• Brady Hummel

The Inclusive Nature Alliance Strategic Brief

[The Inclusive Nature Alliance was a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission was to bring the environmental community together. The Alliance was building a broad-based movement to change the narrative and culture of the broad community working towards that collective mission of environmental stewardship to be more inclusive, representative, and more effective. Unfortunately, the Alliance dissolved in August 2021.]


TABLE OF CONTENTS


  1. Situation

  2. The Inclusive Nature Alliance

  3. Alliance Management

  4. Communications

  5. Scholarships & Leadership Development

  6. Development

  7. Conclusion

  8. Appendix A: INA Staff Job Descriptions

  9. Appendix B: INA Staff Organizational Chart

  10. Appendix C: Annual Schedule of Meetings

  11. Apprendix D: Communications Messaging Architecture

  12. Appendix E: Communications Engagement Funnels


SITUATION


We are in a historic moment. Two tides of change are swelling - one, the looming existential threat posed by climate change; the other, the growing awareness and repudiation of systemic racism and inequality in America.


The science of climate change has been clear for over thirty years, and the clock is ticking for us to act to mitigate and adapt to its impacts:

“In the absence of major action to reduce [greenhouse gas emissions], global temperature is on track to rise by an average of 6℃ (10.8℉), according to the latest estimates. Some scientists argue a ‘global disaster’ is already unfolding at the poles of the planet; the Arctic, for example, may be ice-free at the end of the summer melt season within just a few years. Yet other experts are concerned about Earth passing one or more ‘tipping points’ - abrupt, perhaps irreversible changes that tip our climate into a new state...Because climate change is a truly global, complex problem with economic, social, political and moral ramifications, the solution will require both a globally-coordinated response...and local efforts on the city- and regional-level...It’s up to us what happens next.” - NASA

And the lived experiences of generations of people marginalized and excluded from pursuing the lives they wanted to lead - women; Black and Indigenous people of color (BIPOC); people with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people; youth; etc. - are a testament to the undeniable history of exclusion by our social, cultural, and political institutions. In response, corporations have released statements on racial injustice, and millions of people have marched in streets across America for change.

“It is these younger, multihued generations that - prior to the pandemic - already accounted for most of the growth of our labor force population and an increasing share of our consumer base. As their influence grows, they can no longer tolerate past patterns of systemic racism. Their voices need to be heard and their concerns need to be addressed.” - Brookings Institution

These issues are not new. Yet, this moment is an opportunity for the environmental community to address both - to be more effective at stewarding and advocating for our natural resources, and to be more representative and inclusive. In reality, the two are so inextricably intertwined that it is impossible to achieve one without the other.


While the environment is a great unifier - we all breathe the same air, drink the same water, rely on the same earth for our survival - the environmental community has historically struggled with addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) disparities. Decades of research show that our recruitment, retention, and internal culture practices make it difficult for members of under-represented groups, who are equally passionate and qualified, to find their place in the environmental community. While efforts have recently been made to change both the internal culture of individual organizations and the public narrative of environmentalism, the mainstream environmental community is still predominantly White, male, and middle - to upper-class.


This is not representative of the entire environmental community, though, even if it’s what the predominant stereotype is. In reality, there are thousands of people from a diverse array of communities working in different capacities to protect our environment - from land managers, farmers, park rangers, scientists, researchers, educators, engineers, students, policymakers, activists, and business leaders working towards preserving our natural resources. Although we may all come from different backgrounds or engage with the environment in different ways, we still have a lot in common:


  1. A love of the environment and a passion for protecting it;

  2. An experience in our lives connecting us to nature; and

  3. A dedication to protecting and serving our communities.


And we all need to be engaged together, through our diversity, in order to respond to this moment and to those two swelling tides of change.


THE INCLUSIVE NATURE ALLIANCE


The Inclusive Nature Alliance (the “Alliance” or “Inclusive Nature” ) will bring the environmental community together. We will break down the silos that have divided us and build a broad-based cooperative to lead us to be more representative and effective in stewarding our environment.


In service to that mission, we firmly stand by the following principles:


  1. Everyone passionate about the environment should be welcome in our community.—If you have a love for the environment and a passion for protecting it, you can be a valuable member of the environmental community - regardless of who you are, where you come from, what you look like, who you love, what your skill set is, or what your abilities are. It takes all of us being involved and supporting each other to effect change, and our diversity is our strength.

  2. We must acknowledge the history of discrimination, violence, and injustice within the environmental community and work to break down those structures.—James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” As a community, we need to share a fuller narrative that acknowledges both the negative history of exclusion in environmentalism and the positive contributions that under-represented groups have made to the environmental community.

  3. We must center and empower under-represented communities and their stories in all that we do.—To move beyond our history and achieve our mission together, we need to acknowledge, amplify, and follow the lead of those whose experiences and contributions have previously been ignored and excluded.

  4. We need to move beyond performative allyship to genuine commitment to justice and inclusion.—It’s not enough to just stand in solidarity. We must critically look at ourselves, our assumptions, our roles, and the structures we reinforce - then work tirelessly to make the changes necessary in order to be the community we need to be.

  5. We stand in solidarity with other movements striving for a more just and equitable world.—Our work, by definition, is intersectional and complements the work countless others are doing to advocate for change, including (but not limited to): the Black Lives Matter movement, the LandBack movement, the disability rights movement, the MeToo movement, the LGBTQ movement, the labor movement, and others.


Our Theory of Change


Our Vision: We envision a community that is more representative and effective in stewarding our environment.


Critical to Success: We need to change the way we see who is included in our community. By sharing a more representative narrative, we will help individuals see themselves as having a place here and as participants who can make valued contributions to the environmental community’s collective mission - protecting and stewarding our natural resources - and we’ll help organizations champion diversity and amplify those invaluable contributions. Without that, no program any of us implements will be effective at moving the needle in making us the community we need to be.


Three Pathways to Success: We will leverage a multi-pronged, long-term, holistic approach that is led by a diversity of groups and focused on both the internal (organizational and movement culture) and external (narrative and outreach) work necessary in order to achieve our mission of bringing the environmental community together. Our three pathways to success are:


  1. Communications: Through our podcast & communications campaign, we will emphasize the commonalities we share - regardless of who we are, where we come from, what we look like, who we love, what our skill sets are, or what our abilities are - and highlight the contributions of under-represented groups to the environmental community.

  2. Alliance-building: By bringing together organizations from across the span of the environmental community, we can support each other in the internal work we all need to do and lead the broader community in implementing effective changes. Our alliance will be a shining example both of the broad diversity inherent in the environmental community, and the strength of that diversity coming together behind a collective mission.

  3. Leadership development and scholarships: If we are to become more inclusive, we need to support the development and growth of the next generation of diverse environmental leaders - from fostering their passion for nature, to helping them get a quality education, to supporting them throughout their careers - in order to afford them the opportunity to contribute to their utmost potential to our collective mission.


Long-Term Outcomes: Together, these pathways will contribute to four long-term outcomes:


  1. We will redefine the narrative of the environmental community to highlight and strengthen its diversity.

  2. We will broaden the base of the environmental community and bring in new audiences passionate about stewardship and eager to get engaged.

  3. We will help individual organizations change their internal cultures to be more inclusive.

  4. We will increase collaboration among the diverse groups in our community to be more effective at protecting the environment.

Our Team


Our Co-Founders - Joe Vaughn, Director of Membership, and Brady Hummel, Director of Strategic Communications - exemplify the type of relationship-building that the Alliance will foster. Even though they come from different backgrounds and bring different perspectives to stewarding the environment, Joe and Brady recognized what they had in common: they both had a love of the outdoors, a formative experience early in life that connected them to the environment, and a passion and dedication to serve and steward our natural resources. Together, they bring a wealth and diversity of experience and a holistic vision for a more inclusive and effective environmental community.


