Equality California Communications Director Rebekah Orr says the statewide lobbying group is doing better going into the new year. EQCA has posted job offerings for a Director of Special Events and Major Gifts Officer and is expected to have an official Interim Executive Director in a few weeks with a projected budget for 2012 of around $500,000.
The biggest development as of late is that our financial picture has improved significantly. Our online fundraising for December alone is up 25 K [$25,000] from last year. We’ve received a number of substantial individual gifts and been asked by a number of foundations to submit proposals (a strong indication that those proposals will be approved.) And our small donor contributions are also up considerably
The result of that is that our projected budget for 2012 is shaping up to be much bigger than we anticipated just several weeks ago–to the tune of about a half million or so, which will allow us to put a lot more resources into our work and the Breakthrough Conversation Project, in particular. Between EQCA and support for partner organizations across the country, [the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund] has decided to invest ALL of its California resources for 2012 into the project.
Although we haven’t yet posted the opening for an Interim ED, that search process is progressing and, although we can’t predict for sure how that search will go or how long it will take to find the right leadership, we hope to have someone in place within the next several weeks.
The board committee is moving the process forward, which first involves a careful development of the skills and experienced desired for this role.
We are starting to develop some tangible potential legislative initiatives for the year. It’s still taking shape so we aren’t making any public announcements about it now, but anticipate that we will do that as well within the next several weeks. I think the bottom line is that this organization is stronger, more strategic and better positioned for future work than it was a year ago, despite the fact that the challenges that were emerging at the time were not visible to the general public.
We’ll announce some additional candidate endorsements early next week.
Orr explained how the success of the Breakthrough Conversations will be measured:
Some of the benchmarks will move through the development of the project plan, but I think, at a minimum doing follow-up research with the goal of increasing support through a perceptible change in public opinion and reaction to kids/gay harms concepts. It’s not always easy to isolate factors in that shift. But there are ways to do that–by adding to polling research, targeting of the same individuals before and after the program initiatives (and track exposures to project messaging tactics). In addition, one measurement of success will be the identification of micro-targeting tactics and models that are the MOST effective with individual audiences (who’s confliction is motivated by different factors). From our recent marriage polling we did an advanced statistical analysis that tested dozens of sentiments about LGBT people to development a “comfort index” (this hasn’t been done before) of those specific drivers (causation vs correlation) that we can also use to target audiences who are motivated by different core factors and measure movement.
Interestingly, as LGBT Californians await the Attorney General and the Secretary of State title and summary for several 2012 ballot initiatives to repeal the California FAIR Education Act, Salon reported on the Weekly Standard’s email opposing the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act with the subject line ““Congress to mandate pro-homosexual education?”