A Dollar for Change
(Kickstart CDC Funding) - Awarded Silver
Brief: Use digital and social media to encourage politically disinterested American teenagers to take one meaningful step toward getting their state and/or federal governments to pass common sense gun-control legislation.
Background: For the last 20 years the Dickey Amendment mandated that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control”. Funding for the CDC has dropped by 96%, where in 1996 Congress stripped the CDC of $2.6 million, the same amount the agency had spent studying gun violence the previous year. The 2018-19 spending bill by President Donald Trump, includes a line that says, "While appropriations language prohibits the CDC and other agencies from using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has stated the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence." Yet researchers are not hopeful given the lack of federal dollars to carry out any studies.
Problem: The lack of funding to this issue prevents any real scientific steps and solutions in how best to deal with reducing gun violence. And due to this lack of evidence many NRA backed politicians frequently use this argument to defend their stance on gun ownership. Studies from the CDC are vital to be able to find evidence based measures to reduce the number of deaths cause by guns.
Insight: Teens want change quickly with minimal effort and if the government won’t provide the funding, teens most certainly can, especially when they are made aware of the problem with the Dickie Amendment. It is also known that teenagers are charitable and give more generously according to research carried out by the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator.
Idea: There are 4 million Americans turning 18 this year and 19 to 21 year olds who are all eligible to vote this November and of whom many would support gun control once made aware of the issue with the Dickie Amendment. And although they would not be earning a lot, if they simply donated one dollar each that would put the CDC funding well over the $2.6 million they previously had a year before their funding plummeted. This new $4 million dollars in donations would hugely benefit the research into how to best prevent gun violence and would thus give representatives more scientific ground to pass legislation.
Execution: To first get teenagers aware of the problem with the Dickie Amendment we will use YouTube and Instagram influencers as spokespeople popular among teenagers to convey our message. We will also use survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Also using owned, paid and earned media channels to drive awareness and education on the issue, which will all lead to the site www.adollarforchange.com. Although our primary source for donations will be on our site we will also use other channels like Kickstarter and Facebook to encourage as many teenagers as we can to donate. We will also visually represent state by state, hour-by-hour data on the site, on which states are and are not donating, to put pressure on all states to keep the momentum up over a minimum of 6 months. The outcomes of this will be a dollar per teenager who can vote this midterm election, the dollars given by others outside this group, grow and engage social community around the campaign and to increase voter registrations from information on our site.
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