Equality for All… A Roadmap to Victory. November 2008 Election

 “In light of the fundamental nature of the substantive rights embodied in the right to marry — and their central importance to an individual’s opportunity to live a happy, meaningful, and satisfying life as a full member of society — the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all individuals and couples, without regard to their sexual orientation.’’

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald J. George

May 15, 2008

Table of Contents

 Page

Background.......................................................................................................1

Preliminary Road to Victory...............................................................................3

Mechanics — How does EFA get the votes?.......................................................6

Conclusion......................................................................................................14

Appendix 1:Proposed Campaign Budget.............................................................................15

Appendix 2:Shayna Englin Finance Memo..........................................................................18

Appendix 3:Kimberly Ray Finance Memo...........................................................................27

Appendix 4:Blackrock Associates Memo.............................................................................29


June 2008 Friends and Potential Donors, The good news is clear: The California Supreme Court’s recent decision guaranteeing us all the fundamental freedom to marry is a milestone in our Country’s history. And since that ruling the media — and indeed the public — from the far corners of our country — and indeed the world — have weighed in, blogged in, commented on and yearned to be heard on what we all see as a change, so long in coming, but so very important. But the celebrations — as happy as they are, and as historic as we all know them to be — will be silenced, and the movement set back immeasurably if the Constitutional amendment slated for the November ballot is allowed to pass.

Following is a plan — a real roadmap to victory — that outlines how we can prevent the amendment from passing — and once and for all guarantee equal rights for all. 

The polling numbers show this can be done. The volunteer base is energized like never before.

The campaign team you have hired has NEVER LOST a “NO” campaign — and has worked on, and won, some of the most critical and sensitive social issues ever facing electorates around the nation. We have the will and the way, all we need are the funds to make it happen.

That’s where you come in. 

We have put together a budget that allows us to talk to the public in every way California voters need to be talked to. We have an electronic paid media plan and a creative team that will make sure our messages get noticed. And we have combined that with an earned media effort, a field program, direct mail program and paid phone program designed to reach voters in addition to the airwaves. And as we have certainly seen during the recent Presidential primaries, no effective political campaign can be successful now without a real presence on the internet. We have that too.

All of that cost money — and in a state as large as California, lots of money. Since the Court decision we have raised more that six figures on the net alone (!) and the first events have raised another 100K or more, but that’s just the beginning.

We need your help. We need big donations that allow us to buy television early, and continuing donations to keep the field fed and the phones ringing.

Of course, I am happy to answer any questions you or your friends have about the plan.  It will allow us to win. I hope you’ll join us. Together we can make history.  Sincerely,  Steve SmithThe Dewey Square Group


Background Introduction

An initiative amending California’s constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples is likely headed for the November 2008 ballot. The summary that would appear before voters reads:

This initiative amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. The measure would have no fiscal effect on state or local governments. This is because there would be no change to the manner in which marriages are currently recognized by the state.

As of May 9, the Secretary of State’s office reports that proponents of the amendment have turned in 1,055,000 signatures. Based on this raw count, it is likely that the initiative will meet the threshold of 694,354 valid signatures needed to qualify it for the November ballot. The Secretary of State will officially certify the initiative for the ballot in late June. 

Winning the Campaign

The Equality for All (EFA) campaign — a large and diverse coalition of civil rights, faith, choice, labor and community of color organizations — is prepared to defeat this constitutional amendment. With a smart, well funded campaign EFA can prevail. 

Despite the numerous measures that appear on California’s ballots each year, most proposed initiatives are rejected by the voters. Judged by the standards established in other California ballot measure campaigns, proponents of the current anti-marriage measure lack the political support they need to win. Specifically, analyses of the numerous ballot measures waged in California show that in order to win, the initial polling regarding a proposed measure should show three things:

1. That the measure will pass with 60% of the vote; 2. That the yes-to-no ratio is two-to-one; and 3. That the strong support for the measure is at least 40%;

EFA’s September 2007 poll and May 2008 poll both show that the proposed initiative meets only one of the three criteria. The 2007 poll, conducted by Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research, showed that only 50% of likely California voters would vote in favor of the constitutional amendment—10 points under the 60% threshold. Further, with 48% of likely voters opposed to the amendment, the yes-to-no ratio is virtually 1:1. The only factor that meets the typical criteria for success is that 43% of likely California voters strongly support the amendment. The recently completed poll, conducted by Lake research again showed 50% support but the opposition had dropped to 42% while the “strong support” remained at 43%. Thus, by the above three standards, the measure is clearly vulnerable.

The current political climate in California makes the terrain even rockier for the proponents of the initiative:

1. A September 2006 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California showed public opinion has moved significantly since 2000, the last time an anti-marriage measure was on the ballot. The PPIC poll showed that roughly as many California likely voters support the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples as oppose it. A September 2007 poll by David Binder showed similar results with a widening margin of support. 2. In two successive legislative sessions (2005 and 2007) the California legislature has passed a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry. No other state legislature has ever passed such legislation, whereas California’s legislature has passed it twice. Further, the vote did not emerge as a wedge issue in the 2006 elections and not a single legislator who voted for the bill lost his or her seat. 3. In April, California’s Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, came out firmly and strongly against the proposed constitutional amendment, saying: “I will always be there to fight against [such an amendment].” 4. The Supreme Court has now ruled that Gay and Lesbian couples as a matter of equal protection under the law can begin getting married on June 17th. 5. During the last two weeks the Los Angeles Times and California Field Polls highlighted the possibility of winning in this election. While the Los Angeles Times Poll indicated the gap was decreasing but we were still losing, the Field Poll indicated that by a slim 51% to 42% majority — the public in California now supported Gay and Lesbian marriages. 

November Electorate The turnout in the November 2008 election will be one of the highest in recent memory. Assuming Senator Obama is the Democratic nominee running for President, the electorate will include a higher percentage of African American and younger voters than in previous national elections. The landscape of the election is projected to be as follows:

Total Votes

• 12.4 million voters will cast ballots in November • 5 million ballots (40%) will be cast by mail

Demographics

• 47% under 50 years old (6% higher than in past elections)

• 66% White

• 19% Hispanic (most but not all of which will be Latino/a) 

• 7% African American

• 4% Asian/Pacific Islander

Party Breakdown 

• 44% Democrats

• 36% Republicans

• 20% Decline to State/Other

 

“So was last week’s ruling an impetus or impediment to that process? My hunch is that by basing the case for the right to intra-gender marriage so clearly and forcefully on the doctrine of equal rights, the court situated gay marriage not only in an established body of law but also within the essential definition of America. Opposition to gay marriage is most commonly rooted in tradition, religious tradition in particular. But the ideas that all men are created equal and have an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness are the traditions that define our nation, and by basing its decision on those premises the court did gay rights, and American ideals, a huge service.”

