Engaging Community Leaders

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This training highlights the beginning steps to get started building support for the Energy Innovation Act from prominent local faith, business, and community leaders, and elected officials who will impress your members of Congress in your own community.

This training is also part of the Core Volunteer Training series.

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/topics/engaging-influencers
TOC and Guide Section
 
A little background information
  1. Moving forward, all endorsements collected will be for bills introduced in Congress, not CCL’s original carbon fee and dividend proposal  or climate action generally. Additionally, endorsements submitted at energyinnovationact.org are for both House and Senate versions of the bill, and will be assumed to apply to future versions of those bills unless an endorsement is rescinded. 
  2. We’ve gone paperless. All endorsements are submitted online at the self-service mobile-friendly website, energyinnovationact.org/endorse/
  3.  Your prominent community leaders and organizations can go to this website today to learn about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, and then fill out the webform when they are ready to endorse. 
  4. When you see on energyinnovationact.org/supporters/ that your prominent community leader has submitted their endorsement, notify the CCL liaison so that they can share the endorsement with Congress.
Focus your grasstops engagement - do some research
  1. There are a lot of community leaders out there and each engagement takes time and energy. So do the research to determine which local community leaders will be most persuasive to your members of Congress.  For details on doing this research see, Focusing your Grasstops Outreach
  2. On your research list, prioritize the prominent leaders you have access to who have special influence on their members of Congress.  For example, local elected officials, Chambers of Commerce, large local employers, and people who talk frequently to members of Congress.
  3. If you, or your friends or relatives know famous people or organizations with household names (eg Hank Paulson), especially if they are conservative, see if you or your friends can engage with them and secure an endorsement. 
How can I get started engaging community leaders?

Educate yourself

  • Review the Energy Innovation Act and practice explaining its five key messages, especially in terms of local benefits for businesses.
  • Review the Q&A page and be prepared to answer questions your prominent community leaders might have about the legislation.
  • Learn about the Community Leader. Check out their LinkedIn and company profile so that you can arrive prepared with appreciation and common values. 

Connect and build the relationship

  • Re-engage with your influencers who have endorsed, or were in the process of endorsing carbon fee and dividend in the past. Plan to meet in person if possible at their convenience.
  • Connect with new community leaders (example emails). During your first meeting, express appreciation, ask questions, and look for where you might work together. Use motivational interviewing techniques to ask questions and discover their level of interest in climate change.
  • Connect over impacts their business faces with our changing climate and how climate solutions can help address these concerns.
  • Further the relationship by continuing to keep in touch and provide occasional CCL and Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act updates.
  • Keep in touch, send them updates on CCL and meet in person on a regular basis.

Identify some specific actions

When the relationship is ready for it, determine with your community leaders actions they can take to show district support for the Energy Innovation Act.  Some actions that they can take that will likely have an especially big impact are:  

  • Call and talk to their member of Congress
  • Endorsing H.R. 763 online
  • Meet in person with their member of Congress with your help facilitating a CCL lobby meeting
  • Attend a local editorial board meeting
  • Issue a press release or help you write an op-ed or co-author an op-ed with your group 
  • Host a site visit, round table or a presentation for a member of Congress
  • Present at a Chamber, professional group, Rotary, union, or a trade association 
  • Engage their colleagues and help connect CCL to build out additional prominent endorsements

Resolutions

  • Municipal, County, State, Faith-based, and School Board resolutions should urge the U.S. Congress to enact the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. 

Action Teams

  • Several of the online Action Teams on Community are focused on engaging influencers. Business Climate Leaders with Fortune 1000 companies, Labor Outreach with labor unions, Ski & Outdoor Industry with ski resorts, Higher Education with university presidents, and the Conservative Caucus with local and national Republican clubs.  If you need help with any of these types of influencers, contact the corresponding Action Team Leader.
What if I have more questions?

How should people show that they support the bill?

Everyone can show support directly to their members of Congress by completing a Constituent Comment Form. The endorsement website is for endorsements from well-known community leaders, local elected officials, and prominent individuals and organizations

Will the influencers who’ve signed endorsements for carbon fee and dividend in the past have to sign again?

