Are you interested in leading an experience using the En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator, but are unsure how to find an audience for your event? If that’s the case, we have got you covered! Below you can read through our seven tips for finding an audience for your En-ROADS events.
1. Find a connector
If you are looking to reach broader audiences, try to engage with individuals who are connected to people outside of your network. Introduce them to En-ROADS and ask if they know others who might benefit from an En-ROADS event. Many people have never seen anything like En-ROADS, and so a short demo can spark ideas or get them excited about what you can offer to their network. This strategy has been particularly effective in reaching out to decision-makers in our experience. We look for someone who can introduce us, rather than just knocking on the door of a top leader who we do not know. Remember, En-ROADS events do not always have to be formal. We have run a number of En-ROADS workshops during lunches, at retreats, or during informal receptions. Sometimes, the events are as short as 15 minutes, but this can still spark ideas and open up productive conversations.
2. Reach out to your local institutions
No matter where you live, every community has a wide range of local institutions, organizations, and clubs established to meet varying social, economic, humanitarian, or religious pursuits. Even if you don’t have memberships or affiliation to these institutions, many are welcoming new projects and event ideas from guests.
Perhaps the easiest way to reach out to an organization is through the contact numbers provided on their website or through social media. You are most likely to find an opportunity to present En-ROADS, however, if you can first connect with someone who is associated with the institution.
Some of these institutions include:
i. Service groups – An example would be Rotary International. Rotary is an international humanitarian organization that has over 46,000+ local clubs worldwide. Each Rotary club organizes diverse events and projects throughout the year and welcomes new event/project ideas. Recently Rotary International just added the environment as one of their 7 focus areas, and as a result, we have been seeing more and more En-ROADS events being run for Rotary members!
ii. Environmental networks/organizations – As an example, The Climate Reality Project (founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore) has trained tens of thousands of climate leaders worldwide. Some of our facilitators and En-ROADS Climate Ambassadors (ECAs) are among these trainees and have collaborated with local and regional chapters of the Climate Reality Project to facilitate En-ROADS events. For example, in Latin America, ECAs are partnering to do joint En-ROADS and Climate Reality events.
iii. Community user groups – There is a multitude of user groups around the world based on different themes, needs, or service types (e.g. Forest User Groups, Water User groups, and Saving and Credit cooperatives). Such user groups often hold meetings at regular intervals which might provide an opportunity to introduce them to En-ROADS.
iv. Youth clubs – An example would be Global Shapers Community, an initiative by the World Economic Forum focused on youth-led solutions and actions. The Global Shapers community has hubs in 148 countries around the world. En-ROADS could be of great interest to such clubs, just reach out to them and make an elevator pitch!
v. Sports clubs – At a glance, a sports club might not appear to be a group interested in hosting an En-ROADS event. But since climate change touches all our lives, increasingly people from all sectors seem keen to learn about ways to meaningfully address climate change. Thus, we encourage you to reach out to groups which don’t necessarily fall onto your potential audience list. We can say this because some of our facilitators have had great success in engaging the sports community!
vi. Community libraries – Many communities around the world have public libraries that hold an array of public events. Did you know that some of our ambassadors have been facilitating En-ROADS events regularly at their community libraries? Now, it’s your turn to give it a try!
3. Contact your school alumni networks and clubs
Alumni networks have been a great asset for En-ROADS outreach. Drop an email introducing En-ROADS to your alumni network, or have friends connect you to their networks and express your availability to present En-ROADS. Be concise and straightforward in your approach.
Also, with increasing momentum for climate action globally, schools and universities are encouraging their students to establish environmental and sustainability clubs. Such clubs are always on the lookout for innovative tools and ideas to shape their knowledge and engagement. En-ROADS would definitely interest them.
4. Promote your event on social media
Social media can be a great way to increase the visibility of your event. We often see facilitators using LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to promote their En-ROADS events. We understand it might not come naturally to self-promote your work on social media, but, there are ways to make the content informative and appealing. To enhance your post, try adding a fact or figure relevant to the issue or point you’re trying to make, and attach media (photo/video) to draw people’s attention. Use hashtags such as #EnROADS to increase the chances of your content being discovered by others on social media. Some have even had success experimenting with paid advertising on social media in some areas.
5. Brand your event for your audience
Branding can be as important as the delivery in some cases. Think about the audience that you are trying to reach and what they care about. Most often an emphasis on climate solutions or climate and equity will draw people in, but we have also seen En-ROADS events be shared as a way to “create your own future”, or “cultivate leadership skills”.
You don’t necessarily need to have En-ROADS in the title of your event. You can have your entire event centered around climate justice or transition to a green economy, and En-ROADS could still serve as one important tool in your toolkit. If you are planning to facilitate En-ROADS in a local language, it would be more relevant to have your event title in the local language.
6. Look out for special opportunities and occasions
Organizations and networks, regardless of their niche, will be planning to commemorate some of the widely celebrated international days such as Earth Day, Environment Day, Biodiversity Day etc. Capitalize on those dates and occasions to present En-ROADS. The key would be to reach out to potential partners and hosts ahead of time to make space for your event in their calendar.
7. Find your fit, be prepared, and stay flexible
The successful marketing of your En-ROADS event has three determining factors:
i. Finding your fit – Not all the available audiences or platforms might be the right fit for you. Of course, you are encouraged to reach out to diverse audience types as En-ROADS is a global simulator model that is used by people from all walks of life. But having clarity on which sectors (e.g., business, policymaking, education etc.) and audience types you best relate to will save you time in finding the right audience for your skills and expertise.
ii. Be prepared – Memorize your elevator pitch for En-ROADS. You never know when an opportunity might present itself for you to facilitate an En-ROADS event. Say, during your morning walk, you meet a CEO of a leading company interested in making their operations carbon neutral or a high school social teacher looking to make climate science more palatable for their students. You’d want to be prepared on what would be the first few sentences that might interest them to host a full-fledged En-ROADS workshop or game.
iii. Adapt to the needs of your audience – The En-ROADS Climate Workshop or the Climate Action Simulation game, the two most widely used group experiences with the En-ROADS simulator, might not always be what your potential audience is looking for. Sometimes you don’t have a full hour or more to work with so you may need to adapt your En-ROADS event to fit a smaller amount of time. Other times it will be important to spend time focusing on specific topics to suit a particular audience or facilitate events in the local language. Try to be flexible and cater for the needs and interests of your audience.
Please remember that despite your best intention, some of your efforts might not work out. And that’s okay! The best thing to remember is that you are doing all you can to make this world a better place for everyone. As Climate Interactive Executive Director Andrew Jones says, “It’s not going to be easy but it’s going to be worth it… go get ’em!”