Diverse and Equitable Outreach In Your Chapter

No Image Description
This training reviews the foundations and building blocks for a CCL chapter culture that is healthy and inclusive as well as how to foster healthy and inclusive chapter environments, cultivate chapter cultures that keep volunteers of all backgrounds engaged and conduct equitable outreach during your chapter's events.
TOC and Guide Section

As CCL sets out with an expanded policy agenda, one of our focuses this year is to expand our volunteer base as well through carefully planned outreach. Last month, we highlighted the importance of presentations to recruit volunteers and helped them get plugged in. Another crucial component of that outreach to new volunteers is making sure that they feel at home and have a place at the table through inclusion.

Danielle Whyte is CCL’s National Chapter Development Intern, who has led multiple diversity outreach workshops and presentations in CCL’s regional groups, in CCU training, and as part of a workshop at the CCL December 2022 conference. The name of Danielle’s workshop is “Diverse and equitable outreach and retention: Laying the foundations and building a culture that is healthy and inclusive.” 

“When we think about issues of intersectionality, we have to focus on the environment we’re living in, because if we liberate folks without creating a healthy environment, our work might be in vain,” Danielle explains. “Why onboarding? Why engagement? I think my lived experience with CCL is an example of onboarding done right. I felt that immediate human connection, I felt seen in regard to my identity, I felt seen holistically. That’s what I hope to do for all chapters across the nation.”

Danielle’s presentation centers around three points: conducting equitable outreach, fostering inclusive chapter environments, and cultivating chapter cultures that retain. Danielle emphasizes that to ensure new volunteers feel compelled to join, get familiar with CCL, and remain with CCL, everyone must feel welcome. 

A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dinner Party

Danielle uses the analogy of a dinner party to convey what a CCL chapter should strive to replicate. 

“I’d like to invite you all to a dinner party,” Danielle says, setting the scene. “I’ve set the table. Let’s look around.”

Regarding diversity, Danielle asks, “Who is at the table? Who is given a seat?”

In regards to equity, Danielle asks, “Is everyone being served to meet their needs? We should meet folks where they are, not where we want them to be. We can give them space to flourish if their needs are met.”

Regarding inclusion, Danielle asks, “Is the dinner party accessible? Were the invitations translated into the languages that folks speak? Does everyone have a seat? No one should have to bring a folding chair to a dinner party.”

Within the context of a CCL chapter, Danielle creates an image of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

“Ask yourself — what identities and experiences are present among my chapter members? Are there resources, support systems, or tools for each chapter member to bring their fullest self? Is my chapter environment enabling all members to flourish?”

The ‘You’ in Outreach

Danielle emphasizes that for outreach to new volunteers to be effective, we have to understand where we are and where others are around us socially. She emphasizes that everywhere you go, there is the opportunity to engage with other cultures and new people — and the potential for people to join CCL to fight climate change. 

“Our chapters need to be reflective of the people around us impacted by the issue of climate change. We can’t tell others that we want them to join us and then make them work around our schedules or norms. When we’re grounded in our mission, we’re better able to accomplish our goals.”

Nurturing as Part of Welcoming

Danielle shares that there’s a difference between thanking someone for being present and giving them the tools and nurturing that they need to thrive. 

“After engaging in culturally conscious outreach, there’s much more to do than just welcoming. If I have a blank room and bring you in, welcome you, and leave you alone, do you really feel welcome? Probably not. It’s better if I welcome you in and ask you what you’d like the room to look like. That is nurturing you so that you can thrive in that room.”

This nurturing, Danielle explains, paves the way to deeper relationships.

“If folks feel nurtured and heard, they’re more likely to talk to one another. When people talk to one another, they are more likely to continue to advocate for their needs and get what they need to thrive.”

Building Your Group Morale

Dedicate a piece of your chapter to incentivizing frequently and meet the small and major milestones with the same level of enthusiasm. 

Build morale by appreciating others. Valuable incentives don’t always require money.

