U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | February 17, 2015

“Thank you… for the work you are doing and making a difference in this country and abroad.  Getting your voices heard.  Thank you for that.”

New York Times columnist and best-selling author Nicholas Kristof on the February 14 webinar with RESULTS

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Thank people for coming to your local RESULTS outreach event this past weekend!

Take Action

Got Two Minutes? Call Schedulers to Confirm Face-to-Face Meetings and Ask About Town Halls

Congress is on recess this week so members of Congress are home and available to meet with constituents. As Congress begins work on the FY 2016 budget, this is an important time to be weighing in with your representatives and senators about creating more economic mobility in America and protecting critical safety net programs like SNAP.

TAKE ACTION: To two minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers about face-to-face meetings during this week’s recess. If you have already submitted a request, call to check on the status of it. If you have not submitted a request yet, please do so now using our online request form. If you cannot get a sit-down meeting this week, be persistent and ask for a time the next time he/she is back home (see the next recess dates in our Upcoming Events section). Also, ask if your members of Congress are doing any town halls or public events this week that you can attend. Once you get a meeting or town hall confirmed, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching on specific requests for your meeting. Be sure to use poverty data for your congressional district in your meetings (http://talkpoverty.org/poverty/) and bring copies of our new Lobby Meeting requests to give your members of Congress, which you can find in the green box on our U.S. Poverty Campaigns page).

Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up with New People from Last Weekend’s Nicholas Kristof Webinar (February Action)

Thank you to all of you who participated in the Nicholas Kristof webinar last Saturday. It was a great event and we greatly appreciate Mr. Kristof’s time and thank him for speaking with us. Hopefully, you had new people come to your local viewing of the webinar and hopefully they got interested in getting involved with RESULTS. Remember, your outreach event is not over until you’ve followed up with the people who came. It shows them that you value their participation and provides you another point of contact with them. Take a few minutes this week to make your outreach this weekend a confirmed success by doing follow-up.

TAKE ACTION: To ten minutes to follow up with new people from your outreach event this past weekend. If you’re not sure what to do, follow the steps below for effective follow-up (divide the names of new people to be followed up with among your group so one or two people are not doing all the work):

  1. Contact each person personally (phone or e-mail) and thank him/her for coming to your local event. Include the link to the recording of the Kristof event: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/replay_meeting/f2988286/7037962.
  2. Ask them what they enjoyed about the experience and what did they hear that resonated with them.
  3. Remind them how important their voice is in making a difference and that we need their help now. Budget decisions being made in the next few weeks could have a profound impact on families living in poverty.
  4. Tell them you welcome them to get involved and help make their voice heard on these important issues.
  5. Invite them to your next local RESULTS meeting (give date and location), upcoming lobby meeting, or both. Providing a concrete next step for them is very important.
  6. A day or two before your next meeting, call each person to remind them of the meeting and that you are looking forward to them coming.

Thank you all again for your help in making the Kristof event a great success. If you have questions or need coaching for your outreach follow-up, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected]. You can listen to a recording of the event, read the transcript, or download the slides of the Kristof event on our National Conference Calls page.

Got Twenty Minutes? Urge Lawmakers to Protect SNAP (February Action)

Much of our attention this month has been focused on last weekend’s Nicholas Kristof webinar. Part of the purpose of the webinar was to invite new people to get involved. We need people standing up for people living in poverty. That’s why another part of the action for the month concerns the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). As you know, currently over 46 million people – almost half of them children – receive SNAP benefits and SNAP lifted almost 5 million people out of poverty in 2013. It has been critical to millions of Americans in the wake of the Great Recession. SNAP also boasts one of the highest accuracy rates (96 percent) and “trafficking” of benefits (i.e. fraud) accounts for only one percent of program spending.