Joe Vaughn is an emerging leader in the environmental community with nearly a decade of experience practicing science-based land management to sustain the long-term capacity of land that provides a variety of materials, uses and values desired by our society. As a Procurement Forester at Interfor, one of the largest lumber producers in the world, Joe oversees the supply chain of purchasing, harvesting and delivering timber. Before joining Interfor, Joe was a Teton Interagency Fire Wildland Firefighter based in Grand Teton National Park for five years. He has been a longtime volunteer within the industry nationally, passionate about empowering and affirming under-represented identities and experiences within the environmental community. He has been Chair of the Wildland Fire Management Working Group of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and led the sharing of science, technology, research, and application of fire management that support wildland fire protection, forestry, and rangeland ecosystem programs. Joe is Chair of the Ocmulgee, Georgia chapter of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), and he also served as an SAF Diversity Scholar. He is Chair of the Marketing Subcommittee and served on the Planning Committee for the American Forestry Conference hosted by the Georgia Forestry Association (GFA). He also served as a member of the Diversity Committee for University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Joe graduated from the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources with a B.S. in Forest Resources, and he received his Industrial Wood Processing Associate Certificate with Honors from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.


As Director of Membership, Joe will serve as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions for the Inclusive Nature Alliance. He will be responsible for directing and overseeing programs and initiatives for Alliance members.He will manage the Member Engagement team and support them in developing the partnerships and engagement with Alliance members necessary to achieve our mission. In conjunction with senior staff and the Governing Board, he will develop the Alliance’s member recruitment and retention strategy. Joe will also serve as a public ambassador for the Alliance.


Brady Hummel (they/them) is the Founder and Principal of Ambedo Audio, a creative audio agency that helps brands strategically leverage professionally produced podcasts towards full digital campaigns to achieve their business and communications objectives. Before launching Ambedo Audio, Brady was Strategic Brand & Communications Consultant with HL Strategy, where they worked with clients including the Georgia Forestry Foundation, the Southern Group of State Foresters, Southface, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Portman Holdings, and others. They also started HL Strategy’s podcasting team and was producer, editor, and writer for Purpose Built Communities’ This is Community series (Seasons 1-2) and Shaw Industries’ Beyond the Surface. From 2014 to 2016, Brady was Senior Sustainability Analyst at the Center for Sustainability Education at Dickinson College and developed and designed their institutional Sustainability Dashboard. In 2014, they researched the interplay of sustainable development and climate governance in the major emerging economies at the UNFCCC COP20 in Lima, Peru. Brady graduated cum laude from Dickinson College with a B.A. in Economics.


As Director of Strategic Communications, Brady will be responsible for the development and execution of the Inclusive Nature Alliance’s communication strategy and will contribute to the strategic planning process. They will directly manage communications activities that promote, enhance, and protect the Alliance’s brand reputation and further its mission. Brady will also serve as a public ambassador for the Alliance.


Brady will also serve as Executive Producer, through their role with Ambedo Audio, where they will lead and manage the creative team working with the Inclusive Nature Alliance. They will serve as the showrunner for the podcast series and forge the creative vision for the podcast and full digital campaign, ensuring that it successfully aligns with the Alliance’s mission and vision and achieves its objectives.


By November 2021, we plan to recruit and bring on other senior staff members - including Executive Director, Director of Finance, and Director of Development. And, in the first half of 2022, we plan to hire three Associate Directors of Member Engagement. [see Appendix A for INA staff job descriptions] One of the requirements for all staff and contractors working with the Alliance is that they be from an under-represented group (e.g., women, Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), Hispanic, LGBTQIAA+, disabled).


We will contract two firms to support the Inclusive Nature Alliance: Ambedo Audio, and a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm yet to be selected.


Ambedo Audio is a creative audio agency that helps brands strategically leverage professionally produced podcasts towards full digital campaigns to achieve their business and communications objectives. Ambedo is more than just a podcast production studio. It brings high production quality to its audio projects and helps brands both large and small creatively package and share them through their channels - social media, email, website, and more - to achieve results.


Ambedo sees the podcasts they produce with their clients as pillar content that drive full digital campaigns - repackaged and shared across all of a brand’s channels - to achieve their business and communications objectives.


Ambedo’s tagline is “We believe that listening can change the world.”


By working with Ambedo Audio, we will be engaging a team of diverse, highly-qualified, and creative professionals to execute our communications strategy, including:

  • A senior podcast producer

  • Two podcast producers

  • An audio engineer

  • A web developer

  • An search engine optimization (SEO) expert

  • A social media manager

  • A graphic designer

  • A photographer/videographer

  • A copywriter

  • A project manager

  • A data analyst


The Inclusive Nature Alliance will engage a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm in 2021 in order to support our work - specifically, to inform our organizational strategy and to be a resource for our members to address DEI challenges in their organizations and work. Engaging a DEI firm will ensure that we approach those conversations and challenges in a way that’s appropriate, relevant, sensitive, supportive, and effective. Potential candidates include, but are not limited to:


ALLIANCE MANAGEMENT


Bringing together organizations from across the environmental community - to get proximate to each other, to learn from each other, to challenge each other, to collaborate with each other, and to lead together - is the beating heart of the Inclusive Nature Alliance’s mission.


Fundamental to achieving that mission is working towards changing the culture of both the environmental community as a whole and of individual organizations. And the macro- and mico-cultures of the community are necessarily interconnected in a way that we cannot see the long-term changes we need to see. Ponds (1994) cited a model for culture change that can be helpful to illustrate this, as the community and individual organizations can choose one of the following cultural dispositions towards diversity:

  1. It can ignore the differences and carry on as usual.

  2. It can require that the newcomers change to fit the long-standing mold of an employee or member.

  3. It can go a bit further and be sensitive to the specific needs of the newcomer who is somehow different. In the long run, however, the individual is expected to fit into the existing culture.

  4. It can change itself and its traditions so that people who are different are accepted, valued, and utilized for who they are and what they can contribute.

As it currently stands, the macro- and micro-cultures of the environmental community fall under the third option, where diverse under-represented groups are ultimately expected to conform to the mainstream culture - which is predominantly White and male. If we are to become the community we need to be, we must work together to collectively move from the third option to the fourth, where diversity is embraced, cultivated, and empowered.


The Alliance aims to achieve that by bringing together a critical mass of organizations from across the environmental community to lead us towards that open and accepting macro- and micro-culture. No one organization on its own can move the needle to the degree where we achieve our long-term objectives, but together - by pooling our resources, collaborating with each other, and carrying our collective vision to every corner of the community - we can create the change we know we need to see in order to be representative and effective in stewarding our environment.


While this is a critical piece of our strategy, we are intentionally leaving flexibility in our plan for the alliance management in order to tailor and flesh out with our Advisory Council and Alliance members for it to be as effective for the group and to ensure buy-in from the membership.


Objectives

  • Assemble a full (15) initial member cohort from diverse parts of the environmental community, and strategically grow membership over the long-term

  • Build trust and relationships among members

  • Establish effective governance structures for the Alliance

  • Provide resources and space for members to acknowledge and address inequities in their organizations and work

  • Increase collaboration among members from different corners of the environmental community

  • Establish the environmental community as leaders in acknowledging and addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)


Membership


It is essential that our membership - both the initial cohort and as we continue to expand in the long-term - is representative of the broad diversity in the environmental community, including sector diversity, racial/ethnic diversity, and gender diversity.


Inclusive Nature Alliance prospective members will be expected to:

  • Be eager to be a leader in the environmental community on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI);

  • Buy-in to our mission and vision of a more representative and effective environmental community, especially by their organization’s senior management;

  • Commit to the long-term work of the Alliance;

  • Commit to implementing internal changes and refine existing processes to be more inclusive;

  • Commit to sharing information and metrics with the Alliance and other members;

  • Be eager to collaborate with other Alliance members on projects;

  • Be willing to leverage their networks to achieve the Alliance’s objectives;

  • Acknowledge that everyone and every organization has room to learn and grow with DEI;

  • Acknowledge their organization’s relative power and responsibilities within the Alliance and in the broader community;

  • Commit to providing ongoing financial support to the Alliance via membership dues and any additional contributions; and,

  • Commit to being allies for those under-represented in the environmental community and work together to level the playing field.


