Toolkit on Educating Elected Officials

On May 23, the administration released their full FY18 budget which calls for the elimination for the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps, and Senior Corps over the course of the next year. The White House proposal would provide only the funds necessary to “wind down” the agency and its programs in FY18.

The administration’s budget proposal is just a starting point, a set of recommendations on how to prioritize federal spending. It is ultimately up to Congress to determine which federal programs are funded and at what levels. We must make sure Congress protects funding for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps and maintains our nation’s longstanding, bipartisan commitment to national service.

Below are tools that can make elected official engagement easy. Please report back on your efforts, and contact us with any questions.


RESPOND TO THE PRESIDENT’S BUDGET PROPOSAL

Raise your voice for national service and respond to the President’s full FY18 budget proposal. Here are template press releases that national organizations and community leaders can customize to alert reporters in your area to the impact the president’s proposal would have on your program and your community.


RESOURCES

National Service Fact Sheet

The fact sheet outlines critical information about the history and impact of national service programs – and why Congress should protect this important investment for local communities. This is a helpful resource if you need talking points or are writing a letter to the editor or opinion editorial for your local paper.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees, specifically the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittees, oversee funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service. These are the key decision-makers on funding for national service.


ADDITIONAL WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Contact Your Member of Congress

Whether you are a national service program leader, an AmeriCorps alum, or a concerned citizen, Congress needs to hear from you. Many members of Congress are unaware that non-profits and faith-based programs operating in their state or district that leverage grants and national service members from the Corporation from National and Community Service to deliver services to their constituents. We need to explain that cuts to CNCS would have a direct, meaningful impact. You can take action with our easy-to-use tools. Additionally, please share these resources with your networks and encourage them to contact their members of Congress too.

Email Congress

Call Congress

Tweet at Congress

Share these Tools

Ask Your Board Members, Service Partners, and Other Local Leaders to Help Protect National Service Funding

Template Letters to Congress
Members of Congress look to the leaders in their communities to let them know what’s working on the ground and what’s making a difference in the lives of their constituents.  Your mayors, board members, sponsors, service partners, and other supporters understand the value of your program and can provide critical insight to elected officials about the return on investment of national service.  Ask these champions to weigh-in by sending a letter or calling their members of Congress. Use one of our template letters, which you can customize for your supporter and encourage them to sign and send to Washington.

Secure an in-district meeting with your Member of Congress

During the congressional recess of April 10-21, your members of Congress will be back at home engaging with constituents. We are encouraging the entire national service field to take this opportunity to meet with your elected leaders about the importance of ensuring robust funding for national service programs. Use our template meeting request letter to help successfully schedule a meeting.

Submit a Letter to the Editor in Your Local Paper

As a member of your community, you can make your voice heard by submitting a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper(s). We’ve created a simple toolkit that provides tips and a sample draft for you to use. If your letter gets placed, please let us know, and we’ll be sure to share over social media!

Invite Your Member of Congress to Visit Your Program

A good service site visit with a member of Congress is the best way to build support for national service. Site visits can help to foster relationships that could benefit your program and the national service movement for years to come. The next congressional recess is April 10-21. Start planning your site visit now to prepare for the next recess. Use our template letter of invitation and tips to help schedule a visit and make it a great success.

Help us Secure an Editorial Board Meeting with your Local Paper or Place an Opinion Editorial

We are looking for local leaders who would be willing to request an editorial board meeting with their local paper or author an opinion editorial showcasing the value of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. If you want to organize a group and seek a meeting with your local editorial board, we can help you request an appointment. Good candidates to author an Opinion Editorial include governors, mayors, former members of Congress, school district superintendents, business leaders, and university presidents. Let us know if you or someone you know would be willing to author an op-ed. We are available to help with drafting and placement.


EDUCATION-FOCUSED NATIONAL SERVICE PROGRAMS

Ask School District Superintendents to Send a Letter to their Congressional Delegation

Local leaders provide valuable information to congressional representatives regarding the federal programs that are delivering vital services back home. To emphasize the impact AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are having on the lives of local students, ask your school district superintendent to sign this superintendent letter to Congress, making the case for continued investment in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.

Ask Teachers and School Principals to Submit a Letter to the Editor

Congress wants to know that federal dollars are having an impact in local communities. Service partners and beneficiaries can provide valuable insight when it comes to program results, and showing the strength of partnerships with local communities is critically important. If your national service program operates in schools in your community, encourage teachers, school principals, and other school personnel who know the value of your program to submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Here’s a template letter to the editor for teachers and principals you can share and invite them to customize.


Disclaimer on Political Activity:

As you represent the national service and volunteering community, please keep all political and advocacy activities completely separate from federal grant-funded activities. If your organization receives federal funds, you are allowed to participate in Voices for National Service call days, events, activities, and sign-on letters, but it is critical that participation in these activities is not supported by federal funds.  Please do not make calls while on grant-time or using technology funded by your organization’s federal grant. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) rules are clear on this issue, as are the general rules that apply to all grantees of the federal government. We must be scrupulous in abiding by these rules, and we hope you will review this letter from CNCS that explains the restrictions on legislative lobbying and partisan politics. Again, thank you for your passion for national service.