Dear Lab members and supporters,
2022 was a year of exciting growth, transition, and impact for the Climate Advocacy Lab. We wrapped up a strategic planning process that helped clarify our mission and theory of change. That work also helped focus our core program offerings in service of the multiracial, cross-class climate movement we understand to be necessary for a truly just and regenerative transition. We welcomed new members on to the Lab team and wished others farewell, including our first Executive Director, Sean Kosofsky. We deepened relationships with key partners across the movement -- offering support through big wins, partial victories, and tough set-backs.
I am continually impressed by the passion, curiosity, and commitment of the Lab's members to powerful climate organizing; appreciative of our funder collaborative for their generous, ongoing support of our work; and proud of our team for showing up to serve the movement with such brilliance, intention, care, and joy.
With gratitude and optimism,
Interim Executive Director
We created and synthesized RESEARCH to answer advocates’ key questions.
The Lab moved over $300,000 to partner organizations last year through our field research and Climate Justice Microgrant programs, providing grantees with the financial support and technical expertise necessary to explore key questions facing their program work and reflect on learnings. These projects uncovered exciting new evidence-based insights; helped partners allocate resources more efficiently and effectively; and supported a climate movement culture of testing, learning, and sharing.
Lab-supported research project that won an “Expy” Award from the Analyst Institute for "demonstrated commitment to innovative research and collaborative learning"
Social science and climate advocacy leaders who presented at our 10th Research + Experimentation convening
Lab-supported field research partners who tested novel approaches to organizing and communications
Climate justice microgrant partners who documented lessons learned from organizing campaigns across the country
- While layering email and texting is the most effective way to drive event attendance, new “voicemail drop” technology was significantly more effective than email alone – and therefore a good alternative if restrictions around political texting are enacted in the future.
- Immediately plugging new Sunrise activists into “Anytime Actions” resulted in a higher, first-time action show rate than plugging them into “Welcome Calls” – but didn’t appear to have an affect on likelihood to take a second action.
“Effective new activist absorption is a core component of Sunrise's strategy to build a people-powered movement and win a Green New Deal. Once people sign up, we have to be ready to plug them into our work, and we had been struggling with how to do that most effectively through our Welcome Series. Prior to working with the Lab, we done some small A/B tests but had no certainty about our findings. Through a thorough analysis of the data from these research projects, we were able to draw meaningful conclusions about how we should organize new Sunrisers. The outcomes of these tests are relevant for organizations in the wider progressive movement and we appreciated the opportunity to work together with the Lab to both design the research projects and share learnings with the broader community.
—Paul Campion and Jasy Lata, Sunrise Movement
- Shared identity is one of the key elements motivating people to participate in collective action.
- Testing of Facebook ads targeted at Illinois farmers found those emphasizing shared identity had a higher click through rate, lower cost per click, and may have had a higher action taking rate compared to ads that did not emphasize shared identity as strongly.
- Across all projects, SIMCA-informed communication approaches doubled (and in one case, tripled!) program performance for field research partners, increasing action-taking rates and reducing cost-per-action.
“Not only did we gain more experience designing and running paid ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, we learned implementable lessons about a strategic audience for our organization– Illinois farmers. Farmers are key to building support for nature-based climate solutions, a next frontier of our climate work. This project allowed us to build on observations we’d been collecting in previous campaigns and draw conclusions about the types of creative and landing pages that work for this audience… Without the resources provided by the Lab as part of this joint project, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do this type of experimentation!”
—Tucker Barry, Illinois Environmental Council
We shared actionable INSIGHTS that helped organizations build power and win.
Every day climate advocates make dozens of decisions about how to allocate time and resources most strategically – and all while facing well-funded opponents and ever-shifting political conditions. The Lab team distilled learnings (from our expansive repository of tools, polling, research, experimentation, and campaign case studies) into applicable, accessible, and actionable insights for the movement and shared them via our website, during webinars, and in our wildly-popular newsletter.
“The Lab’s weekly newsletters spark a lot of conversation on our team and make us think about potential challenges and solutions that weren’t top of mind. We have ‘review recent Lab research’ as a standing item on our organizing team meeting agenda.”
—Jessica Goad, Conservation Colorado
“Our team had a conversation last week about the soup-throwing event and then the next day your newsletter on the same topic landed in my mailbox – full of great information that helped frame and inform our team’s discussion. Similarly, I was recently asked to do a presentation on climate justice and mutual aid last month and, later that day, you sent out a newsletter focused on mutual aid. Y'all do such a good job sharing timely, relevant, and thoughtful information as well as concrete examples and materials that help to link climate, equity, and racial justice.”
