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Encouraging Existing Endorsers To Champion Their Support To Congress

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As we finish out 2020, one of CCL’s top priorities is to build up awareness of the solid support for the Energy Innovation Act in the public eye across the political spectrum and among members of Congress and their staff.  We encourage you to be creative and strategic in your outreach to community influencers.  After you've done research to focus your group's grasstops engagements, this training walks you through how to best highlight Energy Innovation Act support from local community leaders on both sides of the aisle and provides specific examples of other CCL groups' success stories. Starting with community leaders you know and those who have already endorsed will have a better chance of success and be less work.

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/topics/engaging-influencers
TOC and Guide Section
 
Why is this important now?
  • The greater the perception of support, the stronger our position in the current Congress including the lame duck session after the election and the stronger our position in 2021 regardless of the outcome of the election.
    • It keeps carbon pricing in the forefront of the minds of members of Congress, amidst all the other things they must pay attention to.
    • It may make it possible to increase the number of Republican co-sponsors in the current legislative session. 
    • It will help us push to be sure a carbon fee is included in whatever climate package may be forthcoming next year by either party.
  • Public concern about climate change has risen, and public focus is on solutions more than ever before. We need to increase attention to a keystone solution that will make a huge difference in lowering emissions, and which works with the values of many Americans on both sides of the aisle: carbon fee and dividend policies like the Energy Innovation Act.
  • Both grasstops (support from VIPs, community leaders and influencers) and grassroots support is helpful, but at this time grasstops is most important. And, since it primarily involves having one-on-one conversations with community leaders, it is easily done by Zoom, phone or email during the pandemic. 

Note: Focusing on grasstops leaders doesn’t mean other areas aren’t important as well. CCL hopes you will continue to work on electoral participation and on outreach to and dialogue with people from all backgrounds. We need a strong democracy and a strong and fully inclusive organization. 

Who should we reach out to?

Since the time left in the current legislative session is short, we suggest you put a priority on asking community leaders who already have supported the Energy Innovation Act or carbon pricing principles in general to express their continued support in some way. The best public support is for the Energy Innovation Act, explicitly, but highlighting grasstops support for carbon fee and dividend policies generally, or carbon taxes, or carbon pricing more broadly will all be helpful (in that order of priority).  

You are welcome to prioritize who you think will most impress your members of Congress and, for more advice on how to extend your outreach to additional grasstops leaders, see the Focusing Your Grasstops Outreach training page. Here are some ideas for who to go back to:

To get started, download or make a copy of this template Email message, customize a message for each of the community leaders on your list, send the messages in email, and then follow up with a phone call after a few days. 

How can grasstops leaders help highlight their support publicly?

When a public expression of support occurs, here are some suggestions on how your grasstops leader can work with you and your liaison to amplify their support. With each of the following suggestions, you’re invited to share their expressions on your own social media and to the social media of your members of Congress. 

How can grasstops leaders express bill support publicly:

  • Post their support on their own social media 
  • Write an op-ed, or co-write with other leaders they recruit
  • Make a 1-2 minute video in support (i.e., MLB’s Brent Suter example
  • Write an open letter to their member of Congress 
  • If your member of Congress is a co-sponsor of H.R.763, ask them to talk publicly about why they support the Energy Innovation Act in an op-ed or when they are speaking to the public.
  • Please also share it on Community’s forums to inspire others with your success. 
How can grasstops leaders help highlight their support privately?
  • Write a personal letter to their members of Congress
  • With your help, schedule a personal call or Zoom meeting with members of Congress or their chief of staff
  • Introduce us to other influencers
  • Lobby with us the next time you have a lobby meeting (see meeting preparations below)
  • Support them to request their own (non-CCL) lobby meeting
Where can I see a list of Energy Innovation Act endorsements from my locale?

After successful validation, all endorsements submitted to energyinnovationact.org/endorse are listed:

  1. On the energyinnovationact.org endorsement map
  2. In the district and state endorsement reports that are emailed to CCL group leaders and liaisons every month, and
  3. In the Grasstops Engagement Tracker (GET)

The most prominent endorsements are also listed on the "Supporters" page at energyinnovationact.org.

Ways to incorporate community leaders into lobbying

Having already built up your relationship with your community leaders and confirmed their interest in meeting with your member of Congress (in addition to the significant actions they can take listed above), there are a few different ways you can incorporate your community leaders into an online lobby meeting:

  • Add one leader to your CCL lobby team--they participate as part of the team, usually by telling their story or how climate change is impacting what they do. 
  • Include a small group of leaders in an online lobby meeting--they replace most CCL volunteers on the team and the meeting focuses on the message from the leaders. They are the primary voices in the meeting, and the CCLers are the backup for them.
  • Assist a small group of leaders to request and hold their own (non-CCL) online lobby meeting. CCL provides training for that group as needed, but it isn’t a CCL meeting.
Preparing for your online lobby meeting
  • When you add one or more community leaders into a CCL lobby meeting you need to do extra preparation to make sure your invited leaders understand the role they will play, agree to abide by CCL’s core values, and agree to the focus and the “ask” for the meeting.
  • Start your team’s planning process early, months ahead of when you’d ideally like to host your next online meeting. It’s essential to hold a planning meeting for the team, so everyone knows how to work together, what’s expected, and agrees with the meeting plan. Skipping this step is likely to lead to your meeting going astray.
  • Be prepared to manage the time effectively like you would a regular CCL lobby meeting, yet also be prepared for the meeting to be largely centered around the leaders’ experiences.
  • In your agenda, be sure to highlight early and often your community leader’s support (for action on climate change or specifically H.R.763), as well as the impacts they face from climate change. 
  • Be prepared to handle unexpected developments. There is always unpredictability in our lobby meetings, either because the congressional office surprises us or because the conversation takes a different path than what we intended. This is especially likely when lobbying with people who are not focused on CCL’s legislation the way our volunteers are. If you are the meeting lead, prepare yourself ahead of time. 
    • How can you bring the meeting back on track if your community leaders turn the conversation to other issues? 
    • How can you bring it back if your community leader starts to express concern about the bill? 
    • What if your member of Congress isn’t that interested in the message you are bringing in that meeting? 

Walking yourself through some scenarios ahead of time can help you be ready in the moment.

Length
Press play to start the video (38m 22s)
https://vimeo.com/showcase/6209838
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

Why Now? Why Grasstops?
(2:25)

Who To Reconnect With?
(4:51)

Public & Private Statement Formats
(8:43)

Endorsers in Lobby Meetings
(22:43)

Getting Creative (Mayors & Town Halls)
(31:14)

Instructor(s)
  • Todd Elvins
  • Steffi Rausch
  • Andy Panelli 
  • Bruce Jamison
  • Lauren Barros & Tom Moyer
Downloads

Download PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.

Download the video.
Audio length
Press play to start the audio (38m 22s)
Audio embed code
Audio Outline

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

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

Why Now? Why Grasstops?
(2:25)

Who To Reconnect With?
(4:51)

Public & Private Statement Formats
(8:43)

Endorsers in Lobby Meetings
(22:43)

Getting Creative (Mayors & Town Halls)
(31:14)
 

Instructor(s)
  • Todd Elvins
  • Steffi Rausch
  • Andy Panelli 
  • Bruce Jamison
  • Lauren Barros & Tom Moyer

 

Go Deeper
Join the Grasstops Engagement or Business Climate Leaders action teams.
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Category
Training
Topics
Grasstops Outreach
Format
Audio / Video, Presentation
File Type
Google Slides