A successful changeout is a team effort that has broad-based community support. There are a variety of individuals and groups that share a stake in the benefits of a changeout and can help you make the case for doing one in your community. Listed below are examples of the people and stakeholder groups you can approach to gain support for your program, along with what typically would motivate them to get involved.
- Elected officials - Whether it is a city council member, county commissioner, mayor, state legislator or member of Congress, elected officials and their staffs are obligated to do what is best for the citizens who voted them into office, and supporting clean air programs such as wood stove changeouts is good constituent service.
- Government health and environmental agencies - One of the core missions of municipal, county, state and regional federal health and environmental agencies is to protect public health by reducing harmful emissions in the air that citizens breathe. State and local environmental officials are under a great deal of pressure to bring their areas into compliance with federal air quality standards. They should welcome cost-effective, innovative solutions that reduce harmful emissions.
- Hearth product manufacturers, dealers, affiliates, installers and recyclers - Participation by local dealers/installers is critical since they sell and install the new equipment, as well as communicate directly with consumers interested in changeouts. The regional HPBA affiliates are also helpful in identifying key stakeholders.
- Public utilities - Changeouts also present a business opportunity for utilities, since there are stoves that burn gas or electricity. Improvements in air quality also help utilities that must meet attainment standards.
- Banks and credit unions - The low interest loans that are among the potential incentives offered to participants provide financial institutions the opportunity to establish relationships with new customers.
- Civic, professional and religious groups - Local civic, professional and religious groups are boosters of community improvements, and they can serve as gateways for reaching large constituencies through their memberships. The Chamber of Commerce, hospital auxiliaries, Junior League, Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary and VFW are just a few examples of candidate community groups.
- Nonprofits and advocacy groups - Every community has nonprofits and advocacy groups with missions that fall in line with the goals of a changeout program, whether it is reducing pollution, preventing asthma, saving energy or helping low-income residents. Examples include the American Lung Association, environmental groups and the United Way.
If you approach these groups with a message that makes it clear how THEY will benefit, you can gain their support and enlist them as champions. Like you, they want what is best for the community.