Becoming A CCL Liaison
This training page provides an overview of Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Congressional Liaisons Program, what the responsibilities are for the role, how to get involved if you are interested, and how to find out if there is a liaison need in your Congressional district.
Volunteer Position Description for CCL’s Liaisons
Liaisons are a dedicated group of volunteers who work as the “liaison” between their member of Congress (MOC) and CCL. With support from CCL staff, liaisons work with like-minded people at the front lines of democracy. Current liaisons have reported that the relationships built with Congressional staffers, the unique opportunity to be empowered to make a difference in Congress, and the sense of community in a common purpose are the most valuable aspects of being a liaison. Liaisons are essential in strategizing how to move MOCs to the next level of taking action on climate change, and work together with highly motivated members of CCL to generate the political will necessary for a livable world.
Liaisons are essential to CCL’s success and, as dedicated volunteers who work closely with MOCs, liaisons are on the front lines of building political will for climate policies in Congress.
Possible areas of responsibility include:
Knowing your Member of Congress
- Conduct research on your MOC (including their Committees, policy priorities, biographical information, etc.)
- Review key events organized by your MOC, including town halls, hearings or briefings
- Track the preferred method of communication with the MOC’s office
Coordinating lobby meeting agendas and strategies
- Request meetings with the MOC’s office (both federal and district level meetings)
- Act as main point of contact for periodic communications with the office
- Develop lobby meeting agendas and determine the primary and/or supporting asks to be made during lobby meetings
- Coordinate with the lobby team to assign meeting roles (meeting lead, notetaker, appreciator, time monitor, asker, deliverer)
- Use the automated log to record the your appointment setting progress (each liaison will receive a unique log link for CCL’s national lobby events)
- Coordinate with the notetaker from lobby meetings to ensure the minutes get submitted via the Action Tracker
* Remember, you can facilitate responsibilities taken by other members in your CCL chapter! We think it unlikely one person can do all of these.
What are the goals and purposes of the role?
A CCL Liaison is someone who is the representative for CCL when the local CCL chapter contacts a Congressional staffer. Since there are 535 MOCs, CCL’s goal is to have a personal liaison for each of those offices and their staff.
CCL liaisons build ongoing relationships with their MOCs and their staff by maintaining regular personal contact and by coordinating the group’s meetings and communication with that office. This can include updating the office with timely resources related to climate change, planning meeting agendas, or even inviting the staff to a local event.
Having one consistent point of contact with the office of each MOC makes our process of communicating about climate change and our solution organized and much more effective.
The liaison is the representative for the CCL chapter. The liaison has the goal of building a trusting relationship, moving that MOC toward supporting the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and suggested carbon pricing policies and encouraging the member to reach out to other members of Congress to have conversations about the bill.
The liaison role is essential to furthering progress toward CCL’s mission and building political will for carbon pricing within Congress. Liaisons work with like-minded individuals within their chapters to plan how to build relationships with their MOC’s offices. As the point of contact with the office, Liaisons pull on the Lobbying Congress lever of political will and routinely practice leadership skills including listening, relationship building, and lifelong learning.
The liaison position requires good knowledge of CCL’s goals and culture, good people skills and an extended time commitment because it involves building a relationship with one’s congressional office. When there is only one group working in a congressional district, the group should find a volunteer for the liaison role in consultation with their state or regional coordinator, CCL’s Liaison Coordinator, Kesten Bozinovic, or CCL’s Director of Congressional Liaisons, Amy Bennett. When there is more than one group in a district, then those groups should work together. Liaisons to Senators are chosen with input from other leaders in the state. Contact your State Coordinator to learn more.
CCL Liaison ABC’s
There are three important commitments that all CCL Liaisons are responsible for, known as the Liaison ABC’s. They include:
A. Appointment setting and lobby meeting agenda planning (usually quarterly)
- For June and November D.C. lobby day appointment requests - Liaisons use our automated log to record the appointment setting progress so that we can coordinate all meetings.
B. Build a trusting relationship with your member
- As the primary liaison, you will be the main point of contact for periodic communications with the office. Carefully drafted touches that are timely will build the relationship. "Keep the lines of communications open with your key contact in the MOC office. Before sending emails, consider what will be of value to the MOC or staff, with quality of the touch being of top importance rather than quantity. Know your member, so you can send useful, welcome yet brief emails to help you become the trusted messenger for your MOC’s office.
