As a new RESULTS volunteer advocate, there are many skills to learn! We’ve created these 7 modules to help you brush up on advocacy skills, dive into current campaigns, and become familiar with support tools RESULTS has available to assist you in your advocacy. Each of these lessons will equip you will the basic skills you will need to become a powerfulRESULTS advocate!
These are not meant to be completed all in one day. We encourage you to break up these lessons into multiple days over time. Each lesson will take approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour and they all include action items for you to dive right in.
One of the first steps toward becoming an effective activist is learning how to speak powerfully about the issues. To do so, we must be educated about what we are talking about! RESULTS regularlyprovidesinformational toolsfor our advocates to learn about the issues on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
Action Item:Read through the learning materials and take notes onthe following:
What stands out the most about this issue
Why it matters to you
Think about personal stories you may have that relate to the issues
RESULTS created the “Laser Talk” which is an easy tool for our volunteers to create short and compelling talks that are less than 2 minutes long.These are the backbone of our advocacy work! We use Laser Talks when we meet with our members of Congress and their aides, when we call our editorial boards, and when we invite people to a RESULTS event.
Every month, RESULTS produces a new Laser Talk that corresponds with the issues we are currently working on. We invite you to write your own Laser Talks about the issues too!
Read our current Laser Talk messages and practice reading out loud in front of a mirror
Read the New Advocate Basic on Powerful Speaking to learn about EPIC messaging
Write your own EPIC message using our powerful speaking overview and EPIC worksheet
RESULTS empowers our volunteers to share personal stories to convey images that facts and figures cannot. It is important for you to create a personal story, because it will make your advocacy even more effective. It does not have to be an epic statement or life-altering event that brings you to this work; you just have to speak from the heart!
Write down the reasons you are working on anti-poverty issues
Use the powerful speaking workbook to brainstorm what experiences and values you can use to create a personal story
Write down your personal story and practice it in front of the mirror
“Hi, Buke!” my representative said warmly, and greeted me with a hug at his Capitol Hill office. His staff also welcomed me by name. A year ago I never would have dreamed that I would be on a first-name basis with a member of Congress. How did we get there?
Willie Dickerson’s white mustache twitches as he pauses for a moment, thinking hard. We have just asked him how many of his letters to the editor have been published around the country. He finally responds, “Around a thousand, but I’m not sure of exact numbers.”
One of the first actions you can take as a RESULTS volunteer is communicating with your member of Congress through an email, letter or phone call.
This may be your first time reaching out to your members of Congress, and that’s okay! RESULTS provides all the necessary tools and support you need to effectively communicate your request.
If you need tolearn how to reach your member of Congress, you can find out the name and contact e-mail for your member of Congresson the RESULTS website by using the Legislator Lookup. Hint: you can also find their DC office phone number here!
Read the “Communicating with Congress” overview and make note of any questions you may have
Use the RESULTS Action Center to help guide you through sending an email to your member of Congress
Call your member of Congress and leave a message for your representative (Bonus points if you do it during business hours!)
A key action to RESULTS advocacy is publishing letters to the editor in the local media. One of the best kept secrets from Capitol Hill is the enormous influence of media on congressional decisions — not just cable news or TheNew York Times — but the local papers in the communities that members of Congress represent.
Read through other Letters to the Editor published by RESULTS volunteers
Write a draft LTE about one of our current campaigns
Use the Action Center or visit your local newspaper’s website to submit a letter to the editor!
Organizing meetings with our members of Congress and their staff is a cornerstone of RESULTS advocacy. By reviewing these learning materials, you will familiarize yourself with the process to set up a meeting with your member of Congress, learn more about who represents you, and have all the tools to make a meeting happen.
Read through the learning materials so you understand the process for organizing a lobby meeting
Participate in an upcoming Congressional meeting with your RESULTS group
If there are no meeting in progress or you aren’t part of a RESULTS group, schedule your own! RESULTS staff can help you prepare