Networks to empower activists

Friends of the Earth have around 150 local groups, making it one of the largest NGO networks in the UK. We spoke to Tim Gee about how they use their network to campaign.

Tim’s perspective is that the network exists to serve their members, “it’s about how local groups use Friends of the Earth”, he says, not the other way round. Although, there are some rules about who they help and how people should conduct campaigns to make sure that the work they support is inclusive.

Local groups go to Friends of the Earth for legal advice, training, information and networking but Tim explains that nurturing real relationships is what makes the difference. At the end of our interview, Tim shares his top tips for anyone starting a new network:

  1. Start where you’re strong. Start where there’s groups of people interested in the issue you’re working on.
  2. Think carefully about movement DNA: the culture, tone & expectation of your network. It’s much easier to set them at the beginning than it is to change them later on.