 Washington Post Op-Ed by Harold Meyerson Friday, May 23, 2008

We can WIN this campaign A Preliminary Look at New Polling

There is no question that the court decision and its incredible worldwide impact has and is resulting in changes in public opinion — both in California and around the nation. In order to gage that change and provide the campaign will the most accurate revised way forward, Lake Research Associates, lead by partner, Celinda Lake, conducted a new quantitative poll for EFA. That poll was completed Wednesday night, May 28, 2008. 

While we are still reviewing the incredibly important information contained in all the cross-tab information, an initial read of the numbers indicates this is a fight we CAN win.

On the first ballot question:

50% of the respondents indicated they would support the proposed constitutional amendment and 42% indicated they would oppose it. 

(One important up-front comment: We do significantly better when we describe the initiative this way:

However, if we describe the initiative as “over turning the actions of the Supreme Court” we do 10 pts worse. For all of our sake we need to begin our message discipline at the very beginning by talking about what it does in the same manner — and never using overturn in any of our discussions, writings, or speeches! This is about Gays and Lesbians being allowed to marry, not the process by which that is happening.” 

After that first ballot, when asked a clarifying question just a few questions later (“Did you mean to support or oppose banning gay and lesbian couples from marriage?”) the vote shifted slightly to 47% supporting the ban and 44% opposing the ban. 

Preliminary Road to Victory

 

Even more significant, after a simulated campaign with arguments being made on both sides of the issue, the “third ballot” of the poll showed, 47% supported the proposal and 46% opposed the proposal — in other words, we end up in a statistical dead heat. 

Our data, while slightly different, mirrors two public poll that came out while we were surveying the public. Both the prestigious California Field Poll (which, for the first time found that a majority of Californians supported Gay Marriage) and a Los Angeles Times Poll (which indicated less support for the initiative than Field but growing support for gay and lesbian marriage). 

All the available current research makes it clear that WE CAN DEFEAT THIS PROPOSAL…but it will not be easy.

The data from the Lake Poll is so new that we have not yet seen the full crosstabs, and although we only have the top-line data, and have had one briefing by Celinda, there are some significant strategic conclusions that can be drawn from the topline data.

1. Our base is, as expected, younger, more Democratic, more educated, unmarried and located in Los Angeles and Bay area.

 

2. We have a lot of work to do within that base: e.g. Bay Area support is at 47Y / 46N Los Angeles is tied 47Y / 47N. We can WIN both of these areas — but we need to do a lot of work in both areas and bring them home with big margins.

3. Their base is older, more Republican, more blue collar and very strong in the communities of color` (African American, Latino and Asian.....especially African American women). 

4. The communities of color being part of our opposition base vote must be mitigated or we will not achieve the vote totals we need in base Democractic areas such as LA and the Bay Area. 

We are currently doing careful demographic studies of the cross tabs to segment more clearly the targets for this campaign. The above represents our first takes at key targets. 

In addition, three general themes appear to be emerging for us: 

1. People should not be treated “differently”

2. It’s wrong to deny people fundamental rights and freedoms, or, said another way: The Constitution should guarantee equal protections for everyone, and 

3. Government should not be determining who can and who can not get married — or the more libertarian way of staying it: Government should stay out of our lives.

We are certainly looking for some additional focus group work to clarify the exact words we want to be using (e.g. the word “rights,” while it has not been particularly effective in other states, appears to be a good message for us in California, but we want to further test it). 

And while this campaign will certainly include an emotional overtone, that emotion may be centered more around cherished American values like equal treatment under the law, fundamental freedoms like speech, religions and yes, marriage (see above quote) and our rights to be treated fairly and equally by all, rather than emotional messages about love and commitment. Again, we will look to define these messages in the next several weeks as we move into solidifying campaign messages.

Their strongest argument is that the court has overridden the will of the people and the people need to exercise their will — again. Interestingly other messages the opponents have used in other states have less salience in California (we are not going to enumerate them here for obvious reasons) but some would say that this is NOT a surprise to us, we are, in fact, Californians!

The campaign will be providing funders with a more detailed, updated memo as more data become available to us, after we take a very close look at the Cross-tabs of this poll, and as do additional focus group work. This further research will allow us to begin to specifically target those demographic groups that will bring us the votes necessary for victory. 

But the polling will not change the overall campaign tactics outlined below, they will all just be refined to hone in on the voters we will need to secure. What follows is a discussion of the campaign tactics we will employ to win in November. The Internet and Social Marketing  As we all know, many younger voters are more attentive to the internet than to TV, so the internet component of the campaign is particularly important, given that younger voters are so important to EFA’s success. In addition, some have estimated that San Francisco is one of the most “wired” and “blogged” cities in the United States. Short-changing this part of the campaign, in this election year, with this electorate would be disastrous.

We therefore have hired a firm who will give us the kind of internet presence we need — and they have already begun their work. The first priority of the internet element of the campaign will be to mobilize our base to volunteer time and to contribute money to the effort. The secondary priority will be to persuade voters to vote “no” on the measure. 

More detail of this program is outlined in the accompanying memo from Blackrock Associates (see Appendix 4) who have been hired to implement this portion of the campaign. The first element will be to grow our online base using both online and offline techniques including a “Vow to Vote No effort,” processing the data from the decline-to-sign campaign and voter file messaging. 

While an email campaign has already begun, it needs to dramatically build with the expansion outlined above. Then we will use celebrities, social networking and the blogs to deliver a balanced program of fundraising, volunteer recruitment and providing motivating information which can be shared on the Web and throughout the Net. 

Based on our latest polling, the website will be redesigned to reflect the new messaging from the Lake poll. And finally we will utilize some online advertising.

Earned Media 

The earned media component of the campaign plan has five specific goals: 

1. Educating and persuading opinion leaders and informed voters  2. Motivating EFA supporters in areas of the state that are supportive of our position (largely coastal California from Los Angeles to Eureka — with attention also paid to San Diego) 3. Discrediting supporters of the initiative, especially in EFA base areas  4. Making sure that all responses are on-target and on-message  5. Never leaving a charge unanswered.

Given the nature of this issue, the last two — keeping us on all message and never leaving dangerous charges unanswered — will be extremely critical to this effort.

Mechanics – How does EFA get the votes?

 

In the two weeks immediately following the Court decision and with the publication of two statewide polls (LA Times and Field) this issue generated more media attention and press inquiries than most initiatives garner during the full length of their campaigns. And the press inquiries were not limited to California outlets. Indeed, the press operation — from the beginning — was simultaneously handling calls from the limited circulation Palm Springs Desert Sun to the producers of NBC’s Nightline — and every outlet in between.

Of course, the larger outlets wanted — and we provided — key spokespersons — either from the community or from the campaign — to answer their “tough” questions about what does this mean, or can we win, or what are we going to spend.

Earned media experts from Ogilvy worked with LGBT communications experts from organizations throughout the state and county to make sure we were all on the same page, with the same messages during these critical early press events. That will be extremely important as we move ahead in this campaign. But, coordinated by Ogilvy, we have the team in place who know how to do it and we are blessed with communications experts from throughout the LGBT community who are already part of our earned media effort.

