Starting a local group in your area is one of the best ways you can start taking action for a clean energy future.
Local groups are effective because working in your own community and within existing networks you can reach lots of new people, give others ways to get involved, and ensure your election representatives actually represent community interests.
By bringing different people with different skills, knowledge and interests together, groups can achieve more than individuals working alone.
The 100% Renewable campaign makes starting a local group easier by providing ideas and resources to get your group going and by linking you up with others online, who you can then help you work with your community offline.
Below are some tips for starting a new group. And don't forget to register your new group with us once you're up and running!
How to start?
A good way to start a group is to talk to your friends and family. Chances are if you are wanting to see action towards a renewable energy future your friends will be too. Many local groups begin with friends in someone’s home discussing what can be done about renewable energy, local sustainability or climate change.
Once we've decided to start a group, what next?
Once you've found some potential members of your group, line up a meeting and start deciding what you want to work on. Making a name for your group is a good first place to start and finding a designer to make you a logo and print a banner is a great way to help you feel 'official'!
It's useful to think through some plans and goals for what you want to achieve. Having clear goals will help you decide what activities (or tactics) you undertake to achieve those goals.
Check out the Resources page of our friends at climatemovement.org for help with setting goals and developing strategy.
The boring stuff! Meetings, minutes etc
It may sounds boring, but a getting few procedural things right will really help your group work well.
Set a date for a regular meeting, and a way to keep in touch - an online e-list like google groups. Set an agenda for your meetings and keep it action focussed. If people are sent the agenda in advance it gives people a chance to read it over before the meeting, and will help keep your discussion on track.
Allocate roles in your meetings. You will need a facilitator to ensure you keep to the agenda, who makes sure that everyone gets a say and keeps the group on track. You will also need a time-keeper to make sure the meeting doesn’t go over time. It’s also important to have a minute taker so that people can be reminded of tasks they have committed to. Make sure the minutes are sent around to the group members after the meeting.
It's also important to remember that our groups work well when they are fun and social, so make sure you take time to say hi to your fellow groups members - check in with how they are doing, and don't forget to organise social events!
How to get others involved?
As you get active others in your local community may want to get involved. But they can only get involved if they know you exist! Getting a story about the new group in your local media, putting posters on noticeboards, and running a stall are all good ways to promote your group. Councils will often have lists of people interested in renewable energy that you might contact.
Make sure if a new person comes to a meeting, that someone welcome them and explains what is going on. Also find out what skill they have to offer and what they are interested in working on. Ask them to take on a role or task – remember, people join a group to take part in worthwhile activities, not to sit in endless meetings!
How we can help: By registering your local on the 100% Renewable website, visitors to the site will be able to see your group is a part of the campaign, and find out more on how get active with your group. We'll also be able to share with you the contact details of people who want to get more involved locally.
And... the reason for your existence - doing stuff!
Groups supportive of the 100% campaign, do a whole lots of activities. You can find the latest list of activities that groups involved in the 100% Renewable Campaign by looking at our take action locally page.
Otherwise, here's a list of other activities your group might think about undertaking:
Hold a public meeting or event to raise awareness of your group. Examples of events include: film screenings, trivia nights, public forum show, dinner at a local restaurant with guest speaker.
- Start up a regular stall to help promote your group, put together a stall kit with info about your group and flyers and poster
- Make a sign up sheet for people wanting to get involved to put out at events and stalls- and start a newsletter or newsflash to let them know what's going on (mailchimp is a great program to use for htis)
- Get local media coverage of your group when it starts or holds its first event
- Start a website, or getting blogging on the 100% Renewable website
- Let your local councilors and elected politicians know that your group has formed. Ask for a meeting with your local member of parliament and tell them you want
And don't forget to register with 100% Renewable!
By signing your group up to this national campaign, you will be working with local groups from across Australia towards the same vision of a renewable energy future. You can share your success stories, failures and frustrations with others that are going through the same things. Groups that are part of the campaign will be taking part in the same activities, increasing the impact of local actions. By working together in this way we can have the political impact we need to transition to 100% renewable energy!