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Starting a Local Chapter

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CCL chapters form the backbone of the CCL organization. People from all walks of life who understand the urgency of climate change have started local CCL chapters across the world. This training points to resources to help get a new chapter up and running.

TOC and Guide Section
Group leaders and other local leadership

CCL’s strength comes from its volunteers. There is a vast amount of opportunity and need for leadership in our ranks, and we are deeply grateful to the many volunteers who give so generously of their time. We believe in giving you the flexibility to meet your local needs in the way that works best for you, with support for finding and training the people who step forward into leadership. That support is provided by volunteer state coordinators, as well as regional coordinator contractors and CCL staff. We are committed to the empowerment of our volunteers. This includes supporting current volunteer leaders, encouraging co-leaders, encouraging people to delegate and bring in new leadership, finding good roles for everyone who wants one, and encouraging people who don’t think of themselves as leaders but in fact have that capacity. We also want our groups and local leadership to reflect the diversity of the community and recognize that we need to work on that continuously.

Because CCL’s strategy and core values emphasize good relationships and local empowerment, we have left it to our volunteers in the field to determine the best way to choose their local leadership. In general, leadership emerges from a combination of who is willing and available, and who is trusted by their peers. CCL state and regional coordinators and staff are available to help with local leadership needs and transitions. They may encourage people to consider the role, find co-leaders, or facilitate discussions to find or choose leadership.

Contact your Regional Coordinator (RC)

Find the regional coordinator in your area of the country and contact them to let them know that you want to start a chapter. As the primary providers of support to volunteer leadership, it’s the job of the state and regional coordinators to help with whatever the local group needs, including conflict resolution on rare occasions. Our experience so far is that this model of trust with support almost always works very well, and allows our groups to keep their primary focus on the work to be done, as well as giving people time to learn and grow in the role. Groups that wish to have a more formal process are free to do so, however.

Getting help getting started

Your regional (or state) coordinator will help you do the following:

  • Help you name your local chapter.
  • Start the internal CCL process that will get your new chapter on the main CCL website and using CCL Community's many support tools and resources.
    • CCL considers your group to be “In Progress” at this point.
  • Check in with you regularly to help you dismantle roadblocks.
  • Introduce you to the trainer who can lead a Climate Advocate Training Workshop (CATW) to help launch your new chapter with CCL’s signature volunteer orientation and training workshop.
  • After your workshop, your regional (or state) coordinator will continue supporting you with regular one-on-one phone calls.
Additional Resources To Help

As you work with your regional (or state) coordinator, you can:

Start Growing Your Group

Conduct outreach to build your chapter:

Find Others To Share In The Work

Delegate key tasks and roles to incoming volunteers (see link for key roles)

Get Help From Other CCL Veterans

There have been many ways that active CCL groups have helped support other chapters get off the ground. One support is through the Group Development Coaches who help pull together and help a local Host Committee plan and host a Climate Advocate Training to officially launch a new CCL chapter. Group development coaches also provide CCL continuity for the group leader(s) who emerges during the planning process and are working hard to help CCL get an active chapter in every congressional district in the country. 

You could also check in with neighboring chapters for some cross-chapter teamwork and support (click the link to be directed to a forum topic on this approach with examples pioneered by groups like the CCL Salt Lake City chapter).

Go Deeper
If you have any questions as you move along feel free to email Elli Sparks, CCL’s Field Development Director at:

Interested in helping a new chapter launch in a targeted area that’s not your own? Sign up to be a Group Development Coach who helps put together a local committee to host a climate advocate training.

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Chapter Organizing
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Training Resources