Practices in Equity: LIFT’s Member Speaker Support Toolkit

In October LIFT instituted our Member Voice Compensation Policy to ensures we hold ourselves and our partners accountable to compensating members for sharing their voice for program design, fundraising, and advocacy purposes in the fight for economic justice.  

While member compensation for sharing their experiences and expertise is a vital step, we acknowledge the importance of creating a member-centered experience for this type of storytelling. LIFT is committed to providing guidance and tools for our staff, coaches, and partners in order to ensure member’s feel ownership over their stories, supported in the ways they want and need, and ensuring the process is conducted with dignity.  

As affirmed in our Equity Statement, Accountability With Love, LIFT is committed to:  

  • elevating LIFT members’ voices and experiences to dismantle economic systems rooted in racist practices and ideologies that perpetuate poverty;  
  • sharing the stories of our member families with dignity and integrity; and   
  • ensuring the people and organizations we collaborate with are representative of and invested in supporting our members.  

Our Member Speaker Support practices and tools, developed collaboratively by LIFT staff across the country and organization and with input from our members and partners, hold LIFT accountable to these commitments.  

LIFT intentionally refers to these practices as “Member Speaker Support” vs. “Member Speaker Prep”. Instead of preparing members with the stories we want them to share, we hope and strive to support members in sharing the story they want to share. The guidance and tools LIFT staff and coaches have access to are intended to support members in feeling comfortable with the opportunity presented to them, brave and bold in their storytelling and public speaking, and equipped to highlight their experiences and strengths as they chose to.   

As we continue to work and learn in this space, we will continue to refine our practices to ensure they align with our values, and we look forward to hear from others in the space committed to community-centered storytelling.  

Lucy Smart is LIFT’s Senior Manager of Economic Mobility & Policy. Lucy is a part of the National Program Team and manages LIFT’s Member Voice program. Lucy is a strong believer that those most impacted by programs and policies should have a seat at the decision-making table.