Empowering a National Volunteer Corps

Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE) develops and utilizes a conceptual model called the “five levers of political will” to drive our core work and empower our grassroots volunteer corps. CCE provides comprehensive training, hands-on support, and strategic organizing around each of these levers — both nationally and locally.

Chapter & Volunteer Development

Citizens’ Climate Education empowers volunteers to engage with their local community: through leadership training, hands-on support, and group start workshops. When new supporters join, they are connected to their closest chapter and invited to the next local monthly meeting. Additionally, many volunteers organize in 70+ national Action Teams, or online affinity groups with distinct areas of focus. Volunteers are empowered to hone their personal power and advocacy skills through our unique training curriculum.

Each chapter has a Group Leader, and each Action Team has a Team Leader, who coordinate collective actions. Group Leaders and Action Team Leaders work closely with State Coordinators, Regional Coordinators, and other CCE Program Staff to help determine local strategy and priorities.

Congressional Engagement

Citizens’ Climate Education believes that democracy works best when constituent voices are heard in Congress every day of the year, and not just on Election Day. To that end, we train citizens to meet with their members of Congress and educate them about effective solutions to climate change. Each member of Congress has a CCE volunteer who serves as the Congressional Liaison between their member of Congress and CCE.

With strategies tailored to first meet the Congress member wherever they are in their climate action, Congressional Liaisons are the essential link between chapters, Group Leaders, State Coordinators, and staff to move their member of Congress to the next level of climate action. CCE supports Congressional Liaisons to organize and track regular constituent meetings with congressional offices and cultivate relationships based on shared values and local concerns. Meanwhile, we also organize collective action to supplement constituent meetings with House Representative(s) and Senator(s): through emails, calls, and social media engagement with legislators. Peer-reviewed research validates this constituent-first model of organizing as more persuasive and permanent than corporate lobbying or national advertising campaigns.

Media Engagement

The roles of grassroots media engagement are twofold: it raises public awareness around solutions to climate change, and it catches the attention of congressional staffers who follow and report on local media trends. We train citizens to elevate climate solutions in the media by getting op-eds, letters to the editor, and editorial pieces published. We also train volunteers on the topic of broadcast media and encourage participation in radio and television segments. Volunteers have been published in prominent national outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, along with hundreds of local outlets. See the list of recently published earned media.

Grassroots Outreach

Citizens’ Climate Education empowers citizens with the tools to engage the broader public in building political will for climate solutions: through presentations, tabling at community events, and local service. We build relationships in the communities where we live. We educate our neighbors about climate change solutions, citizen advocacy, and democracy, as well as how to engage with our elected officials.

Grasstops Engagement

Certain individuals and institutions possess high-levels of influence in their communities, and by extension, with their elected officials. As grassroots is the most fundamental level of an organization (the general public), those at the “grasstops” are at higher, more centralized positions of power. At Citizens’ Climate Education, we define grasstops support as coming from community leaders, influencers, non-governmental organizations, business and faith leaders, and other prominent individuals within a community. We train citizens to educate, build partnerships with, and gain the public support of these grasstops influencers. With over 3,500 endorsements for climate policies from grasstops leaders so far, CCE volunteers are consistently strengthening the public will for climate solutions.