Wednesday, February 20, 2013

RESULTS: Nothing Less than the End of Poverty

There's a secret in the world of fighting poverty that shouldn't be a secret at all...

Maybe you've heard of us, maybe you haven't. But if you're interested in helping children and adults struggling in poverty and/or learning how to effectively lobby for change, you really should find out why U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called us "the greatest citizen's lobbying organization in the history of Western civilization."

RESULTS is a leading force in ending poverty in the U.S. and around the world. We create long-term solutions to poverty by addressing the root causes of poverty: lack of good health, education, and economic opportunity. We do it by training ordinary people to become extraordinary voices for the end of poverty. When regular people become empowered advocates, they turn into everyday heroes!

Here are the three big reasons that I've been a RESULTS volunteer activist and donor for many years:

#1 RESULTS activists are "Super-Activists"
Maybe you've seen those online petitions where you click on a button to make your voice heard? Those can be very useful, but that kind of "clicktavism" is not what we're talking about here. What we're known for is training empowered individuals to build strong personal relationships with members of Congress and the media. Those relationships built on trust, respect, and professionalism allow us to "go deep" with decision makers on the issues beyond a few talking points. We want to build "political will," meaning we want elected officials to personally have the desire to fight poverty themselves instead of just taking action because they were pressured by voters.

It's not uncommon for RESULTS activists to be on a first name basis with a senator or congressional staffers. While RESULTS staff supports us with great coaching and issue experts, volunteers feel empowered to own the whole relationship. We set up our own lobby appointments. We personally know the office admins and schedulers. We recognize our members of Congress on airplanes, elevators, and farmers markets in our communities and we're always ready with a practiced "elevator talk" on our favorite anti-poverty issue...just in case! This is all possible because empowerment is key to our culture. 

#2 No Wimpy Goals Allowed
I was recently in a RESULTS meeting where this statement was made: "I don't know. That just seems like wimpy goal. That's just not very 'RESULTS,' is it? Let's go bigger." That made me smile because it touched on something fundamental in our culture. It's right there on the logo. We're not out to just to reduce child mortality rates or decrease the number of hungry Americans although those are important goals along the way. We want to stop these terrible things completely. We're here to END POVERTY. To paraphrase Professor Muhammad Yunus, we want to put poverty in a museum where people will someday come and visit to find out what poverty was like since they can't find it anymore out in the world.

We started out as an organization to fight global hunger over 30 years ago, but there were such strongly interrelated aspects to poverty and hunger that we just had to take on more. Today, we fight for the health, education, and economic justice for people in poverty in the US and around the globe. We take a holistic approach and fight on many fronts because our goal is nothing less than the end of poverty.

#3 Big Impact for Epic Change
Think about a meteor crater. Consider how a relatively small piece of rock, because of the power behind it, can have such a big impact on the surrounding area. That's how I like to think of RESULTS. We don't spend tons of money on advertising or have hundreds of thousands of advocates. We use our resources very strategically to influence the right decision-makers at the right time to make epic change.

I'm a former engineer so I like to think of RESULTS as a "force multiplier," something that adds more power to the effort you actually put in. It's a financial force multiplier because donations to us fuel advocacy to direct millions of federal dollars toward smart, effective anti-poverty programs...or make those programs smarter, and more effective. Donor dollars actually go much farther - sometimes 100 or 1000 times farther - than if the dollars were donated to a direct service charity. It's a force multiplier of effort because our strategy and cross-country teamwork gets more mileage out of my advocacy actions than if I were acting alone. 

But it's not just me that believes in the method and mission of RESULTS. Take it from someone much smarter than me...internationally respected economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs...and if you are moved to know more, visit to join us or donate to our mission: ending poverty!

"I don’t know another organization that is as effective, that shows the leadership, combines the moral commitment and the practical impact of RESULTS."
  Jeffrey Sachs, Economist and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

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