Always show your folks that you’re appreciative of their work.  Don’t just incentivize when there have been major accomplishments. 

You want to let everyone know you appreciate all efforts without favoritism or judgment toward the amount of progress made.

Onboarding and Engagement

After doing outreach, welcoming and nurturing, and creating a comfortable space to help people thrive, chapters have to maintain a state of healthy living so that they can retain volunteers. 

Danielle offers several guiding questions as volunteers build and maintain the culture of their chapters:

  • Are our chapter’s values clear to new and longtime members?
  • What support systems are in place? If none, are there any initiatives in the works?
  • Do all members feel empowered to share their voices?

Danielle emphasizes that retention is a daily practice — a daily drumbeat of small actions that can create a large impact.

3-2-1 Approach: A Commitment To Action

Working in new communities can be challenging and uncomfortable, and you may plan for ways to do everything right. However, no plan can be perfect and it’s important to take action before falling into analysis paralysis. Small groups with focused efforts can have major impact. 

To try out a 3-2-1 Approach in your own outreach:

Ask yourself these three questions:  

  1. What do we provide that’s unique to our target audience and issue? 
  2. Can we pull this off?
  3. When do we let go?

Then gather two friends or chapter members to answer these questions as a team. 

Next, each team member should take one action step that could move you forward toward your goal. It’s likely that within three weeks, you’ll see unexpected progress. 

Tip: While we can’t be perfect, we can make fewer mistakes and become a more trusted ally by listening when in new spaces and continuously educating ourselves for a deeper level of understanding and awareness. Listen instead of leading. 

3 I’s of Evaluation

Evaluate your last chapter effort or project using the 3 I’s. You may be surprised by what you discover!

Insight: What did everyone think about the effort?

Improvement: How could it be better?

Involvement: How do you involve more people including your opposition? 

Evaluate with everyone to create a sense of shared power as decisions are being made. 

Chapter Development Resources

Danielle shares several tools that CCL chapters can use or implement to make sure that they are diverse, equitable, and inclusive. 

Internal DEI training for group members 

DEI trainings can help make sure all chapter members are on the same page. Some of those diversity and inclusion trainings include Diversity and the Climate Movement, the Anti-Racism and Allyship Resource GuideBuilding More Diverse and Inclusive Chapters, and Working with Environmental Justice Communities.

Chapter DEI statements 

DEI statements, created by a chapter, can affirm a chapter’s values and orient them for change, as well as create accountability for the future. A chapter’s DEI statement document outlining the chapter’s diversity and inclusivity goals should be accessible to all chapter members.

Onboarding Action Teams 

“Directing diverse individuals to affinity action teams within CCL can help them feel even more at home,” Danielle shares. 

Some of these affinity teams include the Asian Pacific Action Team, the Climate and Culture Action Team, the Latinos Action Team, the LGBTQIA and Allies OUTreach Action Team, the Listening to Indigenous Voices Action Team, and the People of the Global Majority Action Team

For more information on how to practice diversity, equity, and inclusion in your own chapter, check out CCL’s DEI resources.

Learn What You Can Do For Your Community

Ask not what your community can do for you, learn what you can do for your community.

CCL encourages volunteers to find their own area of passion in their advocacy for climate solutions even if this work will not be their primary focus. We have lots of tools that build confidence, learn organizing concepts, and allow people to network in a way that promotes deeper listening and understanding beyond differences we may have.  Our culture of compassion is what will keep people with us and encourage them to invite others.

What do we organically provide to people who join CCL? 

  • Education 
  • Professional Development
  • Skill building
  • Community Organizing
  • Compassion

Watch CCL's Diversity & The Climate Movement training to learn more about the historic and cultural barriers for people of color in the environmental movement and helping your group with strategies and tools to expand your chapter’s diversity footprint and become more inclusive through representing a more complete array of your local community’s constituency.

Research Local Impacts to Environmental Quality

Read up on the current local impacts community members throughout your town or city face with environmental quality to expand your vision of environmental advocacy.