Individuals representing Alliance members in any capacity will be expected to:

  • Be a senior member of management with the ability to speak on behalf of the organization;

  • Buy-in to our mission and vision of a more representative and effective environmental community;

  • Commit to building relationships with other Alliance members;

  • Be open to transparent, honest, and challenging conversations;

  • Embrace the different perspectives and approaches of different Alliance members;

  • Be open to learning and expanding outside their own experience by listening to others;

  • Be willing to champion the Alliance’s mission, vision, and work in their own organization;

  • Be willing to leverage their networks to achieve the Alliance’s objectives;

  • Acknowledge that everyone and every organization has room to learn and grow with DEI; and,

  • Commit to being allies for those under-represented in the environmental community and work together to level the playing field.


Membership in the Inclusive Nature Alliance will offer the following benefits:

  • Establish individual members as visible leaders in the environmental community, reinforcing their previous commitments to inclusion and to stewarding our natural resources

  • Provide access to DEI consultants, resources, and trainings

  • Allow for information-sharing among members to strengthen their work

  • Build relationships with other members who might have previously been outside of their network, potentially leading to partnerships in the future

  • Provide content to use and amplify for both internal (DEI resources, research, lessons learned, etc.) and external (podcast, videos, blog posts, etc.) audiences

  • Access to a platform to have their stories told and amplified, both within the Alliance and through our content


Since the strength and success of the Alliance rests on the relationships and collaboration amongst the members, we will start with an initial cohort of 15 members, targeting the following six member categories within the environmental community:

  • For-profit companies

  • Nonprofit organizations

  • Foundations

  • Associations

  • Academic/research organizations

  • Media/advertising organizations

After the initial member cohort is established and effectively collaborating within the Alliance, we will work with the Governing Board and Steering Committee to develop a strategy for expanding membership.


Governance


The Inclusive Nature Alliance will have a two-tiered governance structure. The Governing Board will be the main oversight body of the Alliance staff and programs, ensuring both financial and operational effectiveness and alignment with our mission. Recommendations that impact the financial (e.g. annual budget, fundraising) and operational (e.g. management/staffing, membership) activities of the Alliance will require Board approval. The Governing Board members will be comprised of member executive sponsors (e.g., C-Suite, VP, or equivalent level) elected by the membership in the Steering Committee. In order to maintain equal representation on the Governing Board, there will be one elected Governing Board member from each of the member categories (for-profit, nonprofit, foundation, association, academic/research, media/advertising), as well as at-large members, the number of which will be determined by the Steering Committee. The Executive Director will serve as ex-oficio member of the Governing Board.


The Steering Committee will be composed of the main representatives (e.g., Director of Diversity, Director of Partnerships, or equivalent position) from each of the Alliance members and will set the agenda of the Alliance each year. At the Steering Committee’s Annual Meeting, the Alliance members will vote on approving the agenda for the coming year, with each member having one vote. The Steering Committee will meet six times per year, including the Annual Meeting in January, with the other meetings being for trainings, workshops, collaboration opportunities, strategic discussions, or whatever the Steering Committee might decide to put on the agenda for a meeting. [see Appendix C for an annual schedule of meetings] The Alliance senior staff members (Executive Director, Director of Finance, Director of Development, Director of Membership, Director of Strategic Communications) will serve as ex-oficio members of the Steering Committee.


In its annual work of setting the agenda for the Alliance, the Steering Committee may form ad hoc committees to aid in that effort, as necessary. The ad hoc committees may be composed of Steering Committee members, INA staff members, and Advisory Council members, as determined by the Steering Committee at its formation. Ad hoc committees will have a clear charge and timeline and will report any and all findings and recommendations in a timely manner to the Steering Committee ahead of the Annual Meeting.


The Advisory Council, composed of academics, researchers, experts, influencers, and others, will contribute to the mission and work of the Alliance by sharing their expertise when called upon, being public advocates for the Alliance, and, when appropriate, serving on ad hoc committees.


Initially, and before the initial member cohort is assembled, the Advisory Council will assist the leadership team with developing strategy, recruiting potential members, and fundraising. Detailed bylaws will be drafted with the advice of legal counsel.


Building on the developed strategy, the Advisory Council will address the following questions:

  • Advisory Council

  • Who should be on the Advisory Council?

  • How big should the Advisory Council be?

  • How should we onboard new Advisory Council members?

  • How should we engage Advisory Council members - full Board meetings, or ad hoc/individually?

  • Communications

  • What should communications look like?

  • When should we begin creating and publishing content?

  • Are there diverse communicators who should be considered for the INA content team?

  • How should we engage with other content producers (e.g., podcasters, bloggers, influencers, media outlets, etc.)?

  • Alliance Membership and Management

  • Who should be members in the Alliance?

  • What categories should we target in our membership?

  • How should we approach prospective members and build the Alliance?

  • How will Alliance members interact?

  • What staff should we have in order to manage the Alliance?

  • Research

  • Do we need to conduct additional research before engaging Alliance members?

  • Are there any gaps in our current research that need filled before moving forward?

  • What role should the Alliance play in producing new research?

  • Is producing new research critical to our mission?

  • Development

  • How much of the total operating budget should be covered by Alliance member dues?

  • How should we structure the membership dues?

  • Are there any grant/funding opportunities that we should explore?

  • What infrastructure do we need to build in order to be financially sustainable over the long-term?

  • Measurement & Reporting

  • What does success look like in the different aspects of our work?

  • How do we measure our impact in the different aspects of our work?

  • What metrics should we use to measure our impact?

  • How should we collect the necessary data?

  • How do we ensure that the data we collect informs our collective decision-making?

  • How should we report the data to our members, partners, funders, and the general public?


The current members of the Advisory Council include:

  • Tyus Williams - Wildlife Biology PhD Candidate

  • Lindsey Lyons - Dickinson College Center for Sustainability Education

  • Liz Plascencia - Yale University School of the Environment

  • Colette Silvestri - REACH Cyber Charter School


As the Alliance continues to grow and we get closer to bringing on members, we plan to grow the size of the Advisory Council to engage more diverse voices. As we continue to develop the organization’s strategy, we hope to engage:

  • Dorceta Taylor - University of Michigan School for Environment & Sustainability

  • Danielle Williams - Diversify Outdoors/Melanin Base Camp

  • Dennis Chin - Race Forward

  • Joshua Low - Yale Program on Climate Change Communication/Yale Climate Connections

  • Tom Yulsman - University of Colorado Boulder Center for Environmental Journalism

  • Jennifer Ito - USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity

  • Madeleine DiSalvo - National Geographic

  • Christian Skotte - Grist

  • Tom Goldtooth - Indigenous Environmental Network

  • Sam Cook - NC State University College of Natural Resources


Engagement


There are a few pieces that are critical to the success of any partnership or alliance, no matter what shape the final vision and guidelines take, including:

  • Trust and relationships among Alliance members;

  • Constant and transparent communication and information-sharing;

  • Collective buy-in to the mission, vision, and collaborative approach of the Alliance;

  • Flexibility and adaptability to navigate challenges and new opportunities that arise from Alliance relationships;

  • Leaning into and embracing differences among members, and leveraging them as opportunities to learn and strengthen the relationships;

  • Equipping Alliance member representatives to champion the Alliance’s mission, vision, and work with their individual organizations and networks.

In order to facilitate that trust-building, relationship-building, and collective learning among members, and to clearly delineate two different spaces/venues where this work doesn’t box out the strategic guidance and decision-making required of the Steering Committee, we will break the main member representatives (e.g., Director of Diversity, Director of Partnerships, or equivalent position) into small groups of five members each; with an initial cohort of 15 members, there will be three small member groups. The small groups will be representative of the different member categories within themselves, making sure to include both large and small organizations in a balance rather than lumping all members in one category together in one small group.


