U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | April 21, 2015

“Let’s not cut what works.”

April 17 editorial in The Santa Fe New Mexican, generated by RESULTS Santa Fe volunteers

“Mr. [Trey] Gowdy, you have told your constituents that you care about children, that their education and well-being are important to the entire society. Please stand up for our hungry children.”

– RESULTS Spartanburg/Wofford (SC) volunteer Begoña Caballero-Garcia in an April 16 letter to the editor in Spartanburg Herald-Journal

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Use the Media to Help Protect SNAP

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? We’ve Hit the Half Century Mark – Keep Those Letters Coming (April Action)

If Congress doesn’t know that people oppose cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), then they must be living on the moon. You – RESULTS volunteers around the country – have made a lot of noise about protecting SNAP. As of today, RESULTS volunteers have gotten 52 media pieces published about protecting SNAP in 2015, 33 of them coming in April alone. That is stupendous! Congratulations!

Why We Need to Keep It Up. House and Senate negotiators are meeting this week to finalize the 2016 budget resolution in the hopes of passing it by early May. This gives us a little more time to influence the budget process but the door is closing by the day. The more members of Congress see media in their local papers demanding they protect SNAP, the less likely fast-tracking SNAP cuts will be in the final budget. Make sure your members of Congress know that protecting SNAP should be their top priority this week.

TAKE ACTION: Don’t let up! Take two minutes to send a letter to the editor telling your members of Congress by name to protect SNAP in the 2016 budget. Use our SNAP LTE alert to send your letter today or the April Action to write your own, personalized letter. Send in your letter now while negotiators are working on the final budget. Remember the tips we got on the April U.S. Poverty National Meeting to help you. If you’ve submitted a letter but have not gotten published, here are some tips to increase your chances of getting published:

  1. Submit your letter to another paper. If you’re having no luck with your local paper, send your letter to another one. Many cities have weekly or alternative papers you can submit to or you could send a letter to your state capital’s paper or the largest paper in your state (they usually print letters from around the state). Find a list of the media outlets in your state our Media Guide.
  2. Submit another letter. Find a new hook in your paper and submit a different letter to see if they will print this one. You don’t even need to rewrite everything; just tweak your original letter to keep it current. If you are looking for a hook, you could mention that the House Republicans held a hearing last week in which SNAP participants talked about the importance of SNAP and argued against any cuts to the program.
  3. Call the paper and ask about your letter. Call to talk to the editor who handles letters and ask if there is something you should do differently to get published and what they look for in a letter. Find media outlets using our Media Guide.

If you have questions or need help with your letters, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for assistance.

Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up with Ag Aides One More Time about Protecting SNAP

The House and Senate are hoping to finalize the 2016 budget in the next two weeks. This means we have precious little time to still influence the budget process and protect SNAP. Once the proposal goes to the House and Senate floor, there will be little chance to change it. You already done a magnificent job of using the media to remind members of Congress to protect SNAP in the budget. To help seal the deal, reconnect with your House and Senate agriculture aides you talked to in March to reiterate the message to protect SNAP. Ask them if their bosses talked to budget negotiators about opposing fast-track cuts to SNAP and urge them to do so once again as the final budget takes shape. These calls can make a big difference. If fast track cuts to Agriculture programs (i.e. budget reconciliation) are left out of the final budget, Congress may choose to table SNAP cuts for a while (or maybe not pursue them at all in 2015) because they know it will be more difficult to get them passed using the normal legislative process.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to call the agriculture aide in your House and Senate offices. Ask them to urge their bosses to speak to budget negotiators about protecting SNAP in the final budget resolution one more time. Specifically, you want your legislators to tell negotiators to ensure that the final budget resolution does not assign any budget cuts to the Agriculture Committee. The March Action has talking points you can use in your conversations. You can also see a sample conversation with an aide on the RESULTS website. You can find aide names on our Elected Officials page. If you have questions or need coaching for your calls, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).

