13 Oct 2021
After the Glasgow climate talks – COP26 – people will be feeling motivated to take more action to tackle the climate emergency. This guide will help you organise an event to harness that energy and to welcome new members to your group.
How we can make sure our movement grows
So, we’ve all been to a big rally or demo and thought ‘wow! All of these people care!’ yet when we’ve gone back to our own campaigning groups nothing seems to have changed. This tends to be because we haven’t proactively planned to absorb people into our groups and, because of this, they’ve gone home, unsure of their next steps, left unconnected.
What we really need to do, to help make sure these people find their place in our movement, is be prepared.
Holding an Intake event
One of the best things you can do to make sure that people stay in the movement following COP26 is to host an additional event, specifically designed to welcome new people into your group. This means that, while they’re all fired up and interested, you’re giving them the opportunity to meet like-minded people, share their experience of the climate talks and help them understand how they can get further involved in making a difference.
This event would ideally be:
- Soon after COP26 – why not plan an event in January to capture those people making new years climate resolutions?
- Accessible – you need to make sure it is somewhere anyone could come along and join in (read our guide on hosting events for tips on how to make yours accessible)
- Social – interaction with people is one of the biggest reasons why we get involved and stay involved in something. You want your potential new group members to have an opportunity to connect with others
- Provides a clear explanation of how you are planning to change things and how they can get involved (but also being prepared to sign post them to another group if you can see that they want to do something different from what your group does)
- Gets them active – gives them an idea of what it is they could do to get active with you, ideally meaning they leave with a plan of what they will do next, having taken on some kind of responsibility
Here’s a draft agenda for an hour-long intake event
5 mins – Ground rules: say a brief hello and give an intro to the event. You might want to give people an idea of what they can expect (run through the agenda briefly) and what they shouldn’t expect! Set some basic rules for how to run a respectful, well organised and productive meeting.
10 mins – Ice breaking: get everyone in the room to talk to the person next to them about how they got involved with the climate fight, what inspired them to come to this meeting? What have they been most inspired by recently? What are their hopes for today?
10 mins – Sharing: Ask if people are willing to share how they feel and what they’re hoping to get out of the meeting. Hopefully this will help you to understand the needs of your new group members while also being prepared to manage expectations.
10 mins – What we do: get a member of your group to talk about how your group plans to make a difference. What is it that you’re doing? How can people get active? What makes you special?
10 mins – Questions, Answers, and Discussions: give people time to ask you questions about the campaign and how it works. Let them test and learn through talking.
10 mins – Focus groups: get people to sit in discussion groups depending on what area of your campaigning they are most interested in. Get a member of your group to lead in each area. This will give your new attendees an opportunity to get to know another member of your group and also to delve more into what they can do to help the campaign.
Discussion: If your group isn’t ready to split into focus groups you could run a discussion session, inviting people to talk about what they are most interested in so you can get some consensus on what people might want to campaign on.
5 mins – close by asking people to think about what they will do before they next meet, make sure that when they leave they know when your next meeting will be and what action points they should be taking when they get home. Make sure you can contact them by using our GDPR compliant sign up form!
Once you’re finished you could also have some options up your sleeve of where people could continue talking if they want to socialise. If you’re meeting in a cafe be prepared to stay and have more of a chat.