We will be deploying the Action Learning Set engagement model, with each Associate Director of Member Engagement leading a small group and serving as facilitator and advisor. Each month, each small group will meet, where individual members can bring up problems, challenges, roadblocks, questions, or anything else that they’re working on in their organizations and get input and feedback from other members. Outside of the monthly group meetings, each individual member will meet one-on-one with their respective Associate Director. [see Appendix C for an annual schedule of meetings]


As part of our Alliance relationship launch with the initial member cohort and DEI consulting firm, we will collectively develop concrete guidelines and expectations for how to best facilitate member engagement through the Action Learning Model. If not tailored to the specific members, we risk constraining the organic growth and interaction among members. And co-creating the vision and guidelines with the members will help them buy-in and commit to the Alliance’s work and to the relationships they build through it.


We will build a digital adaptive collaboration hub to encourage and facilitate the interaction and engagement critical to achieving our objectives, including:

These tools will be user-driven, open, organic, and integrated to allow for two-way conversation among Alliance members and staff, efficient collaboration on Alliance projects and committees, and transparency in Alliance activities and performance. By centralizing our infrastructure around Chanty, members and staff will be able to easily and organically engage with one another rather than having to navigate complicated hierarchies or work exclusively through the governance structure. This hub will also, over time, become a depository of valuable resources available to member representatives as they champion the Alliance’s work, mission, and vision within their own organizations and networks.


Analytics and Reporting


With such an ambitious vision, measuring our impact is essential to the success of the Alliance. Yet, we know that, no matter how effective we are, we won’t see tangible outcomes overnight because of the long-term, relationship-based nature of the work necessary to produce those outcomes.


Our measurement and analytics infrastructure, therefore, will initially focus more on qualitative and quantitative process metrics (“What progress are we making towards being able to achieve our objectives?”) than outcome metrics (“What impact are we seeing from our work?”). We will collect and report both “transactions” and “transformations” metrics, as Pastor, Ito, and Rosner (2011) outline:

Transactions involve the quantifiable markers both internal (e.g., how much funding, how many members, etc.) and external to the organization (e.g., voter turnout, policies passed, etc). While the data is not always easy to collect, such measures tend to be easier to track because they are more tangible. But transactions only tell part of the story and tend to skip over the richness of experience and momentum that can be precursors to big change.
Transformations, on the other hand, are the vital but sometimes ‘invisible’ work. They show how people, organizations, and movements have been altered through the collective efforts. Taking the transformation further, they can show how societal and political views have shifted or been impacted by movement-building. Transformational metrics are more qualitative in nature which make them more difficult to define, let alone capture and track.
Clearly, it is the combination of the transactional and transformational metrics that will tell a fuller story. After all, transactions can be transformational - and transformations can be transactional. For example, by attending a meeting (a transaction), a person can be transformed through the experience of being among others with similar experiences and struggles. And ‘when people are transformed, their transactions change.’ A community resident that gains the confidence and skills to see herself as a leader within the community and the organization will take more ownership and recruit more people to get involved.

Early on in the Alliance’s work, we will focus on metrics like information sharing among members, the development of new ideas and collaborations, and the speed at which decisions are made through the Alliance governance structure.


Consistently collecting and reporting information on Alliance progress to members, partners, funders, and the general public will be critical. We will work with both the Advisory Council and the initial member cohort to further refine both the metrics, collection process, and reporting process necessary to inform and validate the Alliance’s work and impact.


Timeline

  • Phase 1: Strategy Development [April - December 2020]

  • Research:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental community

  • The history and experiences of under-represented groups in the environmental community

  • Social movement theory

  • Nonprofit management, alliance management, and fundraising

  • Scholarships and supporting opportunities in higher education

  • Other organizations addressing inclusion in the environmental community

  • Begin developing a strategic brief outlining the high-level strategy, structure, and objectives of the Alliance

  • Create a one-year and two-year budget estimate for the Alliance, including monthly retainer estimates from Ambedo Audio

  • Start identifying potential seed fund donors and begin building the infrastructure necessary to engage them

  • Brainstorm prospective Advisory Council members and begin building the infrastructure necessary to engage them

  • Apply to Earth Island Institute for fiscal sponsorship

  • Phase 2: Start-up & Advisory Council Engagement [January - November 2021]

  • Engage Advisory Council members to continue developing the Alliance strategy, fundraising, and recruitment

  • File Articles of Incorporation and apply for IRS tax exemption

  • Bring on key senior staff members, including:

  • Executive Director

  • Director of Finance

  • Director of Development

  • Build the Alliance’s fundraising infrastructure and capacity and prepare for seed fund raise

  • Phase 3: Seed Fund Raise [December 2021 - May 2022]

  • After receiving IRS tax exemption status, secure initial seed funding to cover start-up expenses via:

  • Nonprofit startup grants

  • Nonprofit loan funds (like the Nonprofit Finance Fund)

  • Corporate contributions

  • Foundation grants

  • Individual contributions

  • Crowdsource contributions

  • Hire three Associate Directors of Member Engagement

  • Bring on operations contractors, including:

  • Virtual Assistant (via Boldly)

  • Bookkeeper

  • Grant Writer

  • Engage DEI consulting firm

  • Begin building the infrastructure for members to interact and collaborate with each other, namely:

  • Digital Adaptive Collaboration Hub (DACH)

  • Action Learning Set engagement model

  • Build the analytics and reporting infrastructure critical to the Alliance’s data-driven decision-making

  • Phase 4: Alliance-Building & Organization [June - December 2022]

  • Engage and onboard initial cohort of Alliance members

  • Continue approaching foundations and individuals to fundraise

  • Phase 5: Relationship-Building [January - December 2023]

  • Begin building the trust and relationships between the members and staff critical to the success of the Alliance

  • Ensure the governance structure is operating effectively and efficiently


COMMUNICATIONS


A strong and robust communications strategy is essential for the Inclusive Nature Alliance to achieve its mission of bringing the environmental community together and pushing it to think and act more effectively about diversity and inclusion. We aim to not just change behaviors - namely, encouraging the environmental community to offer career opportunities to more young people from under-represented groups - but also the mindsets, assumptions, and attitudes underlying those behaviors in order to change the dominant culture.


That type of ambitious vision of changing hearts and getting people to see themselves and others in a new framework requires our content to be built with empathetic storytelling at its core and strategically placed within a framework and engagement model that helps our audience achieve the paradigm shift we envision for the environmental community.


Our communications will directly support the Alliance by reframing diversity and inclusion in the environmental community, engaging audiences that had previously not seen themselves as part of the environmental community, and amplifying the work of the Alliance and its members towards a more inclusive and representative community. And, over the long-term, our communications strategy will help facilitate our leadership development and scholarship programs, tapping into those new, younger, and more diverse audiences and supporting them as they join and contribute to the environmental community.


The main vehicle for our communications strategy will be a podcast series, with a full digital campaign around it to fully leverage it and drive the engagement and impact we’re expecting. It will share the stories and voices of people from underrepresented groups in the environmental community to highlight the messages outlined in our messaging architecture [see Appendix D]. The core message of our podcast series and the full digital campaign will be that, even though we may all come from different backgrounds and engage with the environmental community in different ways, we still have a lot in common, namely:

  • A love of the outdoors and the environment and a passion for protecting it

  • An experience in our lives connecting us to nature

  • A dedication to serving our communities & natural resources

And we all need to be engaged, through our diversity, in order to protect the environment.


Why a Podcast?


Podcasts have seen a boom in popularity in recent years. In 2006, 11 percent of Americans aged 12 and older had ever listened to a podcast. In 2019, that number rose to 51 percent - approximately 144 million Americans. And more and more people are incorporating podcasts into their routines and continue to turn to them to stay up-to-date with the news, to be entertained, and to learn. 90 million Americans listen to a podcast every month, and 62million listen every week.


93 percent of those dedicated listeners consume most or all of the podcast episodes they listen to, even if the episode is over an hour long. Through what other channel can you have that much time to share your story with a captive audience?


