A Different Way of Bird-dogging

September 28, 2012
by Lisa Marchal, Global Grassroots Associate

I work for the RESULTS national staff, but because I live outside Washington, DC, I also get to spend a bit of time advocating in my own backyard and building relationships with local and regional constituencies who are also passionnate about ending poverty. Recently I was invited by a ONE Regional Field Director to attend meetings with the Indianapolis-based staff of both candidates running for Indiana’s open Senate seat. (As non-partisan organizations, we wanted both candidates to be aware that many in the state were watching out for their global poverty platforms.) Here are a few quick things I was reminded of thanks to that busy day:

1. As RESULTS advocates, we have valuable information to share. One candidate specifically asked for talking points on our poverty issues so that he could be more conversant during upcoming debates, and both candidates appreciated both the information and the interest we brought to them on the subject. Remember that no candidate or elected official can be an expert in all subjects. Through both town hall bird-dogging and one-on-one meetings, We can provide succinct, understandable, relevant information to those seeking office and currently serving. We can offer a shortcut to helpful, timely information so they can support poverty alleviations strategies that actually work. 

2. Coalition-building remains important. While no two organizations approach advocacy precisely the same way, there is often at least one significant way poverty-fighting organizations can partner to amplify their impact. For example, the ONE Regional Field Director has already agreed to help present a workshop on local coalition-building at the RESULTS Heartland regional conference, and here in Indianapolis, we are now connecting with a couple of local ONE volunteers possibly to plan a film screening for World AIDS Day. 

Keep your eyes open for ways that you can reach out to other like-minded organizations and, together, present your case to end poverty both to those seeking to serve and to those already serving. Who knows? Through that partnership, many good things may grow.

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