National outreach: Better coordination leads to bigger success

Stephanie Doyle outreach

Stephanie Doyle (second from left) works with CCL volunteers across the country on local and national outreach. She’s pictured here with other members of CCL’s D.C. team, Andres Jimenez, Danny Richter and Ben Pendergrass.

National outreach: Better coordination leads to bigger success

By Stephanie Doyle, CCL’s National Outreach and Partnership Coordinator

Citizens’ Climate Lobby has grown exponentially in the past 10 years. This shouldn’t be news to any of our volunteers, who have been instrumental in getting our numbers to where they are now—over 100,000! We’ve gone from a small, scrappy organization to more than 480 groups, and those huge numbers demand a new level of coordination.

As our National Outreach and Partnership Coordinator, I work with many of our volunteers on outreach to organizations both big and small. Now that we have so many volunteers, it’s more important than ever that we coordinate our messaging and outreach to large, national organizations, whose help we will need to pass a bill.

A coordinated approach that works

Let’s say you’re at your local chapter meeting, and someone brings up a national group—the Environmental Defense Fund, for example. One of your fellow volunteers says, “We should reach out to EDF! Can someone email their president and tell them about Carbon Fee and Dividend?” Odds are, volunteers in other chapters may have had that same idea. If everyone follows through, you could accidentally overwhelm and confuse EDF with emails from 30 different CCL volunteers. When there’s confusion, not much gets done. To be most effective, we need to coordinate.

One example of a volunteer conducting successful, coordinated outreach is Dave Massen. Over the years, Dave has been dedicated to reaching out to national labor groups, and he and I have worked together to coordinate our efforts. First, he always informs me of who, what, when and where he will be doing his outreach. Then he reaches out to the group, making clear that he is a volunteer, and that he has the support of CCL staff here in D.C., ready to continue the conversation once he gets it off the ground. He includes me in all the discussions, which allows for an easy transition when a conversation needs to go beyond the basics and into the policy details. Our coordinated approach has allowed us to have informative conversations with labor groups both over email and in person.

So the next time you or your chapter has a great outreach idea, remember Dave’s process. Check in with me so our outreach can be coordinated and truly effective. Together, we can make incredible progress!

Local outreach is powerful

It’s also important to keep in mind that, usually, local outreach is the most powerful outreach you can do. You’re a constituent and a community member. If you can generate local support for both our policy and our efforts at bipartisanship, it paves the way for larger, national buy-in. Plus, your efforts will matter more to your Member of Congress if they create local, grassroots demand for our policy and our work.

As always, this local outreach takes place in the same respectful, values-based way we do all our work. We want to build up other organizations’ trust in CCL by working together locally and finding ways to complement each other’s goals and efforts

Let’s talk

As we work to further our relationships with both local and national organizations of all kinds, both from a policy and partnering perspective, it’s extremely important that we coordinate our efforts. By coordinating our efforts through our D.C. office, we ensure that CCL remains productive, professional and still deeply passionate about what we’re working toward.

I look forward to coordinating with those of you who do have interest in national outreach, and thank those of you putting in the time at the local level to build up the trust and relationships of CCL within your own communities.

If you do have connections with a national organization and wish to explore it further, please contact me and we can figure out the best way forward.

Stephanie Doyle was CCL’s National Outreach and Partnership Coordinator.