Straight to the
Point Advocacy with Members of Congress
RSVP is at a
critical pivotal point. It is important to take action now and
to not stop. Our primary goal is to educate our Members of
proposed FY19 budget recommends elimination of CNCS.
signed the FY 2018 Appropriations Act to freeze all Senior Corps
program funding at the current level. However, there are several
threats to RSVP. For more information on these contact NARSVPD
President Betty Ruth at
Administration and House Republicans reported to be working
on a proposal that rescinds or pares back funds appropriated
in 2018. No list of which programs might be included
provided. They could look at the President’s budgets of
which programs were proposed for elimination..
Republicans working on a proposal that would eliminate
Senior Corps as we know it. Change FGP and SCP to jobs
programs paying minimum wage. This would cut participant to
a third. Proposal seems to turn RSVP into a voucher
program. Voucher offered to the placement entity of
volunteer through the Department of Labor. Proposal would
eliminate CNCS and shift administrative responsibility to
the Department of Labor.
Group of House
Democrats creating Care Corps that is recreating RSVP and
SCP as we know them. (Note-Gene did not say FGP).
proposal would give national service cabinet level status.
The proposal is focused on young people not Senior Corps.
We are the
We are the frontline to share with Members of Congress
(Representatives and Senators) regarding how our programs
benefit our communities. It is always best for Members of
Congress to hear from their constituents. Your advocacy does
make a difference! Enlist sponsor, advisory council members,
volunteers, local funders, volunteer stations, and elected
officials (local and state) to advocate along with you. Together
you can make a difference!
Your Members of Congress District Office staff are important
people to develop a working relationship with.
Staff members are a
vital part of your elected official’s team, so it’s important to
build a good relationship with them. Staffers advise their
legislator on issues and can be key allies in influencing your
elected official, they are your direct link and voice. They are
who you turn to at any time with questions about what
information you need to provide, and what others, who oppose
RSVP (Corporation) funding or want to change how RSVP works, are
saying as to why.
You may not agree with how your elected officials stand on any
given issue. They may be of a different political party or
perhaps you feel they do not believe that support for RSVP is
important. However, respect for differing views is a fundamental
ingredient of effective advocacy.
To gain respect,
you must give it. Make contact and start building a work related
relationship. You never know where we may find a champion for
One vital way to raise your voice is to help illustrate in
concrete terms the adverse impact that steep cuts, completely
changing RSVP as we know it, or proposed elimination of CNCS
will have on the work we do and people we serve. Members of
Congress should hear all the good impact RSVP has on
beneficiaries (people and communities) in their district so tell
your story. AND they should hear the impact of losing RSVP in
to your Members of Congress are impactful. Go to your Members of
Congress website to see how you can send, email or fax a letter.
For letter templates, contact your NARSVPD Cluster Board member.
Set a meeting.
Meet with District Office staff any time. You can meet your
Members of Congress at home during recesses.
Memorial- May 28-32; July 4th- July 2-8; out all of August.
If you are meeting to educate
to intentionally ask for their support of funding you will need
to do it on own time.
Look on your
District Office website for contact information to schedule
Each member of
Congress has a scheduler in their D.C. office. You can find
your member of Congress’ office phone number at
www.senate.gov/senators/contact. You can call the
Capitol Operator at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to
your Senator. you can call 202-225-3121 to be connected to
Make a meeting
request. Call District Office to set a meeting with staff or
D.C. scheduler to set up meeting day and time with your
Member of Congress. When scheduling include the nature of
your meeting request.
send a formal meeting request as a follow up. This can be
done via email. If meeting with Members of Congress copy
your District Office staff contact along with the D.C.
scheduler on email.
regarding the date and time of the meeting.
The more flexible you are, the better chance of meeting with
staff but especially with your Members of Congress during
If you have not
received a response to a meeting request, call the District
Office or Members of Congress scheduler to confirm they have
received the request.
Once you have
confirmation of meeting and its time frame consider inviting
a couple volunteers and advisory council members to go with
Be on time for
the meeting. Do not cancel meeting unless it is absolutely
necessary and if you do, call ASAP to explain and set a new
Set your agenda
and remember education includes where RSVP comes from.
that the person you are talking to knows what the Corporation
for National and Community Service is or anything about RSVP.
Ask them if they are familiar with CNCS, Senior Corps and RSVP.
is important to note
CNCS is our federal
funder and we are part of Senior Corps. If they need additional
background give a short explanation of the Corporation for
National and Community Service and its core programs
Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, and
state service commissions.
Describe how your program is addressing and helping to solve
community needs through volunteerism. Emphasize that RSVP is
also National Service.
should address news and facts pertinent to RSVP— impact of
who, what, where, when, and why. State your position up
front and clearly, providing background and context.
