GCCA: Making the Pitch for Action on Climate Change

GCCA: Making the Pitch for Action on Climate Change

Presentation Design, June 2009


Help create a powerful presentation for the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) to pitch their vision of getting an ambitious, fair & binding climate change deal when the UNFCC meets in Copenhagen this coming December.


With their official launch approaching quickly and a pressing need for a a compelling presentation to share with prospective partners I was approached to help them spruce up their deck a bit. The catch: I had roughly 48 hours to get it done.


The before was your everyday, typical PowerPoint presentation, 9 slides long, with a big title and a bunch of bullet points that filled the screen with text. The challenges I immediately recognized was it was lacking a story that tied the information together so it compelled people to act, combined with a total lack of visuals.

What GCCA is trying to accomplish is important, they have a great vision, and are going about it in an interesting way – There was a strong story to be told, but as-is, it just didn’t come through in the deck.

The Process:

My first step was to re-flow the entire presentation – taking their original deck, all of their websites and collateral (as well as anything else I could dig up online) I created a new story line for the presentation.

While the original deck, and the rest of their campaign elements, spoke to a pressing need for action on climate change I found the presentation lacked anything that created that tension. My initial draft was simple, black text on a white background, as I wanted to be sure I had correctly grasped the message they were trying to get across. Also, given the short time line for the project I didn’t have the time to go too far down any wrong path.

To get things started, I added in some recent quotes (some as fresh as coming from press releases that morning) about how our climate was changing, the effects were more dramatic than anticipated and flowed the story into how we all had an historic opportunity to act when the world came together in Copenhagen this fall. This helped lay a foundation of urgency which GCCA’s strategy could respond to.

The original deck also ended with a slide about risks and challenges ahead for the campaign. While it was a useful slide, using that information at the very end had a dampening effect on the presentation. In a nutshell, the first slides had psyched me up for a fight and then the last slide told me all the reasons I couldn’t win. Instead, I moved that slide forward in the presentation and positioned it as a challenge – things that “we” (GCCA & their partners), were going to overcome and closed the presentation with the campaign “asks”, which effectively let the audience know how they could get involved and help GCCA achieve its goals.

With a thumbs up from the client, I started work on designing the presentation the next morning. At the outset of the project I mentioned to the client – “The world’s a beautiful place and we should make use of imagery to remind people what we’re working towards saving” – I really wanted to ensure this presentation was packed with powerful visuals that not only reflected the message but also reflected exactly what GCCA was trying to save.Much of my remaining time was spent sourcing imagery and formatting the presentation so it had a consistent look and feel throughout (i.e. fonts, pallete, text-sizes etc.). During the time I sent over a few versions of the presentation for review, making mionr adjustments along the way.


As my deadline approached we were given a slight reprieve but the presentation was essentially done – we made some minor wording adjustments over the next few days but as it was, in roughly 48 hours we’d gone from a basic 9-slide presentation to a visual story that any of GCCA’s representatives could stand-up and share effectively. Included below are some example slides:

As a freelance facilitator and information designer, I can help your organization discover, define and develop your story so you can share it more effectively – If your organization could benefit from better explaining what it is you do, then I can be of help. Contact me today.

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