Bridge Alliance in 2018
Posted by Debilyn Coffee Party on January 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM
Bridge Alliance in 2018
We are proud of our accomplishments -- but we are not resting on our laurels!
In just three years, the Bridge Alliance has grown to an alliance of 83 organizations with new members invited quarterly. We are barely past start-up in creating a vibrant and powerful collaborative community of organizations, each working to strengthen democracy. With the right combination of strategy, funding, and collaboration this community can significantly amplify the power of what each organization is doing individually.
We have an exciting year planned for 2018. Some highlights:
- Backbone Services - includes a journalist outreach program, peer to peer opportunities, and continuing the Weekly Update on latest member happenings and events.
- Media Campaign - a unified media delivery system plan that will run for at least three months, reaching approximately 5 million additional people and collecting an estimated 15,000 email addresses.
- Leadership Council - Bridge Alliance member leaders will share ownership in enacting the 2018 plan and amplify our message.
- Fundraising Campaign - Our goal is to raise $2,500,000 of which 80-85% goes to fund round two of BA Action Grants.
- New American Tapestry Portfolio for Bridge Action Grants - This is the basis for our fundraising campaign and is a collection of impact projects that represent the variety of areas we work in and which must be worked on simultaneously.
Want more information? Keep reading!
As the 2014 election drew near, a group of 30 people gathered in Reston, VA and grappled with the question, “What can we do better together, that none of us (organizationally) can do alone?” Each person, representing a spectrum of organizations, acknowledged that individually and alone, we had little impact on the political system in our country. The fractures in our civil society, our elections, and our governance system were visible and getting worse.
A design team met in early 2015 to help frame our collective action plan and within a few months, Bridge Alliance was born. Together, we realized that now is the time for collaboration and action to rebuild our country and fulfill the founding vision of this American experiment. Rebuilding, reforming, and re-imagining our country became the charter for Bridge Alliance.
Collectively, our work falls into three categories: 1) civic engagement, 2) campaigns & elections, and 3) governance & policy making. Our members have consistently told us they need three things.
- More funding
- More media exposure
- More connections with each other
We developed internal infrastructure through much of 2015. In 2016, we began inviting more member organizations, established a weekly update to keep everyone “in the know” about our collective work, and announced a grant program to enable new collaborations. In 2017, grants were awarded to ten different projects. For 2018, we plan to expand exponentially.
Our goal is to provide consistent and open communications to our many Bridge Alliance members to build trust, affirm mutual objectives, and promote collective action. This creates a foundation of support for the political reform movement that has never existed before. We will reinforce this foundation by taking the following steps.
- Begin the journalist outreach program – we will provide members the contact information of journalists who cover our field, with a short training on how to use the database
- Convene regular group conference calls / webinars – facilitate best practice sharing and news updates (share polling, programs, social media campaigns, etc.)
- Keep up-to-date on the sector – its progress and needs
- Develop regular modes of communication among members – FB groups, regular conf calls, and gatherings as well as through the development of personal relationships with our members
- Continue the Weekly Update e-news to spotlight activities of member organizations and share who is in the news
The Bridge Alliance has invested in a Media Campaign with IVC Media that will publish articles and videos highlighting actions and successes related to the mission of Bridge Alliance and its members. This will draw attention to the New American Tapestry and different areas of political reform.
This unified media delivery system plan will run in early 2018. Here are the expected outcomes:
Reach 5,000,000 impressions to potential supporters via
- Social media – using Bridge Alliance and member oriented content
- IVC’s email list of 130,000 subscribers
- Generate 15,000 opt-in email leads to support Bridge Alliance and its members
Bridge Alliance Leaders Council
We are proud to announce the creation of the Bridge Alliance Leaders Council (BALC); Bridge Alliance leaders who believe that together, as one, we will build a powerful community that achieves far greater success than any one of us could possibly attain on our own. The Leaders Council has accepted responsibility for implementing portions of this plan.
While the BALC does not include every leader in 2018, we expect the Council’s membership to rotate on an annual basis. This inaugural Leadership Council was formed based on working relationships with the Bridge Alliance team, collaborations with other members, and known leadership in the field. If you would like to join the Leadership Council in the future, please be in touch.
The Bridge Alliance is embarking on an aggressive fundraising campaign early in 2018 that is dramatically different both in approach and scale. We will show potential investors the impactful work of the Bridge Alliance member organizations, and demonstrate how collaboration multiplies the impact.
Most importantly, our story will be told by the member organizations themselves; this is a critical aspect of the Leadership Council’s work.
The goal of the campaign is to raise $2,500,000 of which 80%-85% goes to fund Round 2 Bridge Action Grants. The remaining 15%-20% will be used to fund the media campaign and operations of the Bridge Alliance. This new program will build upon the strength of Round 1 Action Grants by including successful projects in the Round 2 portfolio.
An important premise to our fundraising strategy is our belief that the many organizations within the transpartisan movement have long sought funding from a very limited segment of the philanthropic world. We believe that our collective story and business model will attract new investors by asking potential donors to invest in the health of society rather than continue to pour millions into campaigns and institutions that perpetuate the same dysfunctional and hyperpartisan political process, further eroding trust among our fellow citizens. We are going to bring new funders to the sector by utilizing the experience, reputation, and stage presence of the remarkable BA member leaders. We will appeal to the enlightened self-interest of funders to bring more funding to our work.
Bridge Action Grant Program - Round 2
The New American Tapestry Portfolio for Political Reform
The Bridge Alliance mission and strategy is predicated on the principle that there is no single silver bullet to the revitalization of our democracy. There is no one organization that can fix our political system, and there is no single area of focus that can fix our political system. Hence the need for a portfolio of projects – the New American Tapestry of political reform – that can be funded simultaneously, so we can weave together a better country.
The portfolio will likely cover these areas:
Increase informed citizen involvement
- Public meetings
- Communicating with public officials
- Millennial outreach
Promote respectful engagement
- Dialogue and deliberation projects
- Weaving the social fabric of our communities
- Facilitator training
Foster new types of leadership
- Legislator training
- Millennial candidates
Address money and corruption
- Ethics work
- Campaign finance
Fix structural issues
- Create sensible voting districts
- Level the playing field for independents and independent minded Democrats and Republicans to run for office
- Make it easier for average citizens to run for office
Improve local governance
- Citizen involvement
- Average citizens running for office
- New type of leadership
Utilize Civic Tech
- Public input to policy debate
- Voter registration and information
We will weave these seemingly separate areas of focus into a tapestry of projects to revitalize and invigorate our democracy.
We are profoundly grateful for your support as Bridge Alliance members but, as we all know, our work is not done! We are only just beginning the weaving of our tapestry. The story we will be telling, and the leaders of the Bridge Alliance will be telling, is a story of remarkable social entrepreneurs and of a thriving collaborative community all working together to strengthen our democracy. It is the telling of this story combined with a well thought out strategy, as defined above, that is our focus in the year ahead. We look forward to working with you in 2018.
David, Debilyn and the growing Bridge Alliance team