Better Organizations for Nature through Engagement Organizing(EO)


In searching how to best support the nature and land trust community, the Foundation has evolved its practice away from one where it supported individual projects, that when completed, left the receiving organization where it started -in need of another grant to do further work to meet its mission.
Accordingly, it has worked to bring Engagement Organizing with its history in community engagement and political campaigns, to the land trust and nature sector.

The core aspects of EO include:
•    achieving mission by building organizational power through the recruiting of supporters and helping to mobilize them to act
•    developing and deepening relationships based on shared interests
•    sharing power so that, where there is interest, supporters take increasingly greater levels of leadership
•    staff, when they exist, direct a considerable amount of their time supporting volunteers and their work to achieve mission
•    scaling up by developing nodes of activity that have some level of autonomy
•    scaling up by applying digital tools as a means of managing and deepening greater numbers of relationships


Learn About Engagement Organizing

The Gosling Foundation is pleased to be work with the Sustainability Network to provide learning opportunities to enhance practice. 

Learning resources and upcoming webinars and workshops can be found here.


The Engagement Organizing Project and Opportunity Fund

This funding is available to organizations to support projects that apply one or more tools of engagement so that when complete it leaves the organization stronger and more independent.  The project should result in the organization being stronger as determined by specific measurables (increased membership, number of contacts, fundraising, project participation or other parameters relevant to your organization's mission). 

Project examples include:

•    Recruiting supporters or members through an engagement opportunity (ex. a significant local species is declared endangered and garners widespread media coverage)
•    Training and/or coaching of volunteers, board members or staff in aspects of engagement organizing occurring in the context of a project or goal (ex.  an ecologically significant property is available but requires the local community to step up to purchase and steward it).
•    Appropriate data management software has been identified to enhance interaction with members to track their participation in the organization’s activities.

With quick turnaround it can also be accessed to take advantage of unfolding events that provide time-sensitive opportunity to engage individuals.

Funding Available

Up to ten thousand dollars per project.

How to Apply

•    Do your EO research.   Visit the Engagement Organizing resource page at the Sustainability Network. When available, attend an Engagement Organizing learning event. Know which EO tools you are going to be employing and what you expect to achieve.

•    Contact the Foundation’s project consultant by email to briefly outline your proposal.

Past Project Examples
  • Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education Centre -matching funds to mobilize membership and supporters
  • National Farmers Union (Ontario) -recruiting and mobilizing urban residents to link to rural food producers
  • Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program (British Columbia) -organizational review to expand the supporter base
  • Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre -Implementation of a new supporter data management system
  • Ottawa Riverkeepers -American Eel as a focus of EO tool application, building on new database implementation and staff training