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March 2017 U.S. Poverty Action
Engage People in Your Work to End Poverty
We are heading into a critical time in our country’s recent history, as Congress moves ahead on drastic changes to the safety net. Medicaid and SNAP are likely the first targets. If leaders in Congress have their way, these programs will be turned over to the states with few resources and oversight from Washington. The result will be increased hunger and poverty in America.
There is no doubt RESULTS volunteers are up for this challenge. Time and again you have stepped up to oppose dangerous cuts to these and other programs and because of your efforts (and our allies), you’ve fought off the worst ones. But this is a time when every voice counts.
Your experience and success as citizen grassroots advocates serves as a great example for new people wanting to make a difference. This month, look for opportunities to share this knowledge with others in your community and urge others to join our movement to end poverty.
Tips for Effective Outreach
Show New Advocates What Works
For nearly 40 years, RESULTS volunteers have been working with members of Congress to make poverty history. From its inception, RESULTS has worked to build bridges with allies and detractors alike to build a movement that ensures that no person, regardless of race, geography, or financial status, has to live in poverty. The vehicle for that work has been in-person interactions with members of Congress. These interactions create the relationships that are necessary to effectively influence public policy decisions.
In February, the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) released its most recent report, Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement, a poll of key congressional staff about the impact of citizen engagement on congressional decision-making. The results confirm what RESULTS has known all along – relationships matter! From the report:
Read more about the CMF Report on the RESULTS Blog.
Actions by the Trump Administration and the new Congress have promoted many Americans to get involved in the political process. But many don’t know what to do and what is most effective. RESULTS volunteers can help. As RESULTS works to make the First 100 Days of 2017 a strong statement to lawmakers about protecting our most vulnerable, reach out to new people in your community and invite to get involved in our work.
Leading with Action: RESULTS Workshop Agenda
Below is a sample agenda and script that you can use to put people in your community into action. We know that when people take action they get inspired. The agenda below would require a meeting of roughly 60 minutes. Adapt the elements to fit your style and timeframe.
I. Setting the Stage – 15 Minutes
2 min: Welcome and acknowledge people for being there.
“Thanks to all of you for coming. There are a lot of ways you could be spending the day, and I want to thank all of you for coming out and learning more about how YOU can play a role in the movement to end poverty. Can the RESULTS volunteers briefly say their name and how many years you’ve been involved? Also, can you all be sure to sign our sign in sheet?”
3 min: State the purpose of the meeting.
“Our purpose today is to inspire you all about the difference you can make, working with others, to create the political will to end hunger and poverty. Over the next hour, you’ll . . .
10 min: Center the room and do introductions.
“Let’s see who’s in the room tonight and why we are here. Please give us your name and tell us briefly why taking action to end poverty is important to you.” Other possible question, “What are you committed to in life?” or “Who do you want to be in the world?”
Afterward, “Thank you all for sharing what is important to you. We have a lot in common.”
II. The Basics of RESULTS – 10 Minutes
“So what is RESULTS? RESULTS is movement of passionate, committed, everyday people. Together we use our voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. As volunteers, we receive training, support, and inspiration to become skilled advocates. In time, we learn to effectively advise policy makers, guiding them toward decisions that will improve access to health, education, and economic opportunity. Together we realize the incredible power we possess to use our voices to change the world. “
Show the video if you have time: Everyday Heroes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEHkmOlXByk&t=27s
A few more details if you have time:
III. Issues & Action Component – 25 Minutes
IV. Invitation to Attend the Next Meeting & Closing – 10 Minutes
“Lastly, this movement needs people like you to make it work. Our local group meets monthly and we welcome any of you who are interested to add your skills, talents, and passions to our work.
Hand out RESULTS Participation Forms to those who want to join the group. Thank people for coming to the event. Gather the people who signed up to let them know when and where your next meeting will be. Plan to personally follow up (over coffee, on a phone call, etc.) with each new person to see if they have any questions and to remind them of the next meeting.