Organizing Your Group Into Teams

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This section describes how you may want to divide your chapter into teams to tackle the work. As we’ve learned in Transformational Organizing, research shows that people engage more deeply over time when they work together.
Related Trainings
Working in Teams is part of the Organizing and Mentoring Your Group series.
TOC and Guide Section
Getting Started

Starting teams isn’t a requirement for any chapter, but if you have the time and volunteers it will strengthen your group to ask people to work together. Co-leaders can keep the work from becoming overwhelming and provide support and accountability to each other. Adding a second person to a job or role enables more people to gain useful skills and experience, and creates a backup for when your point person has a time conflict or life crisis.

Chapters of various sizes may benefit from organizing into teams. In large metropolitan areas, inter-chapter teams, comprised of CCL volunteers from several chapters, may form to address chapters’ purposes that benefit multiple CCL chapters. Teams may choose to organize around a specific function such as working with a member of Congress or a broader regional goal such as metro-wide tabling and presentation opportunities.

Special thanks to CCL CA San Luis Obispo for providing an example of their team’s framework below:

Possible Team Types

Community Outreach Teams

  • Education Outreach Team: outreach to community colleges and universities to create CCL chapters on campus. Work with campus clubs and leaders to host speakers, put on Earth Day events, and conduct presentations.
  • Tabling Team: organize tabling events including researching opportunities, transporting equipment and materials, covering shifts and printing handouts.
  • Presentation Team: locate venues for speakers to talk about CCL, climate solutions and/or more general climate change issues. Staff events where appropriate and create presentations.
  • Endorsement Team: build relationships with local community leaders and seek their endorsement.

Media Outreach Teams

  • Letters to the Editor Team: meet monthly to work on op-eds and LTEs, study the art of letter writing and share research resources.
  • ‎Editorial Board Team: meet with Editorial Board staff, develop relationships and become a resource for climate solutions and science.
  • Social Media Team: administer Facebook page and Twitter account. Have several administrators who post to social media. Hold trainings for members on how to use social media.

Lobby Teams

  • Congressional Liaison Team: schedule appointments and develop relationships with MOCs and staff.
What should we consider before starting teams?
  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating a team structure for our chapter?
  2. What activities could we work on if we had a team structure?
  3. What teams could we form to meet our current needs?
  4. What organizational structure would oversee our teams? To whom would team captains report their plans, activities, progress, and goals?
  5. Who would the team leaders or co-leaders be?
  6. How can teams work to develop and expand our chapter and its outreach ability?
  7. What are the possibilities, if any, for inter-chapter teams in our area?
What are the advantages of teams?
  • The team organizational structure may make the chapter seem more supportive and inclusive.
  • Members have a stake in their chapter when given an opportunity to be involved in a specific way.
  • Members may be more likely to continue their involvement.
  • As chapter members come and go, having a team organizational structure ensures more stability for chapter activities.
  • Members have an immediate way to become involved in their chapter, in addition to attending monthly national call meetings.
  • Teams can expand outreach into the community.
  • Teams are an effective way to divide up complex tasks.
  • Teams can help avoid overloading too few people with too much work.
  • Teams can meet regularly to strategize, plan and carry out activities, thereby extending member involvement in CCL past the monthly national call meetings.
  • Teams can be added or deleted as a chapter’s membership and activities grow and their needs change.
How do we incorporate teams into our current group structure?
  • Include team reports at monthly national call meetings. Each team leader, or a member of the team, gives a description of what the team’s function and a report of what’s coming up for the team that month so that new and prospective members can learn about chapter activities and be informed of upcoming team meetings.
  • Pass around a sign-up sheet for new and prospective members to indicate their willingness to be on teams which need members.
How can teams work together in a larger chapter?

Many larger chapters have found that if Team Captains can coordinate around a regularly scheduled Steering Committee meeting to keep each other updated, they more effectively align the larger group’s goals in the same direction.

Team: A number of chapter members working together on a specific project.

Team Captain: Volunteer responsible for leading the team, organizing meetings, creating agendas, and reporting on team activities.

Steering Committee: A group of volunteers who provide leadership in overseeing chapter organization, activities, functions, membership, teams, annual planning, and finances. The Steering Committee is like a Board of Directors.

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Chapter Organizing