We Support and Train Current and Future Ballot Measure Leaders
Since 2013, BISC Foundation has trained over 1,000 people from at least 30 states.With a focus on new and emerging leaders, BISC’s training program works with these leaders to give communities the tools the educate voters and develop civic engagement plans around ballot measures and issue-based campaigns.
We have prepared strategists and advocates, from a variety of backgrounds and states, to go on to lead successful organizations and advocacy campaigns across the country. In 2019 we held the first-ever Advanced Practitioners Summit in addition to our biannual introductory training.
We are committed to developing leaders and campaigns that center and build power the most impacted communities and apply an equity lens. Race, Equity, and Power choice points are integrated throughout our training curricula, webinars and case studies.
We also provide peer-to-peer learning and collaboration opportunities; one-on-one coaching; and webinars on topics such as advancing reproductive justice, how to use our research, and the role of tax-exempt organizations in issue-based campaigns.
In addition to training, we provide strategic assistance and guidance to organizations and funders seeking to understand how ballot measures can increase civic engagement.
We Lead Innovative Research
From tracking public opinion on issues in real time to analyzing relational organizing tactics and messaging on voting rights and democracy measures to gathering qualitative and quantitative pre and post-election data on Black, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, the BISC Foundation is asking the questions no one else is asking.
Since 1999, the BISC Foundation has been a leader in innovative ballot measure and issue-focused research. This includes growing the body of research on the intersection of economic and democracy issues, people of color, and messaging frameworks on voting rights and economic inequality nationally and in states.
As part of our continuing mission to provide the most comprehensive research into ballot measures in the county, we partnered with Trendency research to conduct survey research on the public’s attitudes about direct democracy, opinions of key measures, and priorities on issues, including immigration, criminal justice, reproductive justice, voting rights, the economy, and more. We conduct research in 11 states, and releases its findings to researchers and advocates.
In addition, we conducted joint research with the Movement Advancement Project on voting access messaging, a project entitled “Our Story: Hub for American Narratives on race-class economic narratives,” and participated in an AFL-CIO research collaborative. Learn more about our research program.
We Convene and Collaborate
The BISC Foundation plays a critical role in fostering inclusive coalitions that center the voices of impacted communities. We convene and connect social justice partners at every level to maximize resources and impact.
Close collaboration with state and national partners is a critical to our work. Currently we:
- Lead a proactive ballot measure working group with nearly 40 in-state and national partners, which takes a holistic approach to understanding the role of ballot measures in civic engagement across the country and organizational roles within those processes;
- Lead cohorts on the economy, democracy, and reproductive rights and work with organizations in their efforts to define new policies, share best practices, research, lessons learned and efforts to address equity and inclusion;
- Lead working groups to create better funder alignment with the field, address race and privilege dynamics and define best practices around vendor transparency and accountability.
In November 2019, we hosted a meeting with funders and state partners to begin building a new strategic framework for proactive issue campaigns and moving towards greater alignment.
We also convene the nation’s largest gathering of ballot measure strategists and activists at the Road Ahead Conference every February. In 2020, we had over 450 registrants more than 280 unique organizations in 23 states came together to collaborate and share best practices.
We Tell the Story About the Power of Ballot Measures
Our most read publication is BISCquick, a weekly wrap-up email on the ballot measure landscape.
These emails give people across the country up-to-date information on both the issue-based campaigns that are being considered across the country, but also a 30,000 foot view on the lay of the land across ballot measures.
Further, our staff are trusted experts for journalists seeking to talk about the impact of direct democracy efforts.
We Center Racial Equity in all Programming
We center racial equity in all aspects of our work, and in all active issue-based efforts across the county. To aid this work, we created an equity library for advocates which brings together over 20 years of best practices and knowledge around equity actions, processes and procedures.
We has also produced a Ballot Measure Campaign Manager Equity Checklist to help advocates think through the critical steps necessary to ensure they are considering equity during every decision point of their issue-based work.
The BISC Foundation surveyed working group members on their equity and inclusion plans to provide critical feedback to the entire movement around equity and diversity matters.
Our leadership in diversity was recently featured in the Talent Justice Report produced by the Fund the People and the Center for Urban and Racial Equity.