Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What can Friends of the Earth offer its allies?

At the moment, I'm being asked to do a bit of outreach to people outside the Friends of the Earth grassroots. Different networks with which we might collaborate, or which we might support.

So what is it that we have to offer to allies, then?

It’s an interesting question, and one which has provided an opportunity to clarify my own thinking on this point. And I think this works whether you're thinking about us at a national or a local level.

It all starts with listening of course - establishing a rapport and common interests, understanding your potential ally and how you can help them. But for me that help then falls into three broad categories - advice, opportunities and connections.

Advice and information (reactive) which could include:

  • Providing resources.
  • Providing expertise directly – information on campaigns, planning, organising and the law.
  • Signposting people on to other providers of information and support.

Opportunities to learn/act/reflect (proactive) which could include:

  • Offering participation opportunities – whether that's practical planting projects or being part of climate mobilisation events in the run in to the UN climate talks in Paris this year.
  • Training – e.g. introduction to environmental action sessions.
  • Coaching or mentoring.

Connections – recognising the importance of the medium as well as the message, e.g.

  • Introducing an ally to our local group or activists – if initial connection staff driven (or vice versa if not).
  • Regular communication updates .
  • Invite to local and national events.
  • Amplifying their voice through our networks.

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