An important note here: Other than the Presidential Race — this initiative could indeed be the most watched election in the nation. Every single issue that affects this — from what is on the form of the new marriage licenses, to those couples coming to California to get married — every one of them has the potential to generate news stories — and they will. Again that makes speaking with one voice even more critical.

Initiatives, unlike candidates can ONLY speak with the voice that the spokespersons give them. Making sure our spokespersons are always speaking with the same messages with the same tone and with the right people talking to the right audiences will be one of our most important jobs. 

And given the closeness of this race (see polling discussion above) words matter in this effort — and the right words matter a lot. It’s “treated differently”, NOT “discrimination”, it’s about a constitutional amendment that only recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman, it’s NOT about “overturning the recent Court Decision.” While those are phrases that sound the same, they can make a huge difference in where people end up on the issue.

It’s clear: Words matter in this campaign, and the earned media team will be ever-vigilant in making sure everyone is using the right words.

 

The Mercury News May 2008 First-ever majority favors gay marriage By Edwin Garcia

SACRAMENTO - For the first time ever, a statewide survey reports a majority of California voters favor gay marriage — a finding that pollsters describe as a milestone driven by younger people.…
Deliverables

Press Kits and Media materials Press briefing packets with the appropriate messaging will be prepared and one-on-one desk side briefings will be conducted with the 5 to 10 print reporters and the electronic reporters assigned to cover this campaign by their outlets. These packets will include the positive stories already available to us from the Court Decision, to poll reaction to Op-Ed’s in National papers.

Editorial Board Scheduling

During the summer, the campaign will begin to schedule editorial board visits with every major daily in California and some of the minor ones. We will go directly into the “belly of the beast” (e.g. the Central Valley) and make our case. Some publications such as the Orange County Register and the Bakersfield Californian are likely to support the initiative, but we expect most of the major newspapers (the LA Times, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee and the SF Chronicle) to come out against it and we will work them aggressively. Nevertheless we are going to talk to every board that will hear us. We will not leave the misperceptions of our opponents set the stage — and we will counter what they say at every board that will hear from you — and we might be surprised. The fundamental freedom arguments and the government out of our lives are arguments that can appeal to more conservative outlets — to we are going to make sure we visit everyone of them with our messages.

Talk Radio Outreach 

We will use talk radio where it is to our advantage to do so. While the campaign does not want to motivate or inflame the opposition, it definitely wants to motivate its base. And there are certain shows — in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles — that might well be used to motivate the public to (1) register if they are not registered and (2) then get-out-and-vote.

A Rapid Response Team

From the initial stages of the campaign, a rapid response network will be set up to address the misinformation and outright lies put out by the other side and to discredit their charges.

Maggie Linden with her 30 years of initiative experience, will be anchoring the rapid response message desk. We know that others will try and divide us — we’ve already experienced press who wanted comment (in a negative manner) about the form that the Secretary of State had developed for new marriage licenses. Within minutes the team had decided on the message (“This isn’t about forms, it’s about fundamental rights”) and had responses to the three outlets that were taking that tact. This is how we will deal with challenges and attacks: swiftly, accurately, with message based on polling and with a swift retort to those who would distort.

The Press Phone Hotline Of course the day-to-day press operations are being handled by a press protocol set up by Ogilvy which directs every inquiry to one phone number (916-717-1411). All media inquiries, will be directed there and then the team will determine who is best to comment and answer the reporters questions. Ali Bay, from Equality California will be staffing the press hotline and will have instant access to the rest of the media team when needed. 

Speakers Manual and Trainings Another role of the earned media team will be — after messages are developed — to create speakers training manuals — and indeed do trainings — for key spokespersons. The discussion above about staying on message is best accomplished through tool kits — and manuals that everyone can refer to and everyone can be trained on. Ogilvy will take the lead on developing these materials — and starting the trainings. Again, since this issue is SO “hot” we need to train as many people as possible on our messages — and also on what NOT to say. Trainings and the manual are an important part of our role. 

Messaging Updates On a regular basis the campaign will produce messaging memos and talking points for both our state and national partners. 

Paid Media EFA will buy 2000 points of television in the Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and San Diego markets in the 18 to 21 days leading up to Election Day. Of these, 1600 points will be aired on traditional television and 400 points will be aired on cable TV, taking advantage of new technologies that will allow EFA to target very specific audiences. Further, EFA will purchase:

• 1000 points of advertising on Latino/a oriented TV

• 1000 points of advertising in the smaller California coastal media markets

• A small amount of media in the Fresno market to cut losses in that area of the state

• Advertising on API oriented television and African American radio

• Display ads in API and African American newspapers. 

The campaign has retained Ogilvy Public Relations, Worldwide to do both the paid and earned media portions of the campaign including the actual ad development, production and buy. 

Buying Media—A Key Part of a Winning Strategy

Our experience with initiatives has taught us that securing media early helps make the buy more efficient and guarantees quality inventory that may not be available as we move close to election time. That means putting real money into the buy much earlier than anyone usually does — and it generally means “buying backwards” from election day. That secures the campaign’s ability to be on the air in those last crucial days — even if you don’t raise as much as you had planned for.

An Ugly Betty Story

For the “NO on 85 campaign” in November 2006, we purchased about 35% of the total television buy in July of 2006, focusing primarily on the primetime television “dayparts” (those shows between the end of the morning news and the beginning of the evening news) and also some late night and some news programming. The buy included “betting” on some new fall season shows, one of which was Ugly Betty. Ugly Betty became an instant hit the day it premiered. As the ratings for the show climbed and the demand for television time increased due to political ads, we found ourselves both priced out of this particular television show for any future buys, and at the same time in the enviable position of owning a number of Ugly Betty commercial breaks because we had bought them SO early. We propose doing the same for this initiative — not only buying prime that we know will be valuable (The Daily Show, Ugly Betty, etc.) but also “betting” on some of the new programming that, like Ugly Betty, could prove to have incredible reach in the California market.

What did the actual numbers look like?

Below is a history of costs for television and radio during the November election. We have selected some programming in the Los Angeles market to illustrate the increases as we moved closer to the election. As you can see, costs for Ugly Betty and 60 Minutes rose over 300% from the time we began buying to the time we made our last buy at the end of October. In October, we actually moved to buying radio as we felt we had been priced out of the television market (and in fact we were priced out with other campaigns spending upwards of $50 million on television!) Radio costs also increased but not to the same degree as television. 

Based on our past experience, and the fact that this year’s election will be a high-profile presidential election, we recommend making a base buy of at least 35% of your total budget ($4.9 million of the total recommended budget) or more in July 2008. Early commitment will help us achieve more television and radio inventory and provide the coverage we need to win this election.

There are myths that exist — particularly regarding buying “news adjacentcies” — that refers to buying ads at the beginning, middle and end of news programming. In fact, recent research shows that the MOST watched 6pm news in Los Angeles is on UNIVISION — not on the networks and therefore buying these expensive spots in not effective in reaching key targets. We found in Prop 85 that our spots on The Daily Show had just about as much salience with “news-hungry” viewers as did the CBS Evening News. We will carry that experience into our plans for this initiative.

