Toolkit for Leaders and Activists

Leader Toolkit

Overview of Purpose

Framing the Issues

Myths about Public Transportation

Sample Bulletin Announcements

Sample Flyer

Tips for Working with the Media

Sample Press Release for Media

Calendar Checklist

Sample Invitation Letter

How to Submit Video and Written Testimony for National Publication

Transportation Authorization Platform Summary

Transportation Equity Network Growth and Victories

Policy Experts

Leadership Training for Developing Turnout Strategies






Leader Toolkit for

"The Wheels on the Bus: What Good Jobs and Transportation Mean To Me"


A Series of Listening Sessions on Public Transportation


"All life is interrelated.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny." - Martin Luther King, Jr.


This material is for community leaders.  It is designed to assist you in organizing a successful "Wheels on the Bus" Listening Session. You and your organization are encouraged to adapt these materials to best meet your specific objectives. Please contact us with suggested changes or additions you'd like to share with other organizations.



For More Information:

Laura Barrett, TEN National Policy Director


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Transportation Taskforce Leadership Team Toolbox Items


The "Wheels On the Bus" A Time to Tell Your Story

Overview of Purpose  

            We are at a unique moment in the transportation and jobs policy debate.  Many people feel that we can have a transformative transportation bill for the first time in a generation, but it is not a sure thing.  Policy-makers are having trouble even imagining what that new, transformative policy would look like.

You can build your organization and tell Congress and your local officials what to do about transportation and jobs at the same time with the "Wheels on the Bus" Listening Sessions.


The "Wheels on the Bus" Listening Sessions Have A Twofold Purpose:

To delve deeper into our relationships by sharing our experiences and satisfy our desires for connectedness by confronting issues that divide us

To galvanize a powerful and effective way to tell our stories about transportation


The "Wheels on the Bus" Is Intended to:

Strengthen your leadership team

Engage participants in transportation struggles

Deepen the understanding of what transportation equity means

Expand the database of the organization for communication and for future invitations to participate and contribute

Identify new prospective leaders for training and involvement

Get your organization recognized in the media and by decision-makers

You should feel free to brand your "Wheels on the Bus" listening session in whatever way makes the most sense for your organization (for most Gamaliel affiliates, it will make sense to use your local affiliate name and the Gamaliel Foundation – i.e. MOSES, an affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation).  If your organization would like to co-brand your session with the Transportation Equity Network on media materials, etc, we would welcome it, but it is not required. 


What could your "Wheels on the Bus" listening session look like?

An all-day Saturday meeting with a policy briefing by transportation experts in the morning, with public officials invited to listen and participate. Should be facilitated by your Board President or Transportation Leader.  The listening session could be held after lunch, kicked off by expert testimony.

A two hour weeknight public hearing with your leadership facilitating and your local Congressperson listening and making a brief statement (they are there to listen and learn).  Participants come to a microphone and make 3 minute statements.

A media event, by a public transit stop or dilapidated sidewalk, followed by a public meeting in a church basement with pre-arranged testimony

A part of your annual public meeting that is given over to testimony about public transportation with your congressperson present.

It can be any size and incorporate public officials or experts.  The important thing is to give a dedicated time for local community members (rehearsed or not) to speak their mind about the current state of public transportation in your community.


More Information:

Laura Barrett


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Framing the Issues of Transportation Equity

            Transportation is at the center of opportunity.  It provides access to jobs, education, food, culture, medical care, loved ones -- to all the resources necessary for healthy, prosperous lives.  With the current crises in the economy, energy security and climate change it is time for a new vision of a national transportation system that meets these challenges and provides equal access for all. This means a system that gives people real choices and promotes transportation options that are best for our environment and healthiest for all Americans. 

We can and should use both federal and state transportation policy to build and maintain a transportation system that meets both the current and future needs of all.  Public officials and the citizenry are co-creators in building a common future.  Americans must use our country's vast abundance to provide opportunity to ALL.  Transportation is at the very center of opportunity for jobs, maintaining our health and our connecting communities.

            During these listening sessions "Wheels on the Bus: What Good Transportation and Good Jobs Mean To Me," communities across the country create space for people to tell their stories and voice concerns about these important issues.


More Information:

Laura Barrett


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Myths about Public Transportation


Myth: No one rides public transportation anymore.

Fact: 10.7 billion trips were taken on mass transit in 2008.  The third quarter of 2008 saw a 6.5% increase, the largest in 25 years.


