Share the Road
STRATEGIC PLANNING AND ENGAGEMENT
The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a provincial advocacy organization made up of cycling organizations from across Ontario who work together to promote better policies and funding for cycling infrastructure in support of to sway municipalities to enhance their ability to make their communities more bicycle-friendly. The organization’s province-wide mandate focuses on developing public policy at the provincial level to create the kind of legislative, programmatic and funding instruments that exist in other Canadian provinces, notably Quebec and British Columbia.
Stratcom has worked with Share the Road for the past three years to build the organization and develop their campaign, research and fundraising efforts.
During this time, we have:
- Conducted comprehensive public opinion research about cycling and active transportation in Ontario, which has been presented for the last two years at their annual Bike Summit; this research has been profiled in Toronto Star and Metro and other news media with broad circulation, as well as local Ontario media outlets.
- Conducted a strategic planning process – including design and facilitation of a stakeholder meeting, key informant interviews, two-day Board strategic planning workshop, and a written three-year strategic and operational plan
- Co-wrote a comprehensive provincial policy document (The Green Paper entitled “When Ontario Bikes, Ontario Benefits”) that has been used as a reference by a host of health, education and transportation planning officials – including Ontario Ministry staff.
In Spring 2011, we were asked by Share the Road to develop a social media strategy and advocacy campaign leading up to the 2011 provincial election. Share the Road’s goal was to expand their reach and engage both existing and new supporters in an advocacy action using both offline and online tools.
We designed an interactive website that was the hub for this campaign and its key action and ask to supporters: to sign the Active Communities Pledge. Our outreach galvanized support among voters and candidates for policies and funding in support of cycling, active transportation and healthier, more vibrant communities across Ontario. The Pledge campaign was officially launched at the Ottawa Bike Summit in (August) through printed advocacy toolkit handouts, and through kick-off emails which provided a direct link to the online Pledge campaign page.
We enhanced the advocacy impact of the site by providing useful advocacy tools. This addition allowed all visitors to the Pledge site to directly access advocacy tools as part of an “open-source” approach. These tools included:
- Full contact list for all the candidates
- Quick summary where the parties stand on active transportation
- FAQ sheet about the Pledge
- Sample questions for candidates
- Press release template
As a result, more than 40 candidates and over 1700 Ontario voters signed the Pledge. This first effort is a solid step toward building stronger relationships with candidates across all parties for Bicycle-Friendly initiatives; it also adds a significant number of supporters to Share the Road’s database who can be re-engaged in the future and lend financial support to the work of the organization.