Media Terminology Discussion

While many of you may be quite familiar with GRPs and the terms “reach” and “frequency” for those who are not, what follows is a short primer on media terms.

The budget buys target rating points (also known as “points” or “gross rating points”). Points are a measure of the audience size, or the number of viewers reached by a station or program. Points are used to measure the exposure to one or more programs or commercials, without regard to multiple exposures of the same advertising to individuals. One point delivers 1% of the target population we are trying to reach.

Television program ratings (number of points) vary greatly. A primetime program could deliver between 14 to 25 points and a late night news program may only deliver five points. One: 60 radio commercial delivers on the low end, less than one rating point or two rating points on the high end. This is because there are so many stations, listening is fragmented AND there is now satellite radio that draws audiences away from commercial radio.

 

Los Angeles TV

July 2006

Sept 2006

Oct 2006

Oprah

$5,200

$9,000

sold out

Regis and Kelley

$1,200

$4,000

$5,500

Evening News- SA

$1,200

$1,600

$5,000

Ugly Betty

$14,000

$25,000

$60,000

60 Minutes

$23,100

$62,000

$100,000

The total number of points we can afford to buy will be based on a combination of budget, type of programming purchased and audience targeting. These points are also expressed in “reach” and “frequency” terms. And industry rule of thumb is that and effective frequency must exceed 3 times for any audience to respond to a single message. 

(The calculation is reach x frequency = gross rating points.)

Our media plan will include buying programming to reach the broadest of audiences, as well as focused efforts on priority target audiences. This will include buying specific cable programming, prime and news. A solid mix will provide this campaign with the reach and frequency needed to penetrate the electorate, even in this presidential year. 

Labor and Democratic Allies 

As part of its coordinated campaign for the November election, The California Democratic Party will identify over 3,000,000 households for slate mailers and volunteer door-to-door and phone campaigns. The plan calls for an EFA contribution to this effort of $200,000 to ensure EFA messaging is placed appropriately on materials and in phone/door scripts. This contribution will also get EFA a “place at the table” to help determine specific voters to target. 

The California Federation of Labor will target approximately 1,000,000 labor union households for two pieces of mail and two phone calls. EFA’s plan calls for a contribution of $50,000 to this effort to maximize EFA messaging within that program. EFA will seek a labor union supporter to subsidize this particular expenditure. 

Paid Phone/Mail Program

EFA will send two pieces of mail to the 1.6 million swing voter households. Between the two pieces of mail, EFA will pay for a live ID/persuasion call. After the second piece of mail, EFA will place automated phone calls to supporters identified on the first call. 

Assuming this program enjoys typical success, 20% of the initial universe will be persuaded and/or identified, resulting in 320,000 newly identified supporters or 2.6% of the ultimate vote.

This program will be implemented to reach identified “vote-by-mail” voters starting 5 weeks before Election Day. The program will be implemented to reach all other identified voters starting 3 weeks before Election Day.

 

Field/Volunteer Phone Program 

Based on the high level of volunteer participation in its decline-to-sign effort — and based on the incredible outpouring of support since the Court decision, EFA will implement a robust volunteer phone bank program. EFA’s field staff estimates that a normal volunteer shift will last 2 hours with 20 calls per shift completed. From these 20 conversations, it is projected that 8 new supporters will be persuaded or identified. 

A significant number of early volunteer shifts will be used to recruit additional volunteers (rather than persuading or identifying new supporters) and raise money to help subsidize the field program (the finance plan assumes the field program will raise $350,000). Ultimately, the plan estimates staffing 71,094 volunteer shifts, requiring the recruitment of volunteers for 142,188 shifts — assuming a 50% no show rate. This program will result in 285,000 supporters being identified and/or persuaded or about 2.25% of the ultimate vote.

The field program has begun with in-kind donated staff which startedin mid May. Early efforts are aimed at phoning LGBT and base voter lists, including the decline-to-sign petition signers, the Democracy project lists and the coalition partner lists, to recruit an expanded volunteer pool. From mid June through mid August the field plan calls for opening field offices in Los Angeles (multiple locations), San Diego and San Francisco. Additional field staff will be hired starting in mid July. The target persuasion/ID calls will begin in mid August and continue through Election Day. 

Endorsements 

In issue campaigns as polarized as this one, political endorsements are far less important. However, some attention will be paid to ensuring friendly elected officials don’t stray from the path. The exceptions to this are the African American and Latino/a caucus elected and other leaders where a special effort must be made to ensure their vocal opposition to the initiative. 

Organizational endorsements are very helpful so that key organizations can sign ballot measure arguments, educate their memberships and communicate their endorsement. EFA will work very closely with key organizational allies to follow-up their endorsements with assistance in communicating effectively with their memberships. Endorsements from the California Democratic Party, the State Federation of Labor and the California Teachers Association are especially important. All three of these organizations conduct extensive member voter contact programs. We are already working hard to secure these endorsements.

Based on the polling data, the CTA and Federation of Labor programs could deliver as many as 257,000 additional “no” votes. 

A special endorsement effort will be made in the African American and Latino communities because public spokespeople on behalf of our campaign in those communities will be vitally important. For example, NAACP has already joined the EFA effort.

 

Conclusion

Equality For All can defeat this constitutional amendment on marriage with a well-funded, smart campaign. The initiative is clearly vulnerable by commonly held standards for winning ballot measures in California; both our internal and external polls show that winning is possible; the political climate in California is ripe for a victory on the initiative; the Governor opposes the amendment; the Presidential turnout which will see younger voters coming out in droves is helpful to us; and EFA has a large and diverse coalition of civil rights, faith, choice, labor and community of color organizations prepared to defeat it. 

Having just completed an extensive, grassroots “decline to sign” campaign statewide, EFA has built a strong, well organized and highly motivated network of volunteers. This gives EFA a significant advantage. EFA is further strengthened by the leadership of an impressive team of campaign and political experts with long records of winning “no” campaigns. 

Clearly, the stakes are higher in California than in any other state likely to face a similar ballot measure in the current election cycle. Because the Court’s have now given us the rights we so deserve, it is up to this campaign to protect and preserve what we have fought so hard to secure. . 

The results of this California campaign will have a dramatic impact on the trajectory towards equal rights for LGBT people not just in California, but across the country. Defeating a “marriage only” constitutional amendment in California, especially after a court victory, will embolden other state courts and legislatures. It also will significantly help increase national political and public support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Conversely, a loss in California will dramatically slow, if not halt, U.S. progress toward marriage equality and it will give right wing activists momentum to attack other rights and protections such as domestic partnerships, civil unions, adoption and school safety. It will give pause to elected officials and the public who might otherwise continue moving toward support for LGBT equality. 

All of the pieces are in place to win except the money. Clearly, this unprecedented moment in history will require an unprecedented commitment of all parties involved. With enough money, raised early enough, allowing us to do everything we need to do including buying electronic media early and to fully fund the comprehensive effort outlined in this plan, Equality For All can defeat this amendment and have a dramatic impact on the future of such divisive measures in California and around the country. The stakes have never been higher nor the likelihood of victory as great.