—Rachel Myslivy, Unitarian Universalist Association
We built skills and capacity through TRAINING.
Successful climate advocacy and organizing work requires a broad, dynamic set of skills – from campaign planning to strategic communications to digital tools. The Lab trained over 400 climate advocates across our different training programs in 2022 through a combination of webinars, multi-month peer learning cohorts, and 1-on-1 coaching opportunities.
Virtual trainings facilitated for Lab members on campaign, organizing, and communications strategy
Lab members who participated in at least 1 training last year
Climate leaders who participated in our spring “Training for Impact” cohort
Climate leaders who participated in our fall Climate + Health Peer Learning Circle
- This project helped to clarify for ACF and their partners that they needed to pivot strategically and develop a more comprehensive, statewide approach to shifting the politics (including narrative) around mining in Alaska.
- Both survey research and the listening sessions underscored the need and public support for creative solutions beyond the binary. For example, policies that incentivize the reuse and recycling of existing energy transition minerals could greatly reduce demand and thus the need to open new mines in the first place.
- Similarly, all policy solutions must prioritize community involvement and self-determination throughout the process as well as stronger regulations, and enforcement to ensure health and safety.
“The trainings and research we did with the Climate Advocacy Lab helped confirm that we’re playing “whack-a-mole” with the mining industry in Alaska -- and we're getting beaten, in part, because we are telling a dozen different, disparate stories vs. one comprehensive and connected statewide story. The analysis developed through and conversations sparked by this partnership clarified and underscored the importance of better statewide coordination for our team at ACF. We were able to raise additional resources based on the initial findings from this project and are now helping to support a new network aimed at addressing gaps in narrative, policy, and community organizing.
—Dan Cannon, Alaska Conservation Foundation
We strengthened COMMUNITY and supported collaboration.
We heard over and over from our members that 2+ years of COVID had left people feeling isolated and discouraged. Virtual convenings, in-person events, and a new Slack community created moments of connection, reflection, and sharing across the Lab community – now, the largest, permanent network of climate advocates in the US.
Individual Lab members from more than 1,580 organizations & institutions
New members added to the Lab in 2022
Lab members who participated in at least 1 community conversation
Lab members who joined our new Slack community
In response to requests from Lab members for more community sharing and learning spaces, we facilitated a series of conversations in 2022 to support conversation and connection. Our first call, in January of 2022, focused on Celebrating Our Community Power and featured reflections on recent wins from the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, NY Renews, and North Bay Jobs with Justice.
- Build and support an organizational culture of learning.
- Center relationships and trust to sustain the work.
- Give concrete, ongoing support to cultivate people’s leadership.
“The "Celebrating Our Community Power" webinar was such a regenerative convening -- after experiencing a lot of burnout recently, I feel inspired again in my climate work! The concrete lessons learned were incredibly helpful and relevant, as was the space to tease out collective community wisdom around key challenges, like coalition-building and organizing power on the frontlines. I left the call feeling deeply appreciative and reconnected to the Lab community.”
—Misha Clive, Digital Strategist
Climate Deep Canvass
Peer Learning Community
The Lab hosted a series of conversations in 2022 to help deepen the Lab Community’s collective understanding of deep canvass and how organizations are using the tactic to persuade, motivate action, and develop activist leaders. In addition to hosting a session on climate deep canvass during our spring R+E convening, we also a webinar with Neighbours United on their Deep Canvass Playbook, and a "Peer Learning Exchange" conversation where leaders from 8 different organizations shared lessons learned from their climate deep canvass work.
- Deep canvassing can be an incredibly powerful and effective tactic, especially for persuasion.
- However it requires significant time and resources, so it’s important for leaders to be clear about exactly how deep canvassing fits into their strategy and ensure the organization has a structure in place for program aspects like script iteration and regular skill-building among canvassers.
“Being a part of the Lab community and working with their outstanding staff this year helped the Neighbours United team adjust our campaigns to align with emerging best practices in campaigns, strategic communications, and organizing. It also provided us a platform for sharing our climate deep canvassing learnings with other members and supporters and helped connect with new partners that contributed to a recent big win!”
—Montana Burgess, Neighbours United
A big thank you to all the Lab members and strategic partners with whom we worked in 2022 -- with special appreciation to everyone who's work and reflections are featured in this report, including our friends at Sunrise Movement, Illinois Environmental Council, Conservation Colorado, Unitarian Universalist Association, Alaska Conservation Foundation and Neighbours United.
Please reach out you are interested in exploring strategic partnership with the Lab or learning more about how to support our work!
All our best,
Andrea, Assata, Carina, Diamond, Gabby, Jack, Justin, Lyrica, Nicole, Rebecca & Sarah