Strategy & Timeline Module

The Strategy & Timeline Module includes guidance, prompts, tips, and resources for the following CNA components.


Creating a menu of potential solutions that could be implemented to build community and ecosystem capacity, address community needs, and advance your community’s vision.

Identifying your top priority solution and conducting an analysis of strengths, opportunities, and potential pitfalls.

Creating a clear, actionable game plan for the priority solution to build capacity and catalyze collective action to implement solutions and work towards your community’s vision for social equity and climate resilience.

8. Solutions Menu

The historic and ongoing racial, social, and economic inequities harming communities require urgent and strategic action—actions that deliver concrete, near-term benefits while supporting longer-term systemic transformation. Because resources are often constrained, such as limited funding opportunities or staff capacity, it is important to identify and pursue solutions strategically in order to generate positive and lasting impacts for your community. Understanding and utilizing the most effective levers for change, as well as stacking solutions to meet multiple needs, are central to a strategic approach.

This section is focused on compiling a menu of potential solutions as an initial step to determining the solutions to prioritize, stack, and ultimately implement in your communities. You will draw from your own experiences, previous sections of your CNA, and other sources to create a list of solutions that can help to advance your community’s vision for climate equity.

There are multiple types of solutions that could be considered as part of this process. Here, we look at both projects and programs. The following typology defines projects as solutions that seek to change the physical environment and would require a specific site and materials for implementation, and programs as other types of solutions that focus on systems and processes. Another way that you can think about projects and programs could be based on time and longevity; for example, projects could be time-bound efforts with a defined end date while programs could be longer-term without a defined end date.

Project types:

    • Built Infrastructure: Projects that result in new infrastructure or modifications to existing infrastructure such as microgrids, community solar, energy efficiency, building electrification, battery storage, bike lanes, sidewalks, public transit stops, electric vehicle charging stations, ZEV car share programs, street conversions, cooling centers, and healthcare facilities.
  • Natural Infrastructure: Projects that utilize nature-based solutions and/or preserve and restore natural or modified ecosystems such as habitat restoration, forest and watershed management, meadow restoration, urban forestry and greening, green roofs and walls, living shorelines, healthy soils, community gardens, parks, and composting.

Program types:

  • Community Prosperity: New or improved programs that seek to address underlying socio-economic challenges while advancing climate equity solutions such as green workforce development, high-road economic development, minority-owned business incubators, incentives for technology adoption, financial literacy and intervention programs, food recovery to security networks.
  • System Improvements: Efforts that seek to create new or improve existing systems such as processes and mechanisms for community engagement, emergency communications, evacuations, resource access, financial services, healthcare services, governance and decision-making, goods movement, food sourcing and transport, and waste management.
  • Capacity Building: Initiatives to expand the skills, knowledge and resources of individuals, organizations, and networks to enact positive change such as those focused on education, network development, information sharing, collaboration, civic engagement, citizen science, leadership development, community organizing, and more.

The above list is not exhaustive and these solution types should not be seen as mutually exclusive. There may be other types of solutions to consider and stacking different types of solutions can generate more positive outcomes for your community.

9. Solution Prioritization

Now that you have a menu of potential solutions, this section will guide you through different processes for narrowing your menu down from potentials to priorities. The ultimate goal of this section is to assist you in identifying and refining one priority solution to focus on in Section 10 where you will develop your Solution Game Plan. You’ll walk away with a clearer understanding of how your priority solution fits within your ecosystem and the broader policy and funding environment, as well as how you can shape your solution to achieve multiple benefits.

Prioritization is an important step in your CNA development process to ensure that your implementation efforts are both strategic and sustainable. Strategic by focusing your efforts on the most impactful and feasible solution that has multiple levers available to support implementation, increasing the likelihood of achieving your intended outcomes. Sustainable by dedicating your available time, energy, and capacity to the solution you decide to prioritize rather than focusing on too many solutions at once, which can lead to frustration and burnout.

If you already identified your one priority solution, you can skip ahead to section 9.2. You may still find it helpful to scan through section 9.1 for helpful resources and guidance that may be of value to your partners, organization, or other efforts to prioritize solutions.

10. Solution Game Plan

The Solution Game Plan, as the final section of your CNA, is the culmination of all previous sections and will result in a clear, actionable game plan for your priority solution. The guidance offered in this section aims to help you refine your solution and identify concrete steps to catalyze your efforts, build network capacity, and mobilize partners to work towards your shared vision for social equity and climate resilience.

Earlier sections of the CNA Toolkit focused on deepening your understanding of your community, as well as expanding your awareness of the broader ecosystem. You should now have a much more comprehensive view of your community’s assets and priorities, the inequities and climate impacts they face, and partnerships that could be formed to meet their needs. This broadened view may reveal previously hidden connections and opportunities that can be leveraged to maximize your impact and create lasting change. However, we recognize that it can also feel overwhelming since information overload can lead to decision paralysis.

It is important to recognize that a single solution cannot address all community priorities, all climate impacts, and all systemic issues at the same time. Trying to do too much at once can exacerbate existing capacity constraints, confuse community members and partners, and make it difficult to build the momentum necessary for implementation. Rather than fixating on what your priority solution does not address, consider how the process of prioritization enables you to focus your attention, energy, and resources on the solution at hand, increasing the likelihood of achieving the desired outcome. This section offers guidance to help you do just that – keeping your priority solution in focus as you navigate through the game planning process.

The completion of this section will also help to reveal areas in which technical assistance can be strategically leveraged to create the right conditions for success and to support implementation.