January 2018 U.S. Poverty Action
Plan for a Powerful 2018
2018 promises to be an exciting year in our work to end poverty, given the dynamics in DC, and that it’s an election year. 2017 certainly had its ups and downs, but one thing it showed was that when you put your mind and focus to making a difference, you do. RESULTS volunteers had a record year in their advocacy work with over 800 media pieces published and nearly 400 face-to-face meetings with members of Congress. You also engaged countless people by “leading through action” with local events, letter-writing, trainings and fundraisers.
Now it is time to keep that momentum and success going by staying in action and bringing more and diverse advocates into our network. Millions of lives literally hang in the balance and in many ways, you are part of the last line of defense in protecting them from harm. The work starts now. With your 2018 group planning, you are setting to paper the role you plan to play in bringing us closer to a world free of poverty.
Our planning process has changed somewhat, as have the forms you will use. We encourage you to read this guide out loud together during the planning process. It will provide you with ideas and suggestions to make your plans exciting, informative, and complete.
What You Will Need
- Access all the 2018 Group Planning resources from the Group Resources and Administration page, including the Group Planning Guide, Group Planning Summary, and Individual Planning Form.
- Use our 2018 Individual Planning Form to articulate the things you want to bring to your group and your advocacy this year.
- During your planning meeting, please fill out the Group Planning Summary (Word document).
- Please complete your 2018 Group Planning Summary by January 31. Once the Summary is completed, please scan and email a copy to your Regional Coordinator and to Jos Linn ([email protected]).
As you plan for 2018, we urge to spend time looking at the current health of your group. RESULTS advocates are amazing. Fueled with your personal passion and a commitment to equity in the world, you come together in groups to influence Congress, the media, and their communities to end poverty. The group is critical because it provides support, friendship, and creative thinking. Use the Group Strength chart in the Group Planning Summary form to talk about your group’s strengths and then identify a couple of areas you’d like to strengthen even further in 2018.
Also, the role each person plays in your group is of critical importance to your success. Successful groups are ones where everyone plays a part, no matter how big or small. Each outcome you identify will be met more easily when each person is working to accomplish them. So, this year, we want you to talk about the roles people will take on. Don’t just assign them; talk them through and ensure that whatever role each person takes on, it is one they want to do and plan to see through. When everyone does something, you feel more invested and excited about your advocacy work, it reduces the workload for everyone in your group, and you are more likely to follow through on your actions and achieve your outcomes. The Group Plan Summary has the critical roles listed but If you would like to see a list of various group roles, visit https://results.org/wp-content/uploads/RESULTS_Grassroots_Roles_2017.doc.
Schedule Your First Face-to-Face Meetings of 2018
The first action in a successful year of advocacy is meeting with your members of Congress to discuss the priorities you want them to adopt. Last year, RESULTS volunteers did a great job at getting meetings with lawmakers and their staff early in the year, which helped you not only set a record for meetings last year, but stop critical cuts to Medicaid and the ACA – cuts that were all but assumed to happen after the 2016 election. Set yourselves up for success again by requesting face-to-face meetings with all your members of Congress. Ask to meet the next time they are home.
- Have the point persons for your representative(s) and senators call to request face-to-face meetings. You can find contact information and the names of the Washington DC scheduler (under “Staff”) on our Elected Officials page at: https://www.results.org/take-action/action-center?vvsrc=%2fAddress. You can also dial directly to the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative’s/senator’s office.
- Once connected to the office, ask for the scheduler (be ready to leave a succinct voicemail).
- Use the following conversation as a template for the conversation with the scheduler.
Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. ______________ from ______________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots volunteer group working to end hunger and poverty. I know that Rep./Sen. __________ values input from constituents on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule meeting with Rep./Sen.__________ while he/she is still home for an upcoming recess. May I set that up today? There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting and we would like to discuss how we can work together to support innovative approaches to helping families move out of poverty. What times would he/she be available to meet?
- You may be asked for a written request – use the above paragraph for an e-mail request.
- If the member of Congress has no time to meet this month, ask to schedule a meeting the next time he/she is back home. Also ask about any upcoming town hall meetings.
- Be sure to note the name of the scheduler and thank him/her for their assistance. If you don’t get a firm answer when you call, mention when you’ll be following up.
- Once you confirm a meeting, please contact RESULTS Director of US Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching, materials, and requests for your meeting.
- After each meeting (even if only with staff), please fill out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form to let us know how it went: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.