Myth: Transportation cuts do not affect the economy. 

Fact: Nearly 60% of trips on mass transit are for work.  Another 10% of trips are for education.  Over 20% of transit riders have no other form of transportation.


Myth: Only poor people ride mass transit. 

Fact: 34% of public transit riders have household incomes of over $50,000.


Myth: New public transit construction only benefits riders. 

Fact: The economic return on investment in public transportation is approximately 3 to 1.


Myth: Transit railways and bus rapid transit are more expensive than highways.

Fact: highways are more expensive than rail lines, and both are more expensive than bus rapid transit.


Myth: Highways are paid for through user fees.

Fact: Gasoline taxes only cover 60% of highway funding after construction, operation and maintenance costs are factored in.


Myth: Mass transit is not profitable.

Fact: No form of transit is profitable, so it is unfair to hold mass transit to this standard.


Myth: Bus trips require a large number of transfers.

Fact: 60% of bus trips do not require a transfer.


Myth: There are no rapid transit options for less densely populated areas.

Fact: Bus rapid transit provides a flexible mass transit alternative to light rail.


More Information:

Laura Barrett


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Sample Bulletin Announcements


Join your community members as we come together to discuss transportation in our region on (date & time) at (place).  The "Wheels on the Bus" listening session will allow individuals to share their transportation stories and hear about other people's ideas.  Learn about the potential benefits that a just and fair transportation policy would have on important area issues of public transportation, job access, job creation, quality of life for seniors, and safe options for our children.


Do you envision our community having reliable buses and light rail trains, high speed rail, safe bridges and drivable roads with no pot holes?  Would you like to see construction jobs stay in our own community?  Then join us for a "Wheels on the Bus" listening session with politicians, community leaders, and fellow community members.  (date, time, place) 


As people of faith, we believe in a common future, embracing us all, leaving no one out.  The promotion of equitable transportation options in our community will go a long way toward helping this belief become a reality.   Come join other people of faith in a "Wheels on the Bus" listening session and find out how, by acting powerfully in our community, we can realize this renewed vision for a common future together.  (date, time, place) 


Bus service cuts, unemployment, sidewalks in disrepair, and an overall lack of transportation options plague our community.  Help us address transportation options in (area) by attending our "Wheels on the Bus" listening session: share your personal stories and learn how you can help. (date, time, place).

































Sample Flyer



You are invited to...


Wheels on the Bus: What Good


Transportation and Jobs Mean to Me



A Listening session on Public Transportation


Organized by [         ]

(Place, Date, Time)



Are you open to the possibility that people can be allowed to enjoy transportation that is equitable and fair for communities? 


Then join us to…

…Delve into your own experience of transportation in your day-to-day life.

…Open yourself to a provocative discussion about the potential of our power and how we can affect key decision makers.
…Consider ways to continue this discussion and be part of a collective action to share your story in order to transform our communities.   


For more information, contact:

(Contact Person, Organization, Phone, Email)




Tips for Working with the Media


Raise the Issue


            One of the best ways to sway elected officials on an issue is to affect the public opinion on the issue. Grassroots organizations have traditionally used local media very effectively to educate the broader public about issues affecting their constituencies. The best part about an effective media strategy for grassroots groups is that it's free. Groups have staged press conferences, events with public officials, report releases, and public actions to focus media attention on their position.

We have included basic tips for working with the media, divided into two main sections (If your organization needs more detailed instructions, we can provide an expanded brochure).


A.   Contacting the Media - Basic Tips

  • Create a listing of all the media outlets and assignment editors in your area, print, radio, television.
  • If possible this listing should include contact information for journalists reporting on your issues; newspaper sections where your news items might fit; and dates of editorial board meetings.
  • Build relationships with local media personalities. Identify the reporter(s) who cover your issues and develop relationships with them.
  • Be persistent and maintain contacts through email and phone calls.
  • Continually inform reporters and assignment editors when your group is holding a large event, plans the release of a report, etc.
  • Always have a clear and consistent message.
  • Define talking points for each issue you hope to get media attention and make sure that all staff members and leaders who are working on a given issue use the same overall message when corresponding via mail, email or phone with the media.