C. Collaboration, Confidentiality and Communications
- Collaborate with your chapter and other district/state chapters when you strategize and plan Congressional meeting agendas. Review your meeting minute notes and make sure they get submitted to keep a record of the relationship with the office.
- Confidentiality - Keep anything said in your meetings and correspondence with MOCs and their staff private. We keep Liaison contact information private, even between liaisons; learn more below.
- Communications - timely, short and sweet periodic correspondence with key Congressional staffers including the ability to respond to liaison related emails promptly.
We have primary liaisons and secondary liaisons. Secondary liaisons often take on local tasks such as communications with district offices, while the primary liaison takes on the communications with the D.C. legislative staff.
What To Do If You’re Interested
Becoming a CCL Liaison follows the four step process outlined below:
- If you have not completed the Climate Advocate Training Workshop, please join a live or recorded online training. In-person Climate Advocate Training workshops are also available to build upon the online training at events such as CCL conferences.
- Reach out to your Group Leader, State Coordinator or Regional Coordinator to see if there is a current liaison for your congressional district or if they are in the process of selecting a liaison.
- In your conversation, review the liaison position description with your Group Leader, State Coordinator or Regional Coordinator.
- If you mutually agree, then ask your group leader or state coordinator to fill out this link to let Amy Bennett, CCL’s Director of Liaisons, know so she can add you to the roster.
What Support Is Provided?
CCL Director of Congressional Liaisons and Lobby Days, Amy Bennett, hosts liaison support calls (on Zoom or by phone) on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month at 1 pm and 8pm Eastern Time. The invitation and agenda goes out on the Sunday ahead of the call. We suggest you join these calls (or view the recording and notes) so that all liaisons are on the same page and know the current actions we are working on. Amy will send out a link to the recorded call and call notes within 24 hours after each call.
Once you are added to the liaison roster, you will automatically become a member of the hidden Liaisons Group on CCL's Community site (this process might take up to 48 hours). From your CCL Community dashboard, you will see Liaisons on the left in My Community Groups. The landing page has a list of quick links to the most used liaison related resources.
Note: The Liaisons Group is hidden so that liaison discussions can remain private. As a result, you won’t be able to access it until you’ve formally been admitted, and after that you will need to log in with your CCL Community password in order to access the page.
Confidentiality of Liaison Contact Information
Over the years we have gotten requests to make liaison contact information more public. When a request for liaison contact information comes in, it goes through Amy Bennett. Amy gets back to the person requesting it to get more details. In a few cases, Amy does forward the email on so the liaison can respond as they wish. There are three main reasons for keeping this practice.
- Privacy - The first reason is simply privacy for CCLers. Even if we created separate email addresses for each liaison, we have over 700 liaisons and they do change frequently, we do not have the capacity to create those emails and the changes required.
- Confidentiality and trust - In many situations the request is about sharing confidential information. It is important to maintain confidentiality about anything said in MOC meetings. Information from one MOC/district meeting should not be shared across to other MOC/districts. We cannot assume that a seemingly simple statement of support was meant for the public. Even a question asked in a meeting needs to be held in confidence. If we fail to keep confidences, it can risk the trust we have developed, as well as the relationship.
- Empowerment - We have also had instances where a CCLer wants to suggest to a liaison for a different MOC that they take an action step. That liaison ends up in an uncomfortable position and has a difficult time saying no thank you. It can become disempowering for liaisons to get suggestions from outside their district for actions that are not part of their own MOC plans.
There are instances where we do pass along those emails or Amy asks CCL’s D.C. staff to help advise us. There are states and state coordinators who have monthly calls with group leaders and liaisons for statewide planning purposes. There are often common climate impacts or economic circumstances within states that are helpful to discuss. In these cases, while we still stress maintaining confidence, it is helpful for liaisons to share best practices that might work in other parts of the state or with their Senator.
Suggested Trainings & Resources
We're all on a learning curve in improving our climate advocacy and know there are many trainings available to you on CCL Community. To help navigate some of your first steps in support, here's a list of training pages that can help you get started:
- If you have not completed the Climate Advocate Training Workshop, please join a live or recorded online training available to get you up to speed.
- Getting to Know your Member of Congress. This is important in order to plan meeting agendas and build the relationship with the congressional office. Each member and their office is different, so it’s important to get to know them as individuals before strategizing. *This training is highly suggested by SCs*
- Working with Congress Resources and Trainings
- Core Volunteer Trainings
CCL Liaison ABC's Basics
Review of CCL Basics
Review of Webpages
If you have any additional questions, please email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.