Proof-of-Concept Podcast Series


In order to showcase our passion and messaging, we will produce a proof-of-concept podcast series interviewing our Co-Founders, Advisory Council members, and partners to highlight the people involved in the Inclusive Nature Alliance, our diversity, our stories and experiences, and our individual and collective passion. Brady Hummel, Co-Founder and Director of Strategic Communications, will host the show, and it will follow a standard interview format.


While we won’t publicly publish this podcast series via an RSS feed to listening platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, we’ll use these interviews in our outreach to potential Advisory Council members, prospective Alliance members, and prospective donors to highlight those who are committed to our project and to showcase our podcast production capabilities. We’ll also include clips of these interviews as evergreen assets throughout our communications campaigns - as full-episode and short-clip audiograms, as complementary web content to the public podcast series, and more.


Content


As part of our communications campaign, we will produce and share the following types of content:

  • Podcast series published on major listening platforms (e.g. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.)

  • Website

  • Blog posts

  • Content for social media channels, including:

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Instagram

  • LinkedIn

  • TikTok

  • YouTube

  • Infographics

  • White papers on diversity and inclusion in the environmental community

  • Email campaigns

  • Videos

  • Discussion guides incorporating Alliance content into themes


Audiences


Through our communications strategy, we will target the following audiences:

  • Environmental organizations who could potentially be partners or members of the Alliance;

  • Organizations and individuals who could potentially be donors to the Alliance;

  • Young people in high school and college interested in the environmental community who could potentially be scholarship applicants in the future; and,

  • General public interested/engaged in the environmental community.


Engagement Model


Each of our target audiences will follow their own engagement funnel [see Appendix E] tailored specifically to them and their journey from awareness of the Inclusive Nature Alliance to supporting our mission to advocating for others to support us. At each step of these engagement funnels, we will strategically create content that meets our audience where they are on their journey and that helps shepherd them to the next level of engagement and support.


Podcast Momentum Campaign


In order to successfully launch a podcast series, you have to intentionally and strategically build momentum ahead of it going live - reaching and engaging with your target audiences, raising your brand awareness, and priming them for the messages and stories you’ll share in the podcast.


For six months ahead of the projected podcast launch in May 2022, we will share content across all of our channels that establishes the Inclusive Nature Alliance as a thought leader on inclusion in the environmental community, amplifies the mission and vision of the Alliance, showcases our members and partners, and builds relationships with our target audience so that the podcast series is as effective as possible when it launches.


Promotion


It’s not enough to just create compelling content. We will strategically distribute and promote our content over multiple platforms in order to effectively reach our target audiences and move them through their individual engagement models.


The Inclusive Nature Alliance website will be the hub for all digital content we produce, and our content will be structured to lead our audience to the website to facilitate their journey through the engagement funnels with donation portals, email list subscription forms, etc. On the website, there will be content related to who we are, what our mission and vision are, our programs and initiatives, a blog with regular posts, and resources for diversity and inclusion in the environmental community. There will be a section of the website dedicated to the scholarships with information about what it is, the application process, and resources for students interested in learning more about the environmental community. And while the podcast will be available on the major listening platforms - Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher, etc. - there will be a section of the website with a homepage introducing the podcast and individual webpages for each episode with an embedded player, show notes, and relevant resources and links to learn more. Our members, partners, and donors will be featured prominently throughout the website, where relevant.


We will launch profiles on several social media channels to share our content and engage with our audiences in different ways:

  • On Facebook, we will share our content and updates about our work, highlight our partners, and create a Facebook group for listeners of our podcast to share their stories and thoughts on the episodes and engage with each other.

  • On Twitter, we will comment and share our content to contextualize the conversations of the day through the lens of diversity and inclusion in the environmental community.

  • On LinkedIn, we will share resources and content tailored for those in the environmental community to learn more about diversity and inclusion and bring that into their work and organizations.

  • On Instagram, we will share photos and videos highlighting people from underrepresented groups in the environmental community and create and amplify a community that champions the contributions of those from underrepresented groups and acts as an example to young people that they have a place in the environmental community.

  • On TikTok, we will encourage user-generated content through a hashtag in order to engage users in our brand, content, and community.

  • On YouTube, we will share the videos we create to highlight our work and mission, full-episode audiograms from the podcast, video interviews we record from the podcast, and any recordings/livestreams from events we hold.

On top of managing our own profiles, we will use paid social advertising to target our audiences and make sure that they engage in our channels and enter their respective engagement funnels.


In order to build our podcast audience and raise the Alliance’s brand awareness, we’ll sponsor ads and pitch interviews on relevant podcasts leading up to the launch of our own podcast series. These shows could include, yet not be limited to:

We will feature a wide array of people on the podcast, all with their own diverse platforms and audiences that are a part of the environmental community and can be brought into our movement. When we coordinate with each person to be on the podcast, we will follow a tailored and intentional relationship management process that makes it easy for them to share and amplify the podcast to their own audiences and for them to become more engaged in other aspects of the Inclusive Nature Alliance’s work, leveraging the podcast to turn our guests into advocates and champions of our mission.


When relevant, we will also reach out to media outlets to get placements (and potential content partnerships) for the Inclusive Nature Alliance and our work and content in order to reach a broader audience.


Group Discussions


We won’t be able to be successful in achieving our objectives if we don’t empower our audiences to become advocates and carry our messages into conversations with their networks and organizations.


Throughout our communications campaign, we will create and distribute discussion guides modeled after those NPR has successfully shared that pull together content from our various channels - for example, a podcast episode, a blog post, a white paper, and a partner video - around a theme to help foster individual conversations to grow our audiences and our impact.


There could also be an opportunity to enable discussion leaders to record their conversations and share them on social media, creating user-generated content and grassroots amplification for the Alliance.


Donor-Specific Content


While we will highlight our partners and donors in our content on the various platforms, we will also make it easy for them to package and share it on their own channels, allowing them opportunities to highlight their partnership with the Inclusive Nature Alliance and to introduce our mission and work to their audiences. We will also produce content specific to our donors, such as livestream roundtable discussions and Q&A sessions.


Analytics & Reporting


Throughout the lifespan of our communications, we will be tracking quantitative and qualitative metrics for every aspect of our communications strategy and using these data to inform future content to be more effective with our audiences. Some metrics we will collect and report include, but are not limited to:

  • Podcast downloads, listens, comments, social shares

  • Website sessions, page activity, pages per session, traffic source, shares, bounce rate, conversion rate, click-through rate

  • Blog visits, traffic source, engagement, shares

  • Social media impressions, reach, followers, engagement, shares, mentions, website referrals

  • Ad reach, engagement, amplification, website referrals, click-through rate, conversion rate

  • Video views, watch time, subscribers, engagement, shares, conversion rate

  • Email subscribers, subscriber source, open rate, click rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate

  • Partner amplification - how many and which Alliance members and partners are sharing our content and how it is performing

  • Inbound leads - how content and channels have led to relationships, partnerships, and other opportunities for the Alliance


Timeline

  • Phase 1: Strategy Development [April - December 2020]

  • Research:

  • The history and experiences of under-represented groups in the environmental community

  • The demographics of the environmental community and our target audiences

  • Anti-racism and social justice history, theory, and movements

  • Definitions and theories of environmental justice, queer ecology, allyship, etc.

  • Other campaigns addressing inclusion in the environmental community

  • Engage Ambedo Audio

  • Develop the Alliance communications strategy, including the audiences, messaging architecture, channels, brand voice and personality, and engagement funnels

  • Phase 2: Start-up & Advisory Council Engagement [January - November 2021]

  • Engage the Advisory Council to continue developing the communications strategy.