 

 

Appendix 1

Equality For All Proposed Campaign Budget Public Opinion Research

Ballot Argument Focus Groups..................$30,000

Campaign Phase 1 Poll/Grps.....................$70,000

Check-in Poll..............................................$35,000

Media Testing.............................................$60,000 Tracking.....................................................$60,000 Total..................................................$255,000 

Internet Strategy

Website Set-Up..........................................$12,000 Maintenance/Operations............................$48,750

Added Technology/Ads............................$100,000 Total..................................................$160,750

Earned Media

Staffing....................................................$112,000 Printing........................................................$8,000 Events..........................................................$8,000

Spokesperson Training................................$4,000 Total..................................................$132,000 

Endorsements

Staffing....................................................$165,000 Printing/Packets.........................................$15,000 Total..................................................$180,000

Individual Voter Contact

Democratic Party.....................................$250,000

State Fed of Labor....................................$100,000 Slates.......................................................$200,000

LGBT Voter Lists......................................$360,000

Volunteer Phones/Field............................$600,000

Target VbM Mail/Phones..........................$860,000

Target Voter Mail/Phones......................$1,100,000 Total...............................................$3,470,000 

Paid Media

Los Angeles..........................................$6,800,000

San Francisco.......................................$2,700,000

Sacramento...........................................$1,000,000

San Diego................................................$900,000 Fresno......................................................$200,000

Small Coastal Markets.............................$300,000

API Media................................................$200,000

Spanish Media......................................$1,500,000

Black Radio/Papers..................................$450,000 Production...............................................$300,000 Total.............................................$14,350,000 

Legal/Accounting.....................................$150,000

Management/Consulting

May - November......................................$300,000

Miscellaneous..........................................$300,000

TOTAL (minus fundraising).............$19,287,750 Fundraising...........................................$1,600,000

TOTAL (with fundraising)................$20,887,750

 




Appendix 2 To: Equality For All Executive Committee Fr: Shayna Englin Date: May 10, 2008 Re: Equality For All Fundraising Plan

Introduction

Ballot measures in California are different than such measures anywhere else. Because of the state’s size and influence, California ballot measures often have a significant national impact. Further, California measures are enormously expensive. As a result, more than half the costs are typically funded by a small group of very large donors. Without such support, sufficient funds cannot be raised to mount a competitive and thus successful campaign. 

For example, in 2006 proponents of an initiative on renewable energy raised and spent $59 million, $51 million of which was contributed by a single donor. Five additional donors made contributions of $1 million or more. Similarly, proponents of a cigarette tax measure raised and spent $16.3 million, more than $14 million of which was contributed by a consortium of half a dozen large health care providers. Still, both of these initiatives lost because the opposition spent 1.5 to 5 times as much ($92 million and $77 million respectively). 

The same dynamic applies to smaller campaigns. In 2006, Planned Parenthood and its supporters spent $6.4 to defeat the parental notification initiative that would have required minors to get parental permission before terminating their pregnancies. More than 50% of this funding came from eight donors. Planned Parenthood prevailed with such a relatively small budget because supporters of the initiative only spent $3.7million—58% of what Planned Parenthood spent.

These examples illustrate two critical “truths” about the impending initiative in California to constitutionally ban same-sex couples from marriage:

(1) To defeat the measure, the Equality For All (EFA) campaign must be prepared at least to match its opponents’ spending. Proponents of the measure spent $2 million to qualify it, suggesting that they are prepared to raise the millions necessary to try to win their campaign. 

(2) To fund a competitive campaign, EFA will need to raise a very large amount of money very soon from a relatively small pool of donors.

With sufficient funding, EFA is prepared to wage an effective fight. Late in 2007 the campaign hired one of California’s most experienced and successful general campaign consultants: Steve Smith of the Dewey Square Group. Mr. Smith has been running campaigns in California for 25 years, including over a dozen initiative campaigns, and he has never lost a “no” campaign. Most recently, he was the general campaign consultant for the successful effort to defeat the parental notification initiative in 2006. Mr. Smith has developed a campaign plan to defeat the anti-marriage amendment. 

This plan requires a budget of $21 million, nearly 70% of which will be used for paid media.

The campaign plan relies on raising more than half of the campaign budget by late June to fund early air time buys. Purchasing air time early will enable the campaign to do far more with its media dollars. By buying October air time in June or July, the time is as much as 3.5 times less expensive, and the available time is of much higher quality in terms of available schedules and placement. To take advantage of this significant savings, EFA needs to raise as much as $10.5 million by the end of June. Such a large sum cannot be raised in such a short time from rank and file donors. This early money can only be raised from the campaign’s 7-figure donors. 

Context

Other State Amendment Campaigns

California dwarfs all other states that have waged marriage campaigns in the past in terms of number of voters and historic costs of campaigns. It will be bigger than any other waged before will require unprecedented commitments of time and money to defeat the initiative.

California has over 16 million registered voters, exponentially more than states that have recently faced similar anti-marriage amendments. For example, Oregon has 2.4 million voters. The 2004 campaign there to defeat a constitutional amendment on marriage is considered one of the most well funded of all such campaigns. The Oregon campaign spent $3 million--$1.25 for each voter in the state. Equivalent funding per voter in California translates roughly into a $20 million budget. In Wisconsin, 4 million people were registered to vote in 2006. With a $4.3 million budget, Action Wisconsin spent $1.07 per voter. Equivalent funding for a California campaign would be roughly $17 million. These comparisons illustrate the necessity in California of raising revenues that dramatically exceed those raised for campaigns in smaller, less consequential states.

EFA’s campaign to defeat a constitutional amendment on marriage in California will be of unprecedented scale, requiring unprecedented support from the LGBT community. In 2004 and 2006, 21 states faced similar amendments. Combined, the campaigns to defeat the amendments spent $20 million (outspending proponents of the amendments by 2-to-1), and were funded almost exclusively by LGBT donors and organizations. EFA will aggressively seek funding from allied organizations and individuals, but major LGBT donors and organizations will need to be the primary funders of the California campaign as they have been in all other states. 

Fundraising Environment

The 2008 fundraising environment will be extremely competitive. Potential California and out-of-state donors to EFA within and outside the LGBT community will also be asked to fund Presidential candidates, others running for elected office and yet another parental notification initiative in California. 

In addition to in-state competitive fundraising pressures, at least one and as many as three states will be waging battles on marriage this November:

• Florida: Pro-amendment forces turned in almost 650,000 valid signatures to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot, about 40,000 more than they needed.

• Arizona: A bill to put an amendment on the ballot has been resurrected. Its final fate will be determined in the AZ state legislature in May or June.

• Pennsylvania: A bill is working its way through the Pennsylvania Senate. Its fate will be determined in May or June.

Political Environment

The California campaign to defeat the anti-marriage amendment is different from previous and contemporaneous campaigns in its scale, its wide-ranging political implications and its statewide political context that makes a win achievable. 

