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Identify Potential Community Partners

Designing an inclusive and responsive campaign requires meaningful CBO participation and decision-making authority since they are best positioned to help drive local participation in a campaign and make decisions on behalf of the community. Identifying CBO partners up front provides them with the necessary opportunity to support and inform the campaign’s goals, structure, and strategies to address marginalized residents’ needs.

Partnerships with trusted, influential organizations that have a history of working in a community and navigating complex community dynamics lend credibility to a campaign and build trust among residents, especially those who have experienced a history of scams and predatory lending. Identifying organizations that work in frontline communities may also require looking beyond the most visible or largest CBOs. Here are types of CBOs you may consider reaching out to:

  • Environmental justice, energy, and sustainability nonprofits
  • Neighborhood organizations, faith-based groups (e.g., Interfaith Power & Light affiliates), and advocacy organizations
  • Affordable housing providers, housing authorities, human services agencies, community development corporations, community action agencies, and land trusts
  • Financial institutions such as green banks, community development financial institutions, community foundations, and credit unions
  • Schools, community colleges, and universities
  • Local businesses, business associations, and chambers of commerce

Case Study

In 2022, the Solarize Oklahoma City campaign organized a coalition of local partners approximately five months prior to launching its campaign. Its partners provided invaluable capacity by serving on the installer selection committee, organizing communications and outreach, and promoting the campaign through its respective networks.

The campaign’s partners included energy and sustainability nonprofits, as well as those focused on housing and neighborhood groups: Restore OKC, OKC Beautiful, Oklahoma Sustainability Network, Oklahoma Solar Association, Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council, Fertile Ground Cooperative, and the Oklahoma Compost and Sustainability Association. The campaign resulted in more than 500 sign-ups with 65% of installations located in LMI census tracts.