A 2011 RESULTS International Conference Recap
It’s been a week and the success of the 2011 RESULTS International Conference for RESULTS and the cause of ending poverty in our world is still palpable. We are so glad all those who attended the conference and were a part of this memorable experience were able to be there. We also greatly appreciate all the support those back home gave to those who did attend. Our annual conference is most definitely a team effort with everyone in the RESULTS family playing an important role. We thank everyone for their participation and support.
For those who could not attend, we want to give you some highlights of the festivities.
- On Sunday, former Ambassador Mark Green told our volunteers that what we were doing — lobbying members of Congress on anti-poverty funding — was absolutely necessary, even in this harsh budget climate. He said that no one should be afraid to ask for what they want of their members of Congress; you might not get it but it is very important to keep asking.
- On Monday, after an informative presentation on Head Start and child care programs in the morning, Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman inspired conference attendees about the urgency of our work right now. She did not pain a rosy picture of the current debate in Washington and reminded everyone that the real deficit in Washington is a moral one. She said that our work in protecting children and families from reckless budget cuts was needed now more than ever. People walked away sobered yet inspired by her words.
- On Tuesday morning, RESULTS held a Lobby Day kick-off reception on Capitol Hill with Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Michael Bennett (D-CO). They both praised the work of RESULTS and stressed the importance of protecting low-income children and families in the current budget negotiations. You can watch Sen. Bennett’s speech on YouTube. They provided the perfect beginning to a fruitful and busy day on Capitol Hill.
- On Tuesday (and Wednesday), RESULTS volunteers conducted over 200 hundred meetings with members of Congress and their staff. Some had breakthroughs, some had setbacks, but everyone was proud of the effort they made. We shall see in the coming weeks as we follow up from our meetings the successes we created during Lobby Day 2011.
- On Tuesday evening, volunteers attended the Lobby Day reception on Capitol Hill to regale the events of Lobby Day and to hear from our allies in this work. Celebrated actress and RESULTS Board Member Valarie Harper hosted the reception ceremonies. Reps. Hanson Clark (D-MI-13), Barbara Lee (D-CA-9), Brad Miller (D-NC-13) and Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11) were in attendance and thanked RESULTS for the work we were doing in engaging every citizens in the work to end poverty.
We have photos and videos from the conference already available online. You can see YouTube. You can also see all of our Twitter posts from the conference on our RESULTS Conference Twitter page. In addition, read blog posts from Isabelle D’Arcy and Taryn Peacock, student attendees at the conference, about their experience. We have more resources from the conference on our International Conference page on the RESULTS website and will add more resources in the coming days.
However, we still have work to do to complete this year’s conference experience. We must follow up with members of Congress and our groups back home about the actions we took and next steps if we want to have the impact we desire. Take a few minutes this week to take the following actions:
CONFERENCE FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS:
- Follow up from your conference lobby meetings. Send a thank you note or e-mail to the aides you met with last week and be sure to briefly reiterate the requests you made in your meeting. Also tell them you will follow up in a week or two to see what action has been taken on your requests. Remember, this follow up is absolutely essential in achieving our goals. It holds our members of Congress, and ourselves, accountable for the work we do and the commitments we make.
- Let us know how your lobby meetings went by completing our online budget and early childhood actions as part of the follow-up (e.g. send a letter/e-mail or make a phone call), then send it as an e-mail to your local action network. This is a great way to share your DC experience with your community and a great opportunity to get others to take action.
- Use the Conference resources. Remember that we have a litany of resources on our International Conference page for your use, including background packets, PowerPoint presentations, request letters, and links to our online lobby scheduling and reporting forms. Please use these resources going forward to help you in your follow-up and actions in the coming weeks and months.
As always, if you have any questions or need any assistance with follow-up or actions, please don’t hesitate to contact the RESULTS staff.
Finally, we want to thank all of our great speakers at the conference for doing such a wonderful job at educating and inspiring our volunteers. We also thank RESULTS volunteers who contributed to Half in Ten’s awesome interactive storymap during our conference (http://halfinten.org/stories).