Step 2: Build Partnerships

Step 2

What are the benefits of partnerships?

Partnering with other organizations in your community can increase the effectiveness of your campaign through:

  • Human resources – to help with campaign activities (e.g. links to large volunteer pools; dedicated staff);
  • Funding – increased opportunities to obtain financial support as a partnership or to pool the available resources of several partners;
  • Networks – access to established communication networks and events that can be leveraged during the campaign;
  • Expertise – partners may have specialized expertise in a particular area that can benefit your campaign, such as communications;
  • Experience – being aware of other past and current campaigns will help avoid duplicating the work of others and allow you to build on past successes;
  • Solidarity – increased buy-in with your campaign approach, with the participation of multiple partners; and,
  • Credibility – increased validity of your campaign to the public, municipal governments, and other stakeholders.

Who should you include as a partner in your campaign?

The number or level of partnerships you should include will depend on the extent of your campaign.  For example, municipal-wide campaigns will benefit from a large diversity of partners across the municipality, while a workplace campaign may work best with only one or two partners.

You may already know of organizations that you can partner with on your campaign, or you may need to identify new or additional partnership opportunities.  Identify potential partners in your area through an internet search on “anti-idling projects” or “idling reduction projects” and your community’s name. See also Step 3: Collect Background and Baseline Information.

Consider the following groups when identifying potential partners:

  • Groups and organizations that have similar interests in the goals and objectives achieved by reducing idling (e.g. environmental groups, health groups, social interest groups);
  • Organizations associated with the target location or audience where you would like to implement your campaign (e.g. school boards, transit authorities, etc.); and,
  • Groups or stakeholders whose interests may be affected or influenced by your idling reduction campaign (e.g. businesses with delivery vehicles or large vehicle fleets).

How can you approach potential partners?

Approach potential partners through the method that is most applicable for that agency or partner group – for example, through a phone call, or an official invitation letter.  Lessons learned from past idling reduction campaigns about partnership building include:

  • Obtain buy-in of boards and umbrella organizations first – this will increase the comfort level and receptiveness of individual member organizations to participate in your campaign;
  • Approach senior management of the organization you have identified first – once they are on board you can then make arrangements with individual managers and staff;
  • If you are a municipality, be sure to obtain Council and Senior Management support – this will help to cultivate broad-based community support and awareness; and,
  • Consider preparing a one or two-page campaign “prospectus” (outlining your campaign objectives and high level strategy) as a means of approaching and attracting campaign partners.
  • Working with partners may require that you revisit Step 1, particularly if the partnering organization has specific target audiences they would like to include in the campaign.   

The following examples of Canadian idling reduction projects illustrate the diversity of partnerships that can help make a successful campaign.  Use these to help generate ideas as you work through Step 2 (Build Partnerships) of your campaign. 

Children’s Clean Air Network, Halifax
Partnerships
: Local Media, Businesses, Corporations, Auto Dealers

The Halifax-based Children’s Clean Air Network (CCAN) recognizes the need and benefit of building strong partnerships in order to implement real on-the-ground action on idling reduction. CCAN has generated major partnerships with media, such as the Chronicle Herald (local newspaper), and local businesses and corporations, such as Mic Mac Mall, Ambassatours Gray Line, and local auto dealers.

Working with Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CCAN helped to launch the first Canadian idle-free mall initiative.  The goal was to inspire as many drivers as possible to shut their cars off. The mall erected signs and implemented CCAN strategies to help make drivers feel positive about being part of a solution with thousands of other motorists. Ron Zima, CCAN founder, notes that “Once drivers acquire the habit at the mall, chances are they'll take the new habit with them and spread the word”. During the ‘Idle-Free Drive’ at the mall, the first thousand shoppers signed an idling reduction pledge, which included applying a campaign magnet to their vehicle to remind them of their promise.

CCAN also sought a partnership with the auto industry, noting that such a collaboration would be critical in debunking old idling myths, such as the supposed need to idle a vehicle’s engine to warm it up.  CCAN partnered with Halifax Chrysler to promote the idle-free message. As part of the initiative, the dealership erected idle-free signs and interacted with customers to educate them about running their cars responsibly. The message and approach was to give drivers credible advice about protecting their car, saving money and reducing needless emissions.

The overall response to CCAN’s work has been overwhelmingly positive, showcased by the many partnerships that have been built over the years with businesses, retailers, schools and media. CCAN’s aim is to lead by real action, and businesses have proven to be great partners. Partners are finding that it not only makes business sense to go idle-free, but it also builds better public relations and community recognition.

