The Quit Coal Activist Training Program
Who we are
The Quit Coal Activist Program is a dedicated team at Greenpeace that supports the powerful movement against coal through empowering trainings, connecting local communities, and amplifying local voices.
We offer collaboratively-designed trainings in grassroots organizing and strategy development to community-based groups fighting coal and coal-related impacts. Some of our trainings are multi-day events to facilitate visioning, strategy, and team-building, while some are afternoons or half-days, focusing on more discrete skills.
Our trainings are at no cost to host organizations.
We design and deliver trainings in a few different dimensions
Community engagement organizing trainings.
The three basic principles of community engagement organizing are public narrative, interdependent volunteer leadership and locally-driven strategy. Our signature trainings are designed for a group’s volunteer leaders to form their own leadership teams to take on new or bigger pieces of campaign work. Through our collaboratively-designed process, and using a thorough intake of a group’s current campaign goals and strategy, we design workshop modules to empower and build skill in volunteer leaders, as well as coach organizational leadership to adopt or deepen their work in these realms.
Networking and relationship-building
Relationships are the glue of organizing and social change. It can be difficult to step back and plan organizational retreats or build teams when things are moving fast or capacity is tight. We embrace training events where the outcome is simply for people who care about the same issues to meet each other and build trust; we believe that this is as important to a campaign as gathering signatures or hitting a company’s bottom line.
Grassroots strategy development
Empowering new volunteers in designing elements of strategy can result in stronger commitments from diverse audiences, leading to bigger wins. In day-long or multi-day trainings, we coach groups on tools that develop vision and strategy, clarify goals and objectives, and design creative tactics.
Skill-building trainings for volunteers
We design and facilitate day-long or half-day trainings to engage new or returning volunteers in specific skills, such as telling one’s story at an upcoming public hearing or developing a theoretical understanding of the current or upcoming campaign work. We work with groups to identify the skills that will have the highest impact in upcoming work, time the training strategically, and select the trainers according to the skill, from Greenpeace staff or our network of trainers.
In October 2011, our flagship event in Charlotte, North Carolina engaged volunteer leaders in the development of a local strategy targeting Duke Energy. Volunteers and stakeholders spent a weekend identifying goals, strategy, and tactics that would engage other community members as the campaign gained traction. From that training, volunteers held a series of house parties and formed leadership teams, resulting in weekly actions throughout the spring against Duke Energy. Since then, an entirely new crew of dedicated volunteers has emerged, learning their skills from a combination of previous volunteer leaders and the coaching of our local field organizer, Monica Embrey. “One of my volunteers is great at finding new people and teaching how to petition,” says Monica. “Then they go out and petition together at the farmer’s market or grocery store. She’s now coaching and mentoring people, which she didn’t do before. She used to expect me to do that, but now she’s doing that herself.”
On grassroots power
“ Through these activities, I realized that we have more resources than I thought. We have power.” – training participant, Moapa band of the Southern Paiutes, Moapa, Nevada.
On Trust and team-building
“As a result of this training, I’ll be a better team member- more appreciative of our agreed upon goals and of our members. Great team building!” “As a result of this training, i will be willing to allow someone to improve upon any ideas I may suggest.” – training participants from our Februrary 2011 leadership retreat
Our Training Principles
- Activities that draw from knowledge and experience of participants building immediate engagement.
- Participants learn by working together at the training event; group-work has tangible value
- Participants are present and engaged in the learning process
- Trainers help navigate participants in activities that may be outside of one’s comfort zone, in order to try or experiment with new ways of thinking.
Leadership development through the way that we teach skills
- “Experts” are not what is needed to mobilize others to action
- Everyone has inherent knowledge to bring
- Information is shared in a way that is accessible to diverse learners
Following local leadership
- Our trainings add capacity and amplify the locally-driven work and strategy
- We work closely with groups to ensure there is a good fit between each group and our offerings, identify what participants will be able to achieve and clarify how they will be supported after the training in applying those skills.
- We value honesty in relationships, with our partners and participants.