EAN Staff Support
EAN provides staff support to each Network Action Team. The level of support varies depending on whether EAN has adopted the pitch as a fully facilitated EAN Network Action Team (Climate Workforce, Transportation Equity, Clean Heat Standard, Weatherization at Scale, Future of Rural Transit, Replace Your Ride, Switch and Save (ECO)) or whether EAN will be playing an advisory role with the group (Clean Transportation Standard, School Transportation). EAN’s staff support will also vary depending on the needs and capacities of each team. Support for all teams can include:
- Thought partnership around strategic planning, relationship building, stakeholder analysis, finding systemic leverage points, discovering root causes, campaign planning, communications, etc.
- Help identifying other network members to join, as well as relevant external stakeholders.
- Help identifying existing research and analysis to support the team’s work.
- Assistance identifying potential funders.
Support available only to fully facilitated teams can also include:
- Building meeting agendas and facilitation.
- Scheduling meetings, notetaking, communication between meetings, and/or managing and providing access to platforms like Google Drive, Zoom, and others.
- Conducting research and analysis.
- Assistance building relationships with potential funders.
Network Leader Commitments and Action Team Structures
Each Network Action Team will identify 2 designated Co-Chairs to be points of contact for EAN Staff and take a leadership role in moving the work of the Network Action Team forward. These Co-Chairs will work with EAN Staff to determine what roles each will play, but generally this commitment might include:
- Work with Network Action Team members and EAN staff to develop work plans.
- Plan and facilitate Network Action Team meetings, potentially with assistance from EAN staff – frequency to be determined by the needs of the Network Action Team.
- Organize administrative needs of the group, potentially with assistance from EAN staff, including tasks such as: scheduling Network Action Team meetings, coordinating meeting communications with group, day-of logistics (e.g. notetaking), and virtual collaboration (e.g. Google Drive management).
- Attend occasional broader meetings of the network (e.g. Leverage point conversations, sector-based conversations, Network Summit, etc.) to report and connect on Network Action Team progress.
- Attend periodic meetings with other Network Action Team chairs to check in, provide peer support, and problem solve together.
- Work with EAN staff to draft periodic written updates on the Network Action Team’s work for the network and broader public.
- Serve as an ambassador for the Energy Action Network and encourage potential new members to join as relates to the work of the Network Action Team.
Other members of the Network Action Team will share the responsibility of some of these roles as well, but the Co-Chairs will take primary responsibility for making sure they are covered.
Most EAN Network Action Teams have developed a steering committee that meets regularly (weekly or semi-monthly during more intensive periods, and semi-monthly to bi-monthly during quieter periods), and a broader group of stakeholders that make up an advisory group or coalition that meets regularly, but less often. Some Network Action Teams also have targeted workgroups that can be permanent or ad hoc. EAN staff can help the co-chairs to develop a structure that works best for the participants and the project.
The Network Action Team should work together to identify the best use of available EAN funds over the course of the year. Possible uses might include:
- Stipends for key stakeholders to overcome barriers to participation.
- Note on stipends: Be sure you are transparent with all members or potential members about how you will decide who receives stipends. This could include a written policy that delineates eligibility as well as what is expected in terms of participation. We don’t recommend that every member receive a participation stipend, but rather that it be reserved for those representatives from organizations (or individuals) that represent a key perspective, are eager to engage, but who cannot do so without at least some financial support.
- Contract for research/analysis
- Developing messaging/marketing materials
- Costs related to meetings of the action team or stakeholder engagement (e.g. venue, food, etc. in the event of a return to in-person meetings)
- Project management of the work of the Network Action Team
Please note that EAN Network Action Team funds cannot be used to support direct or grassroots lobbying, to influence the outcome of any specific public election or to carry on, directly or indirectly, any voter registration drive, or to participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. They can, however, support the development of a project plan that identifies additional funding sources and creates a collaborative action plan that includes lobbying and other strategies. The funds shall not be intended for benefit, and will not benefit, any person having a personal or private interest in EAN (i.e. fiduciary board members).
While our goal is to support maximum flexibility, proposed use of funds must be approved by the entire Network Action Team Steering Committee and will be subject to review and approval by EAN staff. Network Action Team Chairs or steering committee members should prepare a Scope of Work and Budget for the use of funds, including information about other expected expenses and matching funds if available. Each team is asked to present Scopes of Work and budgets to EAN anytime before June 30 for Action Team expenditures. Funds that have not been requested for use by a team by June 30 may be reallocated. EAN and grantee will approve a letter of agreement for reimbursement for work to be completed, or for grant funds to be given in advance.
EAN Network Notes on Testifying, Media, and Outreach
EAN staff request the opportunity to review any outreach materials, commentaries, or press releases that contain Energy Action Network’s name before they are used publicly (unless these materials are only referring to EAN’s published research).
In preparing any materials, it should be noted that neither EAN the organization nor the Network as a whole lobbies for or against specific pieces of legislation, policies, or funding requests. We take this approach because of the diversity of our Network and in order to preserve EAN’s role as a neutral, trusted, and collaborative gathering space for organizations with many different priorities and perspectives.
Subgroups of the Network (such as the Network Action Teams) may advocate as they wish, however taking positions under the banner of the whole team should only happen when that position has been explicitly agreed to and signed off on ahead of time by the team as a whole. It should be made clear that the positions of the subgroup or Network Action Team are not the positions of the Energy Action Network as a whole.
Network members and members of Network Action Teams may of course testify, write commentaries, or make recommendations as individuals or on behalf of any other organization they are associated with. If relevant, they should make it clear that the views expressed are their own and not those of the Energy Action Network or any EAN subcommittees or Network Action Team.
EAN staff can provide powerpoint slides and language to support Network members in clarifying these distinctions.
Planning Your Work
As an initial goal, EAN suggests that each Network Action Team create a 6-12 month workplan and a rough proposal for use of funds. Each team can decide how formal or informal they want this plan to be, but there should be some written documentation of it that all members and public partners can reference and circle back to. EAN has several templates that can be shared with Network Action Teams, and EAN staff are happy to work directly with Chairs/Co-Chairs to develop a process for action planning. The questions below might be a good place to start (although not necessarily in this order – some of these you may want to discuss with your initial core group, some you may want to save until after doing more stakeholder outreach):
- Who will serve as Chair/Co-Chair?
- How frequently and when does the Action Team want to meet?
- Are there any group agreements that will define your work? What are your expectations for participation and accountability?
- What is motivating each member to be here?
- What would success look like? At the end of one year? When we’ve reached our goal?
- What history and current context is relevant to understanding the origins of this project and the path forward?
- Who is impacted by the status quo, and who would be impacted by our success?
- What evidence do we have to support our claims of who is impacted?
- Who can help us understand the impacts?
- When examining data, have we disaggregated it to look for racial disparities, disparities by income, or other disparities?
- Who can join us here at the table, if they aren’t already here? How will we reach out to them?
- What’s the difference between other approaches to this issue, and an approach that centers equity?
- Who are other key stakeholders who might influence the success of this project and what do they care about?
- What are the opportunities and challenges we face in moving this work forward?
- Given our goals and context, what specific tasks need to completed, in what timeline, and who will be responsible for each?
- How will you use your budget to support your plan over the next year?
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in any Network Action Teams, please contact Cara Robechek firstname.lastname@example.org.