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Using the Bully Pulpit -- Working with Elected Officials


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Presentation to the 5th Annual Conference on Financial Education (October 6-8, 2010) in Boston.

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Using the Bully Pulpit -- Working with Elected Officials

  1. 1. USING THE BULLY PULPITWorking with Elected Officials Presented by Derwin Dubose Annual Conference on Financial Education October 6-8, 2010
  2. 2. SESSION OBJECTIVES • Understand how the North Carolina State Treasurer’s office launched a financial literacy initiative • Express proven strategies to execute financial literacy outreach with elected officials • Learn ways to gain media attention for financial literacy and other programs • Identify barriers to entry and challenges with financial literacy outreach2
  4. 4. BACKGROUND INFORMATION Derwin Dubose has a background in campaigns, outreach, non-profit management, fundraising, and government. • Campus Y at the University of North Carolina • North Carolina Democratic Party and House Democratic Caucus • Ronald McDonald House Charities • Duke University • Institute of Political Leadership • North Carolina Department of State Treasurer4
  5. 5. BACKGROUND INFORMATION • State Treasurer Janet Cowell was elected in 2008 • Cowell campaigned on providing financial literacy to more North Carolinians • Set five goals for her first term: – Instill confidence – Meet customer expectations – Optimize returns on entrusted assets – Promote healthy and diverse financial services in NC – Promote financial literacy • Derwin Dubose was hired in April 2009 and led strategic planning efforts for financial literacy.5
  6. 6. BACKGROUND INFORMATION • Hypothesis: Almost all of the resources North Carolinians need to make better financial decisions exist in the state, but residents do not know that they exist – Disconnect between policy leaders, practitioners, and the public (especially low-income residents) – Lack of hands-on work • Goal: Connect North Carolinians to local, state, and national resources that will help them make better financial decisions and weather this financial crisis • Secondary goal: To gain media exposure for other efforts, especially core functions, within the State Treasury6
  7. 7. BACKGROUND INFORMATION • In 2009, we decided to focus on adults, our natural constituency, within four target areas: – Foreclosure prevention – Homeownership and Asset-Building – Credit cards – Life crisis management • And provide information to the following target audiences: – General public (geographic specialization) – State Employees – Seniors – Women – Military • We have absolutely no money7
  9. 9. EVENTS Short-term public programs highlighting financial literacy9
  10. 10. KEY NOTES ON EVENTS • Target your audience • Provide tangible numbers to the elected official • Create unique opportunities • Provide something for free or at a reduced cost • Leverage media • Partner with organizations • Focus on quality, not quantity10
  11. 11. TOURS Crossing the state to get information, share information, and raise awareness11
  12. 12. KEY NOTES ON TOURS • Target your audience • Choose timely topics • Find partners • Aim for geographic diversity • Choose mid-tier markets • Reach out to local press • Show results12
  13. 13. RESEARCH, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS Finding new information to help consumers and institutions make better decisions13
  14. 14. KEY NOTES ON RESEARCH, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS • Target your audience • Choose timely topics • Realize staff time commitment • Recruit all-stars • Give tangible charges • Influence thought14
  15. 15. COLUMNS Reaching people who you cannot physically meet15
  16. 16. KEY NOTES ON COLUMNS • Target your audience • Draft materials for elected officials • Focus on mid-tier and rural media • Stress credibility on financial topics • Provide a “voice of reason”16
  17. 17. BOARD MEMBERSHIP Inviting elected officials and their staff to join your board17
  18. 18. KEY NOTES ON BOARD MEMBERSHIP • Invite elected officials to join your board • Get staff involved • Identify “classic” organizations – Council on Economic Education – Jump$tart Coalition – IDA and Asset-Building Collaborative • Ask elected officials to host events – Economics Educator of the Year – Jump$tart luncheon – Assets forums18
  20. 20. MEASURING SUCCESS • We were able to reach 28 counties either through direct programming or through earned media (columns and other coverage). • The columns have been a big hit in Western NC, which is 5- 9 hours away from Raleigh. Orange counties are those with physical programming Blue counties are those with earned media programming20
  21. 21. MEASURING SUCCESS • We were very successful with media outreach, gaining a collective media audience of 10.77M people over the year • TV stations are more likely to cover work with K-12 schools • Print and web publications are more apt to cover “adult” topics like retirement and asset-building21 • Credit cards and student debt yield the most diverse coverage
  23. 23. LESSONS LEARNED • There is an infinite amount of good information, ideas, organizations, programs, focus areas, and contacts working on financial literacy. How will your organization stand out? • Elected officials will only do programming in areas that they “own” or in areas that the owner lets you get involved. • Realize that different projects will attract different types of “street credibility” for elected officials.23
  24. 24. Impact = Attention •Student Debt number of •Schools Tour Initiative •Foreclosure residents Prevention Projecthelped by theproject •Workplace  •Bank on NC  •Institute for Minority  financial literacy work •Your Money Bus  Economic DevelopmentAttention = Tour •EITC Carolinas •EITC/VITApress coverage Promotion •N.C. Housing Finance and street The quadrant Agency usually Impact,   Attention,  Cost Impact,  Attention,  Cost •Council on credibility reserved for Economic elected officials Outreach Programming EducationCost = direct Impact/Costfunding and Advocacy Researchhuman capital Impact,   Attention,  Cost  Impact,  Attention,  Cost •Future of Retirement  •Camp Challenge Study Commission •Economics Educator of  •Action for Children the Year •UNC Center for  •N.C. Assets Alliance •CFED Community Capital •Board participation •IDA and Asset‐Building  •Jump$tart Coalition Collaborative Black dots are external organizations and Blue dots are DST projects 24 projects that should serve as examples
  25. 25. Thought Leadership Agencies and Policy State-wide media Politicos (ITB) Advocates Internal25
  27. 27. INITIAL QUESTIONS • What are the “hot topics” for your area? – Are unemployment and foreclosures climbing? – Are there underutilized programs? – What’s in the news? • Who are potential champions for your cause? – City Councilors – State legislators – State-wide elected officials • What institutions can you partner with? • How can you ensure a crowd?27
  28. 28. WAYS TO MAKE YOUR ORGANIZATION STAND OUT • Show what’s in it for them – Quantify your work – Guarantee a crowd – Show appreciation – Leverage the press • Make it easy for them – Give plenty of lead time – Understand scheduling complexities – Draft collateral materials – Provide clear directions and instructions • Build relationships with staff • Understand budgetary restrictions and be savvy – Discovery – Cultivation – Solictation – Stewardship28
  29. 29. CONCRETE SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011 • Identify at least 5 elected officials who can help • Invite elected officials to get to know your organization – Tours of your facilities – Speaking at events – Meeting your successful clients • Honor an elected official with an award for excellence in your focus area • Ask an elected official or one of their staff members to join your board • Create a government affairs committee on your29 staff or board to manage outreach
  30. 30. Derwin Dubose Director of Financial Literacy Department of State Treasurer 325 North Salisbury Street Raleigh, NC 27603 (919) 508-5176 derwin.dubose@nctreasurer.com30