To create policies that give people the tools to improve their lives and their communities, we need to be able to build coalitions that share a common cause. And coalitions cannot be achieved without a strong, resilient working-class base that builds power across rural, urban, and suburban communities.

We recently hosted a donor briefing with Neighborhood Funders Group’s Midwest Organizing Infrastructure Funders, Integrated Rural Strategies Group, and Funders for a Just EconomyWinning Jobs Narrative Project Lead Bobby Clark shared the findings of their extensive research. He also described how the Heartland Fund-supported project is benefitting rural groups around the country. Melissa Morales, Founder and President of Somos Votantes, described how they are using the narrative right now to reach and engage Latino voters in rural communities. 

Melissa and Bobby summarized the key elements of the narrative:

  1. Center and lead with working people—the heroes—so they hear that they are our priority.
  2. Value and support the concept of 'work' to connect around deeply held shared values.
  3. Situate working people as the engines of our economy—the logic model for our policies.
  4. Position government in a supporting (not starring) role, so that we respect and center personal agency.
  5. Relate policy to the broader economy and broad benefits, to remind people that we’re focused on the economy and shared prosperity.

Using real-world examples, they showed how to use the narrative to build effective conversations with a broad range of audiences. They also shared how new quantitative and qualitative research continues to informe the narrative project.  

The workshop is a follow-up to Innovations in Rural Civic Engagement, and part of our Midterm Election Series with Neighborhood Funders Group’s Integrated Rural Strategies Group.