Yes, CCL volunteers should send their existing influencers directly to the endorsement website so that they can endorse the bill.

Are all of the bill endorsements public?

Yes, all signatories are public (following validation) so volunteers can see who has already signed. There are no private endorsements.

What if the community leader is too busy to fill out the endorsement webform?

We currently have three ways to capture an "on behalf of" endorsement:

  1. Community leaders are welcome to have their assistant or someone at their organization fill out the endorsement webform on their behalf. 

  2. If a community leader makes a public statement supporting the bill, please forward the statement to adeline@citizensclimate.org.

  3. If a community leader would like to endorse, but is too busy to fill out the webform, please send an email to todd@citizensclimate.org.

Where can I see validated endorsements ?

All endorsements submitted at energyinnovationact.org/endorse, upon successful validation, are listed:

  1. on the endorsement map

  2. in the district and state endorsement reports that are emailed to 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 

Is there a review process in place ahead of endorser's names being posted?

Before an endorsement is posted on the endorsement website, CCL administrators verify all signatories to ensure endorser information is accurate.  

How long will it take before an endorser's name appears?

You can expect validated prominent endorsements to appear in about a week on energyinnovationact.org.  All validated endorsements should also appear in about a week in the GET and on the Endorsement Map.    The state and district reports sent to group leaders and liaisons are updated monthly. The state and district reports on Community are updated only occasionally. 

If a  prominent endorsement does not appear within a week, you can send an email to endorse@citizensclimate.org to inquire about the status. 

How prominent does a community leader have to be to sign an endorsement?

A prominent community leader is an individual who represents a collection of other people or has a large following.  A doctor who is a sole proprietor is not prominent. But a doctor who is the head of a medical association, or a hospital department, or a patient advocacy organization is prominent. 

It is helpful when community leaders  include evidence of their community leadership when they complete the endorsement form

Note that organizational endorsements are easier to validate and are often more influential than individual endorsements. 

What should I do if I see a public statement from a prominent individual or organization?

Send the statement to adeline@citizensclimate.org to be posted on the “what others are saying” page.  Then make a plan for you or someone in your chapter to engage the prominent individual or organization, develop a relationship, and ask them to submit a bill endorsement at energyinnovationact.org

What about government, university and editorial/media endorsements?

  • Send local government resolutions to sandy@citizensclimate.org.
  • To seek and show support from universities and university presidents, connect with the Higher Education Action Team.
  • Send published editorials and media endorsements to Sandy Simon at sandy@citizensclimate.org.

How should I present endorsements in my upcoming lobby meeting? 

The state and district endorsement reports are in an editable format so that you can add or remove endorsements to create something that will look impressive to the person you're meeting with.

Will an non profit organization risk its tax exempt status if it endorses the bill?

When talking to nonprofit organizations with 501c3 tax exempt status --  such as churches --  the organizations may be unsure how much lobbying they are allowed to do.
These organizations sometimes ask, am i risking my IRS 501c3 tax exempt status if my organization endorses the bill?  "I don't think we are allowed to lobby". 

Here are two online documents that explain the answer to this question:

Length
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https://vimeo.com/album/5497165
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro and Agenda
(from beginning)

Endorsement Story & Five Levers Review
(2:25)

Getting Endorsements
(7:45)

Using the Energy Innovation Act Website
(17:08)

Prioritizing Engagements
(22:14)

Types of Endorsements
(27:08)

Action Teams
(31:30)

Instructor(s)
Todd Elvins
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Download the video.
Audio length
Press play to start the audio (43m 10s)
Audio embed code
Audio Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro and Agenda
(from beginning)

Endorsement Story & Five Levers Review
(2:25)

Getting Endorsements
(7:45)

Using the Energy Innovation Act Website
(17:08)

Prioritizing Engagements
(22:14)

Types of Endorsements
(27:08)

Action Teams
(31:30)

Instructor(s)
Todd Elvins
Go Deeper
Discussion Topic
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Instructions for printing this page on Community.
Category
Training
Topics
Grasstops Outreach
Format
Audio / Video, Presentation
File Type
Google Slides
Training Resources