By Flannery Winchester
To achieve our mission, CCL uses several tried and true methods. We call them the levers of political will: lobbying, media, grassroots outreach, grasstops outreach, and chapter development. Through these avenues, we bring people into the political process and ensure their contribution is truly effective.
As we’ve grown over these 10 years, our volunteers have gotten better and better at pulling those levers. With support from their group leaders, state and regional coordinators, action team leaders, and national staff, our volunteers have consistently achieved more each year.
Early on, we hadn’t yet started tracking some of these elements. But for all the years we have data, it’s clear that our efforts to build political will are paying off. Let’s take a look at some of this incredible growth!
Back in 2010, CCLers held 106 lobby meetings with members of Congress and congressional offices. That more than doubled the next year to 255. In 2016, we held an amazing 1,387 lobbying meetings! This year, we’re already at 1,116 meetings—and we haven’t even been to Congressional Education Day yet.
Part of what helps us schedule these meetings and make them productive is sending regular letters to Congress, boosting climate change higher on their priority list. In 2014 we sent 5,547 letters to members of Congress. In 2016, we sent just over 40,000 letters. This year—with a few more months to go—we’ve sent 51,920 letters.
This lever involves a few different types of published media: letters to the editor (LTEs), op-eds, and editorials.
Back in 2010, CCL had 36 LTEs published. We had a banner year in 2015 with 3,034 letters published and are within striking distance of that again this year, with 2,776 LTEs so far.
The other types of media are steadily climbing, too. We had 29 op-eds published in 2010 and have reached 502 op-eds so far this year. The number to beat is our all-time high of 547 op-eds published in 2015.
For editorials, this is far and away our best year ever. We had 12 editorials published in 2011, and this year we’ve had 100 published so far. Congress keeps its finger on the pulse of local media, so each and every one of these pieces goes a long way.
Presentations and tabling are great ways to connect with both grassroots people in the community, and grasstops folks like local business owners, faith leaders, city council members and more.
Our volunteers have steadily held more and more outreach events over the past few years. The first year we tracked outreach was 2014, and we held 1,068 events that year. This year is already our best year ever, with 2,349 events.
We’ll do a deep dive into the grasstops outreach, which includes municipal resolutions and endorsements, in an upcoming post. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!
The last lever of political will is crucial, because when chapters are healthy and thriving, they can effectively execute all the other levers. Plus, when we have more chapters, we’re capable of even more lobbying, media and outreach—each chapter amplifies our efforts in Congress even more.
We originally started with just three groups. By 2010, that was up to 13. We’ve added dozens of new chapters each year and are now at 437 active chapters around the world, with many more in progress.
We’ve seen proportional growth in our supporter numbers, too, recently passing 86,000 CCL supporters worldwide.
All of this growth can only mean one thing: We’ve got unstoppable momentum toward the livable world we all want to see. Keep it up!