B. Writing for the Media - Basic Tips

  • Use the appropriate medium - media release, media statement or media alert (definitions below).
  • Follow the correct format for a media release. Be sure to include a date, contact name and number, headline, dateline, and identifier.
  • Develop clear and concise content that:
  1. Briefly states all relevant facts;
  2. Clearly identifies a problem and offers a solution;
  3. Answers - who, what, when, why, where and how.
  • Include thoughtful, brief, sound bites:  "quotable" quotes.
  • Remember the importance of personal stories that connect public policy and people.
  • Be concise. Written media releases, statements, letters to the editor and op-eds should not exceed 300 words.





            Media Release   - A media release is a short news story with two or three quotes from your leaders, written in objective language.  This is your opportunity to tell reporters exactly what took place at an event or why a piece of research is important. In general, reporters recognize releases for what they are: an organization's "spin" on an event. Still, a media release is your chance to explain your event or research.   Media releases can be used to garner coverage in weekly papers to great effect. The can be used before or after your event.


            Media Statement   - A media statement essentially makes the release one long quote in reaction to a current news event. It should be written in the first person, from the point of view of the official making the statement within 6 hours of the original event. A typical opportunity to issue a statement might be in response to the President's proposal or the introduction of new legislation in Congress.  This is an under-used technique and can really boost your image in the media.


            Media Alert   - Media alerts are usually very short detailed summaries advising the media of the date, place, and time of a staged event or planned activity. A media alert should contain only the basic facts and not dilute the impact of a press conference or other event by leaking too much information in advance. Use 1-2 days ahead of the event to give reporters notice prior to issuing a release.  









Sample Press Release for Media

Media Contact: Name



Cell number:


STRAIGHTFORWARD HEADLINE (Like "Local Residents Push for Fair and Just Transportation System")


For Immediate Release, Date


NAME OF YOUR CITY -- The federal transportation bill making its ways through Congress has the potential to transform the lives of millions of low-income Americans and countless struggling communities. That is why NAME OF GROUP/ORGANIZATION is sponsoring "Wheels on the Bus," a town hall listening session to hear from community members about the impacts of transportation in their lives, and for them to voice their ideas for a new, equitable transportation bill that will promote healthy communities of opportunity. We are building a strong movement for transformative transportation policy change.

Transportation is at the heart of real opportunity.  It provides access to jobs, education, food, culture, medical care, loved ones -- to all the resources necessary for healthy, prosperous lives.  With the current crises in the economy, energy security and climate change it is time for a new vision of a national transportation system that meets these challenges and provides equal access for all.




WHAT: "Wheels on the Bus" listening session


WHERE: Location, including closest public transit stop, if applicable

WHO: List some key stakeholders and attendees. If legislators say they may attend, list them as "City Councilwoman Johnson (invited)"


More than 20 "Wheels on the Bus" listening sessions will be taking place all across the country, bringing the voice and wisdom of community residents to help craft a smarter, more equitable transportation system.




Federal and state transportation policy must create a system that gives people real choices and promotes transportation options that are best for our environment and healthiest for all Americans. The "Wheels on the Bus" listening session will be a key force in ensuring the real experiences of local residents are brought to bear on our federal and state transportation policy.


TWO SENTENCES ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION (Italicized to separate from the rest of the text)   


(It’s traditional to end your release with three pound signs so the recipient knows you’re finished)  

6-Week Calendar Checklist for Leadership


Weeks 1 and 2:  Setting the Foundation and Goals  

Set goals for:

  • Total number of people wanted to be involved in "The Wheels on the Bus"
  • Number of leaders required to staff the event (ushers, registration, floor team)
  • Individual turnout commitments
  • Obtain community leader's / pastor's commitment of support and participation
  • Schedule date, time, and location of "The Wheels on the Bus"
  • Organize teams:  a logistics team, an overall leadership team, a floor team, and a publicity team to promote "The Wheels on the Bus" (see publicity timeline below)


Weeks 3 and 4:  Recruiting / Training for all 4 Teams

  • Schedule a date, time and location for the training
  • Send out community leader's / pastor's invitation to potential leaders
  • Obtain commitments from leaders to make follow-up calls
  • Schedule deadlines to make personal phone calls to recruit leaders
  • Prepare key leaders to conduct the training
  • Start contacting reporters/assignment editors to get media coverage


Week 5:  Final Preparation for the Meeting

  Schedule a rehearsal

Continue media contacts, including day of reminders, letters to the editor, editorial contacts and op-ed placement


Week 6:  Conduct a Powerful and Meaningful Meeting!

