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San Francisco AIDS Foundation launches marketing campaigns and events faster with Asana


Streamlined requests

Kick off creative projects faster because of streamlined request process

Centralized feedback

Shortened creative review cycles because all feedback is gathered in one place

Reduced production time

Cut down on production time for creative assets because of streamlined request process

Company sizeMid-Market
Key workflows
Creative requestsEvent planning

In 2017, there were an estimated 15,952 people living with HIV in San Francisco—one of the largest populations with HIV in the United States. San Francisco is also the epicenter of the technology and startup industry. In a city where HIV and technology impact so many people, San Francisco AIDS Foundation promotes health, wellness and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV through sexual health and substance use services, advocacy and community partnerships—all while leveraging the technology that is so readily at their city’s fingertips.

Public education, healthcare services, and grassroots advocacy are just a few of the ways SFAF reaches over 25,000 people annually. Roxane Chicoine, Creative Director, oversees all marketing asset creation for their campaigns, events, and more—directly impacting the experiences their large audience has with the organization. And SFAF’s team of six supports the marketing and creative needs of over two hundred teammates, which means Roxane oversees a high volume of requests for assets and dozens of campaigns at once.

With a small marketing and creative team supporting the entire organization, Roxane found it was hard to deliver work on time due to:

  • Long project planning spreadsheets used for producing events made it nearly impossible to know what they needed to create and when it was needed by

  • Decisions were based on prior experiences, not on measured processes, leaving the team feeling disempowered and without a trusted workflow to follow

  • Feedback was gathered across multiple email threads and conversations adding extra work and confusion to an already complex process

  • The team wasted time doing busy work instead of actually designing or working on strategy

  • Mistakes were made because key details were missing or hard to find

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Before Asana, a lot of my time was spent organizing the work—like managing requests, collecting status updates, or tracking down small details—instead of strategy or design. Now I save time and there are less review rounds because I have all the information I need up front and in one place.”

Looking for structure and clarity

What Roxane decided she needed was a clear structure and hierarchy for organizing the work, as well as a way to centralize communication. High-volume periods, such as the lead up to large fundraising events like Dining Out For Life or the Santa Skivvies Run, amplified these needs. During these times, she could have 20+ requests for one division of the organization, meaning hundreds of creative requests in flight at once.

SFAF Santa Skivvies Run

Roxane’s team started searching for a tool by evaluating two that the organization was already using: Asana and another work management tool. They ultimately decided to use Asana because of its:

  • Clean, familiar, and intuitive interface

  • Multi-level view of work—being able to see the whole project, task details, and the list of subtasks at once

  • Clear hierarchy and structure for workflows

  • Communication features, like comments, team conversations, and status updates

When compared to the other tools they tried, Asana stood out for the levels of visibility it provided. They no longer needed to sift through information or lose sight of the bigger picture in order to access details about their work.

Onboarding the team

To get the whole team on board, Roxane created an internal document to align them on how to structure their work. Then she developed workshops and additional materials to train the team, combining Asana's Guide content and videos with their own collaboration conventions. By establishing team-wide guidelines, she could ensure clarity on how the team would work and achieve the right hierarchy for organizing their work. She also leveraged Asana’s professional services for additional onsite training with a customer success manager.

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Asana’s professional services set us up for success by getting our whole team aligned around how we would use Asana and then working with a Customer Success Manager to build out our workflows. Our onsite training sessions really gave us the edge we needed to get everyone on board with Asana.”

Asana proved its value to Roxane’s director when he was asked to share a specific design asset and Roxane was out of the office. Instead of wading through folders looking for it, the director used the search function in Asana and found the file quickly. For Roxane, her “aha” moment was when she built out a plan to manage a complex set of creative deliverables for a promotional campaign and large event using Asana. Rather than relying on a long spreadsheet and numerous email threads, she built a workback schedule in Asana that let her see the whole process from start to finish so she knew who was responsible for every creative asset for the event.

SFAF Tribute Celebration

Improving processes to move faster

By improving their request process and cross-functional project collaboration using Asana, the marketing and creative team has experienced:

  • Faster turnaround times: With Asana, the team gets all the information they need up front, limiting back-and-forth discussions and errors due to missing details. The result is a more efficient creative process, streamlined communication, and faster turnaround times because everything is clear and centralized.

  • More efficient cross-functional collaboration: By tracking their different client-focused programs in Asana—like social support services, syringe access, substance use counseling, and fundraising—the team can better serve the entire organization. They can find information up front and feel confident no step will be missed, streamlining cross-functional collaboration and increasing efficiency.

Now the marketing team have more visibility into what’s being worked on across the organization, the status of work, and access to the information they need to better support SFAF’s programs. With clearly mapped out projects, everyone knows what their priorities are so they can be sure they’re focused on the most impactful work to support their community. As a result, they’ve cut down on production time and reviews, as well as streamlined team meetings and check-ins. And as a leader, Roxane is better able to prioritize work because she has visibility into everything the team is doing.

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Asana enables us to be aligned and communicate our priorities to other people because everyone can see all of the projects in flight at any time. This helps us collaborate more effectively with cross-functional partners because they can see where work stands in the production process.”

San Francisco AIDS Foundation isn’t just setting an example for how to work as an organization. Next year, they will welcome AIDS 2020, an international conference, to the Bay Area—where the epidemic began. Supporting the work of the local planning group, SFAF is responsible for a majority of the conference’s collateral—and they’ll use Asana to do all of it.

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