Yet, some lawmakers are bound and determined to undermine this success. As reported last week in the Wall Street Journal, Republican leaders in Congress are looking to “rewrite” the SNAP program. This could mean deep cuts, stricter eligibility rules, converting SNAP to a lump sum block grant to states, or all of the above. The effect would be to cut off support for  children and families across the nation. As in previous budget proposals, some of these lawmakers will be using bogus arguments to justify these changes, such as that the program costs too much, despite the fact that SNAP costs are decreasing. Yet the House didn’t seem too concerned with cost when it passed a number of costly tax breaks last week without paying for them. It is these contrasts that we must highlight with lawmakers.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to protect hungry children and families. Use the second part of the February Action to write letters to your representatives and senators, urging them to protect SNAP in upcoming budget negotiations (you can also print the action sheet separately for meetings and events). Be sure to use local data in your letters, which you can find at http://talkpoverty.org/poverty/. Protecting SNAP is also a key request for face-to-face meetings with members of Congress. Congress is on recess this week, giving you a great opportunity to discuss the importance of SNAP program with your senators and representatives. Request a meeting and once you get one confirmed, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching on specific requests for your meeting.

Upcoming Events: Participate in New Trainings, Support Calls, and Local Outreach Events

RESULTS is always looking to grow and strengthen your local groups (and start new ones) to help you maintain your status is one of the most effective and savvy grassroots networks in the country. To that end, we have a number of trainings, support calls, and outreach events coming up. We encourage you to participate in them and invite others to do so as well.

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: February 14-23, March 6-15, March 28-April 12; Senate: February 14-22, March 28-April 12. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS Free Agents, February 17. Our U.S. Poverty Free Agents will meet today, February 17 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET for their monthly support call. If you live in an area with no active RESULTS U.S. Poverty group, please join us online at: http://fuze.me/27491886 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 27491886.

RESULTS Evansville Training, February 17. Our newest group in Evansville, IN will be meeting tonight for their next new group training. Anyone is welcomed to attend. The group is meeting at 6:00 pm CT at the Evansville Central Library, 200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Browning Events Room B. Contact Jos Linn at [email protected] for details.

Advocacy 101 Training, February 17 and 18. Just in time for the February congressional recess, RESULTS is offering an online training on how to have an effective lobby meeting. The training will be offered twice this week: Tonight, February 17 at 9:00 pm ET and again tomorrow, February 18 at 1:00 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/27334614 or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 27334614.

RESULTS Introductory Call, February 18. If you are new to RESULTS, learn more about our work by joining our next RESULTS Intro Call. The call is tomorrow, February 18 at 9:00 pm ET. This is a great resource for people who came to your local outreach event last weekend. Urge them to register for the call on the RESULTS website.

Advanced Advocacy Training: Powermapping and Using the Champion Scale, February 24 and 26. Want to learn how to leverage local relationships and contacts into powerful advocacy? Want to use RESULTS Champion Scale to create champions in Congress? We can show you. Join our Advanced Advocacy Training on Powermapping and the Champion Scale on February 24 at 8:00 pm ET or February 26 at 3:00 pm ET. To join online, go to http://fuze.me/27334946. To join by phone, dial 201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 27334946.

Tax Policy Training in North Carolina, February 26. Later this month, RESULTS and MomsRising will offer “Putting Working Families First: Building a Fair Tax Policy for All", an evening of discussion, training, and taking action to put working families first in NC. This event will also be the start of a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty chapter for the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. The event is February 26 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm ET at Full Frame Theatre, 320 Blackwell Street #101 in Durham, NC. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

Group Start in Colorado Springs, April 9. We have some fantastic volunteers who want to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty chapter in Colorado Springs. On April 9, we’re holding a community outreach event to learn the issues, take action, and invite others in the area to join. The event is 6:00 – 8:00 pm MT at Old Colorado City Library, Meeting Room, 2418 West Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

Groups Building in Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL. We're getting folks trained to take action on EITC and SNAP, and gearing up for group events in early March. Atlanta has a standing training webinar on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. All are welcome. Contact Kristy Martino at [email protected] for details.

Planting Seeds in South Dakota. Advocates in Rapid City, SD are looking to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in the coming months. Things are just getting started and we welcome anyone interested to get involved. Contact Jos Linn at [email protected] for details.

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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