Congress is fielding many urgent priorities, and it feels like fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations aren’t high on the list of priorities for some politicians. But if Congress doesn’t pass all twelve FY24 funding bills by January 1st, all federal programs funded through annual appropriations – including AmeriCorps – would face cuts.
Unfortunately, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have drafted spending bills that would cut AmeriCorps funding for FY24. The consequences of a budget cut would be immense for both the nonprofit sector and local communities. If Congress does not increase funding for AmeriCorps, there will be a significant cut in awarded service positions, a reduction in the services that AmeriCorps members provide across the nation, and progress towards goals like planned increases to the AmeriCorps living allowances will slow. We need your help to ensure that Congress avoids these painful cuts and provides robust funding for AmeriCorps in FY24.
Voices for National Service created the “Advocate’s Guide to AmeriCorps and FY24 Appropriations” which includes a six-prong ladder of activities for engaging with your elected officials. The guide includes detailed talking points, templates, and examples for each of the six action activities. No matter how much time, energy, or resources you can spend on advocacy – follow some of these steps and you can urge Congress to make AmeriCorps funding a priority:
Post on social media: Use your platforms (both professional and personal) to share the benefits of national service, especially if you are an AmeriCorps alum or work with AmeriCorps members in your community. If you need help, Voices for National Service has crafted messages that you can tweet at your members of Congress.
Write to your member of Congress: Members of Congress track their constituents’ concerns and prioritize issues based on emails and calls. Use this form to send an email directly to your senators and representative calling on them to increase funding for AmeriCorps in FY24.
Write an op-ed or letter to the editor: An opinion piece or letter to the editor in local news outlets can get the attention of congressional staff and would help increase public support for AmeriCorps at this vital moment. We have tips and templates for both here.
Engage local stakeholders to amplify your message: Ask board members, local elected officials, and/or funders who are supportive of AmeriCorps to join your engagement activities to showcase the broad support for robust AmeriCorps funding. Op-eds or personalized letters to legislators (using our template) are especially helpful ways for key stakeholders to get involved.
Meet with your member of Congress: Members of Congress and their staff often take constituent meetings to hear directly from local organizations and individuals about community needs. You can request a meeting, either in DC or in the district/state office, to make the case directly that AmeriCorps funding plays a valuable role in the community.
Host a site visit at a service location: Take a meeting one step further and invite your legislator and/or their staff to visit an AmeriCorps service location to see first-hand the real-life benefits that AmeriCorps has in their community, and why fully funding AmeriCorps is so important to their constituents.
All in all, there are multiple ways that everyone can act – individually or through an organization – to promote the impact of AmeriCorps and encourage Congress to provide needed resources for national service. Wherever you are on the advocacy ladder, be sure to visit the Advocate’s Guide to AmeriCorps and FY24 Appropriations for resources to help you get started in using your voice for national service!