Sample Letter - From TEN Leader/Pastor to


Community Leader/Church Leader


            Dear _____________, 


            I am writing as a member of ______, the Gamaliel Foundation and the Transportation Equity Network (TEN) to invite your participation in an important group conversation we will be having at [____ location]. At this local gathering which we have named "The Wheels on the Bus:  What Good Transportation and Jobs Mean to Me", we intend to tell the stories of our experiences with public transit, explain the possibilities that new transportation projects have to transform our community, and discuss local Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) reform. Through this listening session, we will begin to understand the inter-connection of housing and transit more clearly, and work toward developing plans to ensure that all people including women, minorities, and low-income workers have access to jobs in future transportation construction.  We believe that, as a leader in our community, your input in this conversation is vital.  This forum will give you an opportunity to meet constituents and share your vision for transportation options in our community. 

The date for our conversation is [date] from [start time] to [end time].  

            A member of our organization will be calling you in a few days to hear your response to this invitation. I pray that you will answer "Yes!" when that call comes. I believe that it is crucial that we have your perspective on transportation in [area]. The more people we have participating in this important conversation, the richer it will be, and the greater the likelihood that it will have an impact on our community for the common good.  

            If you have questions or concerns about this process, please feel free to contact me directly at [number], or call our "Wheels on the Bus" coordinator [name] at [phone number]. We look forward to sharing our stories and concerns about transportation in the [specific locality] region as well as hearing your perspectives on the issue. 




How to Submit a Video and Written Testimony for National Publication


For Your "Wheels On the Bus" Listening Session: 

Please video tape the whole session and get as many written testimonies as you can.  You can submit all of the testimony to the Transportation Equity Network through our web site at and we will get it to the transportation committees in Congress.


For Individual Testimony:

Take a couple of minutes and tell your story in front of a camera or write it down and send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it along with this waiver. Tell your story about how transportation and equity has affected you. Feel free to use the prompt questions below in order to further explain your story.

How do you get to work every day?


How long is your daily commute?


How much does your daily commute cost?  Do you think that is high or low?


How do you feel about your local public transportation authority?


How do you feel about public transportation, are there enough choices in your community?


Do you think low income people in your community have enough transportation choices?


How do transportation issues affect you?


Waiver (on TEN website also,

I hereby authorize Transportation Equity Network to take a photograph, video graph or otherwise record my image, sound, and likeness. I understand that Transportation Equity Network may publish this recording. I hereby waive any and all right to any compensation in connection with Transportation Equity Network's publication of such recordings.


________________________        __________________          ____/___/____

Signature                                   Printed Name                       Date

Transportation Equity Network

Transportation Authorization Platform Summary

            Transportation is at the center of opportunity.  It provides access to jobs, education, food, culture, medical care, loved ones -- to all the resources necessary for healthy, prosperous lives.   

            With the current crises in the economy, energy security and climate change it is time for a new vision of a national transportation system that meets these challenges and provides equal access for all. This means a system that gives people real choices and promotes transportation options that are best for our environment and healthiest for all Americans. 

            We reject any effort to pit automobile users against transit riders, cities against suburbs, urban areas against small towns and rural areas.  Instead we need an integrated transportation network that connects people across the divides of geography, race, and class. 

            We need visionary leaders who have the courage to develop a transportation system that meets the deepest aspirations of the American people for a prosperous, fair and green society.

Specifically, we call for Congress and the Obama Administration to enact transportation policy that:

•   Significantly increases national investment in transportation to create good jobs and connect people with low incomes to opportunity.

•   Directs much more federal funding to public transportation and creates a level playing field for all modes of transportation to build healthy, safe and walk able communities for all.

•   Targets a significant portion of construction jobs from federal transportation projects to people of color, women, and people with low incomes. 

•   Strengthens government accountability to people of color and people with low incomes in deciding how to spend federal dollars and in planning and project design.

•   Supports public ownership of all new highways, roads and passenger rail systems in order to maximize accountability to the long- and short-term needs of the public. 

Congress and the new Administration must face many urgent crises at the same time.  We believe that new transportation legislation is one key to addressing America's critical economic, energy and environmental challenges in ways that will provide access to opportunity for all.  We urge America's new leaders to act quickly and wisely to invest in a transportation system that will build stronger, greener and more just communities in every part of our great nation.

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Transportation Equity Network Growth and Victories

TEN was formed in 1997 to improve the federal transportation law to benefit low-income communities. By 1998, TEN achieved this objective by inserting a number of grassroots priorities into the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). These reforms included:

* Stronger public involvement requirements in the transportation planning process, and

* The creation of the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program (JARC), a new $750 million program to provide mobility options to low-income workers to get them to jobs and services.

