Reallocated time across their teams previously spent managing work to more impactful projects via automation, centralized communication, forms for work intake, and more
Established standard yet flexible ways of working through templates and clear processes to improve accountability, increase operating efficiency, and speed up onboarding
Created transparency and enabled collaboration across teams in Asana, supported by integrations with tools like Slack, Jira, Google Workspace, and Okta
When the Academy Award-winning short film “Trevor” began airing in US homes on HBO in 1998, the movie’s creators realized they should create a lifeline number to display at the end of the film for LGBTQ young people who needed support. The Trevor Project was born – the first national crisis hotline for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) youth.
Today, The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ young people, providing free and confidential phone, chat, and text counseling, as well as a safe social network called TrevorSpace. Trevor’s award-winning team operates innovative research, education, and advocacy programs to address the public health crisis of LGBTQ youth suicide, and has partnered with celebrities like Lil Nas X and Janelle Monae to build awareness of its services and send messages of love and support for LGBTQ young people so they feel safe and empowered.
David B. (pronouns: they/he) is a Senior Special Projects Manager at The Trevor Project, and his team manages strategic, cross-functional initiatives for the organization, such as Trevor’s brand refresh and the international expansion of services, starting with Mexico. Because these projects are highly cross-functional — and because different teams managed their work in different ways before Asana — it used to require extra effort to collect status updates and see initiatives at a high level.
David and his colleagues wanted more insight and organization-wide transparency. This was especially important as The Trevor Project grew its team significantly over the past three years.
They began searching for a work management platform to unite departments, create internal infrastructure ahead of future growth, and help them deliver high-quality services to more communities around the world.
The team needed one platform where the entire organization could work together on projects, track milestones, and report on progress. David says, “We looked for scalability, collaboration, ease of use, and integration with the systems we already used, like Okta, Slack, Jira, and Google Workspace.”
They evaluated several tools, narrowing it down to Asana and another platform. They appreciated how Asana’s timeline, board, list, and calendar views would accommodate teams with different work management styles, offering flexibility while still unifying the organization.
Ultimately, The Trevor Project chose Asana because it was the best fit for their needs. “What stood out was the number of features Asana had, compared to other platforms,” David says.
Asana’s implementation went hand in hand with The Trevor Project’s launch of a set of internal project management standards. “We used Asana to guide the project management journey we created,” says David. To help employees adopt the new system, they offered a playbook with guidance, live virtual training sessions to touch base with every team, and two asynchronous trainings on the newly established project management standards and how to use Asana within that new framework.
By defining a flexible yet unified way of working across the organization, The Trevor Project got ahead of growth-related challenges and placed teams on a productive track. Research from the Anatomy of Work Index found that larger companies have more complex processes than smaller organizations do, and therefore tend to miss actions and updates more frequently.
Big teams also spend more time on “work about work,” which describes all the coordination tasks that happen around impactful and strategic work. With systems in place, The Trevor Project could grow and still operate as a nimble, cohesive team.
Today, The Trevor Project manages many of its projects in Asana, saving an estimated 348 workdays per year that would otherwise be spent on coordination — the equivalent of 70 weeks, or over one year of a full-time employee’s work. This estimated time savings is based on research Asana has conducted with its customers and other third-party research about the time employees spend on common activities like searching for information, context switching, and going between apps when not using a work management platform. And at The Trevor Project, whose top priority is supporting LGBTQ young people who are experiencing crisis, time savings are critical. When you’re operating a suicide prevention organization, every second counts.
These time savings come from Asana features like forms, which help staff capture internal and external requests and kick off work quickly, reclaiming 244 workdays per year. Over 650 forms are submitted across the organization each month. Rules automate steps and notifications: The Trevor Project’s average of 8,770 automated actions per month contribute to a time savings of 36 workdays annually.
Teams also share over 1,600 comments per month, which prevent unnecessary emails and context-switching by centralizing communications in one place. This saves 43 workdays and unites teammates and external vendors no matter where they are located.
David’s 12-person Special Projects team manages all initiatives in Asana, organizing them into tiers based on funding and stakeholders. When they kick off a project in Asana, they attach a brief and create sections in the project to represent different workflows with milestones.
Tasks within a workflow contain instructions in the description field for an easy start, so that once tasks are assigned to an owner, they’re off to the races. When a task is completed, Asana alerts teammates in the project’s Slack channel via the Slack integration, so the next owner can quickly pick up the baton.
And David finally gets his organization-wide transparency: he monitors progress across projects using Asana portfolios and has one place to collaborate with people on different teams.
David says, “During our brand refresh, we brought our outside vendor into Asana to review work and track research. The ability to collaborate in that way, both within and outside of the organization, allowed us to land on a final product that would be relatable for young people.”
The Trevor Project partners with companies across various industries to advance Trevor’s mission of ending suicide among LGBTQ young people. Subsequently, the Corporate Partnerships team works cross-functionally within the organization to ensure partnership deliverables are fulfilled, and typically captures this in Asana as a source of truth.
When a partnership is confirmed, the team uses a Corporate Partnership template in Asana to create a new project. In the project overview section, they place a brief that lists the partnership’s required deliverables so the assigned Campaign Manager can get up to speed. From there, they use the project to organize and populate tasks for action items, and define a workback schedule based on the launch date as needed.
Tasks are organized into different project sections, such as “Logistics” and “Employee Engagement,” allowing the Campaign Manager, Partnership Manager, and other internal stakeholders an avenue to deliver feedback and assets within the Asana project so that all work and documents are easy to find. The Corporate Partnerships team also uses forms to manage requests from internal teams and partners.
The seven-person Marketing team builds awareness and drives engagement through initiatives that can include up to 30 stakeholders across the organization. A Campaign Manager assigned to a new program leads it end to end, kicking it off in Asana with a template — there’s one for Trevor-owned initiatives in addition to the one for partnerships.
The new project holds the brief and all execution tasks so no steps are forgotten, as well as documents like links to email previews and social posts. Every week, project managers use Asana’s status updates to keep the team informed, saving them a meeting and a few emails.
Campaign Manager Elise M. (pronouns: she/her) says, “Knowledge sharing within my team has been a growth area for us. With Asana, it’s been great to see what’s happening [in my projects] at a glance and save people the time of walking me through their individual workstreams.”
Marketing uses portfolios to monitor the status of all marketing campaigns in flight, organized by priority level. “We recently saw a few delays coming up in a campaign,” Elise says. “Asana helped us flag it and start a collaborative conversation to solve the issue proactively.”
The Trevor Project has successfully implemented a new project management standard with Asana. Their processes act as guardrails for delivering quality services as they grow, and their many new team members can start owning projects faster because the historical context in Asana onboards them quickly.
This internal infrastructure has reduced admin work and helped the staff focus energy on activities with the most community impact. Elise says, “There are so many incredible, passionate people here ready to help. But with lots of ideas, accountability can be tough to figure out — and Asana does that for us. We know who is delivering a project and who our decision makers are.”
Now that The Trevor Project has laid a strong foundation for productivity and cross-team collaboration, it can deliver more life-saving services to young people across the US and abroad. The idea that started as a phone number on a TV screen has grown into a leading advocate and powerful protective force helping LGBTQ youth feel safe and accepted as they are so they can imagine a bright future for themselves.
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