U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 5, 2014
When I needed them, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit were of great benefit to me in providing a home and food for my children.
— RESULTS St. Louis volunteer Thomas Perchlik in an August 4 letter to the editor in the St. Louis Post Dispatch
Congress can be proactive and pass legislation that makes a difference, like extending the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit… Telling our legislators about these priorities will help bring them into reality.
— RESULTS Snohomish (WA) global volunteer Willie Dickerson in an August 4 letter to the editor in the Herald of Everett, WA
New and Urgent in This Week's Update
- Got Two Minutes? Get Ready for the RESULTS National Conference Call This Saturday at 12:30 pm ET
- Got Ten Minutes? Outline Your Story and Then Join “Telling Your Story” Training Call Tonight at 9pm ET
- Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up on Face-to-Face Requests and Ask about Town Halls (July Action and August Action preview)
Latest from Washington, DC
- New Data Provides Insights on How to Talk about Poverty
- Join “Reclaiming Our Democracy” Book Discussion with RESULTS Founder Sam Daley-Harris Next Week
- Quick News
Join us for the RESULTS National Conference Call this Saturday, August 9. As members of Congress head home this week, we’ll spend the call getting you ready for the August congressional recess. We are pleased that Tom LaPointe can join us as our guest speaker this month. Tom is a former legislator from Maine and also the former Director of Every Child Matters in Iowa. He will share with us his unique experience as both a lawmaker and advocate as on face-to-face encounters with members of Congress and push lawmakers to support social justice issues. We will also do a training to teach you how to make the most of town hall meetings this month. This will be a helpful and informative call – please plan to join us.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this Saturday, August 9 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call.
We will have the August 2014 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. You will find them on the RESULTS Home Page in the “Take Action” box in the top right-hand corner.
Got Ten Minutes? Outline Your Story and Then Join “Telling Your Story” Training Call Tonight at 9pm ET
In July, we focused our attention on helping you get face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress during the current August recess. In addition to scheduling those meetings, we urged you to include “real experts” on poverty – those who have been directly impacted by poverty – in your meetings to provide them a platform to share their personal stories with lawmakers. Stories provide a powerful narrative and can help people “see” the problem clearer than simple facts and data alone. By including these stories in your meetings, you have a better chance of motivating and inspiring your members of Congress to act.
But the stories of real experts are not the only important stories out there. You have a story too, regardless of whether you’ve experienced poverty or not. Your own motivations to become an advocate for the end of poverty (not many people take on that challenge) and you’re efforts to create a better world are an inspiring story. Your story can not only be powerful in lobby meetings, it can also be effective in outreach meetings, for generating media, and simple conversations with people you know. But what if you want to share your story but don’t know how? We have just the thing for you.
Tonight, RESULTS and Circles USA are hosting a “Telling Your Story” training call, which will empower you to tell your own story. The training will include an overview of “public narrative” which is particularly helpful in advocacy settings, as well as training on the RESULTS EPIC Laser Talk. You can use this information to help tell your own story and also teach others to do the same. The training will be co-lead by RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson and LaNae Havens of Circles and RESULTS Albuquerque. LaNae is a perfect example of the power of story. Last year, she told her personal story to Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1) in a lobby meeting, who then shared LaNae’s story in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. We hope you will join us on the call. The training call is TONIGHT (Tuesday), August 5 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes today to outline your own personal story. Think of what motivated you to get involved with RESULTS and the movement to end poverty. Was there an event that prompted you to move from concerned citizen to engaged advocate? This is the start of your story. Jot down your thoughts today and then dial into the “Telling Your Story” training call tonight at 9:00 pm ET; (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. We’ll show you how to turn your outline into a powerful story you can use to inspire others into action.
Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up on Face-to-Face Requests and Ask about Town Halls (July Action and August Action preview)
Now that Congress is on recess (through September 5), it is time to push even harder for those face-to-face meetings this month. This recess is important because Congress will only have a few weeks back in session in September before they break for the November election. In other words, if you want them to pass any meaningful legislation before the election, now is the time to tell them. If you’ve made your face-to-face meeting requests, follow up with the scheduler to check on the status of your request. If you have not made your requests yet, it is not too late to submit them now.
If you cannot get a face-to-face meeting this month, ask the scheduler about any town halls or public events your members of Congress may be holding this month. Making the most of town halls is the focus of our August U.S. Poverty Action. Because it is an election year, many legislators are doing town halls. While not as intimate as a sit-down meeting, town halls are important events. Not only does it give you the chance to ask a question of your member of Congress in public, it also helps you educate other people in your community about our issues. Don’t ignore these opportunities. Ask your scheduler and check your legislators’ websites to see if they have any events coming up.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to follow up with your House and Senate offices about your face-to-face meeting requests. Contact the scheduler for each office this week to see if and when you member of Congress can meet with your local RESULTS group during the August recess. If you have not made your meeting requests, use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online meeting request to make your requests today. The July Action has tips to help with scheduling your meetings.
Be sure to also check about town halls or public events in your area. We will talk more about town halls on this weekend’s National Conference Call, which is also the focus of the August Action. You can also find advocacy tips for town halls in our Activist Toolkit. And don’t forget that congressional candidates may also be holding town halls; contact their campaigns about upcoming events and use these events to educate them about how to expand economic mobility in America.
