Home > Consulting Services

Strategic Planning

If you need help figuring out how to get something done, whether it’s moving your organization to the next level or getting a meeting with a decision maker, we can help you strategize. The Action Circles team will talk with you about your situation, your goal, and your resources, and help you figure out the steps you need to take to get to where you want to go. We can help you on an as-needed basis, or we can set-up an ongoing relationship. Action Circles has experience with a variety of organizations, political efforts, and policy issues, and we can help you both to see the big picture and address the important details.

Meeting Design & Facilitation

With over a decade of facilitation experience, members of the Action Circles team can help your group find consensus. We have learned many different approaches and tools over the years, and in addition to facilitating your meeting, we can design the meeting so that all are included and all have a chance to voice their concerns and ideas. Action Circles has worked with many different kinds of people, and our first principle is Respect for All. We are comfortable with conflict and can work through tough discussions while holding the group together. Let us know what you need, and we can talk about how to design a meeting that will get positive results.

Event Organizing

We can help you to design an event that will energize the participants, get the results you want, and garner media attention. Whether you need a press conference with just a few hours’ notice, a board retreat, an accountability session, or an issue summit, Action Circles can help. We work from the big picture of your overall goals and make sure the details support those goals. Using the resources you have, we’ll help you maximize attendance and create a satisfying experience for your participants, while achieving your organizational goals. If you want press coverage of your event, we can help you create and implement a media plan that will get you the attention you need.

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Media & Messaging

“Earned” media is called that because it takes some work to get it, but we can show you how, with a little bit of investment of time, you can see your issue covered the way you want. Action Circles can help you to develop and implement a media plan, including training your staff to work with the media effectively. Amy Shollenberger has worked as a press secretary for a member of the U.S. Congress, and she as well as other members of the team have worked with the media in Vermont for several years. We can help you to develop a press list, to understand when and how you should contact the media, and how to work with a media plan that gets you the headlines you want. Action Circles can also help you with messaging, so that your story gets told from your point of view, rather than you being the character in someone else’s story. We can help whether you are working on a media plan for a single event or for an entire campaign.

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Lobbying

If you have an issue that is important to you moving through the statehouse, and you need help to make sure your voice is heard, we can help. Members of the Action Circles team have lobbied both in Vermont and at the national level on various issues. We know the process and the players well, and we can help you to make a plan and implement it. The Action Circles team can also train your activists to be more effective in the statehouse and with their legislators in their home districts. We will also work with your staff or board to help them be more effective advocates. In addition, we can work with another lobbyist to coordinate your grassroots and lobbying efforts effectively, so that your message is consistent and your voice is amplified.

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Campaign Planning and Management

If you have a specific change you want to make, Action Circles can help you to develop a campaign plan that gets results. We will work with your key leaders and decision makers to develop a plan that is pro-active, uses your resources wisely and effectively, and moves you to the change you want to see. From message development to power analysis, we can help you think through the various aspects of campaigning for change and develop a plan that works for your organization. We can also train your board, staff, and key leaders in various skills to help make the plan run smoothly. Give us a call if you have a change you’d like to make.

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Visioning

It is important to know what you really want before you can figure out how to get it. Action Circles can help you to identify your goals and find a way to talk about them so that your group understands what you are working toward. This important first step is often overlooked or rushed, which can lead to dissatisfaction with the end result. We will work with your group to clarify your goals so that you have a measure for success.

Organization Building

  • Volunteer Program Development

    In times when there are limited resources, volunteers become even more important to many organizations. We have proven experience in developing volunteer programs that can recruit new volunteers and keep current volunteers coming back. We can help you to create a program that works for your organization, train your staff to work with volunteers, and build the infrastructure your organization needs to make your program run smoothly.

  • Internship Program Development

    Interns can get a lot of work done for your organization, but they can also be a lot of work for little return if your intern program is not carefully developed. From recruiting to orienting to making sure the work gets done, we can help you build a program from the ground up so that your interns will be an integral part of your organization. When you have a program that is exciting for the intern as well as useful for the organization, the program sells itself and soon you will have the cream of the crop applying to work for you. Intern programs are also a great way to bring youth into your organization and to build a broader network – the benefits are innumerable.

  • Activist Base Building

    If your organization depends on activists to support your efforts, Action Circles can help. Whether you are trying to get legislation passed, engaging in a rulemaking process, or working on a community project, we can help you find people who are interested in your issue and get them involved in your efforts. We can work with your board, staff, and volunteers to bring more people into your organization’s work, get them engaged, and keep them working with you, even after your initial project is finished. With the Action Circles model of organizing, you will be building your organization’s strength as well as succeeding on your project. Whether your organization is new or has been around for decades, we can help you to build your activist base.

  • Database Development

    The database is often an overlooked element in an organization, yet it can be one of the most important pieces of the organization’s infrastructure. A well-designed and up-to-date database can be invaluable for recruiting members, volunteers, and activists, as well as keeping track of contributions and contacts. A well-maintained database can help all staff tell at a glance how active a person is within the organization, when s/he was contacted last, and what issues might be important to him or her. Action Circles can take your existing database and help you to bring it up to date, and make it more functional for your organization. We can also help you start from scratch and build a database of interested people for your organization, working with your board, staff, and any existing lists you might have access to. We can help you to use your database effectively to communicate with your members, volunteers, donors, and activists, so that you can build your network and get more people actively engaged with your organization. We can help you to understand what types of media will work best for communicating with your constituency – from e-news alerts to postcards to update letters to social media. If you have been frustrated because you are having trouble building your organization’s base or because you are having trouble keeping track of your members, contact us and we can talk about how to build you a dynamite database.

  • Board Development

    If you have ever wished your board was more engaged in your organization, we can help. We can work with your staff and current board to recruit new board members who are excited about the organization, and build skills and interest within the board to develop more board engagement. This can take a bit of time, but if the organization is wiling to make the investment in time, the results can be very fruitful. Please contact us and we can talk about what you would like to see from your board.

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