policy to create lasting change that improves people’s lives. Wellstone does this by bringing together progressive leaders, providing training and other resources to help them accomplish their goals, and adding strategic capacity to frontline organizations.
“I first met Senator Paul Wellstone as a senior in high school in Hutchinson, MN. He spoke to my A.P. Government class as we prepared for a national civics competition. He inspired me to see what was possible when we as citizens take an active role in our government and our society. I knew I had to do this the rest of my life.”
Principal, Teal Media
When Wellstone partnered with Teal Media in 2012, the organization was approaching their 10th anniversary. This milestone presented an opportunity for reflection and revision of the organization’s primary web presence.
Working on a tight deadline, we approached this project with the goal of releasing a minimum viable product (MVP) we could later build on. Internally, we referred to this as “Wellstone Lite.” This version of the site included the most critical features and functionality the website needed for launch: an overview of programs, a trainings and events calendar, a tools and resources section, and the latest news about and from the organization.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary, the initial launch also included the “Wellstone Legacy” section of the site, which housed Paul and Sheila’s letters, speeches, quotes, press clips, books, photographs and other digital mementos. We also created an area for “Tributes” where site visitors could share their own stories of how the Wellstones made a difference in their lives.
Shortly after launch, we developed a unique, interactive, and celebratory birthday page. This page told the story of Wellstone’s beginnings, the faces behind the organization, and the impact alumni, partners, and progressive leaders made by igniting change across the country. This visually-rich page featured custom graphics, animations, and data points, all of which worked together to extend and strengthen the Wellstone brand. When the birthday celebration was over, we transitioned this page to work as part of the site’s permanent “About Us” section.
“Ohmygod, you guys, THANK YOU… it’s the most beautiful thing on the internet. We are so, so glad to be here, and so damn proud to be working with you. Thank you.”
Sara Beth Mueller
Chief Operating Officer
Over the course of the next four years, Wellstone continued to grow and evolve as an organization—and we worked cooperatively with the Wellstone team to ensure that the website did the same. We routinely review Wellstone’s organizational business goals alongside user feedback to determine our priorities as we introduce new features and functionality to the site. Some of the features we've added over time include:
A "What Can Wellstone Do For Me" widget that asks users a series of questions so they can get targeted information resources for their specific needs
Custom interactive tools like a Win Number and Vote Deficit calculator to assist progressive leaders in campaign planning
An enhanced Trainings & Events section, introducing a map view in addition to a list view, with 'sort by program' capabilities
An interface that allows Wellstone to easily create new splash pages to reflect organizational priorities and fundraising campaigns
Optimization of mobile and tablet displays of the site
A custom, graphically-rich Impact landing page that showcases Wellstone's "wins"
An Impact page that tells the story of Wellstone's impact over time; includes interactive sections, animations, and infographics
WOW. This is so cool, and I know [these are going to be] powerful tool[s] for us to tell our story. Thank you so much for the truly gorgeous work…. Thanks again. Wow. Just wow!
Digital Director, 2013-2015
In 2016, Wellstone absorbed a suite of training programs from the New Organizing Institute (NOI), which had closed its doors earlier that year. NOI's trainings are targeted to emerging and advanced progressive leaders and teach cutting-edge tactics in organizing, digital strategy, and data management. We worked cooperatively with Wellstone to seamlessly integrate NOI’s programs and content onto the Wellstone website.
The most well-known NOI program that Wellstone would inherit was RootsCamp, a signature “unconference” event for the progressive community. There was a lot of interest in this event and curiosity about if and when it would be held. To answer those questions and meet the demand for information, we built a microsite for RootsCamp, once again using the MVP methodology, so we could iterate and expand the site as event details were announced.
The initial release of the Rootscamp site simply announced the date of the event and provided a way for people to purchase advance tickets. Then, as important details like the event agenda, travel, scholarship information, and volunteer opportunities were released, we modified the site to showcase that new content. The final release of the RootsCamp site served as the hub for the event itself, with a detailed schedule, caucus sign-ups, and other critical information that could be shared in real time with conference attendees.