Critical Techniques To Augment The Performance Of Your Environmental Advocacy Group


Environmental advocacy is a diverse field. It involves both safeguarding the public from environmental harms and protecting the resources of nature. As successes have been secured at the local, state and federal level, there is a growing understanding in the field that further successes will be contingent on inculcating the same professional capacities as private and government organizations that embody best managerial practices.When you read about successfully launching an environmental advocacy group you might find some good advice in the literature. Yet the ongoing actual management of such advocacy groups is another topic. Thus many environmental advocacy groups struggle to effectively manage. This article shares several insights from the field.Collaborate with other environmental advocacy groupsNew York State alone has over 400 environmental advocacy organizations listed by the Environmental Conservation Department of Environmental Conservation. And in the last five years, there has been increasing levels of coordination between geographically diverse environmental advocacy groups.One driver of this trend has been reduced flight travel costs – a trend that may now be reversing with skyrocketing fuel prices. A separate cause is the availability of free conference calling services.All of these services work on the same central principle: they give you a PIN and a toll number to dial. If all participants dial the same toll number and enter the same PIN code, they are put into a group call.Involve academic professionalsA frequent erroneous conception is that academic curricula is too far removed from the realities of environmental politics to be meaningful. However, programs such as that offered by New England School of Law provide graduate level training in environmental advocacy as wells as organizing. Indeed, such programs train young campus leaders for careers as advocates and community organizers.Students at such programs are great candidates to be inspired as volunteers or leaders for your group. Also consider seeking the participation of a faculty or staff member who can provide guidance and advice to your group. While students arrive and depart as the years pass by; faculty tend to remain.Stay well focusedThe most effectively managed environmental groups are ones that stay tightly focused on their mission and do not get enmeshed in peripheral goals. Virtually all environmental advocacy groups operate under significant time constraints. Committing to three goals with 100% effort will generally yield superior results compared to going after nine goals at one third effort.Augment your networkThe most successful advocacy groups create networks of supporters who share their philosophy and mission. While the term networking often gets a negative connotation, the simple fact is that these networks can provide substantial assistance and members can stay connected more easily through conference calling systems. Indeed, these networks provide the emotional support which is so vital to maintaining energy amongst group officers and members.Use web technology more strategicallySome environmental advocacy groups have distributed leadership teams, and it is difficult to have in person meetings. One solution is to use an application to allow desktop sharingWhether it’s sharing a PowerPoint document illustrating the group’s fundraising plan or a spreadsheet showing the tracking of volunteer participation, desktop sharing can be quite useful for not a few advocacy groups.The silver lining in all this is that these methods are not costly. Environmental advocacy groups can improve their performance through these techniques.


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