House/Apartment Meeting Tips
Remember the Purpose
House meetings help us to…
- Build action-centered communities / networks.
- Better understand our issues.
- Brainstorm actions, events, and organizing strategies.
- Turn ideas into concrete plans of action.
- Consider inviting a co-host who will share in the organizing responsibilities.
- Set a date 1-2 weeks in the future. MN ASAP recommends setting the date around the schedule of your “core attendees”, i.e. leaders who will help in recruiting additional guests.
- Write a target list of 50 people. Generally, if you invite 50 people to a house meeting, half of them will be unwilling / unable to attend. Out of the remaining 25 confirmed guests, half will not actually attend. Inviting 50 people to a house meeting often results in 10-13 actual attendees.
“Wait a minute. I don’t know 50 people
who care about military spending.”
- House Meeting Host
Yes you do…
Who do you know that cares about: personal finances, education, quality health care, functional roads and bridges; the military industrial complex, job opportunities, clean water, clean air, seniors, Congressional accountability; mental health, the lives of our service men and women, or corporate responsibility?
Most people care about one (or more) of these issues. Since the US has limited resources, we must choose between funding foreign wars and funding domestic priorities in Minnesota. So, when you indentify his / her “issue,” you can ask a simple question:
“Despite our $5 billion budget deficit, over the next two years, Minnesotans will spend $8.4 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t you think that money would be better used on _____________? You do? Well, you’re not alone. I am hosting a house meeting through the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP) to discuss the way Minnesota tax revenues are used to fun unnecessary wars, and simple ways we can redirect that money back to services like____________. It may sound pie in the sky, but the MN ASAP plan is practical and not at all overwhelming. With that said, the house meeting is just a discussion. You will not be pressured to join a group that will monopolize your time. This meeting will last about one hour. Afterwards, you can choose whether or not to stay and socialize for an hour or so.”
Additional Invitation Tips…
Make invitations in person or over the phone.
- Email, Facebook, Texting, and Twitter serve as useful “reminder” tools but they are not substitutes for a one-on-one meeting or a phone call.
- When in doubt, remember the times you attend an event outside your usual routine. How were you convinced to try something new? Did the invitation arrive via bulk mail / email or through a personal conversation? In the modern age, we are bombarded with impersonal ads and spam. At the end of the day, we always remember having a conversation with another human being.
- When folks agree to attend the meeting, you can politely ask, “Do you have a calendar or schedule planner? Will you make a note of this as a reminder?” This may seem like micro-managing, but many people overestimate their own memories for events 1-2 weeks out.
- 3 to 4 days before the event, it is helpful to send out a reminder email / Facebook message / Twitter post about the house meeting. It’s important to show enthusiasm about the event. “This is going to be fun! We have a great group of people attending.”
- 1 day prior to the house meeting, go through and call your confirmed guest list. “Hey, just want to make sure you remember the house meeting tomorrow night. Yes? Great! Do you need directions?"
What type of person do I invite?
Attitudes about military spending have changed across party lines. Wars have been initiated by Presidents: George Bush Senior, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Both Democrats and Republicans have a long history of financing questionable wars, regardless of input by the American people. Today, Libertarian Republicans like Ron Paul and Liberal Democrats like Dennis Kucinich agree that the US cannot afford these wars, especially when we are undergoing such painful domestic cuts in critical areas that directly affect Americans. Despite partisan games in Washington DC and divisive tactics of the media to highlight our differences, the American people are beginning to agree that these wars need to end. We need to bring the troops home and we need to bring the money home.
The Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP) is truly non-partisan and all-inclusive. Not only do we accept a non-partisan approach, we know this is the only way to accomplish our shared goals. Please invite: Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, Independent, and unaffiliated friends to your house meeting. True ideological diversity leads, not only to a more interesting conversation, but to coalitions that undermine those who profit from manufactured division. It is time to come together.
Jimmy Carter mentions the military budget during a talk at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum sponsored by Augsburg College in Minneapolis, March 6, 2015, saying that the country is preparing, with President Obama's approval, to spend a trillion dollars on defense. And, during the Question and Answer period afterward, he noted that the reason we weren't focusing on solving social problems is we give so much money to the military ...
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