ONE Act a Week: Convert a friend into a US foreign aid supporter

Action: 70. Time: 30 min. Difficulty: Hard. You’ll need: 1 unknowing friend, a computer with internet, and a bit of gumption.

This is a bit of a social experiment, but we promise it will be a fun and fulfilling exercise – especially for activists. We’d like you to try your hand at “converting” a friend into a US foreign aid supporter. We’ve discovered, from video interviews with real Americans across the country, that the magic formula is pretty simple: just tell them the facts… and the support will follow.

Here’s what we want you to do: Get a friend and follow the script below. The idea is to surprise your friend with the fact that US foreign aid makes up less than 1 percent of our total budget – and despite this small percentage, it does some amazing things in the fight against global poverty. Then once you’ve “converted” them (hopefully), encourage them to send a letter to their member of Congress asking them not to cut our US foreign aid budget (the link for this is at the bottom).

First, watch our video for inspiration. You’ll more or less be asking your friend these same questions, so take notes.

Then follow this script. You ask the questions for your friend to answer.

YOU: What do you think about the money that the US spends on foreign aid, and why?
[FRIEND ANSWERS]
YOU: And what percent of the US budget is spent on foreign aid? 
[FRIEND RESPONDS]
YOU: What would you say if I had told you that it was actually less than 1 percent?
[FRIEND RESPONDS]
YOU: How many people do you think are receiving life-saving AIDS treatment?
[FRIEND RESPONDS] 
YOU: It’s actually 8 million people receiving AIDS treatment.
[FRIEND RESPONDS]
YOU: How many people do you think new agriculture agriculture programs have helped in just 20 years?
[FRIEND RESPONDS]
YOU: Would you believe me if I told you that 1 billion people was helped with these programs?
[FRIEND RESPONDS]
YOU: Along with other countries, the US has helped make some of these successes possible. Do you think it’s important to be a global leader on these issues?
[FRIEND RESPONDS]
YOU: What message would you give members of Congress who are thinking about cutting these life-saving programs?
[FRIEND RESPONDS]

Next, try to get your friend to sign our petition HERE. Then, have them watch the video above so they can see that he or she is not alone in their perceptions of US foreign aid. If you need more facts to back up your argument, read this, this or this.

After this exercise, leave a comment below this article and tell us how your experience went. We will choose the best response on Monday, January 21, to receive a ONE goody bag.