  • Develop the Alliance’s branding

  • Create content to summarize the Alliance’s mission, vision, and strategy to potential partners and donors, including:

  • Strategic brief outlining the strategy and objectives for the Alliance

  • Pitch deck giving an overview of the Alliance

  • Manifesto letter explaining each of the two Co-Founders’ stories, passions, and motivations for creating the Inclusive Nature Alliance

  • Produce proof-of-concept podcast series

  • Phase 3: Seed Fund Raise [December 2021 - May 2022]

  • Work with Director of Development and Grant Writer to create relevant content to support seed fund raise

  • Create content and resources to help onboard members to the Alliance

  • Design and build the Alliance’s website

  • Create a content calendar for the Alliance communications launch

  • Begin editorial planning for the Alliance podcast

  • Build and begin implementing the Alliance’s internal communications infrastructure

  • Phase 4: Momentum Campaign [June - December 2022]

  • Begin producing episodes for the Alliance podcast

  • Prepare for launching the Alliance podcast in January 2023

  • Launch the Alliance’s website

  • Write and publish blog posts on the Alliance website

  • Begin building internal web pages for the podcast series on the Alliance website

  • Design graphics and infographics

  • Produce and publish videos

  • Launch and begin posting on the Alliance’s social media channels

  • Run paid ad campaigns on social media channels

  • Run paid sponsor ads on relevant podcasts

  • Pitch interviews to relevant podcasts and media outlets

  • Build our email subscriber list and produce email campaigns

  • Manage and leverage the Alliance’s internal communications infrastructure

  • Coordinate with Alliance members and partners to amplify content

  • Produce white papers relevant to Alliance members

  • Create content to support the Alliance’s fundraising efforts

  • Track and analyze analytics on content performance to inform and improve our campaign

  • Phase 4: Podcast Launch & Full Campaign [January - December 2023]

  • Launch and begin publishing episodes for the podcast series

  • Continue producing episodes for the podcast series

  • Launch internal web pages for the podcast series on the Alliance website

  • Continue publishing blog posts on the Alliance website

  • Continue designing and publishing graphics and infographics

  • Produce and publish full-episode and short-clip audiograms from the podcast series

  • Create and manage a Facebook group for podcast listener engagement

  • Continue posting on the Alliance’s social media channels

  • Continue running paid ads on social media channels

  • Continue pitching ads and interviews to relevant podcasts and media outlets

  • Continue producing and publishing videos

  • Continue building our email subscriber list and producing email campaigns

  • Continue to manage and leverage the Alliance’s internal communications infrastructure

  • Continue coordinating with Alliance members and partners to amplify content

  • Continue creating content to support the Alliance’s fundraising efforts

  • Continue to track and analyze analytics on content performance to inform and improve our campaign


SCHOLARSHIPS & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT


Mobilizing young people to respond to environmental issues is not a new idea, but it is essential if we are to see the long-term cultural shift that’s necessary for us to effectively address climate change.


And younger generations are much bigger and much more diverse than those that came before them. According to the US Census, between now and 2060:

  • The Hispanic/Latinx and Asian populations in the United States will double;

  • The Black population will grow by a factor of 0.5x; and

  • The multiracial population will grow by a factor of 2x.

They’re also graduating high school and looking to attend college at higher rates than previous generations. Education opens doors to opportunities, yet the ever-increasing cost of higher education is putting those opportunities out of reach of many who are passionate about the environment and dedicated to protecting it.


If we are to become the community we need to be, the next generation of diverse environmental leaders must be supported in their pursuit of a quality education and in their quest to live up to their full potential. Otherwise, we rob ourselves of their contributions and leadership and condemn ourselves to fail in upholding our collective mission.


The Inclusive Nature Alliance commits to providing financial support to diverse and passionate students from under-represented groups bringing an environmental/sustainability approach to their education. Just as the environment is the backdrop to everything we do every day, we will support students in programs from the broad mosaic of approaches to protecting the environment, including but not limited to:

  • Environmental science, agriculture, and natural resource management

  • Biology, ecology, agroecology, hydrology, and earth science

  • Urban planning, urban affairs, engineering, community development, architecture, and emergency management

  • Business administration, nonprofit management, entrepreneurship, economics, public policy, law, and public administration

Every student’s path is different, and feeling supported at their institution is essential for getting the most out of the educational experience. Therefore, the Alliance will support programs from a wide range of institution types but will focus specifically on supporting programs at:

  • Tribal Colleges & Universities;

  • Historically Black Colleges & Universities; and

  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

Our support also needs to also extend to the post-graduate years, when these students look to start their careers in the environmental community.


Not only are the younger generations we need to bring into the environmental community more diverse and more educated - they’re also more informed and passionate about fighting climate change and creating a more inclusive workplace and society, as the World Economic Forum reported:


By the year 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be made up of Millennials - which means this group will occupy the majority of leadership roles over the coming decade. They will be responsible for making important decisions that affect workplace cultures and peoples’ lives. This group has a unique perspective on diversity. While older generations tend to view diversity through the lenses of race, demographics, equality, and representation, Millennials see diversity as a melding of varying experiences, different backgrounds, and individual perspectives. They view the ideal workplace as a supportive environment that gives space to varying perspectives on a given issue.


The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey shows that 74% of these individuals believe their organization is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion. If businesses are looking to hire and sustain a Millennial workforce, diversity must be a key part of the company culture. This 2018 survey shows that 47% of Millennials are actively looking for diversity and inclusion when sizing up potential employers.


Yet the literature has continued to point to the lack of diversity and struggles of under-represented groups in the environmental community over the last 50 years. According to a 2019 Green 2.0 report, the turnover rate for People of Color is 34 percent higher than among Whites. With such a “leaky pipeline,” it’s nearly impossible for organizations to become more diverse.


More structured and intentional leadership development has been a consistent proposal throughout the literature, which advocates for ways to improve the recruitment and retention of individuals from under-represented groups. Critical to becoming a leader in any field or organization is to first see role models who share similar experiences and perspectives - in other words, you need to “see it to be it.”


Building relationships with mentors early on in one’s career can be invaluable in establishing the foundation for a clear and fulfilling path within the environmental community, as they can contextualize your experience and help you see how you can follow your purpose in the field. That’s especially true for individuals from under-represented groups in the environmental community, as the pressures to conform to the mainstream culture can be isolating, alienating, and overwhelming to the point where someone with enormous potential leaves an organization or the environmental community as a whole because they can’t see a path to both be themselves and be successful.


For that reason, leadership development is critical to the long-term success of the Inclusive Nature Alliance. Building on the awareness and engagement garnered from our communications campaign, we will have tapped into a younger audience passionate about engaging and contributing to the environmental community, and it’s our responsibility to set them up to be as successful as possible - through mentorship, resources, and more.


While this is a critical piece of our strategy, we are intentionally leaving flexibility in our plan for what our scholarships and leadership development programs should be in order to flesh them out with our Advisory Council and Alliance members for it to be as effective for that younger audience and to ensure buy-in from the membership.



DEVELOPMENT


Incorporation and 501(c)(3) Status


We are currently in the process of engaging a pro bono attorney to help us file Articles of Incorporation and apply for IRS federal tax exempt status. We are also working to research options for how to build the administrative capacity necessary to begin raising seed funding and to ensure long-term financial sustainability - namely, engaging a virtual assistant, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and additional staff members..


Previously, we applied for fiscal sponsorship with Earth Island Institute, a leading environmental nonprofit and fiscal sponsor to more than seventy-five national and international projects. After our application was rejected, we decided that launching our own nonprofit was the best next step for the Alliance, allowing us the autonomy and flexibility to build the organization in a way that will achieve our long-term objectives.


Alliance Membership Dues


In order to cover our operating expenses [see Appendix F, Appendix G, and Appendix H], we will structure our fundraising around a ratio consistent year-to-year of 50 percent of operating expenses covered by membership dues and 50 percent covered by outside donations. If we are 100 percent reliant on member dues to cover our operating expenses, there might be pressure to bring on more members faster than we’re ready to in order to stay financially viable. By implementing the 50:50 ratio, we will allow ourselves flexibility to grow and expand in our different pathways to success - Alliance management, communications, and scholarships and leadership development - independently as each is ready, rather than holding them back because of budget cycles and membership constraints. For example, this would allow us to scale up our communications campaigns without needing to bring on additional members first to cover the additional costs; we can scale our programs when they’re ready, and we can expand membership when we’re ready, and we recognize that those two things might not happen simultaneously.