Find out more by visiting the Children’s Clean Air Network

“Auntie Idle” Idle-Free Campaign, Whitehorse, Yukon
Partnerships
: Local, Provincial and Federal Governments, Environmental NGOs, Post-Secondary Institutions

The Yukon campaign aimed to educate the general public on the effects of idling and to encourage motorists in the City of Whitehorse to idle their vehicles less. The most distinctive feature of the campaign was the use of a cartoon idling mascot, Auntie Idle.  The campaign was spearheaded by the Northern Climate ExChange (NCE) with support from partners from across the community, including: the Yukon Government, the City of Whitehorse, Environment Canada’s EcoAction Fund, Raven Recycling, the Yukon Conservation Society, the Yukon Science Institute, Yukon College, and the Energy Solutions Centre.

Greater Toronto Area(GTA) Idle-Free Campaign
Partnerships
: 18 Municipalities

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Idle-Free Campaign was launched to address the environmental and health threats of vehicle idling by encouraging over five million residents in the GTA to reduce their idling time.  The Greater Toronto Area Clean Air Council (GTA-CAC) provided the opportunity to develop and implement an idling reduction campaign across the GTA.  The GTA-CAC is an inter-governmental working group dedicated to exploring joint clean air initiatives in the GTA, and to liaising with municipalities across Canada to discover best practices for improving local and regional air quality.  Working in partnership with eighteen municipalities and regions represented by the GTA-CAC and several other key campaign partners, the Clean Air Partnership (CAP) initiated a GTA-wide Idle-Free Campaign. The eighteen municipalities and regions that worked as partners on this initiative included:

Ajax; Brampton; Burlington; Caledon; Halton Hills; Markham; Mississauga; Newmarket; Oakville; Oshawa; Pickering; Richmond Hill; Toronto; Whitchurch-Stouffville; Durham Region; Halton Region; Peel Region; and York Region.

The Idle-Free Zone and Idling-reduction Tool Kit were an important starting point for the GTA Idle-Free Campaign.  The graphics and sample materials allowed key communication materials to be easily adapted to the specific needs of each municipality or region, and were produced quickly and cost effectively.  All materials were adapted to suit the needs of the GTA Idle-Free Campaign, which included adding the Smog Summit logo, and re-designing images based on feedback from the GTA-CAC, the Smog Summit Secretariat (SSS), and the Idle-Free Working Group (IFWG).

Find out more about the GTA Idle-Free Campaign at the Clean Air Partnership website.

Step 2 Planning Worksheet and Resources

Step 2 Partnership Identification Planning Worksheet  [PDF 22 KB] [DOC 32 KB]

Sample Business Group Invitation Letter (Mississauga campaign) [PDF19 KB] [DOC 29 KB]

[PROJECT LETTERHEAD]

Letter to Organizations with Access to Drivers (e.g., driving schools, car dealers, motor vehicle registration centres, etc.)

October xx, 200X

Dear: ___________________

Help make Mississauga an Idle-Free Zone!

As you may know, the City of Mississauga is leading a year-long, city-wide Idling-reduction Campaign to reduce unnecessary vehicle idling throughout Mississauga.  Sponsored by Natural Resources Canada, the campaign has created Idle-Free Zones at Mississauga’s GO Transit stations, many Mississauga schools and gas stations, the Mississauga Civic Centre and selected community centres.

On behalf of the City of Mississauga and our campaign partners, I invite your organization to join our campaign, and help spread the word to your clients and customers about the benefits of reducing unnecessary vehicle idling.

Why be Idle-Free?

Cleaner Air…By turning off vehicles when they are parked, we can improve air quality, save money, and reduce harmful gases from entering the atmosphere.  Health Canada estimates that more than 5,000 Canadians die prematurely each year because of air pollution.

Reduced Costs…Unnecessary idling costs Canadians millions of dollars every year.  If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Canada stopped idling for just five minutes, we would save 1.9 million litres of fuel.  We would also prevent more than 4500 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas – from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

Community Support…There is very strong community support for this campaign – 94% of Mississaugans favour action to reduce idling.

Materials to help you spread the word

Enclosed you will find sample materials produced for Mississauga’s campaign that you can use to educate your clients and customers about vehicle idling:

  • Idling-reduction information cards, cling vinyl vehicle windshield decals and posters – Multiple copies of these are available free of charge on request.  Quantities are limited, so please place your order as soon as possible.
  • Metal idling-reduction signs – An illustration of a sign, suitable for posting in parking lot and delivery areas, is included in the kit.  The City of Mississauga can supply these signs to your organization at cost.
  • Sample idling-reduction articles – These can be included in your organization’s communication materials.

If you would like more information on these City of Mississauga materials or to place an order, please call the City at 905-XXX-XXXX.

I encourage you to join our Idling-reduction Campaign by spreading the word to your clients and customers about the benefits of reducing unnecessary vehicle idling.

With your organization’s support, we hope to make our entire city an “Idle-Free Zone”.

Sincerely,

XXXXXX

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