U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | September 15, 2015

“Making these tax credits permanent with the important parts [RESULTS volunteer Debbie] Baskin spoke of will insure families have a leg up to move to self-sufficiency.”

– RESULTS Snohomish (WA) volunteer Willie Dickerson in a September 14 letter to the editor in the St. George Spectrum (UT)

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Urge Congress to Protect Working Families

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Get Ready for the National Webinar Rebroadcast and Live Poverty Data Update Tomorrow at 8pm ET

Thank you to all of you who participated in the RESULTS September 2015 U.S. Poverty National Webinar this past weekend. It was excellent. Journalist and editor John Breunig of the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time was our guest speaker and he offered some very helpful advice for getting op-eds and editorials published this month. We also heard a personal story from RESULTS Expert on Poverty Ruth Innocent of North Caroline and shares about recent media and advocacy successes from volunteers in Texas, Ohio, and Utah. If you missed the webinar, you missed a good one.

If you did miss it, you’re in luck. Tomorrow, September 16, we will do a partial rebroadcast of the webinar for those who could not attend on Saturday. We’ll play highlights from the call for about 30 minutes and then open the call up for a live Q&A with RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson. Since the new U.S. Census poverty data for 2014 will be released tomorrow morning, Meredith will go over some of the findings during the Q&A. Please plan to join us.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to check your equipment for our U.S. Poverty National Webinar Rebroadcast tomorrow, September 16 at 8:00 pm ET. Please invite group members who were not there on Saturday to join in. To join the webinar, login online at http://fuze.me/28130766 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#. People can simply login/call in from wherever they are. Also, we invite everyone to participate, even those who were on the call on Saturday. If you only wish to participate in the live Q&A, plan to login or dial in around 8:30pm ET. The webinar will end at 9:00 pm ET. Be sure to download the slides from the webinar to have during the rebroadcast.

If you missed Saturday’s webinar and cannot participate tomorrow, you can listen to the recording and download the slides and summary of Saturday’s webinar from our National Webinar page.

Got Ten Minutes? Contact Your Local Papers This Week about Doing a Poverty Editorial (September Action)

As discussed on last Saturday’s National Webinar, this month we are focusing on generating media about poverty in America and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). John Breunig of the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time provided some very helpful insights on getting editorials and op-eds published on these issues. Here are a few of the tips he gave us:

  • Take action now. This month is a good month to be contacting writers and editors. In October, papers will be gearing up for local elections and won’t have much time to devote to this issue.
  • Make it local. Whether you’re pitching an editorial or writing an op-ed, try to find ways to link your issue to something local. Papers want to see a local angle.
  • Educate. Don’t assume that the person you are contacting already knows about your issue. Give them relevant background information so they understand the issue, but make it brief.
  • Be accurate. Make sure your information is correct and spell check names. Misspelling a member of Congress’ name does not look good to an editor.
  • Contact early. It is best to contact writers and editors at the beginning of the week rather than at the end of the week; Fridays are particularly bad days to contact them.

You can hear more of the wealth of information John provided us on the Webinar Rebroadcast tomorrow at 8:00 pm ET, or by listening to the recording of the webinar on the RESULTS website. Use the information and insights John provided, as well as the other resources from the webinar, to reach out to editorial writers and editors today.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to take the September Action. Have one person in your group contact an editorial writer or editor at your local paper, urging them to write a piece about the new poverty data and the EITC/CTC (you can find media contacts in our Media Guide). Be sure to include our new EITC/CTC editorial packet in your e-mail. If you send this information today, plan to follow up tomorrow or Thursday with the new poverty data after it is released (we will also update the packet with the new data). We also encourage your group to submit op-eds this month, which is discussed below.

We sincerely thank John Breunig for taking time out his busy schedule to speak with us on Saturday. We also thank all the other speakers who shared their inspiring stories on the webinar.

