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

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