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November 25, 2008

We’re About to Go Dark

Subject: We’re about to go dark . . .

. . . for the Thanksgiving holiday. But before we go we’d like to ask you to conduct a thought experiment.

Remember, this is a thought experiment — we’re not asking you to actually do this. Quite the contrary. Here it is . . .

If you had the time and energy to go door to door in your neighborhood, explaining to your neighbors the benefits of the “Read the Bills Act” and the “One Subject at a Time Act,” how many of them do you think would say . . .

“Hey, I like that.”

And of those who responded positively, how many do you think would be willing to support RTBA and OSTA by signing up for a FREE membership with, and a FREE subscription to the Downsizer Dispatch?

* The number who would like RTBA and OSTA would probably be huge
* The number who would want to join Downsize DC would be a subset that

But how much of a subset? More importantly, how many would have to say yes for you to feel good about asking?

More important still, how many would have to say yes in order to be significant to your Congressperson?

If all of your neighbors, and all of the people in the other neighborhoods in your district, had heard about RTBA and OSTA, how much support would RTBA and OSTA garner in polls?

What impact on the thinking and actions of your Congressperson do you think these poll results would have? And what impact would such polling numbers have on potential Challengers for your Congressperson’s seat?

At what point does your Congressperson see his or her failure to introduce or co-sponsor RTBA and OSTA as a threat to his or her re-election? 

At what point does your Congressperson see widespread local support for RTBA and OSTA as an opportunity to secure his or her job by introducing or co-sponsoring RTBA and OSTA?

If you think RTBA and OSTA are something most people would support, then the challenge becomes to let everyone in your district know about RTBA and OSTA.

If you think a relatively small portion of RTBA and OSTA supporters could supply enough pressure on your Congressperson to make these proposals issues of concern to him or her, then the challenge becomes to recruit a sufficient number of people in your district to apply the required pressure.

Do you want to do this by going door-to-door in your neighborhood? Do your neighbors really want to stand at their doors listening to you explain RTBA and OSTA? The answer to both of these questions should be no. It takes too much time to walk door-to-door, and it’s too invasive to solicit support in this way. It’s also too hard. We want something EASY.


So what is the easiest way to reach the point where everyone in your district knows about RTBA and OSTA, and where there are Downsize DC members all around you? Email is the cheapest way, but it isn’t the fastest. What we need is something with high response rates. What we need is to . . .

Hire your mailman to do the work for us. He’s already going door-to-door anyway, so his mailbags might as well contain a letter introducing people to RTBA and OSTA. Here’s what will happen if we do this . . .

* Everyone will see the words Downsize DC, “Read the Bills Act,” and “One Subject a Time Act” on the envelope — think of it as a micro form of billboard advertising
* Those who read the letter will learn about RTBA and OSTA
* Some of them will decide to send us their email address and become members of Downsize DC
* A few will enclose a few dollars so we can send more letters to more people
* Some will get really excited and send larger contributions
* As our membership grows, we’ll be able to hit non-responders more than once — repetition does work
* As we make further progress, we’ll have enough members to use other tactics too, like radio and TV ads in targeted districts, picking off members of Congress one by one

Eventually, the benefits to you will be . . .

* Everyone around you will know about RTBA and OSTA
* Fellow DC Downsizers will be all around you too

All we need to do to begin this plan is raise our very modest 2009 budget of $186,000. Two DC Downsizers have committed $50,000 to make this happen. Monthly pledges presently account for $97,000 of our annual budget. In the past couple of weeks other DC Downsizers have joined them with commitments and monthly pledges totalling $12,457.

That means we only need $26,543 more to get started on our ambitious yet realistic outreach program.

To discover how you can help reach the goal . . .

* From the top down with a larger pledge that you’ll fulfill when the goal is met
* Or from the bottom-up with a monthly credit card pledge
* And how you can get your own, bold, “I Am Not Afraid” T-shirt with which to silently evangelize at your local grocery or hardware store . . .

GO HERE and learn more about our Close the Gap campaign!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

P.S. T-shirts begin shipping next week, right after the Thanksgiving holiday. You really should check them out.

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