It is important to remember that your overall goal is to build a relationship with candidates and establish yourself as someone they can trust and respect.
No matter how you make contact, be clear that you want to learn what the candidate’s positions are, you want to be a resource on global poverty issues and you want the candidate to know that he or she has constituents who care deeply about global development and support U.S. foreign assistance.
The most important message to convey is: We support U.S. foreign assistance.
Objectives for Candidate Engagement
- Offer CARE’s policy statement – For decades, CARE has complemented our work in the field with advocacy efforts that contribute to our fight against global poverty, multiply our impact and support those in greatest need. Our advocacy work draws from our experience in more than 90 countries to promote policy reforms that foster strong, resilient communities and respond to humanitarian needs. In the U.S., CARE engages with lawmakers across the country and at every level to advocate for a strong foreign assistance budget, food and nutrition security for all, access to family planning and maternal health services, a robust humanitarian response and gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment throughout all U.S. foreign assistance programs. Worldwide, CARE works alongside poor and marginalized people to create national and regional policy environments that support their efforts to claim their rights and improve their lives.
- Ask probing questions – Learn where all candidates, incumbents and challengers alike, stand on issues relating to global development.
- Build relationships – Demonstrate that there is an informed and passionate constituency dedicated to fighting global poverty.
- Always identify yourself as a volunteer for CARE. This removes you from any liabilities.
- When asked a question about CARE, CARE’s work or a policy CARE supports for which you don’t have an answer, tell the person you will get the answer and get back to them. Contact your regional advocacy coordinator.
- If you are contacted by the media directly, please set up an appointment instead of taking the interview immediately. E-mail your regional advocacy coordinator so we can work together to maximize the opportunity.
DOs and DON’Ts for engaging as a CARE Action Advocate
- Be professional
- Build bridges
- Communicate simply, politely, and concisely
- Relate the issue to things that happen in your district or tell a compelling personal story that illustrates why you are advocating for the issue
- Keep records of all your communications and send them to your regional advocacy coordinator
- Don’t become confrontational
- Don't suggest that global poverty is or should be a partisan issue
- Don't endorse or express support for one candidate over another on CARE's behalf
- Don’t forget to have fun!