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Practical strategy tool for local “green” citizen initiatives

Published on
February 7, 2022

Citizen initiatives are valuable in making society more sustainable. Generally, there is no shortage of enthusiasm and motivation to organise activities, but a well-thought-out strategy is often lacking. A clear strategy helps organisations achieve their goals more effectively, but it is also indispensable in applying for subsidies. This step-by-step plan is a useful tool for local citizen initiatives to map their strategy and to clarify how their activities contribute to the goal they have set.

Wageningen University & Research analysed the strategies of various citizen initiatives within the domain of beach clean-up activities and Tiny Forests (IVN). This led to a low-threshold strategy tool that local citizen initiatives can deploy to map their strategy. So, organise a meeting with all involved, and get to work!

The tool has the form of a simple and interactive step-by-step plan that requires just a few mouse clicks to complete. You are guided through the process of clarifying your strategy. The included exemplary template enables you to present your strategy comprehensively. In addition to activities, results and the ultimate goal (mission), the tool also explains how to inventory the subjacent assumptions, relevant opportunities and obstructions and what is required to make the initiative successful.

Ingeborg Smeding, WUR researcher: ‘Our research shows that citizen initiatives are frequently well capable of explaining why they wish to undertake certain activities, but have often neglected to put it into writing. Our strategy tool enables them to unravel the strategy systematically and put it in writing. This process in itself is already useful to spark discourse within the organisation and will bring points of attention into focus. Moreover, the resulting strategy document can be used for regular reflection and evaluation.’

Maarten Bruns, Product market manager Natuur in de Buurt (nature in the neighbourhood) of IVN Nature Education, is enthusiastic. ‘Local initiators seldomly realise what they have taken on, and before they realise it, they are already in the middle of a complex adventure. A little assistance at the start brings much joy and prevents failure. The step-by-step guide is very useful and user-friendly. The language used, the thorough but brief explanation and clear steps lower the threshold.’