These major accomplishments also helped establish TEN as an influential player in the nation's transportation reform movement. Over the past eight years, TEN has grown from five original co-founding groups to over 300 group members all across the nation. It has also expanded its state and local efforts, spearheading a wide range of grassroots transportation reform efforts in places like Montgomery, AL and Detroit, MI. These efforts have gotten policy makers, national experts and philanthropists to actively engage on equity, civil rights and environmental justice issues. As a result of TEN's local organizing efforts, millions of federal, state and local dollars have been redirected to address the needs of low-income families.

A Major Federal Policy Success:

On August 10, 2005, the President signed the Safe Accountable Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act-A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the nation's new $286 billion transportation law. Like its predecessor, the new law includes several TEN priorities, including:

   1. Clearing the way for officials to craft local hiring agreements to create employment and training opportunities in construction jobs,

   2. Improving the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program by making it a formula program with a guaranteeing $700 million over six years,

   3. Requiring public participation plans to be developed with the involvement of local residents in the metropolitan transportation planning process, and

   4. Requiring greater financial transparency in the metropolitan transportation planning process, and

   5. Setting aside $1 million each year for transportation equity research demonstration programs.

In most cases, TEN's language was accepted verbatim in either the House or Senate bills. To secure the local hiring language, the Gamaliel Foundation, the Alameda Jobs Corridor Coalition and other TEN members secured bi-partisan support from Representatives Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) and Jerry Costello (D-IL), as well as Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO). TEN was the only coalition promoting these measures.


State and Local Campaign Victories:

(Please access our website,, for details.)

TEN has won or advanced several campaigns for increased transit funding as well as improved land use policies in:

  Pittsburgh, PA

  Minneapolis, MN

  Honolulu, HI

  Detroit, MI

  St. Louis and Kansas City, MO

More Information: Laura Barrett, 314-443-5915, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ,


Policy Experts on Transportation and

Metro Equity

To engage one of the policy experts below for your field hearing, call Laura Barrett 314-443-5915, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


            Dr. Todd Swanstrom joined the University of Missouri-St. Louis as the Des Lee Endowed Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration. This is a joint appointment with PPRC, the Department of Political Science, and Public Policy Administration. Dr. Swanstrom is the author of six books, including Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-first Century, 2nd ed. (co-authored with Peter Dreier and John Mollenkopf). This text, published in 2001, examines the relationship between suburban sprawl and the decline of central cities and inner-ring suburbs. He also co-authored City Politics, 5th ed., which is a comprehensive examination of urban politics.


            Professor John A. Powell is an internationally recognized authority in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, and issues relating to race, ethnicity, poverty and the law. He is the executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. He also holds the Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Moritz College of Law. He has written extensively on a number of issues including racial justice and regionalism, concentrated poverty and urban sprawl, the link between housing and school segregation, opportunity-based housing, gentrification, disparities in the criminal justice system, voting rights, affirmative action in the United States, South Africa and Brazil, racial and ethnic identity and current demographic trends. He joined the faculty at Ohio State in 2002.


            Professor Myron Orfield is the Executive Director of the Institute on Race & Poverty, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and an affiliate faculty member at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He teaches and writes in the fields of civil rights, state and local government, state and local finance, land use, questions of regional governance, and the legislative process. His first book, Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability (Brookings 1997), a study of local government structure and demographics, relates to these efforts. For over a decade, Professor Orfield has been president of a nationally respected regional research organization undertaking studies involving the legal, demographic and land use profiles of various American metropolitan areas. His second book, American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality (Brookings 2002), is a compilation of his work involving the nation's 25 largest regions. Professor Orfield is working on a proposal to reform MPO/DOT decision-making in the next transportation appropriations bill.

            David Rusk is an author, speaker, and consultant on urban policy.   His basic theme is how urban sprawl, racial segregation, and concentrated poverty interact and impact a region's growth patterns, social equity, and quality of life. A former mayor of Albuquerque and state legislator, he is a strong champion of regional strategies, particularly growth management, mixed-income housing, and tax base sharing.  He is an independent consultant but proud to serve as a National Strategic Partner of the Gamaliel Foundation, a faith-based organizing institute.