Got Twenty Minutes? Draft Your Op-ed about Poverty and Working Families (September Action)

Tomorrow is a big day in our work to end poverty in America. At 10:00 am ET, the U.S. Census will release its official poverty data for 2014. The release of this data is one of the few times the media pays attention to poverty issues on a national scale. We want you to capitalize on this by submitting your own op-ed about the new poverty data and how saving key provisions of the EITC and CTC is essential in the fight against poverty in the U.S.

Writing an op-ed can seem intimidating, but it’s not as hard as you might think. It is basically a 550-700 word essay, structured in three parts:

The Lead Paragraph. The Lead is your attention grabber (like the “Engage” statement, from the RESULTS EPIC Laser Talk). Think of the lead as an “AHA” moment, where the reader thinks “I’ve never thought of it that way.” If you don’t grab the reader in the first few lines of your piece, you’ll lose them. Ideas for a potential good lead paragraph can be telling a personal story about poverty and/or the EITC/CTC, highlighting a national event and connecting it to the issue (poverty data release, presidential election, Pope’s visit), or connecting it to something in pop culture (new movie or book coming out). At the end of your lead paragraph, be sure to state your main point.

Three Supporting Paragraphs. This is the part of your op-ed where you can talk about the new poverty data, the impact of the EITC and CTC on poverty, and why these credits need to be protected and expanded.

Call to Action Paragraph. This is your concluding paragraph where you not only sum up your main point, but you call on someone to take action. If you want the readers to call Congress, tell them whom to call and give the phone number. If you want your members of Congress to take action, mention them by name and say specifically what you want them to do. Be bold and specific – inspire the person reading your piece to take action the moment they put it down.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes (or more) to draft an op-ed about the new poverty data and the EITC and CTC. The webinar slides from this weekend’s U.S. Poverty Webinar have good tips on drafting op-eds and getting them published. To see an example of an effective op-ed with a powerful lead paragraph, see the op-ed published last week in the Houston Chronicle by RESULTS Houston volunteer Isabelle Soifer. In addition, here are some other resources that can help with your op-eds:

Once your op-ed is done, coordinate with your group to which paper each person will submit their piece (we urge you to send them to various publications in your city or state). If you need help with ideas for an op-ed or editing your op-ed, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected]. And once you get published, please let Jos know so we can celebrate your success!

Quick News

New Poverty Data Will Include Impact of SNAP and Child Nutrition. Along with the official poverty data released tomorrow, the U.S. Census will also release its Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). Unlike the official measure, the SPM calculates the impact of a number of anti-poverty programs such as SNAP and child nutrition programs on low-income Americans. This can be helpful information in your interactions with lawmakers in the coming months.

Sign Up for Non-Profit Advocacy Webinar Featuring RESULTS and the Alliance to End Hunger. Tomorrow, September 16 at 1:00 pm ET, RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns will join VolunteerMatch, the Alliance to End Hunger, and the Alliance for Justice on a webinar focused on advocacy and non-profit organizations. Non-profits can be a powerful voice in advocacy, but many are confused to what is allowed. Get your questions answered about what non-profits can and cannot do with regard to advocacy. Register for the webinar here.

Senate Child Nutrition Reauthorization Markup Delayed. The September 17 Senate Agriculture Committee mark-up of their new child nutrition reauthorization bill has been delayed for several weeks. We’ll let you know when it gets rescheduled and where you can watch it.

Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events.

Congressional Recesses: House: September 19-23, October 10-19; Senate: October 10-18. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar Rebroadcast, September 16 at 8:00 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/28130766 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, September 15 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join online at: http://fuze.me/27491886; or by phone at (201) 479-4595 and enter Meeting ID: 27491886. For more information, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).

Rebroadcast of National Webinar with Live Q&A, September 16 at 8:00 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/28130766 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#.

RESULTS Introductory Call, September 25, at 1:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, October 10 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/28130766 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#. Listen to previous conference calls and meetings on our National Webinars page.

2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Save the dates!

Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Nominate RESULTS Grassroots Board Member. Send nominations Jack McLaughlin at [email protected] or call 202-783-4800 x152 no later than September 15.

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: http://www.results.org/about/annual_report/.

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