Stakeholder Update - March 2018

Hi Everyone!  You're getting this email because you're a current or potential Ohio Voice funder who has expressed an interest in our work and we want to make sure you're receiving regular updates.  Here are some recent highlights:

  • But first... in case you might sometimes forget, what is it that Ohio Voice actually does?

    Our mission is to support and grow the ecosystem of non-profit, non-partisan organizations doing year-round civic engagement with underrepresented communities in order to improve people’s lives.

    We do that through 4 core strategies where we support programs, run programs, and constantly analyze and strategize about the landscape in Ohio (plus try to run a good shop internally):

    #1: Improving Partner Effectiveness - Engaging Partners (1), Data & Digital (2), Re-Grant & Quality Control (3)

    #2: Running Backbone Programs - Leadership Development (1), Racial Equity (2), State Budget & Tax (3), Election Administration (4), Census (5)

    #3: Thought Leadership and Experimentation - landscape analysis and strategic planning toward a collective impact plan

    #4: Internal Operations & Management - Fundraising (1), HR & Accounting (2), Logistics (3)

  • We hired a Data & Digital Director (and we're hiring an Outreach Manager)!  Adam Parsons' first day was our table meeting on 2/26.  We're so excited to have him on board!  He adds another sharp thinker and strategizer to our team and he's already started supporting partners with things like text programs, digital data, and more.  Our board approved a $1.3 million base budget (I hope we get to more like $1.7!) in January and we've just posted for an Outreach Manager position (see attached job description and feel free to share) and plan to hire an Operations Manager, likely in June, as we get to full capacity.
  • Our first re-granting pool of $150,000 is now open!  We were thrilled to announce this development at our table meeting.  For context, the last general re-granting from Ohio Voice that we're aware of was in 2012, and it was less money that didn't move until October.  We're moving in the right direction!  We have detailed a process and are inviting proposals of up to $30,000 starting March 10th.  In addition, we are re-granting this year for 1) work to see the congressional redistricting measure (Issue 1) to the finish line and then to keep the volunteers engaged, 2) our Fair Courts program, likely 3) for voter registration, and we have a couple other things in the works that we're keeping our fingers crossed on.  Re-grants provide us a great opportunity to work even more closely with our partners to help them achieve their individual goals and all of achieve our collective ones.  I've attached the process we're using here (it's our first time being a funder - if you've got ideas on how to make it better, let us know!).
  • We're trying new things - like building a new donation tool!  One of the first projects our Data & Digital Director is helping with is to build out a (primarily small-dollar) donor portal for Ohio that would allow folks to give directly to our partners or to funds based on issue or geography.  Think of it a little bit like the donation system used by Movement Voter Project (PS - if you don't know about MVP check them out!), but at the state level.  I don't know when we're going to roll it out yet, we're figuring that out - but it's exciting even thinking about the possibilities.  Of course, it'll all be in how well we can promote it, but we think there is big untapped potential in Ohioans and Ohio lovers giving small-dollar support.
  • Our programs are making moves!  Our just-released State of Ohio report (attached) - the 3rd annual analysis from our budget and tax coalition One Ohio Now - has gotten great press this past week in the run-up to the Governor's State of the State address.  And I'll be on Face the State (the local version of the Sunday morning political talk show) this week to talk about it.  Our voting rights and election administration work in support of the congressional redistricting initiative is also kicking into another gear - we're working closely with folks at Common Cause on volunteer engagement and continue to support in other ways (including data management for all the signature gathering that took place).  We also co-hosted, with the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and Children's Defense Fund, the first "census table" meeting with about 35 diverse partners.
  • Soon to come... We're honing in on one Collective Impact Plan that builds off of all the work we've been doing for the past 9 months to make the case as clearly and as simply as we can of what the best strategy is for Ohio right now going into 2018 and what resources it will take to do it.  This is a HUGE year for us in Ohio - it will shape the next decade plus because of redistricting and more.  We believe that if we1) identify our needs and 2) effectively communicate them, then 3) folks like you can help us meet those needs and see the real impact.

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 at various conferences this year and are beginning to set up house parties around the country to share our work.

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, and don't hesitate to ask if you ever need plans, budgets, anything.