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The Nature Network Engagement Program

Nature Canada / The Nature Network Engagement Program

There are hundreds of groups across Canada devoted to getting people out in nature and working actively on conservation. We call these groups the “Nature Network.”

While the mission of these groups is about nature, how they achieve their mission is about people. They function with volunteers, with donors, and with supporters of all kinds.

This means that each of these groups has an interest in good public engagement.

Image of people in Nature

Some engagement practices are changing particularly as society becomes more digital, while other practices remain as relevant today as they have been forever.

Nature Canada has a program to help Nature Network groups improve their public engagement. We focus on an approach called “engagement organizing” that combines new digital practices with old-school organizing methods. We offer:

  • A downloadable engagement organizing guide (next tab)
  • Case studies in an e-newsletter
  • Webinars, including a community of practice for sharing experiences
  • Occasional in-person workshops as needed
  • Tailored coaching for organizations that demonstrate real commitment
  • Small engagement organizing grants (by invitation) for select Important Bird Area-related organizations

Is your organization part of the Nature Network in Canada? We believe you are if:

  1. You have programming that takes people out in nature
  2. You are active in conservation

Conversely, you may not be in the Nature Network if you are an environmental group without outings or a recreation group without any work on conservation.

If you are interested in the Nature Network Engagement Program and if you are not already in touch with us, please fill out the contact form below and we’ll get back to you soon.

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Engagement organizing is an approach that marries organizing, technology and a culture of developing leadership in others. The model includes a focus on relationship building and mobilization of supporters at the heart of the mission to create resilient, effective organizations.

Image of Engagement Organizing Triangle

“Organizing” in this definition is the art of building the agency of others, rather than doing all the work yourself. A first step is to identify who your people are – like-minded others who may want to contribute to your mission through volunteering or donating.

Multiple avenues for engaging these people are then created, contact information gathered, and asks made for people to progressively more with you in a ‘pyramid’ of engagement. As more people engage, you identify and train leaders and build teams to take on various tasks.

All of this is done with the assistance of digital tools. The internet is a good addition to other tactics to identify and recruit people. Free or inexpensive online tools can also help manage mass emails, events, and data.

Here are some case studies of nature groups practicing various elements of engagement organizing.

We have a free engagement organizing guide that you are welcome to if you contact us using the form below.

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Canadian non-profits and charities active or interested in stewardship of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are welcome to inquire about small grants to help them be more effective by improving their public engagement practices. This fund was formerly called the “IBA Local Action Fund,” and has been renamed in order to emphasize its focus on public engagement. The Fund is a joint initiative of Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada.

Here are the criteria:

  1. Your organization must be an active or interested in stewardship of an IBA in Canada.
  2. The grant must be directed to transforming your organization with regards to public engagement, leaving it in a new and stronger place. (So, the grant is not for status quo activities, but can be for improving their engagement.)
  3. The grant can be for one or more elements of good public engagement practices, such as:
    1. Improving your recruitment practices online and offline and expanding the diversity of people you engage;
    2. Improving your systems and practices of asking supporters to step up and do more with you;
    3. Developing new leaders for your organization, such as through training; and
    4. Better tracking of supporters, such as new data systems or practices.
    5. You can find more ideas in a guide to public engagement available here.
  1. The funding may be spent internally to the organization, or else externally on consultants, tech, targeted ads, or other hard costs.
  2. If the funding is for one specific element, your organization must have an overall framework for public engagement that the element fits into.
  3. You must be able express how improving your public engagement practices will lead to better conservation outcomes for the IBA(s) you are stewarding or interested in.
  4. Grants will average around $10,000 for a single year term, although select cases may be larger and multi-year.

Nature Canada is happy to help coach through both the application process and implementation of activities. There is no deadline for applications. If you are interested, please fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

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IBA Public Engagement Fund

IBA Active? Yes or No

Les organismes sans but lucratif et les organismes de bienfaisance canadiens qui participent activement ou s’intéressent à l’intendance des Zones importantes pour la conservation des oiseaux et de la biodiversité (ZICO) sont invités à s’informer de petites subventions qui les aideront à devenir plus efficaces par l’amélioration de leurs pratiques en matière d’engagement du public.  Initiative conjointe de Nature Canada et d’Études d’oiseaux Canada, ce fonds, auparavant connu par le nom de « Fonds d’action locale dans les ZICO », a reçu une nouvelle appellation afin de souligner son orientation axée sur l’engagement du public.

Voici les critères :

  1. Votre organisme doit participer activement ou s’intéresser à l’intendance d’une ZICO au Canada.
  2. La subvention doit servir à transformer votre organisme en ce qui a trait à l’engagement du public, en vue de le renforcer et de lui offrir des perspectives nouvelles. Ainsi, la subvention n’est pas accordée pour soutenir les activités actuelles, mais peut servir à améliorer leur volet d’engagement.
  3. La subvention peut s’appliquer à un ou plusieurs éléments relatifs à de bonnes pratiques d’engagement du public, notamment :
  • l’amélioration de vos méthodes de recrutement en ligne et par des moyens traditionnels, et l’élargissement de la diversité des personnes dont vous sollicitez l’engagement;
  • l’amélioration de vos systèmes et pratiques quant à vos demandes d’accroissement de la participation de vos sympathisants;
  • la formation de nouveaux leaders au sein de votre organisme, par exemple en leur offrant des apprentissages;
  • un meilleur suivi des sympathisants au moyen de nouveaux systèmes de données ou de pratiques novatrices.
  • Vous trouverez d’autres idées dans le guide sur l’engagement du public que vous pourrez consulter en cliquant sur ce lien (en anglais).
  1. Le financement peut s’appliquer à des dépenses internes à l’organisme ou à des frais externes comme des services de consultants ou de spécialistes techniques, des publicités ciblées ou d’autres coûts essentiels.
  2. Si le financement est prévu pour un élément en particulier, celui-ci doit s’inscrire dans un cadre global d’engagement du public déjà établi par votre organisme.
  3. Vous devez être en mesure de communiquer comment l’amélioration de vos pratiques en matière d’engagement du public produiront de meilleurs résultats pour les ZICO dont vous assumez l’intendance ou à l’égard desquelles vous manifestez un intérêt.
  4. Les subventions seront de l’ordre d’environ 10 000 dollars pour un an; toutefois, des sommes plus importantes pourraient être attribuées selon un calendrier pluriannuel dans certains cas.

Nature Canada sera heureux de vous accompagner tant dans le processus de demande que dans les activités de mise en œuvre. Il n’y a pas de date limite pour la présentation des demandes. Si vous souhaitez donner suite à la présente invitation, veuillez remplir et nous acheminer le formulaire ci-dessous. Nous vous répondrons dans les meilleurs délais.  Merci!

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Fonds d’action locale dans les ZICO

Indiquez si la ZICO est active. Oui ou non.

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