Engagement Organizing:
Increasing the impact of nature organizations 

To address the scale of today’s biodiversity crisis, business as usual is not an option. The Gosling Foundation believes Engagement Organizing (EO) practices can help transform the nature sector to achieve the scale of impact required. Since 2014, we’ve worked with many organizations to expand and enhance their capacity using EO.

About Engagement Organizing
EO challenges organizations to re-examine their missions, theories of change and culture. This data-driven, people-powered approach helps improve how they operate, recruit and mobilize supporters, raise funds, leverage technology and achieve tangible results for nature.

It focuses on:

  • building organizational power by recruiting supporters and helping them mobilize to act
  • developing and deepening relationships based on shared interests
  • distributing power so that supporters take on increasingly greater levels of leadership
  • redirecting staff time to support volunteers to achieve the organization’s 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

To do that, organizations need:

  • A mission that matches the level of crisis our planet is currently experiencing — we are far beyond the point where education and awareness alone will turn things around
  •  A clear theory of change to direct activity — if you do X, you expect Y to happen
  • Powerful stories that incorporate values, emotions and actions
  • Deep knowledge of their people – who they are, what values you share, why they would support you and what you want them to do
  •  A plan for successful engagement, from initial contact and relationship building to training for greater levels of engagement
  •  Engagement tools such as database technology to support relationship building with ever increasing numbers of people
  • A distributed leadership structure where power is shared, so volunteers can take on increasingly greater levels of responsibility

To learn more, visit the Sustainability Network’s Engagement Organizing resource page.

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