March 2018 U.S. Poverty Action
#LettersGetLOUD and Face-to-Face Meetings Make a Powerful Combination
This month, RESULTS volunteers and allies will take the #LettersGetLOUD campaign to the next level. Congress will be on recess March 26-April 6, giving you the opportunity to meet with representatives and senators in person to talk about the importance of protecting food assistance and health care for low-income families. This is also a great opportunity to hand-deliver your #LettersGetLOUD letters to your members of Congress and invite new people you’ve engaged through the campaign to join you in your meetings.
Step 1: Request a Face-to-Face Meeting
- Have the point persons for your representative(s) and senators call the schedulers to request face-to-face meetings for the March recess. Find names and contact information for the Washington DC scheduler (under “Staff”) on our Elected Officials page (or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121).
- Use our online template as a script or the body of an e-mail to request the meeting.
- Be sure to also ask about town halls or public events your members of Congress may be having during the recess (also check www.townhallproject.com).
- 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 staff only meetings), please fill out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form to let us know how it went: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.
Step 2: Use #LettersGetLOUD to Make the Most of Your Meetings
Once you get a meeting scheduled, you’ll want to make it as meaningful an experience as you can. The #LettersGetLOUD campaign is an easy way to magnify the message you will send in your meetings. Here are some ideas to help you:
- Have another letter-writing meeting. Hopefully, you already have some #LettersGetLOUD letters from February to take to your next lobby meeting. Work to generate more by having another meeting in March. In addition to people you invited last month, reach out to new people and use this as an opportunity to collaborate with another organization to gather additional letters. The #LettersGetLOUD campaign page has templates for letters you can use. Be sure to personalize your letters with stories and local data if you can.
- Collect your letters. Designate someone in your group to collect all the letters you’ve generated this year and plan to bring them to your meetings in March. If people wrote letters outside your normal meeting, coordinate to collect them before your lobby meetings.
- Invite new people to attend your lobby meetings. Invite people you have engaged in letter-writing to attend a lobby meeting with you and include them in your lobby planning. Remember that many people don’t speak out because they feel politicians are repeatedly turning deaf ear to our most pressing problems. A powerful lobby meeting can be an antidote to this “learned helplessness.” When people see others just like them can have an informed dialogue with lawmakers on the issues, and hold them accountable through relationship-building and follow-up, disempowerment transforms into empowerment.
- Invite coalition partners. If you’ve reached out to your local food bank or soup kitchen or Chamber of Commerce about #LettersGetLOUD, invite them to attend your next lobby meeting. Their presence brings new perspectives to the issues and demonstrates the broad community support for protecting anti-poverty programs.
- Share your success. Send an e-mail to your local Action Network about your lobby visits, share that their voices were heard, and invite them to participate in your next actions. Also, share our #LettersGetLOUD links on Twitter and Facebook with your Action Networks so they can see you and/or others reading your letters.
Step 3: Use a Strong Message for Meetings/Town Halls
When speaking to lawmakers in meetings or town halls, use our updated EPIC Laser Talk to urge lawmakers to protect anti-poverty programs.
Engage: As anti-poverty advocates, we believe nobody should go hungry – yet Census data shows that more than one in ___ residents in our state/your District are living below the poverty line, struggling to make ends meet.
Problem: Right now, Congress is considering proposals to take food and health care away from some of our most vulnerable neighbors by changing the structure of the country’s most effective anti-poverty programs, such as SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) and Medicaid.
Illustrate/Inform: Rather than taking away crucial supports from working families, I urge you to protect and strengthen basic health and nutrition assistance. (Include your own experience and/or why you care about the impact these programs have on your community.) SNAP is the cornerstone in the fight against hunger in America – it is timely, targeted, and incredibly effective, including during economic crises or natural disasters.
Call to Action: Will you tell congressional leaders and Agriculture Committee members you oppose any harmful cuts or changes to SNAP and other anti-poverty, and instead to put forward a robust bipartisan bill that protects and strengthens SNAP? Looking ahead, I urge you to focus on strengthening and expanding effective anti-poverty policies to create opportunity, make sure all Americans can make ends meet, and provide our children with a bright future.
Download PDF version of this action.