            Dwayne S. Marsh, Director for Policy Engagement, staffs PolicyLink programs on fair distribution of affordable housing, coalition building for regional equity, and leadership development for policy change. He provides technical assistance and capacity building expertise to equitable development initiatives in several regions of the nation that address continuing disparities in affordable housing, transportation investment, and environmental justice.  Marsh worked for eight years at The San Francisco Foundation, where he initiated conversations with Bay Area religious leadership resulting in the comprehensive community building and advocacy effort known as the FAITHS Initiative.


            Radhika K. Fox, Federal Policy Director, leads PolicyLink efforts to bring greater attention, resources, and equitable policy change to older core cities in America.  She provides technical assistance, training, and policy development support to local and state coalitions across the country to build the capacity of local change agents who are advocating for economic and social equity in their communities.  Her work also focuses on inclusionary zoning and other strategies to promote the equitable distribution of affordable housing across regions. Fox earned a BS from Columbia University and an MS in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a HUD Community Development Fellow.


            Geoff Anderson is the President and CEO of Smart Growth America and the co-chair of T4America's executive committee. Geoff came to his current position in January 2008 after 13 years at the US EPA where he headed the Agency's Smart Growth Program. During his tenure at EPA, he was instrumental in creating the Agency's Smart Growth program, he helped to found the Smart Growth Network, the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, and the popular web site He has co-authored numerous publications including: This Is Smart Growth, Getting to Smart Growth Volumes 1 and 2, Protecting Water Resources with Higher Density Development, The Transportation and Environmental Impacts of Infill vs. Greenfield Development and many others. Geoff received a Masters Degree from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment with a concentration in Resource Economics and Policy.

            Shelley Poticha is president and CEO of Reconnecting America and the co-chair of T4 America's executive committee. Shelley oversees all activities of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development. Previously Shelley was executive director of the Congress for New Urbanism, where she guided CNU's growth into a nationwide coalition with a prominent voice in national debates on urban revitalization, growth policy and sprawl. She also launched a number of key initiatives addressing inner-city revitalization, mixed-income housing, infill development techniques, environmental preservation, alternative transportation policies, and real estate finance reform. She has co-authored The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit," the Charter of the New Urbanism, and The Next American Metropolis with Peter Calthorpe.

Leadership Training for Developing Turnout Strategies

(This format works best when used as a training piece in a good sized group of leaders who are taking responsibility for securing strong participation in events in their organization. As a training, it can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. It can also be used by individual core teams as they work on their own turnout strategies.)

1. Introduction

Our  "Wheels on the Bus" listening session will not be what any of us envision, nor produce the numbers we hope for, unless each of us sets our own personal goals and works toward turning out a significant number of people who are there WITH US. Your mission is to take responsibility for turning out a significant number of people with whom you will engage as we build toward our event on [date]. The people you engage need to be encouraged to act on their own convictions about their faith, their vision for true community, and their ability to bring their faith to bear, for the sake of the common good. So, let's take a minute to talk about why each of us is excited about this event. [Take some time to do this in the gathered group.]

2.  Steps for building your turnout list

First of all, you need to examine your own frame of mind. Consider:

         How do we usually go about getting people to turn out to something? (bulletin announcements, flyers delivered to doors, expect pastor to make an announcement...)

         Has anyone ever gotten you to do something because of their relationship with you? (Think about that, and decide that you can do the same!)

         Do you believe that the people you want to be there will be most likely to participate if YOU ask them? (Unless you put yourself firmly into the equation, and believe in your own conviction about why this is important, you won't be successful.)

         What keeps you from believing this way about yourself? (Have you tried it? What has contributed to your sense that it won't work for you? Do you want to change that?)

List the people you have a relationship with in your congregation, plus local family members, work mates and people you know from your neighborhood. Add to your list those whom you would like to build a relationship with because of something you have observed about them or some common experience you have shared. You should have at least 10 -15 names.


3.   Preparing for the conversation

         Think about how asking people to attend might deepen your relationship with them.

         Plot how you'll get in conversation with these people. Some you'll set an appointment with, some you'll corner at church, at the back fence, at a family event, at the water cooler.

         Plan what to say to hook each person. What do you already know about them?

4.   Final group process

Have people respond to these questions: What makes you anxious or resistant to this turnout process? How might it make a difference for you and for the event if everyone did this? Are you going to do it? What will it take? Let people talk about their barriers, but then move to getting commitments and to just make it happen. Provide materials for people to track their progress. Agree to a process for mutual support and accountability. Assign someone as turnout captain who checks in on a weekly basis regarding how people are doing, collects names, etc.

For More Information: Laura Barrett, 314-443-5915, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it