New TCWF Case Studies Offer Tips for Planning Successful Tax Credit Campaigns

By Devin Simpson

What are some of the most effective tactics for advancing tax credit legislation? Each year, Tax Credits for Workers and Their Families (TCWF) releases a set of case studies on the strategies and messages advocates used in recent campaigns to create, expand or protect state-level Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC).

This year, we highlighted Hawaii’s successful campaign to enact a state-level EITC, Detroit’s 2017 EITC Initiative to promote access to and awareness of the credit, and new digital media features that advocates can utilize to promote tax credit legislation.

In Hawaii, a diverse coalition of advocates worked for over a decade to educate lawmakers on the need for a state-level EITC.  Those efforts paid off when Governor David Ige (D) signed legislation to enact a state credit in July.

In Detroit, the mayor’s office spearheaded a 2017 EITC Initiative after a study showed that 26,000 eligible households do not claim the credit each year, leaving $80 million on the table. The initiative sought to expand awareness and access to the EITC among Detroit residents through billboards, ads on mass transit, emails and public service announcements. The campaign led to approximately 18,150 more Detroit households filing for the credit in 2017, bringing an additional $74 million back into the city.

Lastly, social media has created powerful new platforms for organizations to promote their causes and reach new audiences. These platforms can be used by advocates to expand the reach of existing campaigns or to launch new initiatives. New tools such as SMS campaigns and innovative features on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help advocates of tax legislation to mobilize their audiences, promote tax legislation and raise awareness about the EITC and other credits.

These case studies, along with those from years past, illustrate the common elements in many tax credit campaigns, while highlighting unique and successful strategies that advocates across the country can adapt and leverage for their own efforts in 2018.