Use relevant data and statistics to show the benefits your
program is providing
If budget cuts have affected your program in the past,
please explain how the cuts have affected your program’s
ability to meet local needs.
Use the talking points put together by NARSVPD and touch on
RSVP impact nationally to show our global picture. They can
be found at
Review before meeting to make sure you stay within your
allotted time frame if given one.
your Members of Congress support RSVP funding.
support for keeping RSVP intact and restoring our lost
Members of Congress also seek their colleagues’ support for
staff, ask they relay your visit and information to your
Members of Congress and ask if you can regularly send
stories and pictures (if have) to forward on.
Within a day or
two send a thank you for meeting and ask if they need more
information sent pertaining to your visit. This can be done
Association statistic information.
one page summary. This can be found at
Copy of stories
and pictures (if you have any).
If unable to meet
in person with either your Members of Congress or their staff,
start an email relationship with District Office staff. Contact
the office to have an initial conversation with the appropriate
staff and further your conversation via email/s. Ask they
forward your information on to D. C. Also ask if you can
regularly send stories and pictures (if have) for them to
forward on. Always follow-up with a thank you.
program stories regularly keeps RSVP in the forefront and is
best opportunity for continual education. The more they see and
read “RSVP” in print along with Senior Corps and CNCS and that
RSVP is National Service too, they will recognize the RSVP name
whenever budget issues is brought to their attention.
Members of Congress to visit your program.
A site visit is the best way to showcase your program and its
importance and to build support.
Memorial- May 28-32; July 4th- July 2-8; out all of August.
Educate through Facebook and Twitter.
stories and pictures.
meetings with Members of Congress and or staff. Do this the
same day as meeting or the next day.
Tag NARSVPD and
other RSVP project Facebook.
Tag your state
office and CNCS Facebook.
Members of Congress Facebook.
of Congress, NARSVPD, CNCS, and RSVP Directors on Twitter
and post tweets.
Review and keep in mind regulations and prohibited political
2553.91 What legal limitations apply to the operation of the
RSVP Program and to the expenditure of grant funds?
(3) The sponsor shall not
use grant funds in any activity for the purpose of influencing
the passage or defeat of legislation or proposals by initiative
(i) In any case in which a
legislative body, a committee of a legislative body, or a member
of a legislative body requests any volunteer in, or employee of
such a program to draft, review or testify regarding measures or
to make representation to such legislative body, committee or
(ii) In connection with an
authorization or appropriations measure directly affecting the
operation of the RSVP Program.
To: All Corporation for National and Community Service
(CNCS) grantees, sponsoring organizations, and AmeriCorps
From: Jeremy Joseph, CNCS General Counsel
Date: June 22, 2016
Re: Election Year Reminder re: Prohibited Political
the 2016 election approaches, I want to remind the entire
national service and Social Innovation Fund community that it is
prohibited to use federal funds or resources for political
activities or other activities for the purpose of influencing
the outcome of any election to public office. This applies to
any election for federal, state, or local office.
am sending this message broadly to all CNCS grantees, VISTA
sponsors, and AmeriCorps members (including AmeriCorps VISTA and
AmeriCorps NCCC members). Grantees, please deliver and
emphasize this message to your sub-grantees, staff, and Senior
with all prohibited activities, the goal isn’t just to follow
the law but to avoid any perception that you are misusing
federal resources. Every single grantee is responsible to train
its sub-grantees, staff, and members/volunteers on what
activities are prohibited, and discuss them routinely to quickly
identify and resolve issues.
a general matter:
Never mix election activity and CNCS resources—money or national
service participants (AmeriCorps members, including VISTAs and
NCCC, or Senior Corps volunteers).
Specifically, don’t use federal funds, charge time to your grant
directly or as match, accumulate service or training hours, or
direct or allow national service participants to engage in
prohibited political activities, which generally includes (but
isn’t limited to):
organizing or attending political events, demonstrations,
protests, petitions, rallies, etc.;
participating in, endorsing, or advocating for or against
political parties, platforms, groups, or candidates;
conducting voter registration or other get-out-the-vote
posting election-oriented messages on social media (using
CNCS funds or with reference to CNCS programs).
This is a general reminder, not a detailed summary of the law.
You can find the precise restrictions applicable to you or your
program in your grant terms and conditions, member agreement, or
course, individuals may exercise their rights as private
citizens to participate in political activities:
on their own initiative and personal time;
not affiliated with CNCS programs or supported by CNCS
not wearing any program insignia, logo, or uniform.
Again, it is very important to avoid any perception that CNCS
resources (money or national service participants) are being
questions about this reminder? Grantees should consult with
your CNCS program officer, and individual AmeriCorps members and
Senior Corps volunteers should contact the programs you serve
AmeriCorps VISTAs have additional restrictions on political
fundraising that apply at all times (on- and off-duty).