January 2011 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Contact the Scheduler to Set Up a Face-to-Face Meeting with Your Member of Congress

For our January 2011 U.S. Poverty Action, we are setting up face-to-face meetings with members of Congress tbefore the new Congress gets into full swing. To help prepare you to set up these meetings, below is a sample conversation between a RESULTS volunteer and a congressional scheduler. Schedulers are people you want to get to know, as they are the gatekeepers for getting those precious face-to-face meetings. You can find out the names of the schedulers on the Elected Officials page of the RESULTS website. You can also contact Congress by dialing (202) 224-3121 and asking for your representative's or senator's office:

Volunteer: My name is S. Tate O'Tecksus  and I am constituent of Sen. Hutchison and also a RESULTS volunteer. I am calling to set up a meeting between Sen. Hutchison and our local RESULTS volunteers here in Austin before she returns to Washington, DC. Are you familiar with RESULTS?

Scheduler: No, I am not.

Volunteer: Well, RESULTS is a grassroots advocacy organization working to end hunger and poverty. We as volunteers meet each month here in Austin to educate ourselves on practical solutions to poverty and take action by writing letters, making phone calls, and meeting face-to-face with our representatives and senators both here in Texas and in Washington, DC. We've met with Sen. Hutchison and her aides before.

Scheduler: What issues do you want to discuss with the Senator?

Volunteer: Well, we would like to talk to her about Head Start and child care services. The programs help countless children and families here in Texas and across the U.S. But with the so many lawmakers jumping on the deficit reduction bandwagon, there is a lot of pressure to cut funding for early childhood programs. This is cutting off our nose to spite our face because they not only help children and families now, they also significantly lower costs for us as a society down the road. Therefore, we want to talk to the Senator about how we can best preserve essential funding for these important programs and strategize ways we can work with her office to generate sustained political will in support of them.

Scheduler: How many of you will be attending the meeting?

Volunteer: There will be at least six of us.

Scheduler: Do you have a date and time in mind?

Volunteer: We know the Senator is very busy so we can be fairly flexible. Day or evening during the week works best but if you are limited in available slots for us, we can work with her schedule. Also, if it would work to meet right before or right after an event already on her schedule, we are happy to do that too.

Scheduler: I appreciate your flexibility. Let me see if I can work you in next week sometime. Is there a number where I can call you back?

Volunteer: Sure, you can reach me at ___________________. When should I expect your call?

Scheduler: You should hear back no later than tomorrow. If I don’t get back to you in the next 48 hours, please feel free to call me back.

What Is a Laser Talk?

A laser talk serves as a useful starting point for your advocacy work, whether as a talking points during a town hall meeting or as a primer for face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials. Follow up with more information and evidence supporting your points. And of course, adapt a laser talk to reflect your own experiences and why you care about the issue! For more on how to create your own laser talk, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit: Create and Deliver Your EPIC Laser Talk and our Child nutrition page.