Finding Your Audience: Targeted Outreach to Low-Income Californians
CalEITC4Me believes that everyone who works should be able to afford life’s basic needs – food, housing, transportation and healthcare. Yet, California has the highest rate of poverty: two of five people live in or near poverty. With the recent expansion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit to workers from the ages of 18-24 and over the age of 65, it is critical now more than ever to reach these populations to claim their EITC.
Since 2015, CalEITC4Me has helped 2 million low-income California families receive $4 billion back in their pockets in state and federal earned income tax credits — the most proven way to bring financial security to those who need it most. We’ve become a national leader in EITC outreach and organizing, using innovative and cutting-edge tactics to help working people understand and access the credit.
CalEITC4Me runs a multi-layered campaign, combining innovative and accessible online tools, grassroots organizing, multilingual and culturally sensitive materials and sophisticated targeting strategies to reach those likely to benefit from the EITC. We strive to reach the right people with the right information, through multiple channels of communication. CalEITC4Me has proven results for increasing EITC claims and we hope to emulate our organizing model throughout these targeted regions.
CalEITC4Me was the first to pilot peer-to-peer texting technology in Cal EITC outreach and has sent 1,200,000 text messages to 600,000 low-income Californians in 2018. We are utilizing the help of established and trusted community organizations by training them how to use our platform to send these texts, and then take that technology back to their own organization with an effective mode of communication to their own membership.
Social media complements our targeted and aggressive texting efforts. According to a Pew Research study, 68% of all adults in the United States have a Facebook profile, and 65% of people with incomes lower than $30,000 use Facebook. People who received our text messages will also see our ads on Facebook, because we are able to upload our text message contact list directly into Facebook. Last year, we pursued a statewide Facebook campaign that allowed us to reach hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians through specifically tailored targeting by overlaying demography with things like interest (ie. “liking” specific categories known to be popular in our targeted demographics). We hope to conduct a campaign of Facebook ads and boosted posts in targeted areas, and to use our approach of constant testing and refinement to efficiently reach low-income California residents.
Our texting and social media efforts point potentially eligible EITC recipients to our website, CalEITC4Me.org, which includes tools such as a calculator to determine eligibility as well as an estimated state and federal EITC refund and free tax preparation finder to connect those who can claim the EITC with free services close to where they are.
CalEITC4Me would love the opportunity to walk through our program, inform others on our successes, and solicit feedback to further us on our organization goal of lifting working families out of poverty by making work pay better.
|Josh Fryday, President, Golden State Opportunity and CalEITC4Me
Previously the Chief Operating Officer at NextGen Climate, the largest climate advocacy group in the nation. Josh has run multiple statewide campaigns throughout the country. Prior to NextGen, he honed his organization and leadership skills while a Lieutenant in the United States Navy (2009-13) as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG).
|Trevor Rodgers, Campaigns Director, Golden State Opportunity and CalEITC4Me
Trevor has previously served as the Congressional Campaigns Director for the California Democratic Party, Political Director for Xavier Becerra for Attorney General, and many other state and national political campaigns. Trevor brings almost 10 years of grassroots and political organizing experience. Trevor has worked with GSO for 2 years, leading grantmaking, campaign, and digital efforts across the state.
|Blanca Lopez, Inland Region Campaign Director, Golden State Opportunity and CalEITC4Me
Blanca is highly committed to addressing the issues specific to the Inland
Region and brings over 10 years of organizing and leadership experience. She began her work in social justice in the labor movement where she was trained as an organizer by Service Employees International Union. She returned to the Inland Region to earn a History degree from the UC Riverside during which she served as Community Outreach Coordinator for the Riverside County Library System and in her spare time worked with local organizations in the communities of Riverside County. Prior to joining GSO, she worked with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials as acting National Campaign Coordinator, where she worked to implement and execute Latino civic engagement campaigns across seven states.