Stakeholder Update - January 2018

Hi Everyone!  You're getting this email because you've expressed an interest in our work at Ohio Voice and we want to make sure you're receiving regular updates.  Here are some recent highlights:

  • We finished our strategic plan!  It's a living document, but this represents a lot of hard work and a great current snapshot of how we're thinking about our work.  It's attached here, along with a simple 1-page overview that shows our 3 key strategies: 1) improving partner programs, 2) running backbone programs, and 3) thought leadership and experimentation.  We'd love any of your feedback.  Our staff is in the process of creating corresponding, detailed workplans and goals.  We're very ready to move from planning to action.
     
  • We have $791,000 so far, we're on track for a roughly $1.25 million budget goal.  Since last fall, we have now received funds or have commitments from, in no particular order, The Gund Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Movement Voter Project, Piper Fund (Proteus), Coulter Foundation, CWA District 4, Ohio Education Association, Ohio Federation of Teachers, as well as several smaller contributions and many individual and anonymous contributions - it's been so great to see all of the renewals of support for ongoing projects as well as momentum building for our general operating and new ideas!  In addition to our team and internal capacity growth, we expect to re-grant $400-500k this year.  We have been invited to apply for other funds and are in active conversations with many of you, so we have every reason to believe 2018 can be a big year for fundraising that can lead to big impact.  The earlier we get our budget set, the earlier we can re-grant, and the better the work will be.  I'm sure you all know this, but I can't stress enough how hard it is to build capacity quickly and how beneficial early investment is in our space.
     
  • We are constantly pushing ourselves to think about how we can have the most impact - as an organization and as a coalition.  We were asked to pull together a major proposal in December that forced us to ask big questions like: what scale do we need to reach (collectively) to have major impact, what would it take to build to scale, what specific programs - targeted to what universes - would allow us to meet these goals?  It's only a draft, and the process is still ongoing, but we thought we'd share the foundation of the approach that we came up with - check it out below my signature.  It may not seem groundbreaking to you, but along with our strategic plan, these processes are making us hone in on a clear direction that is a very big deal for us.
     
  • Our programmatic work continues and will only get bigger and better in 2018.  We're in the hiring process for a Data & Digital Director, we have been gathering partner civic engagement plans for 2018 since early December, and we have several other initiatives in progress to improve partner effectiveness, including our next table meeting in February.  For backbone programs, our revenue coalition engaged significantly around the federal tax debate and has seen amazing growth on social media, and has begun to host statewide candidates for briefings on tax and budget policy that have been very well received.  We're digging in on workplans for voter protection, the census, and more, as well as in the process of building out new leadership development and racial equity projects.  And we're constantly mapping the landscape and working to share our insights back with our partners - we believe we're on the right track in re-building key relationships in our state and forging new ones as well.  We know that without unprecedented collaboration in Ohio we will greatly struggle, so we're excited by all the energy around coordination that is emerging.  And last but not least, we're doing everything we can to keep up with all of the internal processes needed to stay on a role - we've now officially filed for c3 status with the IRS, we're holding a staff retreat later this month, and much more.

We'll certainly be reaching out to you, but please always feel free to contact us!  James Hayes, our Deputy Director (cced here) and I will be in DC next in February and trips to NYC and California are in the works.  We'd love to link up.  We're happy to get on the road (or just the phone :) to talk with you, your board, or any other stakeholders you think we should be connecting with.