Who are they?
Think of Community Leaders as grassroots organisers. Community Leaders have made a 3-5 hour commitment to Oaktree, every week, to take the action that makes our campaigns happen.
How, you ask?
Community Leaders connect our supporters with our campaigns through meaningful conversations. As expert relationship builders, Community Leaders reach out to the outer layers of our movement - a core part of our strategic plan - escalating supportive individuals in line with our movement building philosophy.
As grassroots organisers, Community Leaders are responsible for galvanising political support in their electorate. We've learnt that systemic and sustainable political change cannot be achieved through one-off meetings with MPs, but requires ongoing and targeted engagement. Through regular meetings with MPs, Community Leaders can turn social change into a multi-faceted advocacy platform - changing minds and perspectives one individual at a time, and when it's replicated on a mass scale, achieving political change.
These are just some of the ways that Community Leaders will drive our campaigns to success.
Oaktree volunteers from Perth to Brisbane braved the heat and relentless questioning of nervous first year university students for our first major recruitment push, O-Week.
Oaktree is an organisation that wholeheartedly embraces digital tools for communication, recruitment, fundraising and story-telling. So, for us, O-Week was a powerful reminder that the potency and cut through of one-on-one conversations should never be underestimated. Over one massive week, over 700 university students registered their interest in the Community Leaders initiative. Oaktree volunteers were instructed to talk about that slippery concept known as the why. Why they care about extreme poverty. Well, the combination of conversation and contemplation worked, and we’d started the year with a bang.
Meetings & Retreats
There was little time to rest and one week of ferocious data entry resulted in a flurry of emails, texts and phonecalls (back to digital again) to these interested 700. We had an introductory meeting where we explained our vision of a world free from extreme poverty, and how Community Leaders would help bring us closer to that goal.
Retreats were then held, all across Australia, for an intensive weekend of training. We know what Oaktree volunteers are capable of - smart, intelligent and impactful campaigning - so we showed Community Leaders how it’s done, in preparation for our first campaign of the year, Traffik Free Easter.
Traffik Free Easter
Waaa? What’s that?
By this time, Community Leaders were raring to go, to take action on this issue, one that means so much to us all, and to put their newly learnt skills into action. There’s no other way to say it - they absolutely went for it. They knocked on doors, broke the phones and went through a pens worth of ink a day in petition signatures. We’re still processing all the data, but what we know for sure is:
Community Leaders in Perth engaged their mayor in the campaign!
Politicians in ACT & QLD have agreed to meetings with Community Leaders.
These meetings haven’t happened yet, but we’ll be sure to share those wins with you in the next newsletter!
We met with an executive from Coles!
Reps from Oaktree, Stop the Traffik, Fairtrade and Mary Appiah (Fairtrade cocoa farmer from Ghana) delivered our petition calling on Coles to double their number of Fairtrade chocolate products by Easter 2016. We met with the General Manager of Ethical Sourcing & Product Technology at Coles, Jackie Healing, who responded positively and commented on the number of local supermarket managers mentioning Fairtrade as an issue many customers are mentioning!
We’ve had heartwarming responses to the campaign:
We’ve collected thousands of signatures and hopefully, through our strength and determination, changed the way Australians eat Easter chocolate forever.
You, as a friend of Oaktree, have played a part in making this happen.
Because of your support, we have the courage and resources to think big, be audacious and take risks - all the things we need to do to free the world from the injustice of extreme poverty.
Thank you for helping us make Community Leaders a success.
Gideon Reisner is Lead Organiser, overseeing the mobilisation of Oaktree's Community Leaders across the country.