April 2012 U.S. Poverty Action

Using Global Action Week for Education to Build a Broader and Stronger Movement for Early Childhood Development

This year, RESULTS Global and U.S. Poverty Groups are joining the Global Campaign for Education’s Global Action Week for Education, April 22-28. This year’s Global Action Week theme, “Rights from the Start! Early Child Care and Education NOW!”, focuses on the importance of quality early childhood development services for children around the world. Building on our successful work to build support in Congress for early childhood development  (our March Action), with 120 members of Congress signing on to letters supporting Head Start and child care funding, this month we will focus on engaging and mobilizing others in our communities by participating in Global Action Week. We will raise awareness about the importance of investments in early childhood programs such as Head Start and funding for child care and expand our community network, by hosting outreach events and connecting with important “grasstops” (see the next page) during Global Action Week.

Plan a Great Outreach Event to Educate and Recruit New Activists

Here are some steps for organizing an outreach event:

  1. Pick a date & time April 22-28 to hold an outreach event.
  2. Decide what kind of event you would like to do and your location. Ideas could include hosting a house party or potluck, or hosting a presentation on early childhood development policies or an advocacy training at a public location like a local library or community center. You could also arrange to do a presentation or training to another group in your community (e.g. local faith community, Head Start parent meeting, community center, etc).
  3. Brainstorm a list of people in your area to invite who have supported your RESULTS group (including in our recent Friends and Family Campaign) and/or are interested in early childhood issues and put them on your invite list.
  4. Draft a laser talk to use for inviting others – focus on what inspires you about RESULTS, how your group has made a difference, and what they might get out of the event.
  5. Set some goals: How many new activists do you want? How many new members of your Action Network? Remember everyone you invite will not agree to come and those who do come will not all agree to join RESULTS. Approximately 1 out of every 3 people invited will attend the meeting and approximately 1 out of every 5 people who attend will sign up.
  6. Create an inviting plan and timeline so you check in regularly on your inviting. You may want to explore other strategies such as inserting announcements in newspapers, putting up flyers, tabling, etc., but keep in mind that what gets people most in the room is a personal invitation.
  7. Work with your group to create an agenda for your event. See the Sample Outreach Meeting Agenda and Script for an agenda you can tailor.
  8. Assemble any materials your group will want to have onsite, including brochures, a copy of RESULTS “Everyday Heroes” video, printouts of our U.S. Poverty Laser Talk and U.S. Poverty Action Sheet on investing in Head Start and child care,Basics CDs, and Participation Forms.
  9. Confirm each invitee 24–48 hours before the event as a reminder.
  10. Be sure to follow up with everyone who attended your event.

Tips for Hosting a Great RESULTS Outreach Meeting during Global Action Week

These are adapted from RESULTS Activist Toolkit piece on how to conduct a successful outreach event, which include how to create a guest list and sample scripts for invitations.

Logistics & Timing

  • Make sure there is a point person for the arranging of your logistics (location, locking/unlocking of facility, technology needs, building signage) and publicity (any additional advertising you are choosing to do above and beyond your targeted inviting)
  • Assign hospitality to someone — food and drink helps make everyone feel welcome!
  • Have a sign-in sheet so attendees can list their name and contact information.
  • Know when folks have to leave: poll group at start of outreach event to ask if anyone has to leave before meeting end time and alter agenda accordingly
  • Give yourself enough time to do invitation to participate at the meeting; give yourself at least 10 minutes to walk through the ways people can participation and hand out participation forms.

Messaging

  • Be clear and enthusiastic. What is RESULTS up to? Transformation and creating champions! We’re offering people the chance to help end hunger and the worst aspects of poverty. We’re up to big things, including generating the political will to end poverty. We’re everyday people exercising their citizenship so that Congress can do nothing but act to help make change! Invigorate the room with that thought, or another that inspires you.
  • Be up front at the start of your meeting that the purpose is to get a certain number of new activists and a certain number of donors. Be clear that no commitment is being required, but everyone who would like to be an activist is very welcome.
  • Use the effectiveness of repetition. Be sure to tell folks what activists do (a.k.a. “activist agreements”) several times before the “ask” to participate. When talking about how we work during the meeting, emphasize the key role activists and donors play.
  • Weave a personal story to underscore how powerful RESULTS is and what their participation could mean for the end of poverty.
  • When talking about donations, be clear about how money is stewarded — it takes approximately $1200 per year to support a local RESULTS group — yet don’t uncomfortably overemphasize donations.
  • Make the most of it: Celebrate the new people who sign up or donate and have clear next steps for those who are getting involved. (Have your next meeting scheduled or give enough time to do schedule it before people leave your event.)

Build Relationships with “Grasstop” Leaders

Community VIPs (also known as “Grasstops”) have incredible influence in our local communities and can be a vital resource when it comes to building coalitions. This month, your group may choose to focus on building relationships with grasstops leaders around education. Some examples of Community VIPs are:

  • Leaders of active community organizations focused on early childhood development or education reform/equity
  • A columnist or editor of a local media outlet who focuses on education
  • Employers and companies. Many already donate money and time to education issues
  • Local or state politicians who focus on education
  • If you live near a university or college, the head of the institution or other faculty/staff that research the benefits of early childhood education
  • Leaders in the faith community

Community VIPs may have busy schedules, which may make scheduling meeting difficult. Be sure to think of personal connections your group has to these individuals, and creative ways to reach them to ensure a solid connection. RESULTS has resources to help you brainstorm potential coalition partners in your community. A few ways to build a relationship and start a conversation are:

  • Invite them to come to/speak at an outreach event to get a sense of what your RESULTS group does. After that initial meeting, schedule a more in-depth meeting to follow up.
  • Schedule a meeting to explain RESULTS and ways you can work in the future
  • Ask them to use their influence to submit (or co-submit) an Opinion piece  on the importance of investing in early childhood development programs like Head Start and child care
  • Ask them to use their influence to help you secure face-to-face lobby meetings with policymakers to make the case for investments in child care and Head Start

 


 

This month, it’s all about building a stronger and broader movement. Use the ideas above, or perhaps your group might consider some other ideas for outreach during Global Action Week, including:

  • Hosting a screening of a film, or select videos, on education and hold a discussion
  • Use social media to bring people together by hosting a Tweetup for Twitter users and share facts about Early Childhood Development over Facebook or Twitter!
  • Organize a site visit to a Head Start, Early Head Start, or Child Care Center for your RESULTS group, community members or members of Congress. See our guide to reaching out to early learning providers for more.
  • Connect with a local school and use the resources compiled by the Global Campaign for Education, to spread awareness among children

Need more inspiration? See the resources on our Global Action Week Section on our website. We will review outreach strategies for Global Action Week for Education on the RESULTS April 2012 National Conference Call — Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 2 pm ET. To participate, call (888) 409-6709 with your group by 1:58 pm ET. Good luck and have fun!