If you need help with scheduling meetings, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]). Once you get a meeting or town hall scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to strategize on specific lobby requests. As you prepare, use the materials on our RESULTS Conference Lobby Resources page to help you.
The Center for Community Change (CCC) has “launched a major initiative to dismantle the barriers that create and sustain poverty.” As part of this effort, CCC is working to redefine how we talk about poverty in America. CCC recently held briefings highlighting new data about what messages work and don’t work when talking about poverty. The conclusion is that we all need to talk more about poverty in human terms, i.e. making it real. This is one reason we’ve been pushing you to include stories in your lobby meetings. Here are some of CCC’s specific findings:
- Make affected groups agents in their own story; focus on how barriers impede people’s efforts to do right and thrive.
- Don’t: Focus on how people are passive victims of poverty and position NGOs as saviors here to fix problems for the poor.
- Make clear that economic hardship results from deliberate policy choices.
- Don’t: Use the passive voice. It obscures where poverty comes from and what can be done about it.
- Start with shared values, especially family & freedom.
- Don’t: Start with policies & programs.
- Speak from shared experiences (child rearing, caring for sick relative, paying bills).
- Don’t: Focus on abstractions and rhetoric about “the system”.
- Position need for change in a populist context rooted in fairness.
- Don’t: Rely on making the middle class your hero or goal, it doesn’t cement support for addressing inequality or helping the poor.
- Name real things people want (time with family, a secure retirement, a decent life).
- Don’t: Talk abstractly about “change”.
- Focus on what people need. When you mention the economy, describe it as something out of balance that we can fix.
- Don’t: Position desired change as intended to help/boost/benefit “the economy”.
With the release of Rep. Paul Ryan’s new anti-poverty proposal, Expanding Opportunity in America (highlighted in last week’s Update) and likely increased conversations about poverty in America, this research can be very helpful in your advocacy efforts. Be sure to read the entire CCC briefing paper, which has other helpful messaging tips. We will be working to include some of these ideas and themes in our organizational messaging too. If you have questions about how to message RESULTS-specific issues in this next context, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for help.
Beginning next week, RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris will be hosting a three-week book discussion of Reclaiming Our Democracy, his book about the founding of RESULTS which is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its release. Sam is a great speaker and always prompts interesting and lively discussions. If you’re ready to be inspired (or re-inspired) about your work with RESULTS, join Sam’s book discussion next week. The series will be held August 13, 20, and 27 at 9:00 pm ET. We hope you can come to the entire series, but don't hesitate to attend any one of the sessions. To participate in the series, sign up here. We look forward to a vibrant conversation!
Listen to Webinar on Influencing Members of Congress. On May 12, RESULTS hosted a conference call/webinar with motivational speaker Sunil Bhaskaran on how to best influence your members of Congress. It was a very informative training that can help you with your lobby meetings this month. We now have the webinar on the RESULTS website. Take time to listen to the Influencing Your Members of Congress conference call and companion PowerPoint as you prepare for your lobby meetings. (Note that Cahaya Mind, LLC and Sunil Bhaskaran created this content and should not be redistributed or used for purposes other than training volunteers). Also, the RESULTS Blog will be hosting a blog series this month about the importance of face-to-face meetings and tips for making them successful. Our first installment will be next week. Stay tuned!
For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.
The RESULTS online system that handles Friends and Family campaigns and online donations for events is being transitioned to a new platform this week. These platforms will be unavailable until August 15, when the new platform will be rolled out for use. Additionally, if you are interested in hosting a Friends and Family site or a local event in the next few weeks or months, please contact Jen DeFranco ([email protected]) for support in setting up your new online webpage and/or planning your event.
Last Day to Vote for Grassroots Board Members. This is the FINAL DAY OF VOTING for the new Grassroots Members of the RESULTS Board. We have two vacancies to fill this fall. Read about each nominee on the RESULTS website and then cast your vote at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RESULTS2014. You can also send your vote to Jack McLaughlin at [email protected]. All active RESULTS volunteers are eligible to vote.
Please Fill Out the Lobby Report Form. If you have not filled out a report for your recent lobby meetings, please take a few minutes fill out our online Lobby Report form at: http://tinyurl.com/LobbyReportForm. Note: please fill out the form for lobby meetings you have at home as well.
Media Success Update. Thank you to all the RESULTS volunteers who have submitted media pieces this year for publication. We are on pace to have another great year of media successes. Through today, RESULTS volunteers have gotten 60 media pieces published on U.S. Poverty issues. This includes 50 letters to the editor, 14 op-eds, and 2 articles. Congratulations! Keep up the good work by sending in your own letter to the editor today using our online LTE alert.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: August 4 – September 5. Request face-to-face meetings.
Tuesday, August 5: “Telling Your Story” Training Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
Saturday, August 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Wednesday, August 13: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at: https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.
Wednesdays August 13, 20, and 27: Reclaiming Our Democracy book discussion with Sam Daley-Harris, 9:00 pm ET. Sign up to attend here.
Tuesday, August 19: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x.116, [email protected].
- Jos Linn, Grassroots Manager, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]
- Kristy Martino, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (603) 531-7486, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Jen DeFranco, Grassroots Development Associate, [email protected]
The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.