Working with the Community: Activist Milestone #4
Train a Local Community Group in Advocacy
There are many opportunities to bring an advocacy workshop to a community group in your town. Civic groups, schools, church groups, and other organizations are often looking for guest speakers, and you could bring a topic not often discussed. Once you are known in your community as an activist, don’t be surprised if you get invitations. But don’t be shy about contacting groups and offering to present trainings, either!
Sample outline of an advocacy training
- Group introductions (5–10 min)
- Sample: name, why came to this training
- Tip: if many in room, ask to answer using 1 to 3 words
- Introduce RESULTS (10 min), including
- The Basics of RESULTS
- Personal testimonial: Why you are involved with RESULTS
- Get a sense of how much experience those in the room already have by asking one or two of the following questions (2 min):
- How many of you have written a letter to a member of congress before? More than 10 letters? More than 25 letters?
- How many have spoken with a congressional aide over the phone? More than 10 calls? More than 25 calls?
- How many have met face-to-face with an aide? More than 10 aides? More than 25 aides?
- How many have lobbied a member of Congress face-to-face before? More than 10 meetings? More than 25 meetings?
- The importance of lobbying effectively (5 min)
- Many of us care about an issue but we’re not sure how to make a difference. In RESULTS, we learn best practices in engaging with our elected officials so that champions for the end of poverty can be created. In your own words, how do you see RESULTS’ work as life-changing work?
- Description of various lobby scenarios: (10 min)
- Direct face-to-face contact with member of Congress
- Phone call with aide that handles your issue
- Handwritten and faxed letter to congressional office
- Typed letter or e-mail (especially if personalized) to congressional office
- Laser Talk coaching (20 min)
- Explain the power of a Laser Talk and its potential uses
- Pick a relevant laser talk from the U.S. and global laser talk archives
- Coach the Laser Talk. Explain the entire process below before you start and then remind the audience of what to do before each step:
- Recite your Laser Talk straight through yourself. Urge people to listen carefully for key facts in the talk. Have it memorized, if possible.
- Recite the talk again but leave out key facts (statistics, program names, bill numbers, etc.) and ask the audience to shout out the answers. E.g.: “Medicaid currently provides quality, affordable health care to [how many] people? 60 million!”
- Recite the talk and again leave out the same key facts as before, but this time ask the audience to only think the answers silently to themselves (they should not say anything). This is so they can internalize the information. After a brief pause for each fact, you then provide the answer. Hint: to give enough pause time for the audience to think of the answer, say the answer silently to yourself and then say it out loud.
- Have folks break up into pairs to practice their laser talks (allow 3–5 minutes for each person)
- Ask for a volunteer to give the talk in front of the room
- Closing (5–10 min)
- Remind people of the power they have to make a difference on issues like domestic and global poverty
- Tell them when your local RESULTS group meets and invite people to attend a meeting
- Hand out sign-up forms for our e-mail Action Network
- Thank everyone for their time
- Ask for feedback or distribute evaluation forms