Over the past eight years, the California political environment regarding marriage has evolved significantly and is arguably the most favorable in the nation, after Massachusetts. This promising political environment is clearly demonstrated by at least four factors:

(1) In two successive legislative sessions (2005 and 2007) the California legislature has passed a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry. No other state legislature has ever passed such legislation, whereas California’s legislature has passed it twice. Further, the vote did not emerge as a wedge issue in the 2006 elections and not a single legislator who voted for the bill lost his or her seat.

(2) Legislators’ progress on the issue of marriage echoes the progress of their constituents – Californians have changed their minds. A September 2006 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) showed that public opinion has moved significantly since 2000, the last time an anti-marriage measure was on the ballot. The PPIC poll showed that roughly as many Californians support the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples as oppose it.1 A September 2007 poll by David Binder showed similar results.2

(3) After years of hard work, the California Supreme Court could strike down California’s law prohibiting same-sex couples from marriage. The decision is expected by June 2 if not before. Many legal experts believe that the Court is likely to decide that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. 

(4) In April, California’s Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, came out firmly and strongly against the proposed constitutional amendment, saying: “I will always be there to fight against [such an amendment].”

What’s at Stake

Clearly, the stakes are higher in California than in any other state likely to face a similar ballot measure in the current election cycle. Not only may defeating the constitutional amendment be necessary to preserve a victory in the California Supreme Court, it is necessary to preserve the ability of the legislature to once again pass a marriage bill. 

The results of the California campaign will have a dramatic impact on the trajectory towards equal rights for LGBT people not just in California, but across the country. Defeating a “marriage only” constitutional amendment in California, especially after a court victory, will embolden other state courts and legislatures; and it will significantly help increase national political and public support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. 

A loss in California will dramatically slow, if not halt, progress toward marriage equality in the United States and it will give right wing activists momentum to attack existing victories on domestic partnerships, civil unions, adoption and school safety. It will give pause to elected officials and the public who might otherwise continue moving toward support for LGBT equality. 

Why EFA Can Win

Judged by the standards established in other California ballot measure campaigns, proponents of the current anti-marriage measure lack the political support they need to win. Specifically, analyses of the numerous ballot measures waged in California show that in order to win, the initial polling regarding a proposed measure should show three things:

(1) That the measure will pass with 60% of the vote;

(2) That the yes-to-no ratio is two-to-one; and

(3) That the strong support for the measure is at least 40%;

EFA’s September 2007 poll shows that the proposed initiative meets only one of the three criteria. The poll, conducted by Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research, showed that only 50% of likely California voters would vote in favor of the constitutional amendment—10 points under the 60% threshold. Further, with 48% of likely voters opposed to the amendment, the yes-to-no ratio is virtually 1:1. The only factor that meets the typical criteria for success is that 43% of likely California voters strongly support the amendment. By the above three standards, the current measure is clearly vulnerable.

All of these contextual factors combined demonstrate clearly that a fully funded campaign can defeat the proposed constitutional amendment. In fact, with the possible exception of Massachusetts, these contextual factors are more favorable than in any state that has faced such a measure in the past or will face such  an amendment this year. Victory in California is possible if the proper resources are brought to bear on the effort. 

Overview of Fundraising Streams

• California’s leading LGBT organizations must engage their donors and make major commitments to funding the campaign.

• National LGBT organizations based in and/or raising significant dollars in California must invest major percentages of the money they raise from California donors (if not more) back into the campaign.

• Major national LGBT donors and LGBT/Allied 6 figure donors must fund at least 45% of the total campaign budget to even begin to approach the role typically played by major donors in other California initiatives. Otherwise, sufficient funds cannot be raised to mount a competitive campaign. 

• Grassroots fundraising. Waging a campaign in such a large and consequential state around an issue of great interest to the national LGBT and allied communities provides EFA with a major fundraising advantage: the ability to attract a potentially enormous pool of small to medium sized donors. EFA must take advantage of the current political climate regarding marriage and its momentum to attract these donors, through online and other grassroots fundraising tactics. 

California and National LGBT Organizations

Recommended commitment to overall goal: $6.85 million (33%)

The organizations comprising the Executive Committee of EFA, other major California organizations and national organizations with reach and depth into the California LGBT donor community must contribute directly to EFA and plumb their donor relationships to help finance this campaign. Commitments from every major LGBT organization in the state will be required to fully fund the campaign. 

National LGBT organizations dig deep into California to fund their operations nationally, and several have major programmatic operations in California. In 2008, it will be critical for those same organizations to invest heavily back into California’s effort to defeat the anti-marriage initiative. 

While comparisons are difficult given the far more developed network of established LGBT organizations in California than in other states, in-state LGBT organizations and their national counterparts have led the way in prior statewide battle initiatives.

While a commitment to fund 33% of the total campaign budget is not be out of line with the contributions of in-state and national LGBT organizations to other campaigns, the absolute dollar amount - $6.85 million – is significantly higher. The unfortunate reality is that if all organizations involved are unwilling (or unable) to make such unprecedented contributions, the favorable political climate in California will be squandered.

For comparison purposes, contribution amounts and percentages in prior campaigns are listed below:

• In Oregon, the Executive Committee - Basic Rights Oregon, ACLU, and Planned Parenthood - raised just over 21% of the campaign’s total budget. 

• Basic Rights Oregon essentially ceased operations, contributing just over $184,000 to the campaign’s $3 million budget, or about 6% of the total raised.

• NGLTF was the largest organizational donor to the Oregon campaign, contributing $663,000 or about 22% of the $3 million raised. HRC contributed $313,000, or about 10% of the Oregon campaign’s total budget.

• Action Wisconsin funded $800,000 (about 19%) of Fair Wisconsin’s $4.3 million dollar budget.

• Fair Wisconsin raised about 4% of its $4.3 million budget from HRC.

• In Michigan, HRC was the largest organizational donor with $231,000 or 27% of that campaign’s $854,000 budget.

• In Ohio, HRC was the only national LGBT organization that contributed to the campaign. HRC’s $384,000 investment represented nearly 40% of the total campaign’s $943,000 budget.

• Arizona Together received $155,000 in contributions from HRC, or about 8% of that campaign’s budget.

Major National LGBT Funders

Recommended commitment to overall goal $8 million (38%)

Major national LGBT funders emerged in 2006 as the primary donors to the competitive ballot campaigns. If California’s campaign is going to win, the major national LGBT donors must fund at least 38% of the total budget, playing the role individuals and large organizations have played in other California initiatives. 

LGBT and Allied 6-Figure Donors

Recommended commitment to overall goal $1.4 million (7%):

In addition to the existing major national LGBT funders, large donors to LGBT causes in California and other states must play a major role in ensuring that this campaign is fully funded. The Executive Committee and Finance Committee - with support from campaign fundraising consultants and existing national LGBT funders -- will be responsible for identifying and cultivating these donors. 

Labor, Non-LGBT Organizations

Recommended amount of overall goal: $1.6 million (8%)

The campaign is in the process of activating and expanding its extensive Campaign Committee comprised of supportive organizations and individuals from across the state. While most of these organizations will be supportive only by lending their names, and perhaps by assisting with some non-fundraising campaign activities, a small percentage will contribute to the campaign through various means, including issues PACs.

