This is a step-by-step guide to introduce yourself, new volunteers, and other community activists to concrete actions you can take to develop skills as effective advocates. They provide you with the tools necessary to achieve success as an advocate and as a group.

Each skill builds upon the next within each grouping. You can choose to accomplish them in order or skip around. These how-to’s are designed to challenge and inspire you as you grow as an advocate. By attempting and accomplishing each one, you build skill, talent, and confidence in exercising your personal and political power. As always, the RESULTS staff are available to explain and coach you as you take these actions.

Good luck and have fun!

Step-by-Step Guides

These how-to’s are designed to challenge and inspire you as you grow as an advocate. By attempting and accomplishing each one, you build skill, talent, and confidence in exercising your personal and political power.


Choose an issue and learn its basics

Each year, RESULTS leads anti-poverty campaigns focused on effective and often-overlooked solutions that target the causes and consequences of poverty. Focus your education and advocacy efforts on learning at least one of these campaigns to get started.


Create and deliver a "laser talk"

RESULTS has created an easy format for our volunteers to use to create powerful “laser talks” – short and compelling talks, less than 2 minutes long, that end with a call to action. Laser talks are the backbone of our advocacy work.


Take a leadership role in your group

We know that the healthiest groups are the ones that share leadership. Find out how your talents can help make your local group of advocates even stronger.


Attend the RESULTS International Conference in Washington, D.C.

Come to the heart of Washington, D.C. to gather with hundreds of other advocates, hear from leading experts, and meet face-to-face with the members of Congress who represent you.


Set personally challenging goals and achieve them

None of the great social movements of our time occurred until the political will was great enough to demand a shift in public policy. This is no time to go soft on our dreams and goals.

The work of RESULTS focuses on changing policy and securing the right investments from Congress. RESULTS has developed tried-and-true methods that can help you be an effective and successful advocate with decision makers in Washington.

Milestones for Working with Congress


Send an E-mail to Your Member of Congress

Email is a great first step in starting a conversation with a legislator, registering your concerns and interests, and building confidence in your power as an advocate.


Make a Phone Call to Your Member of Congress

Calling your member of Congress can be intimidating, but it’s the first step toward a solid relationship with legislators and their key staff.


Write a Letter to Your Member of Congress

It takes more time to send a personalized letter, and as a result, policymakers take them more seriously than what they receive online.


Build a Relationship with a Congressional Aide

Congressional aides are the ones working behind the scenes to make everything happen on Capitol Hill. They’re essential to advocacy success.


Ask a Question at a Town Hall Meeting

Elected officials pay special attention to the constituents who make the effort to get to a town hall, and it’s a chance to get your issue on the record publicly.


Meet Face-to-Face with Your Member of Congress

Face-to-face meetings are the single most effective tool we have for moving a member of Congress into action.


Establish Regular Conference Call or Video Meetings

Creating and maintaining strong relationships is how we have success as advocates in the long-haul.


Arrange a Site Visit for Your Member of Congress

There is no substitute for understanding an issue firsthand.


Get your Member of Congress to take Leadership on One of Our Issues

A champion in Congress can move their colleagues into action and create powerful change.


Build a Relationship with Your Member of Congress that Gets 24-Hour Turnaround

Senators and representatives all have “go-to” people: over time, you can become one of them.


Understanding the Legislative Process

With a nuanced understanding of how Congress works, you can make even more strategic, targeted requests.


Glossary of Legislative Terms

Use this cheat sheet to understand the lingo you’ll hear from congressional staff.

One of the best kept secrets from Capitol Hill is the enormous influence of local media on congressional decisions — not just cable news or The New York Times, but the local papers in the communities members of Congress represent. Over and over, we hear from members of Congress that a letter to the editor or an op-ed in their home district is what moved them into action.

Milestones for Working with the Media


Write a Letter to the Editor

Letters to the editor are fundamental to media for advocacy. They are quick to write, and members of Congress read the letters in their local paper every single day.


Write an Op-ed 

An op-ed or commentary piece gives you more space to make your case. If you can land an op-ed with a clear call to action, your member of Congress is sure to see it.


Meet Face-to-Face with Your Local Editorial Board

Meeting face-to-face with your editorial board is the best way to develop a relationship and support them to take on the issues you care about.


Generate an Article in Your Local Paper

Lots of other constituents are sure to see a local news article, giving you even more influence on Capitol Hill.

Thinking about starting a RESULTS group in your community? Or just want to get the word out about RESULTS issues? Learn how to talk about your issues locally, and how to build a coalition where you live!

Milestones for Working with Your Community


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