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Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing computer science education every student and school in the United States.

It’s also one of the hottest companies in education right now, with supporters and superfans you may have heard of: President Obama, Chris Bosh, Shakira, Mark Zuckerberg, Ashton Kutcher. A company by the name of Google—just to mention a few.

But Founder Hadi Partovi says he credits a huge, under-recognized, portion of the organization’s growth to great website testing. (No offense, Zuck.)

I traveled to their Seattle headquarters in March to learn more about Code.org’s growth and testing strategy.

Code.org started using Optimizely in October, just after launching their Hour of Code campaign. The team is small—just over 20 employees—so they wanted a platform that would allow them to move quickly and nimbly to achieve their goals. Something that would free up developers’ time and help their team deploy changes to the website more quickly. Something that the team’s marketers—like Roxanne Emadi—could use to their benefit.

“The Hour of Code campaign was a long shot idea to reach 10 million students and get them to do just one hour of code,” Roxanne explained. “We really wanted to know how we could maximize our impact.”

With Roxanne driving the team’s testing program, they blew that goal out of the water, generating over 30 million student sign-ups. According to Roxanne and Hadi, at least 12 million of those sign-ups were because the team tested and optimized the website.

Today, the team is more data-driven than ever before, testing everything from the petitions they distribute, to their donation pages, to the subject line in their email communications. They’ve even applied their online learnings to offline marketing collateral, like brochures and mailings.

“We may be small, but we have a huge, ambitious mission,” said Roxanne. “Testing helps us reach so many more people–even with a small team. Continuing to optimize our website will really help us change the world.”

Learn how more companies are using optimization as their killer secret weapon >

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