In the ultimate modern battle of David vs. Goliath, an oil company has met the hippies (I say that lovingly) of Greenpeace.

For months, Greenpeace rallied its advocates to stand against Shell as the oil company began planning to drill for black gold in the Arctic Circle. Greenpeace is (rightfully) concerned that Shell might irreversibly damage the fragile tundra and lead to increased rates of climate change, oil spills, and the potential destruction of the home to many of our planet’s most beloved creatures.

In its campaign to block Shell’s efforts in the Arctic, Greenpeace worked with scientists to research Shell’s potential (75% chance of a large spill) destruction of our planet’s northernmost region. From there, they spread their findings far and wide.

So – what are the takeaways for your next environmental campaign?



What’s a #kayaktivist, you ask? That would be the fleet of volunteers putting themselves (and their tiny boats) in the path of Shell’s monster oil rig as it attempted to depart Seattle on June 15, 2015. The best part? It kind of worked. They stalled Shell for several hours and had the whole world watching. The hashtag #kayaktivist has made more than 200,000 impressions on Twitter since the “Battle in Seattle.” (Did I just make that up?)


Photo by Greenpeace USA.


Your cause probably doesn’t only matter to those exclusively in your zip code. Greenpeace planned well for this. They didn’t just get hundreds of kayakers onto the water in Puget Sound. They also encouraged those hundred-or-so kayaktivists to broadcast their experience on Periscope and by doing so, invited the whole world to get pissed off with them. Their livestream ended only when the final videographer was detained by the US Coast Guard. Who knew kayakers were so badass?

Cultivate new donors.

Greenpeace continued the conversation on Twitter and followed up with those tweeting to encourage them to donate. They then fueled those donations by preparing a Tweet for people to post after they donated. You’re telling me they asked for the donation AND let people publicize their gift? Nailed it. Use a tool like Click to Tweet to prepare a post for your donors to share after they’ve made a gift to your campaign. Not sure what to write? Here’s the format Greenpeace elected to use:


Love on your volunteers.

Greenpeace didn’t just say “thank you” to the independent donors. They also said thank you to those kayaktivists, planners, and broadcasters who volunteered with them by recognizing them on social channels. In doing so, they lined up more allies by accounting for all of the different reasons people are standing alongside Greenpeace. Advocates joined them because of their concerns about the environment, indigenous communities, and the well-being of future generations.



I think non-profits sometimes feel a bit gun shy about working alongside similar organizations. I understand that, but I think there are times when organizations can greatly benefit from lining up their efforts with those of like-minded organizations. Greenpeace accomplished this and stood with other environmental organizations in the fight against Shell. Together, they drove home their message and achieved media coverage from major publications including Vice, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera, and the Wall Street Journal.


Photo by Eric Jensen.

Use Greenpeace’s campaign strategies as an example for your next eco-campaign. Your organization can use these tactics to make a bigger impact, drive donations, and retain volunteers. Good luck!