Spitfire Strategies

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (the Center) asked Spitfire to design a campaign to persuade Congress to make the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent and available to more people.

The Earned Income Tax Credit

These tax credits – two pro-work tools that lift millions out of poverty each year – had key provisions that were set to expire in 2017. If Congress didn’t act, as many as 50 million people stood to lose these benefits.

Spitfire designed a campaign plan targeting congressional staffers to demonstrate demand for the credits and build will to include the credits in upcoming legislation. The plan paired an aggressive letter- to-the-editor strategy in select states with narrowly targeted digital ads.

The dual outreach strategy proved to be an effective way to demonstrate a vocal grassroots movement for the EITC and CTC in targeted congressional offices and states. In early December 2015, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle came together and agreed to save critical provisions of these tax credits.

Through letters-to-the-editor, the Center and its partners helped bring to life compelling stories of constituents and the real-world need for the tax credits. We used timely news hooks, such as holidays and newly released data, to build a constant drumbeat of support for the credits from diverse perspectives. Letters-to-the-editor appeared nearly every day for several months in newspapers in targeted congressional districts across the country.

Simultaneously, Spitfire designed a digital advertising campaign to reach Hill staffers and members of Congress. We worked alongside the Center’s partner, MomsRising, to place banner ads in relevant sections of Beltway outlets. The ads featured a range of messages related to the tax credits and their importance for working families. Through A/B testing, we were able to quickly identify which images and messages resonated with staffers and use that data to inform future ad buys. Spitfire implemented the same process and strategy for social media advertising on Facebook and Twitter to create an echo chamber and build will to pass the credits during the legislative session.

We coordinated the letters-to-the-editor and digital ads during the most critical campaign moments, and worked with coalition partners to expand the reach of these materials even further.

The dual outreach strategy proved to be an effective way to demonstrate a vocal grassroots movement for the EITC and CTC in targeted congressional offices and states. In early December 2015, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle came together and agreed to save critical provisions of these tax credits. Spitfire wrapped up the campaign with thank you messaging to ensure members of Congress understood the positive impact these policies will have on families across the country.

Spitfire Services Employed

Strategic counsel
Campaigns
Digital plays

Spitfire Tools Used

“This truly is the gold standard of executive training.  I have benefited greatly.”

- Roland Stringfellow, Director of Ministerial Outreach, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies

The People Who Give Spitfire Our Spark: Jackeline Stewart

Kristen Grimm

By Kristen Grimm
President

Spitfire’s special sauce is its people. They are tremendously talented and committed. We know they would never brag about themselves, so we are going to do it for them. This occasional series gives you a chance to get to know the people of Spitfire better. Enjoy. Empowering voters and new… (read more)

SmartChart.org: Guiding strategic communication planning for 15 years and counting

Kristen Grimm

By Kristen Grimm
President

The same week I started Spitfire in 2002, Chris DeCardy – my mentor and the first person to hire me many years earlier – asked if I could write up a memo about how to do communication planning. No problem! I told him I’d have it to him by the… (read more)

Making Sense of Messy Truths with Tamara Thompson

Jae Aron

By Jae Aron
Senior Account Executive

At Spitfire, we pride ourselves in our ability to use effective communication to make positive change in the world. But in an era of “truthiness” and “fake news,” breaking through the clutter is easier said than done. To make our messaging stick, we need to understand not only what people… (read more)

Sign up to receive Spitfire Sparks

You’ll receive our latest smarts on the causes you care about and updates on our free tools.