Got Thirty Minutes? SNAP Letter is Done – Go for an Editorial

As noted above, RESULTS volunteers have done a great job of generating media the last month about protecting SNAP. Most of these media pieces have been letters to the editor from all over the country. However, in the last two weeks, we’ve also seen editorials generated by volunteers in Connecticut, Iowa, and New Mexico. As you know, editorials carry a lot of weight because they reflect the opinion of the paper as an organization, not just one person. Politicians pay attention to editorials. Think about election years when candidates covet those editorial endorsements for elected office. This is the same thing, only getting the endorsement on an issue, not a candidate. If you’ve already sent in your letter to the editor, take your media advocacy to the next level by urging your paper to write an editorial about protecting SNAP.

TAKE ACTION: Take thirty minutes to contact your local paper and urge them to write an editorial about protecting SNAP in the 2016 budget. Use our SNAP media brief to send to the writer or editor. Pitching an editorial is just like calling an aide or meeting with a member of Congress. You do your research, call them and make your case for protecting SNAP and why they should write something about it, and provide them with background information to help. You will want to contact an editorial writer or editor. Here are some resources you can use in your pitch and send to the writer:

Learn more about pitching editorials using our Activist Toolkit. Also, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for coaching and any other help you need with requesting an editorial.

RESULTS Conference: Calling All Everyday Hero Runners & Walkers and Don’t Miss REAL Change Deadline!

Grab your cape and running shoes and plan to join us for our 3rd Annual Everyday Hero Dash 5k/1 Mile Fun Run on Sunday, July 19 at 6:30 pm ET at the RESULTS International Conference. Can't join us in person at the conference? Then join us virtually. That's right! You can still join in the Everyday Hero fun and complete your own race, on your own time, and earn your EHD medal while wearing your very own EHD race shirt! Advance registration for the July 19 event and virtual race option are both open and will guarantee you a medal at the event (or mailed to your home if you are registering virtually). To register, go to: https://friendraising.donorpro.com/campaigns/237.

Also, the deadline to apply for the REAL Change Fellowship is this Saturday, April 25. REAL Change is a year-long volunteer program that provides 18-30 year olds unique experience in lobbying, media advocacy, and organizing. It starts with a trip to the RESULTS International Conference and continues throughout the year, where Fellows put their ongoing training into practice in their community. If you know a young person who would make a strong leader in the fight to end poverty, invite him/her to apply today. The application is on the RESULTS website.

Finally, if you haven’t registered for this year’s RESULTS International Conference, don’t wait another day. REGISTER TODAY! Remember, you can register today for only $100 (for active RESULTS volunteers).

Invite Someone to a RESULTS Introductory Call

One of the reasons RESULTS has been successful over the years is that we are always looking for new people to join the important work of anti-poverty advocacy. More people mean a louder voice and new people mean new ideas and new energy. One of the ways we welcome new people to RESULTS is our bimonthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30-minite calls are open to anyone wanting to know more about RESULTS. There is no pressure – if people want to get involved, we follow up with them personally; if they don’t, we wish them well and invite them to get involved when they’re ready. If you know someone who would benefit from the RESULTS experience or would be a powerful voice against poverty, please invite them to attend an upcoming Intro Call. The next RESULTS Introductory Call is this Friday, April 24 at 1:00 pm ET. People can register for this or another upcoming call on the RESULTS website.

Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events.

Next Congressional Recesses: House: May 2-12 and 23-31; Senate: May 23-31. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS Introductory Call, April 24 at 1:00 pm ET. If you are new to RESULTS, learn more about our work by joining our next RESULTS Intro Call. Register for an upcoming call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Meeting, May 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls and meetings on our National Conference Calls page.

Attend the RESULTS International Conference, July 18-21. Join us for the RESULTS International Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. This is the biggest event of the year for RESULTS. Register TODAY!

Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

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