Volunteer Emblem The Missouri Volunteer Movement: Helping Out

Bringing Power Back to the People

Left Arrow Back to Home | Our Goals | Who We Are | News | Forums | Elections | Community Groups Right Arrow
Volunteer Party HQ | Contact Information

Help Keep Our Government Honest

Our local government gets very little real attention. It can go awry and nobody would know. Millions of tax dollars in your area alone are at stake.

That's where you can help.

You can investigate your town budget, attend public meetings, or look into your school's finances. You don't need to be an accountant; you just need to be determined and curious. If you demand answers, you will be surprised what you can uncover.

The Missouri Sunshine Laws were passed for just such a purpose. You can download summaries of them below.

The Missouri Sunshine Laws for Public Meetings: Word Document (16 KB)  |  PDF (85 KB)
The Missouri Sunshine Laws for Public Records: Word Document (16 KB)  |  PDF (139 KB)
Exceptions to the Sunshine Laws: Word Document (16KB)  |  PDF (133 KB)
Attorney General's guide to the Sunshine Laws: PDF (415 KB)

There are also these resources:

A Missouri lawyer's blog on the Sunshine Laws

Because these laws do not have a ton of bite, a public official might ignore you, or even lie to you. This has happened to several citizen investigators in recent years, notably one investigating state drug task forces, and a mother investigating her child's public school for conducting free market research on students for private test companies.

However many officials do comply with requests. The results sometimes uncover conspiracies to defraud the public, as Rich Simpson did when looking into the Fox school district's treatment of his child.

You can read an example of the Sunshine Laws in action here:

Secret, Dangerous, and Unaccountable by Aaron Malin (PDF: 3 MB)

If you think something is fishy at your school, or city, or any entity that collects taxes, but don't have firm proof, you can request a state audit. Unlike the Sunshine Laws, a state audit has a lot of teeth. By law, if you manage to secure enough signatures, the state must perform an audit. Here are two guides on how to make that happen:

How to Request a State Audit: Word Document (18 KB)  |  PDF (92 KB)

A Hunter's Guide to Investigation: Word Document (18 KB)  |  PDF (195 KB)

As always, if you uncover budget information that needs looking over, or need advice, do not hesitate to contact us.

Other Ways to Help

Any talent or interest can be used for a social purpose. In particular, we welcome:
  1. Candidates who are leaders and will stand for office in the Missouri legislature.
  2. Candidates for local offices (school boards, county executives, city councils, etc.).
  3. Investigators and researchers to gather information on political situations, offices, misdeeds, positive actions, etc.
  4. Writers to talk about issues, blog experiences, etc.
  5. Creative talents in acting, singing, composing, scripting, videomaking, etc. to communicate ideas.
  6. Organizers and planners to lay out website content, outline political strategies, file information, etc.
  7. Philosophers, political scientists and historians to share their knowledge of political society with others, and chart a course for change.
  8. Social networkers to act as ambassadors with different groups, to bridge differences, build communities and recruit disenfranchised or disheartened citizens.
  9. Debaters and orators to speak publicly about Volunteer ideas.
  10. Editors and proofreaders to polish any written content (articles, songs, speeches, etc.).
  11. Critics and skeptics to provide useful feedback (i.e., we don’t need trolls or negativity for its own sake).

There are, of course, lots of other tasks that need doing, such as folding pamplets, typing addresses, circulating petitions, etc. Contact a Volunteer Leader (click here) and they will find a way to accomodate your interests and abilities.

Five Things That Always Help

Here's a short list of the best things a person can do to help the Volunteer Movement:
  1. Listen to people. To restore a vibrant democracy, we need to be more comfortable with listening to other viewpoints. Find out what others think about our political system. If they have good insights, share them with other Volunteers. If a person wants political change, see if they are interested in helping out too.
  2. Talk to each other. Give timely feedback. Tell us what we're doing well, and what we're doing wrong. Share your ideas for different ways of voting, governing, or taxing. Let us know if you need help. Without feedback, we're often left stumbling in the dark.
  3. Make a small committment to a task. Pledge your energy toward a small goal that will help the Volunteer cause. Maybe you could attend a school board meeting and take notes, or draw a cartoon character for a pamphlet. Keep it simple. If you try to accomplish too much at once, you'll quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged. Houses have to be built one brick at a time - the same idea goes for political causes.
  4. Stay informed. Make an effort to check up on facts. A political policy often hinges on a single detail that turns out to be false. Political groups are notorious for spinning data to support their agenda; be skeptical, but be fair. If a person asks a question and you don't know the answer, don't be afraid to admit it. Without a balanced and honest presentation of facts, the Volunteer Movement is no better than the other special interests in Missouri who mislead the public.
  5. Explore your community. Find out who your local politicians are, and what they are (or aren't) doing. Talk to others in your community by attending meetings, fairs, and so forth. It can be scary, but in the end, face-to-face contact is the only way we can really become comfortable with each other, and build trust.

You've Got Mail
Order a Free
Volunteer Handbook

Click to order
Manda Gets a Gift
We Welcome All

Click to donate
Facebook Icon
Join Us
On Facebook

Click to view
Twitter Icon
Follow Us
On Twitter

Click to follow