Alliance membership dues will be structured in a multi-tiered way, based on member category and budget size, in order to be accessible to essential groups which may not have abundant resources. For example, a for-profit member with a multi-million dollar budget would pay proportionally more than an advocacy organization with a much smaller budget. We will work with our Advisory Council to flesh out the specifics of this membership structure before engaging prospective members.


Board & Member Involvement


As the Georgia Center for Nonprofits has said: “An individual who gives time is a volunteer. An individual who gives money is a donor. A board member must be both a volunteer and a donor.” All Alliance and Advisory Council members will be expected to take an active role in fundraising for the Inclusive Nature Alliance, including:

  • Personally donating to the Alliance;

  • Connecting and introducing the Alliance to new prospective donors and members;

  • Advocating for the Alliance within their network; and,

  • Sharing Alliance fundraising content on their channels.

To aid Alliance and Advisory Council members in their fundraising efforts, we will:

  • Work with members to set reasonable and attainable individual fundraising goals;

  • Coach, encourage, and support individual members to become more confident and effective fundraisers; and,

  • Create and share content that will aid members in their fundraising efforts, including:

  • A fundraising toolkit with tips and strategies

  • Template letters, emails, and social media posts

  • Graphics and logos

  • A sample content calendar

  • Alliance boilerplate information

  • Statistics to support our mission/call to action.


Major Gifts


To complement the annual membership dues, we will raise money from donors passionate about environmental protection and advocacy - including foundations, for-profit companies, NGOs/nonprofit organizations, and high net worth individuals. [see Appendix J for a list of prospective donors]


Major gifts campaigns will be directed in conjunction with senior staff and the Governing Board.


Peer-to-Peer Fundraising


As part of our mission to bring the environmental community together, it is critical that we empower individuals unattached to Alliance members to feel a part of our community and contribute to support our work. Portals and links will be integrated into our communications channels to allow individuals to make tax-deductible donations.


We will also incorporate messages into our communications channels empowering individual donors to start their own peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns via a digital platform, where they can amplify the Alliance’s mission and case for support to their own networks - both growing our financial position and our audiences organically.


In order to facilitate these individual grassroots donors, we will share targeted messages via email to provide them with the resources and support they need at every step of their journey to be successful, to celebrate their contributions and efforts, and to point them to other opportunities to support the Alliance in order to deepen our relationship.


Seed Funding


After we are granted tax-exempt status, we will begin raising seed funding in order to cover expenses incurred prior to onboarding members and collecting membership dues. These expenses total $1.1 million and include:

  • $431,250 for staff salaries & benefits

  • $390,000 for Ambedo Audio (communications)

  • $180,000 for DEI consulting firm

  • $86,670 for operating expenses

See Appendix J for a list of seed fund prospective seed fund donor targets.



CONCLUSION


The environmental community is in a moment of opportunity to be more effective at stewarding and advocating for our natural resources, and to be more representative and inclusive.


We must come together, break down silos, build bridges, and challenge ourselves to be the community we need to be in order to respond to the two swelling tides of change: the looming existential threat posed by climate change, and the growing awareness and repudiation of systemic racism and inequality in America.


But it will take all of us coming together around a common mission and vision.


The multi-pronged, long-term, and holistic work of the Inclusive Nature Alliance will elevate the environmental community to meet this moment. By collaborating together, we will champion our diversity and stand as an example for other communities and sectors to emulate.


APPENDIX A: INA STAFF JOB DESCRIPTIONS


Executive Director


Reporting directly to the Governing Board, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Inclusive Nature Alliance’s programs, staff, growth and expansion, and execution of its mission. They will lead the organization’s strategic planning process and development efforts. They will serve as an advisor to Alliance members and as a public ambassador for the Alliance and its mission.


Reports to: The Executive Director reports directly to the Governing Board.


Direct Reports:

  • Director of Finance

  • Director of Development

  • Director of Strategic Communications

  • Director of Membership

  • Virtual assistant (contractor)

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Manage Alliance governance

  • Lead Alliance’s strategic planning process

  • Lead Alliance’s development & expansion efforts

  • Identify and build relationships with potential new Alliance members, partners, and donors

  • Build relationships with and serve as advisor to Alliance members

  • Serve as public ambassador for the Alliance

  • Attend meetings of the Governing Board, Steering Committee, and Advisory Council

  • Manage Alliance staff members

  • Develop and ensure effective systems for tracking progress and regularly update stakeholders on key performance indicators (KPIs)


Director of Finance


The Director of Finance will serve as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions for the Inclusive Nature Alliance. They will be responsible for developing and managing the financial infrastructure necessary for the Alliance to achieve its mission. They will also lead the Alliance’s budgeting process, working with senior staff and the Governing Board.


Reports to: The Director of Finance reports directly to the Executive Director.


Direct Reports:

  • Bookkeeper (contractor)

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Oversee budgeting, financial forecasting, and cash flow for the Alliance

  • Lead Alliance’s budgeting process

  • Coordinate all audit activities

  • Working with the Bookkeeper, review and approve preparation and finalization of monthly and annual financial reporting materials and metrics

  • Ensure effective systems for tracking financial progress and regularly update Executive Director and Governing Board on key performance indicators (KPIs)

  • Contribute to Alliance’s strategic planning process

  • Attend Steering Committee meetings

  • Serve as main point of contact with Wrobel Nonprofit Legal Center for ongoing state and federal compliance and filing



Director of Development


The Director of Development will serve as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions for the Inclusive Nature Alliance. In partnership with the Executive Director, they will be responsible for all fundraising and development activities. They will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to ensure the Alliance’s long-term financial sustainability and growth through the solicitation of major gifts, corporate and foundation support, and peer-to-peer fundraising. It is expected that the amount raised by the Inclusive Nature Alliance will increase in future years as the Director of Development systematically and effectively strengthens the organization’s overall fundraising capacity. In addition, they will work closely with the board of directors and Alliance members as they take on a more active fundraising role. They will also serve as a public ambassador for the Alliance.


Reports to: The Director of Development reports directly to the Executive Director.


Direct Reports:

  • Grant writer (contractor)

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Support and partner with the Executive Director and board members on all major fundraising initiatives

  • Collaborate with the Director of Finance to develop and implement the Alliance’s financial strategy

  • Actively work with the Executive Director, board of directors, senior staff, and other stakeholders to develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy

  • Have primary responsibility for development and execution of all proposals, in conjunction with the Grant writer (contractor)

  • Research funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position the Alliance ahead of major funding changes or trends

  • Monitor all donor information and provide and present reports to board and senior leaders

  • Develop and implement a stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors and partners

  • Monitor and report regularly on the progress of the development program

  • Oversee and manage the peer-to-peer fundraising program; work in conjunction with the Director of Strategic Communications on peer-to-peer fundraising content and messages

  • Contribute to Alliance’s strategic planning process

  • Attend Steering Committee meetings

  • Serve as public ambassador for the Alliance



Director of Strategic Communications


The Director of Strategic Communications will be responsible for the development and execution of the Inclusive Nature Alliance’s communication strategy and will contribute to the strategic planning process. They will directly manage communications activities that promote, enhance, and protect the Alliance’s brand reputation and further its mission. They will also serve as a public ambassador for the Alliance.


Reports to: The Director of Strategic Communications reports directly to the Executive Director.


Direct Reports:

  • Executive Producer

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Develop and execute Alliance comprehensive communications strategy

  • Oversee the day-to-day communications activities of the Alliance

  • Contribute to Alliance’s strategic planning process

  • Serve as advisor to Alliance members

  • Serve as public ambassador for the Alliance

  • Build relationships with and pitch stories to media outlets

  • Attend Steering Committee meetings

  • Support the Alliance’s development and expansion efforts

  • Serve as communications counselor to Executive Director



Director of Membership


The Director of Membership will serve as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions for the Inclusive Nature Alliance. They will be responsible for directing and overseeing programs and initiatives for Alliance members.They will manage the Member Engagement team and support them in developing the partnerships and engagement with Alliance members necessary to achieve our mission. In conjunction with senior staff and the Governing Board, they will develop the Alliance’s member recruitment and retention strategy. They will also serve as a public ambassador for the Alliance.


