Climate Changemakers, San Francisco, CA
This summer, I worked at a startup nonprofit called Climate Changemakers, a digital, nation-wide, nonpartisan, political-action community, whose mission is to grow the political will among policymakers to act on the climate crisis. Our community of volunteers shares a vision for bigger, bolder, faster, and more just climate leadership that meets the urgency and scale of the challenge.
We met via Zoom for a weekly Hour of Action, where we worked to get climate candidates elected and get climate policies passed. We take on actions that range from traditional forms of voter outreach like phone banking to more innovative forms like Instagram DM Canvassing. We also do grassroots campaigns and “grasstops” events to fundraise for candidates and local groups doing sustained civic organizing in the candidate’s district. Importantly, we’re nonpartisan, meaning that we look at elections through a climate lens and support climate candidates. Climate action is political, but it should not be partisan. We don’t endorse specific candidates; we’re an organizing platform, which means we’ll rally support for any candidate with a stronger commitment to climate action than their opponent.
When we advocate for climate policies, we take on a month-long “cycle” or “arc” of actions that are meant to advance the policy in a holistic way. During the first week of the month, we bring the community up to speed on the policy priority. Then we go through an exercise where we help volunteers connect the policy to their own lives and their own experiences. Next, we help them reach out to their friends and family about the policy and try to recruit some of them to take action. During the second week, we do pretty bread and butter constituent outreach, where each member of the community emails, calls, and tweets their federal representatives using highly personalized language. During the third week, we target key stakeholders, which are people or entities that have lots of influence over the policymaking process, but who aren’t policymakers themselves (think trade associations, private companies, media outlets, etc.). Finally, during the final week, we have a face-to-face conversation with policymakers. When we pick policies, we pick ones that are high-leverage, “low-hanging fruit,” starting with national policy, and ultimately expanding to regional, state, and local climate priorities. We work closely with partner organizations to amplify their climate policy priorities, since we see ourselves as an organizing group.
My work this summer was all over the map. I helped plan the Hour of Action, guide the marketing strategy, implement several new behind-the-scenes workflows for the distribution team, and I interfaced regularly with community-members in Slack and on the Hour of Action. I had such a rewarding summer getting my hands dirty doing all aspects of nonprofit organizing work in a fast-paced startup environment and in pursuit of a cause that I care deeply about.
Thanks to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Class of 1972, I was able to spend the summer doing creative, fulfilling work that I plan to return to upon graduation.