Ask Community Leaders to Champion their Support

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Once you've educated community leaders on CCL's policy agenda and they've agreed to endorse all or some of the policies we support, the community leaders can take more steps to become champions. Encourage them to co-author op-eds about the effective policies in our policy agenda and other climate-related topics. You can also work with your liaison to include community leaders who are trusted messengers in lobby meetings and other communications with Members of Congress.

TOC and Guide Section
Why is this important now?

We need to educate community leaders about CCL's policy agenda and encourage them to show their support in a variety of ways. We want local, state, and federal governments to know that strong climate policy is popular and we're hungry for more.

Who should you reach out to?

Identify community leaders you know who’ve not endorsed yet:

  • Convene a meeting of your chapter’s grasstops team and Grasstops Engagement Manager (GEM) if you have them, and volunteers interested in grasstops.
  • Review the list of your past endorsers in the Grasstops Engagement Tracker or Endorsement Report. All past endorsements will soon appear on the page with our new endorsement form so there’s no need to ask anyone to endorse again. However, it may be a good idea to reconnect with endorsers from years ago and give them an update on CCL's policy agenda and/or climate bills in Congress.
  • Think of at least one prominent local leader you know. These might include business owners, faith leaders, community organizers and other professionals. You might also include local professors who signed the CLC Economists Statement (sorted by location in this spreadsheet).
  • Do the research to determine which of these leaders your MOC listens to, i.e., the leader is a trusted messenger. See CCL Community’s Focusing Your Grasstops Outreach training to learn how.

The following may be particularly good community leaders to pursue:

Local elected officials! Ask to meet with them, talk about carbon pricing or electrification, then ask them to endorse using CCL's endorsement form for carbon pricing and carbon cashback or sign on to Rewiring America's Local Elected Leader Electrification Letter.

Community leaders with a following! Talk to local business owners, faith leaders, and influencers that you know support CCL. Ask them to talk about climate with their followers, practice sustainability at their business, or post about CCL and climate policies on their social media.

What should you say when you talk to your community leader?

1.Select trusted messengers you know on your leader list and make a plan to reconnect. Start by getting to know the community leader and their organization if you don't already. Have an open-minded conversation about the effects of climate change and how they impact your community or the leader's organization directly.
2. Next, educate the leader about all or part of CCL's policy agenda. You can be specific about bill that CCL is supporting or keep it general and ask for the leader's support of a policy area.
3. After one or more meetings, when the relationship is ready, ask your community leader to endorse carbon cashback and/or carbon pricing on our new endorsement form,
4. Once the community leader has endorsed, ask them to introduce you to colleagues who have not, post about their support on social media or their website, or co-author an op-ed with a member of your chapter.
5. If appropriate, invite the community leader to attend an event your chapter is hosting or to lobby with you the next time you are meeting with your member of Congress.

Should I include a community leader on my lobby team?

Trusted messengers and trusted organizations can amplify our asks to Congress in a lobby meeting.

Make a list of the community leaders in your district who are trusted messengers (defined above) to your MOC. You should include on your lobby team one of these trusted messengers if they, (1) can substantially help to increase the MOC's enthusiasm for supporting additional climate policy, (2) will agree to rehearse with you the lobby meeting in advance, and (3) will agree to stick to the meeting agenda and the asks determined by the lobby team leader.

When the scheduled lobby meeting is on Zoom including a trusted messenger on your lobby team is an especially good idea because no travel is required.

Following are some steps to take to prepare a trusted messenger to participate in a lobby meeting.

  • Start by getting them up to speed on CCL. Discuss CCL’s volunteer advocacy work and our policy agenda. Then be sure to go into detail on our nonpartisan approach to lobbying. For example, we treat every congressional office with respect and appreciation. And we thoroughly prepare for our scheduled meetings with the congressional offices.  You’ll likely want to include an experienced lobbyist in this prep work. 
  • Get the community leader up to speed on the primary and secondary asks for the lobby meeting. 
  • Ask your community leader if they have a story about how climate change has impacted their business, location, employees, home or family. If appropriate ask the community leader to be ready to tell the story in 2 minutes or less during your lobby meeting. And practice in advance.
  • Finally, working with the liaison or lobby team leader, rehearse the meeting with the community leader. Doing a mock lobby meeting with someone playing the role of the MOC or staff is a fun and effective way to rehearse. 
  • Be cautious of including a community leader who might end up being partisan or might go off on a tangent on their own issue.
How else can community leaders show their support?
  • Post their support on social media and tag their Congresspeople
  • Write an op-ed or co-author an op-ed with a volunteer in your chapter
  • Write an open letter to their member of Congress
  • Write a personal letter to their member of Congress
  • Schedule a personal call or Zoom call with their member of Congress to voice their support for a specific policy
  • Introduce you to other influential community leaders
How can I highlight my community leaders' support to inspire others?
  • Write a post on CCL Community’s forums 
  • Post it in your own social media tagging your community leaders and Representative/ Senators
  • Write an LTE that cites something climate-related in the news and your community leader's support of strong climate policy
Press play to start the video (27m 36s)
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

 (0:00) Intro & Agenda
(2:42) Why Now? What’s Our Nov. Lobbying Plan?
(5:36) What is A Grasstops Leader or Trusted Messenger?
(10:37) How Do I Select One To Lobby?
(14:45) How Do I Prepare Them To Lobby?
(19:33) Success Story

  • Todd Elvins

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Press play to start the audio (27m 36s)
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Audio Outline

To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

(0:00) Intro & Agenda
(2:42) Why Now? What’s Our Nov. Lobbying Plan?
(5:36) What is A Grasstops Leader or Trusted Messenger?
(10:37) How Do I Select One To Lobby?
(14:45) How Do I Prepare Them To Lobby?
(19:33) Success Story

  • Todd Elvins
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