The finance plan calls for $1.5 million in support from labor unions, and another $100,000 from other non-LGBT organizations in California. 

The only recent comparison available in this regard is Wisconsin, which received significant help from the Wisconsin Education Association - $365,000 (8.4%) of its $4.3 million budget. Eight years ago, in California’s Proposition 22 campaign, contributions from Labor, PACS and corporations constituted 8% of the campaign revenues.

Elected Leaders

Recommended amount of overall goal: $600,000 (3%)

Current and former elected officials at all levels will be recruited to serve on an elected leaders committee. Admittedly, the most many elected officials will do is add their name to the list and attend events to be recognized. However, if even a small number of elected officials can be persuaded to make calls, contribute from their own funds, email and mail to their own lists, lend their name to EFA emails and mail, headline events and lend staff time to organize events, the benefit will be worth the effort.

While some elected officials will participate because they care about equality, are ready to exercise leadership on the issue, and want to build awareness among their constituents that they are out front in this important political battle, others should be coaxed with negotiated “pay to play” agreements.

Grassroots Fundraising – Online, Direct Mail and Field

Recommended percentage of overall goal: $2.5 million (12%)

Through EFA’s email list - which will grow over the course of the campaign – combined with the email lists of the EFA campaign committee organizations – the campaign will leverage the strong online fundraising environment in general in 2008 to raise $1,300,000. 

Direct mail through house lists should also be relatively lucrative. The finance plan includes an $850,000 line item for direct mail fundraising.

EFA’s field campaign will also generate small contributors by calling LGBT volunteer lists and allied voters. A goal of $350,000 is achievable with a robust field operation. 

For context, Oregon’s campaign raised 11% of its total funds online and in contributions of under $100. Virginia’s Commonwealth Coalition raised 8.5% of its budget online and in contributions of under $100. In the Proposition 22 campaign, approximately 9% of campaign revenues were raised from direct mail and the internet (and this was before the internet was the ubiquitous fundraising tool that it is today).

Getting It Done: Staffing and Structuring

The vast majority of the funding for the campaign will be driven by the organizations and donors already around the table. 

The campaign has hired Kimberly Ray to lead the fundraising team under the direction of the Campaign Director. She is based in Los Angeles and is recommending bringing on a San Francisco fundraiser and an east coast fundraiser to work under her supervision. The campaign director and this fundraising team will:

• Work with the Executive Committee and national organizations to de-duplicate major donor fundraising lists and coordinate approaching major donors.

• Manage mid-level and major donors not already in the universe of any one organization. 

• Develop fundraising documents and information (e.g., brochures, power point presentations, direct mail).

• Build and support a finance committee, affinity and regional committees, elected leaders and the campaign committee to identify and cultivate donors. 

• Write and coordinate direct mail.

Consequences of Failing to Fund the Campaign

A $21 million campaign budget puts EFA in a competitive position with the proponents of the initiative. Failing to fully fund the campaign plan makes a win less likely; and slipping below a bare bones $14 million budget would likely result in a loss. 

The most important impact of failing to adequately fund the campaign is in the area of paid media. With a $21 million budget the campaign will be able to have two TV ads in 4 major media markets and the smaller coastal markets in California. The budget also allows for significant purchases of media—TV, print and radio—in the API, Latino and African American communities.   

Shrinking to a smaller budget means limiting EFA’s messaging opportunities to reach persuadable voters. A smaller budget would necessitate cutting one of the television ads and dropping one of the major media markets. The television buys would be significantly smaller in the remaining media markets, thus risking adequate market penetration. 

With a $21 million budget EFA can conduct a more robust field and phone/mail program that is worth two to three percent of the vote. A smaller budget would necessitate cutting the mail and phone program targeted at Election Day voters. This lack of voter contact means the campaign would rely on the electronic media, earned media and the internet to deliver swing voters on Election Day. Such an outcome greatly reduces EFA’s ability to turn out its identified universe of persuadable voters, putting the success of the campaign in serious doubt.

Conclusion

Equality For All can defeat this constitutional amendment on marriage with a well-funded campaign. The initiative is clearly vulnerable by commonly held standards for winning ballot measures in California. The political climate in California is encouraging for a winning campaign. EFA has a large and diverse coalition of civil rights, faith, choice, labor and community of color organizations prepared to help defeat the amendment. 

The recommendations in this document represent a plan for an aggressive fundraising operation to allow the Equality for All campaign to raise $21 million dollars by November 4, 2008. To hit this very high goal:

• LGBT organizations in California and nationally will need to raise funds at an unprecedented scale.

• Major national LGBT donors and LGBT/Allied 6-figure donors will need to continue and expand their record of leadership.

• California’s political community will need to be brought on board, including its activist donor base.

(Footnotes)

1 PPIC Statewide Survey, September 2006: “Forty-four percent of Californians are in favor of allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married, while 48 percent are opposed. Support for same-sex marriage has been at 44 percent among state residents over the past two and a half years, but it has increased since January 2000 (38% in favor)….Likely voters are divided (47% favor, 46% oppose) on this issue.”

2David Binder Stateside Survey, September 2007: When asked “Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally? If you do not have an opinion, simply say so,” 42% of registered California voters said “yes,” while 40% said “no.” 

Appendix 3

FINANCE MEMO TO: Equality for All  FR: Kimberly Ray DT: 5/28/08

After reviewing the thoughtful initial finance plan that Englin Consulting put together for you I have the following comments:

• There are three LGBT categories and I suspect there is some double counting. CA and nat’l LGBT organizations all raise money from major national individual LGBT donors. Part of my job will be to determine if the individual donors will reach above and beyond their current annual contributions to the various organizations. I think the answer is yes. I agree in principle with the number of 14M or 70% of the 20M budget. This includes organizational commitments as well as individual commitments.

• The LGBT and Allied 6-Figure donors should actually be called National Major Progressive Donors. We have already accounted for the LGBT community. The Nat’l Progressive (non LGBT) number should be 1 – 2M.

• Labor and CA Major Prgressive Donors should be in separate categories. Labor with a goal of 1 – 2M and CA Progressives with a goal of 1 – 2M.

• Again, Online, Direct Mail and House Parties should all be separate. Online should have a 2M goal. Direct Mail 1.5M goal and House Parties with a 500K goal.

• Elected officials will be a relatively small number and I think they should be folded into the Nat’l or CA number. Most of these folks have their own races to worry about including those in the LGBT community. Certainly some of them will contribute, but I believe it will be less than 500K including state electeds as well as nat’l electeds.

Conclusion:

 At first look, I see a low of 21M and a high of 24M. Obviously, I will do another, more detailed plan with numbers next to names, who is doing the ask etc. But this is good news for the campaign. I always err on the side of caution. 

 All finance plans are a work in progress since some categories will do better than expected and some categories less. So there will be constant updates. Please let me know if you think I missed anything.