Reports to: The Director of Membership reports directly to the Executive Director.


Direct Reports:

  • Associate Directors of Member Engagement (3x)

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Develop and lead Alliance’s member recruitment and retention strategy

  • Manage Member Engagement team

  • Help facilitate collaboration and partnership opportunities between Alliance members

  • Coordinate relationship with [DEI consulting firm]

  • Serve as advisor to Alliance members

  • Work with the Associate Directors of Membership Engagement and Director of Strategic Communications to create relevant and valuable content for Alliance members

  • Work with the Executive Director to identify member prospects and support outreach efforts

  • Track KPIs and progress on member engagement and report to senior staff and the Governing Board

  • Contribute to Alliance’s strategic planning process

  • Attend Steering Committee meetings

  • Serve as public ambassador for the Alliance



Associate Director of Member Engagement


The Associate Directors of Member Engagement will be responsible for ensuring high-quality engagement and partnerships with members are developed and grown over time through the Alliance. Each Associate Director will work with a small group of five Alliance members. They will foster collective learning, relationship-building, and cooperative initiatives among Alliance members through relationship management, DEI trainings (in conjunction with [DEI consulting firm]), and small-group and one-on-one meetings using the Action Learning Set model. They will serve as the main connection point between the Alliance and the individual members in their small group, staying abreast of their engagement with the Alliance, and connecting them to resources relevant and valuable to where they are in their DEI work.


Reports to: The Associate Directors of Member Engagement report to the Director of Membership.


Direct Reports: None


Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Act as primary contact for Alliance members and regularly communicate with them to be up-to-date on their progress and needs

  • Serve as advisor to Alliance members

  • Facilitate monthly small group Action Learning meetings with Alliance members

  • Hold monthly one-on-one meetings with each of the five Alliance members in small group

  • Connect members to existing resources and collaboration opportunities with other members

  • Recognize trends and needs among Alliance members and work with the Director of Membership and Director of Strategic Communications to create relevant and valuable content for Alliance members

  • Identify challenges and emerging issues with communications among Alliance members, Advisory Council members, staff; work with stakeholders to recognize and implement solutions for more effective communication and relationship-building

  • Collect data on individual member progress and report to the Director of Membership

  • Manage internal communications within Alliance members

  • Support the Alliance’s development and expansion efforts

  • Support the other Associate Directors in their work with their small groups of members by sharing resources, best practices, lessons learned, etc.



Executive Producer (contractor via Ambedo Audio)


The Executive Producer will lead and manage the creative team working with the Inclusive Nature Alliance. They will serve as the showrunner for the podcast series and forge the creative vision for the podcast and full digital campaign, ensuring that it successfully aligns with the Alliance’s mission and vision and achieves its objectives.


Reports to: The Executive Producer reports directly to the Director of Strategic Communications.


Direct Reports:

  • Supervising Producer

  • Podcast Producers (2x)

  • Engineer

  • Video Producer

  • Data Analyst (temporary)

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Run monthly podcast writers room meetings

  • Bring three pitch ideas and creative briefs for each podcast writers room meeting

  • Run monthly blog & email content planning meetings

  • Run weekly podcast team check-in meetings

  • Run weekly content team check-in meetings

  • Hold one-on-one video check-in calls with each creative team member

  • Work with Podcast Producers, Supervising Producer to play podcast episode construction

  • Brainstorm potential media outreach opportunities with Supervising Producer

  • Give feedback & final approval on podcast episode scripts

  • Give feedback & final approval on podcast episode rough cuts

  • Give feedback & final approval on blog posts

  • Give feedback & final approval on YouTube videos

  • Coordinate, give feedback, & give final approval on discussion guides with Supervising Producer, Graphic Designer, Social Media Manager/Photographer, Copywriters

  • Coordinate, give feedback, & give final approval on white papers with Supervising Producer, Graphic Designer, Social Media Manager/Photographer, Copywriters

  • Coordinate on dashboard/analytics/reporting strategy with Data Analyst

  • Produce & host proof-of-concept podcast series

  • Regularly report on the performance of the podcast and full digital campaign to relevant stakeholders



Virtual Assistant (contractor)


The Virtual Assistant will support the Alliance staff by managing their schedules, to-do lists, and the various platforms necessary for the day-to-day operations. They will also conduct any relevant research - for example, on prospective donors/members/partners, media outlets, existing programs/initiatives, up-to-date news, etc. - for Alliance staff. In addition, they will serve as project manager, ensuring that responsibilities and deadlines are clearly communicated and met.


Reports to: The Virtual Assistant reports directly to the Executive Director.


Direct Reports: None


Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Manage schedules and coordinate meetings for Executive Director, Director of Finance, Director of Development, Director of Strategic Communications, Director of Membership, and Associate Directors of Member Development and Engagement

  • Manage various platforms and resources necessary for Alliance operations, including:

  • CRM

  • Trello

  • Chanty

  • G Suite

  • Databox

  • Manage relevant Alliance projects/initiatives (deadlines, to-do lists, follow-ups, etc.) with staff, members, partners via Trello

  • Attend and take minutes during meetings of the Governing Board, Steering Committee, Advisory Council

  • Conduct any relevant research for Alliance staff



Bookkeeper (contractor)


The Bookkeeper will manage the Alliance’s day-to-day bookkeeping and reporting, working with the Director of Finance and Director of Development (as needed in support of fundraising activities).


Reports to: The Bookkeeper reports directly to the Director of Finance.


Direct Reports: None


Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Manage all aspects of day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting processes including but not limited to: A/P, A/R, payroll, journal entries, and bank reconciliations

  • Prepare journal entries for prepaid expense, deferred revenue, and payroll cash accounts

  • Process and pay all invoices in a timely manner

  • Receive and deposit all organizational revenue

  • Execute payroll activities using a 3rd party payroll service provider

  • Perform annual 1099 reporting process for contractors/vendors

  • Prepare monthly and quarterly financial reports, including standard financial reports, budget vs. actual reports, and grant-specific financial reports

  • Work with Director of Finance and outside auditors for year-end audit

  • Support senior staff in development and analysis of annual organization budget

  • Maintain accounting procedures and policies and systems of internal controls to ensure the integrity of all financial systems

  • Prepare federal Form 990 and any state tax return equivalents



Grant Writer (contractor)


The Grant Writer will support the Alliance’s development strategy by preparing effective and compelling grant proposals and fulfilling any other development-related copywriting.


Reports to: The Grant Writer reports directly to the Director of Development.


Direct Reports: None


Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Working with the Director of Development and senior staff in executing the Alliance’s development strategy

  • Prepare proposals by determining concept, gathering and formatting information, writing drafts, and obtaining approvals

  • Determine proposal concept by identifying and clarifying opportunities and needs, and studying requests for proposal (RFPs)

  • Working with the Virtual Assistant to establish priorities and target dates for information gathering, writing, review, approval, and submission to meet proposal deadlines

  • Enter and monitor proposal tracking data

  • Coordinate requirements with contributors

  • Working with the Virtual Assistant to gather relevant information and research for proposals

  • Any other copywriting duties in support of the Alliance’s development strategy


APPENDIX B: INA STAFF ORGANIZATIONAL CHART



APPENDIX C: ANNUAL SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS


JANUARY:

  • Steering Committee: Governing Board member elections; set agenda for upcoming year (“Annual Meeting”; last Monday in January)

  • Governing Board: approves FY budget

  • Small Group 1:

  • Full group meeting

  • Member 1 one-on-one w/ facilitator

  • Member 2 one-on-one w/ facilitator

  • Member 3 one-on-one w/ facilitator

  • Member 4 one-on-one w/ facilitator

  • Member 5 one-on-one w/ facilitator

  • Small Group 2:

  • Full group meeting

  • Member 1 one-on-one w/ faci