The Challenge

Use digital to activate college students to participate in more Outdoor activities.

Outdoor Nation, a division of the Outdoor Foundation, is responsible with the goal to driving outdoor participation and recreation among young adults. Participation in outdoor activities as a whole has remained relatively flat over the years, and Outdoor Nation needed a way to empower young adults, mainly college students, to get outdoors. The Outdoor Foundation, through its partnership with Digital Operative, had to tackle the following:

  • How do you get busy, college students to participate in another digital campaign?
  • How do you activate the college students on-campus?
  • How can you help participants amplify their participation in the campaign?
  • How can we measure the effectiveness of this campaign for our Sponsors?

Digital Operative is no stranger to the digital consumer. We also happen to know a lot about Millenials and the bottom end of that, college students based on our collective experience. We worked with the Outdoor Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Outdoor Industry Association, to create the right strategic approach.



Our Approach

Sharing in Outdoor Nation’s vision, Digital Operative laid out a plan that centered around a campaign microsite powered by our existing ContestCore™ platform. We custom-tailored it with a host of new features and functionalities that allowed users to submit activities, gain points, build rivalry through leaderboards, and inspire one another. Furthermore, Outdoor Nation partnered with ten different universities/colleges that were instrumental in activating their student bodies to participate in the challenge.

  • Create and Design a branded responsive microsite
  • Create a gamification experience where users feel rewarded for participation
  • Show a leaderboard at both an Individual and University level to drive competition
  • Provide simple ways to share participation across your social networks
  • Enable easy access to the database for reporting and marketing

The Results

Within the first few days, sign-ups were exponential and in the thousands. Over the 8-week period, we engaged with over 4,000+ students, faculty members, alumnus and supportive community members.

  • 7,359 unique users in the contest
  • 43,000 total activities logged through 8 weeks
  • 3,809 users that logged at least one activity
  • 2,785 activities logged with just the top 10 winners
  • Social Reach of over 2.5 million people