Appendix 4 Blackrock Associates Memo To: Equality For All From: Larry Huynh & Brent Blackaby, Blackrock Associates Date: 5/29/08 Re: Internet Plan Overview

With the Supreme Court announcement on May 15, the internet program has been focused on fundraising to the current list and pushing out messaging to bloggers and social networks. Fundraising has been strong, however to have long term success, Equality For All (EFA) must focus more heavily on building its community of supporters.

Blackrock has outlined a plan for implementing a comprehensive online strategy, covering the following five major initiatives: 

• Growing Equality For All’s online base of grassroots support, using online and offline techniques (“building the community”)

• Managing Equality For All’s online communications program for fundraising, grassroots outreach, and online voter persuasion purposes (“leveraging the community”)

• Designing & developing the new Equality For All campaign website

• Online persuasion advertising

• Fundraising: Much of the effort spent on the other four major initiatives has an end goal of building our fundraising capacity

Building the Community 

Currently, EFA has a list of 4,000 people. The list has been extremely active and generous with donations. But with a list of only 4,000, our online fundraising upside is limited. To maximize online fundraising revenues, engage more supporters online, and building grassroots support, we must expand our online community.

Following is the general community building plan:

• “Vow to Vote No” Pledge (mid-June)

o This will be the core of the viral list building effort. The day the constitutional amendment ban is certified to be on the November ballot, we will launch the pledge drive to gather as many online signatures as possible. It is also critical for list building purposes to have our partner  organizations send their supporters to the pledge at some point to help EFA expand our community. It is simply too difficult to grown the database rapidly without 1) the direct help from our partners or 2) spending significant dollars.

o Push online supporters to post “Vow to Vote No” badge/online signup widget on their blogs, websites, myspace pages, etc.

o We will push to bloggers and other social networking communities

o The pledge drive will also serve as the call to action for our paid list-building efforts (e.g., paid list rentals, online co-registrations, blogads/banner ads)

• Extract email data from “Decline to Sign” campaign (in process)

o There are 70,000+ signatures from our “Decline to Sign” campaign. We must pull out all emails from these signatures.

• Voter File messaging (late June/early July)

o Many of the larger county voters files are enriched with emails. We will initially target San Francisco and LA area counties for softer more informative messaging regarding the campaign, though the desire is to eventually get them to sign the pledge and donate

• Search engine marketing (ongoing)

o Currently, the EFA does not show up high on free search rankings on important keywords (e.g., “gay marriage”, “same-sex marriage”, “civil unions”, etc.). This can only be improved by getting more websites, including our coalition partners, to link to our website. EFA’s current site has been submitted to DMOZ, which Google uses to guide their free search listings

o We have also launched pay-per-click advertising for important keywords related to the issue. This is also one way for us to overcome the poor free search rankings.

• Blog outreach (ongoing)

o The blogs have already covered the Supreme Court decision. We must now transition them from covering the issue to supporting and linking to EFA’s website or even better, “Vow to Vote No” pledge. 

o Once the initiative makes the ballot, we will have a conference call with leading national and CA bloggers to give them a “state of the campaign” report, as well as an in-person blogger summit to build relationships.

• Celebrity outreach (ongoing)

o Celebrities (Ellen/Portia, Takei, TR Knight, Cynthia Nixon, Brad/Angelina) can help us break through the online clutter by publicizing our efforts on their shows, websites, and to their email lists. In addition, celebrity web videos supporting EFA and driving viewers to our pledge have great potential to help us reach wide audiences and potentially go viral online. Any asks to celebrities for help should include a web component.

• Social networking (ongoing)

o Already on Facebook, we have grown the group “One Million for Marriage Equality” to 30,000 members. We will continue to work to expand this group but will also create “Pages” for the “Vow to Vote No” pledge to allow us to message supporters via Facebook.

o MySpace page will be created with the “Vow to Vote No” messaging

o YouTube channel needs to be created and populated with videos (whether supporter generated, celebrity generated, or campaign generated)

Leveraging the Community

The email campaign has already begun. 

We must be aware of balancing fundraising emails with list building/grassroots activation asks. Fundraising emails and drives are most successful in response to political attacks, major deadlines, or debates over key issues. 

Tentative calendar for next 6 weeks. Can change based on real world events.

• Week of June 2: Launch wedding registry/community fundraising

• Week of June 9: Open [Could be “Vow to Vote No” if signatures for ballot initiative are certified

• Week of June 16: First day of marriages for same-sex couples, wedding registry followup and fundraise

• Week of June 23: “Vow to Vote No” Pledge drive

• Week of June 30: “Vow to Vote No” followup to non-signers, Tell-A-Friend to signers, ask partners to push to their lists

In addition, as we continue to build our blog relationships, we can leverage those contacts to push out messaging and fundraise around major events/news.

Designing & Developing the new Equality For All campaign website

Blackrock has worked with the team to define the goals of the new website and draft a set of requirements for our web developers. Currently, we are waiting on polling data to determine the branding, imagery, and themes of the website. Once the team has established that, we can begin the website design process.

Website redesign schedule:

• Week 1: Begin determining content sections and needs. (completed)

• Week 2-3: Gather assets and determine direction for new website and begin developing comps for new site. Start content development. (pending polling)

• Week 4-5: Select final design and begin building backend. Finalize content and populate the site.

• Week 6: Launch Equality For All campaign website, integrating online tools from GetActive. Push new site and pledge/petition to blogs, emails, social networking sites.

Online Advertising 

Online is a critical channel to persuade the more web-oriented younger swing voters. Many younger voters are more attentive to the internet than to TV so the internet component of the campaign is particularly important, given that younger voters are so important to EFA’s success. In addition, polling has shown many undecided voters will use the internet to gather information to formulate their voting decisions.

Consequently, it is critical EFA devote a portion of its paid media to online advertising. Blackrock will work closely with the media consultant to determine ad creative and ad placement (e.g., Google advertising content network, major newspaper sites, and social networking platforms like Facebook and MySpace).

Fundraising

Much of our efforts in growing our community and providing online tools to engage this community is geared toward maximizing the online fundraising for the campaign. Online fundraising’s greatest value is the significant economies of scale it provides. The larger the community, the higher likely fundraising yield with relatively little incremental effort to fundraise from the larger community.

Email will always be the workhorse for online fundraising. Much of our efforts online will be focused on building the email list. It takes the same amount of effort to craft, setup, and send one mass email, whether the campaign sends to a database of 5,000, 50,0000, or 500,000 emails. Thus it’s critical for us to build the list aggressively early on to maximize the lifetime value (as measured by funds raised) of the emails captured by the campaign. 

In addition, the campaign must reach out to online communities on blogs and social networks. Beyond the obvious communications value of reaching out to these communities, they can also be a source of significant donations. The Jim Webb campaign is a great example of this. The Webb campaign had cultivated a strong base of support across the progressive blogosphere over many months. As a result, when the “Macaca” video was released, the progressive blogosphere helped make the video go viral and drive significant donations to the campaign. This would not have been possible without the cultivation of the online communities.