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January 2016 U.S. Poverty Action

Set Inspiring Group Goals for 2016

This month, RESULTS groups and Free Agents will focus primarily on meeting to set goals for 2016 and create a plan to achieve them. This is such a critical process that we will spend the bulk of the time on the January national conference call (Saturday, January 9, at 12:30 pm ET: on your 2016 planning. Here are some tips to help you with planning this month:

  1. Gather your materials. Print off copies of the 2016 Group Plan Summary (PDF version)  and the 2016 Group Planning Guide (PDF version) and bring them to your Group Planning meeting. All the resources you need for 2016 Group Planning can be found at: http://www.results.org/skills_center/group_resources_and_admin/. Have pen and paper available in case people want them for notes and exercises.
  2. Before your group meets to plan, ask group members to complete the 2016 Individual Planning Sheet and bring it to your planning meeting.
  3. Spend a few minutes celebrating your 2015 accomplishments (including your incredible media work in 2015) and sharing what excites you about your RESULTS work in 2016.
  4. Set the Stage. At your planning meeting, use your completed 2016 Individual Planning Sheets for this section. First, outline your group norms. Group norms are simply the  attributes you want as part of your local RESULTS group. Some ideas might be accountability, meeting regularly, freedom to speak honestly, etc (see more in the 2016 Group Planning Guide). Your “norms” could very well be things your group has been doing all along but writing them down sets the intention in a concrete way. Write down your group norms in section 1 of the 2016 Group Plan Summary.
  5. List all of your group members and their contact information, and then discuss, divide up, and assign Group Roles and Responsibilities. The goal is for everyone to have a meaningful role in the group. Key roles to fill are Group Leader(s), Representative/Senator Point People, Congressional Candidate outreach lead, Media Point Person, and Action Network Manager. We would also like to list local contact information for your group on the RESULTS website. We strongly encourage your group to set up a separate group e-mail to list on the website (e.g. [email protected]).
  6. Create Your Plan
    1. Set your plans for your group’s sustainability and growth. Be specific about when your two group meetings are each month. Next, list how many people are in your group right now and how many you plan to add by the end of the year. We encourage you to plan to do at least two outreach events in 2016 to grow and strengthen your group. Also outline which members of your group will attend the 2016 RESULTS International Conference in Washington, DC (June 25-28) and set your fundraising goals for the year.
    2. Make your plans for working with your members of Congress and candidates. List each of your members your Congress and your group’s point person for each. Influencing decision makers involves meeting with them and building relationships. Write down the date by which you will submit your first meeting request. Assess where each is on the Champion Scale. Identify one or two key actions that the group might take to move them up the Champion Scale and have each point person take notes of these strategies for their member of Congress or candidate.
    3. Make your media plans for the year. Discuss your current media successes and how you can improve and expand your efforts in 2016. Include print media, social media, and other media in your goals.

Once finished, please send copies of your Group Plan Summary to your group, your Regional Coordinator, and Jos Linn, RESULTS Grassroots Manager for U.S. Poverty Campaigns ([email protected]). Please submit your plan no later than January 31.

Schedule Your First Face-to-Face Meetings of 2016

As you work to lay out your goals for the year, set yourselves up for success by requesting face-to-face meetings with all of your members of Congress this month. Request your meeting now to increase the likelihood of getting a meeting during an upcoming recess, and these face-to-face conversations will be critical as we work to end poverty in America.

  1. Have the point persons for your representative(s) and senators call to request face-to-face meetings. You can find contact information and the names of the Washington DC scheduler (under “Staff”) on our Elected Officials page at: http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/officials/. You can also dial directly to the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative’s/senator’s office.
  2. Once connected to the office, ask for the scheduler (be ready to leave a succinct voicemail).
  3. Use the following conversation as a template for the conversation with the scheduler.

Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. ______________ from ______________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots volunteer group working to end hunger and poverty. I know that Rep./Sen. __________ values input from constituents on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule meeting with Rep./Sen.__________ while he/she is still home for an upcoming recess. May I set that up today? There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting and we would like to discuss how we can work together to support innovative approaches to helping families move out of poverty. What times would he/she be available to meet?

  1. You may be asked for a written request – use the above paragraph for an e-mail request.
  2. If the member of Congress has no time to meet this month, ask to schedule a meeting the next time he/she is back home. Also ask about any upcoming town hall meetings.
  3. Be sure to note the name of the scheduler and thank him/her for their assistance. If you don’t get a firm answer when you call, mention when you’ll be following up.
  4. Once you confirm a meeting, please contact RESULTS Director of US Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching, materials, and requests for your meeting.