Many people from diverse communities care about the environment. The messaging may just be different, and the connection to climate may be more subtle based on the community’s approach and key concerns. Our conversation about the environment is about everything around us.

Consider in your own outreach to not immediately advocate for the bill in other communities because political will and policy support is something that has to happen naturally.

When we jump into our priorities, we’re cheating ourselves out of conversations that need to be had about improving environmental quality that affects every area of our lives and health. Look at it this way. No one would be fully motivated to build political will for anything if they don’t have a very clear and vivid picture of how it affects their personal world. 

The conversations about politics and environment will happen naturally, and if you challenge yourself to leave space for it in due time, you will do a service to yourself and the community and elected officials will be more likely to engage when you have broad constituent support. 

When Entering New Spaces

Language to reconsider using: Diversity 

“We’re working to increase diversity in CCL and our local chapter.”

Language to incorporate instead: Compassion, Culture, Truth,  Equity, “All of us” 

“We’re working to create a culture of compassion based on truth and equity to create a better world for all of us.”

Practice activity: Define the importance and need for diversity within your group without saying “diverse” or “diversity” in your explanation.

If you heard both of these descriptions of diversity work, which would you be more willing to learn more about? 

Please remember words definitely matter. Good intentions don’t always sound good. As Princella Talley, CCL's former Diversity Outreach Coordinator, shares: “When I’m working with people in economically disadvantaged communities who don’t know my intentions, I am mindful that in some communities saying things like “we need diversity” often sounds like it's tied to a corporate agenda or a numbers game. There are so many other things we can say to describe this work.”

Case Study: Third Coast Regional Conference

Princella summarizes a case study of using this framework in action during the “Watch” tab video. She reflects that her team’s goal came from recognizing that multisector co-beneficial relationships are crucial to the diversity efforts in the Third Coast.  

They visualized what successful outreach would look like in their chapters, then discussed ways to realize that vision with chapter members. 


  • Environment and Global Health curriculum in development for the students who attended
  • Earth Day Celebration with regional coordinator Susan Adams as a special guest
  • Regional diversity (youth and people of color) increased dramatically

Learn how you can be a better multisector collaborator. What are other communities already working on and what do you bring to the table as a climate advocate supporting work already in progress?

  • Learn community issues and concerns
  • Identify barriers
  • Work in solidarity with community leaders
  • Create access
  • Prove commitment to inclusion
Press play to start the video (39m 48s)
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

(from beginning) Intro & Background 
(3:51) What is Outreach, Onboarding, Engagement and DEI?
(10:13) The "You" in Outreach
(16:34) Nurturing Relationships
(25:18) Onboarding & Engagement
(32:20) Chapter Development Resources

  • Danielle Whyte

Download Google Slides presentation.

Download the video.
Audio length
Press play to start the audio (39m 48s)
Audio embed code
Audio Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

(from beginning) Intro & Background 
(3:51) What is Outreach, Onboarding, Engagement and DEI?
(10:13) The "You" in Outreach
(16:34) Nurturing Relationships
(25:18) Onboarding & Engagement
(32:20) Chapter Development Resources

  • Danielle Whyte
Have you completed this training?
Let us know if you've completed this training! Your progress will be logged in the Action Tracker so you can reference a list of trainings that you've completed.
Log your training
Go Deeper

For questions about CCL’s national diversity work, please contact CCL’s Diversity & Inclusion Director, Karina Ramirez: karina.ramirez@citizensclimate.org
Looking For More Support?

Join the Climate & Culture Action Team, whose mission is: We aim to create a supportive culture merging community engagement and leadership development to address climate change in diverse communities. We acknowledge that climate disparities intersect with a multitude of issues. Our response is to serve as allies to ongoing community efforts focused on creating a better world.


To Print
Chapter Organizing
Audio / Video, Presentation
File Type
Google Slides, PowerPoint (.pptx)