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This tipsheet covers six principles to help organizations interested in developing and implementing a relational organizing strategy. These tips include:

  • Relationships are key to keeping people engaged and ready to take action
  • Developing a relational organizing strategy takes time
  • A variety of relational organizing approaches is the spice of life!
  • Relational organizing is power-building
  • 1-on-1s are about creating long-lasting, transformative relationships
  • Relational organizing and cultural organizing can be very effective together

A good formula for leveraging health messaging for climate advocacy: Tell people about the health consequences of climate change, health benefits of climate solutions, and include a call-to-action. This experiment found that each of these categories was worth including in a message to help motivate Americans to contact Congress. Within each of these categories, a variety of specific types of information were tested, with the most effective overall combination being a message that first described the negative impacts of climate change on air quality, then explained how transitioning to clean energy will benefit people’s health, and ended by explaining that most Americans support this solution, and many are taking action to advocate for it.             


There are six key steps to executing the best “one-on-one” conversation—specific to a union organizing setting, but potentially applicable to other settings. Step One: Discover the issues—ask open-ended questions to understand the problems the worker cares most about. Step Two: Agitate—ask provocative questions about the frustrations expressed by the worker. Step Three: Elucidate—provide your worker with alternatives, such as enhancing worker power with a union. Step Four: Make an “ask”—before assuming you will be rejected, ask the worker to take a concrete action. Step Five: Innoculate—prepare the worker for the toxic arguments that the boss will give in fighting union power. Step Six: Follow up—check in after the conversation to try to ensure consistent communication and action.             


This memo from the White House highlights public polling about key environmental provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), as well as strong poll numbers for climate-related infrastructure investments that were left out of the bipartisan plan. 

The memo shows that Americans broadly support a range of environmental policies included in the BIF:

  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans support replacing all lead water pipes and service lines (per Morning Consult)
  • The majority of Americans support investments to plug abandoned oil and gas wells and restore abandoned mines (per Morning Consult)
  • 63% of Americans support robust proposals for transit and rail investments (per Morning Consult)
  • 61% of Americans support investments to build new electric vehicle charging stations (per Navigator) 
  • 61% of voters support providing more federal assistance to cities and states to improve the resiliency of infrastructure to extreme weather events (per Data for Progress)
  • 60% of Americans support investing in clean energy to help avoid power outages, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and combat climate change (per Yahoo News/YouGov)

Additionally, Americans widely support several climate-related policies that are not included in the BIF:

  • 64% of Americans support incentives to spur clean energy deployment (per Reuters)
  • Nearly two-thirds of voters support government action to move the country to a fully clean power sector by 2035 (per Data for Progress)
  • 77% of voters support creating a Civilian Climate Corps of conservation and resilience workers (per Data for Progress)

Research is core to the Lab’s goal of finding and highlighting evidence of what works (and what doesn’t) in climate advocacy. At the Lab, we know that many of the climate wins we need will be built on the foundation of investments now in research to answer the critical public engagement questions facing our movement. Our research agenda is a roadmap of what we think are some of the most critical gaps in the community’s evidence base, grounded in our Research Vision and driving our research program. Our research agenda also lays out our broader research principles, including putting theory into practice, an emphasis on portable results, the importance of centering equity & inclusion, the value of triangulating on knowledge from multiple sources, and more. In putting forward a research agenda, we hope to inspire and facilitate critical conversations, and we welcome input as we develop our research plans. We are also looking for partners to help us execute this agenda: climate advocacy organizations interested in field research, and funders to make ongoing learning possible. Please be in touch.


  • 70% of respondents to a recent U.S. survey are aware of the scientific consensus that climate change is largely caused by people, and that the world isn't on track to reach the temperature reduction targets of the Paris climate agreement -- suggesting Americans' understanding of climate change has increased in recent years, and particularly over the last five years.
  • Republicans had the lowest share of correct answers, but a slight majority (52%) were aware of both the scientific consensus and the reality that the world hasn't made enough progress toward the Paris targets.
  • The poll found some significant demographic differences:
    •  80% of people with college degrees or higher answering the question correctly, compared to 73% of people with some college and 65% of those with a high school degree or less.
    • 77% of urban respondents and 73% of suburban respondents answered the question correctly, compared to 61% of rural respondents.
  • The poll found no significant differences by age, income or region of the country.

A bipartisan majorities of Colorado respondents support a wide array of measures to prevent wildfires, including expanding energy efficiency programs and increasing funding for the U.S. forest service. CO respondents believe in the importance of building resilience to wildfires through better forest management across all levels of government, and among private landowners. A bipartisan majority of CO respondents view action around the underlying climate-related factors that cause drought ...

Using data from the Heatwave Risk Perceptions map, researchers found that:

  • Women in California are more worried than men about the risk of extreme heat events; and non-White Hispanic residents are more worried than respondents who identified as “White” or “Other"
  • Even though the elderly are more vulnerable to heat, we also found that older populations are the least worried about these threats
  • Three times as many Democrats (27%) as Republicans (9%) are “very worried” about the local occurrence of extreme heat waves
  • Fewer Hispanic respondents (48%) have central AC compared to White, non-Hispanic respondents (58%). Respondents who are homeowners (59%) are more likely to have central AC than renters (39%).

As climate change is perceived (or experienced) to be more proximate, people are more likely to take political action. A survey experiment of Californians found an 11% increase in climate activism (message writing to policymakers) among respondents who were primed with messages emphasizing the temporal and physical proximity of climate vs. the placebo group.

Research findings suggest that climate organizers should: 

  • Frame climate change in a way that reduces psychological distance by using the present tense and talking about it as issue that is happening "here and now"
  • Avoid overly-negative messages which can de-motivate action by reducing efficacy
  • Focus on the concrete actions that will help solve the problem

This guide explores how disruptive crises (like the COVID-19 pandemic or climate-fueled extreme weather events) have profound impacts on societal mindsets. They can cause us to deconstruct narratives (“working from home does not work”), set new norms (“we don’t let our child play with other children anymore”), shape new identities "I feel like a victim"), establish new values: (“we shall sacrifice to save others” – universalism) or build up emotions (the rise in hedonism, fear, loneliness or gratitude). After a disruption has impacted individual mindsets, societies negotiate renewed collective mindsets, i.e. narratives, norms and values, through collective sense-making processes. This happens through diverse, mostly unstructured communication ranging from political discourse to social media chatter.

Research-based recommendations for organizers and advocates include:

  • Use the "disorientation phase" following an emergency experience to introduce and amplify radically new stories that reestablish meanings. 
  • Use sensing activities, observation, and scenario planning to speed up the "re-orientation phase," including proposing and evaluating possible post-crisis trajectories.
  • Match their messages of change to existing crisis experiences and strategically create experiences that reinforce the mindset change they want to create.