OPEN 20/20: “Our Policy Education Network”

OPEN 20/20: “Our Policy Education Network 20/20” seeks to create a consortium of 20 carefully selected grassroots trendsetters in 20 carefully selected areas around the state of Georgia. 

The definition of consortium sounds perfect- “a consortium is an association of two or more individuals, companies, organizations or governments with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal.

Background: For decades, we have watched our community’s interests in public policy and voting wane inexplicably.  The very people who are impacted by public policy don’t vote and aren’t vocal.  Political parties, candidates and the establishment are reluctant to address these concerns with a fresh approach because they don’t have “standing” in the community.  However, there are members of the community with establishment experience and earned credibility.

Background: During the last few election seasons, Democrats in Republican congressional districts were flat ignored.  This fact is troubling because a little effort and resources to engage them could have produced a better turnout if not the margin of victory.

Problem: Some people familiar with politics and policy are dumfounded that candidates and parties seek to engage our community a few months before an election.  The engagement doesn’t feel like a discussion of issues but more like “we are here to tell you what is important to you.”

Solution: OPEN 20/20 insists that the cultivation of our community is constantly ongoing; a cultivation of the grassroots nourished by some of the funding tossed into ad buys. Actually, we want to create a network that is a platform for whoever are candidates in the future.  20 people in 20 communities who can use their existing networks to push the discussion on social media and who can fill ventures.

Socialize With a Purpose:  Honestly, rural areas need more positive socialization.  OPEN 20/20 seeks capitalize on this cultural fact.  From a lunch to a dinner to a grown folks music reception, we seek to entice trendsetters out, present our purpose and build an outstanding network.

Advisory Council: A small group of grassroots, governmental or policy professionals who add expertise and credibility to OPEN 20/20.  The A.C. would include former actors in the political policy arena who can’t believe how off track politics and policy are.  Of course, members of the A.C. might benefit from a stronger political presents in our community.

20 Area Trendsetters: Every community has people who “move the crowd” and/or non-traditional community leaders.  Of course, traditional policy and advocacy efforts operate with the assistance of traditional leaders and best wishes to them.  We seek to resourcefully solicit the support of leaders who might not know their influence potential.

Platform: If OPEN 20/20 is a cyber and actual educational platform, it needs to be edgy and direct in a way the establishment can’t be.  Like the political stumps of old, everyone might not agree with every angle or approach. However, a political party is strongest when a range of groups come together for understanding and consensus.

Sensible Center: Southern moderates/centrists feel ignored by both major parties but we know that most disenchanted citizens fall into our range on the political spectrum.  OPEN 20/20 founders have been working on this concept for over a decade and actually have elements of reasonable conservatism.

Educational Component:  When this operation is up and successful, those involved should be primary research sources for political parties, candidates and interest groups. The ultimate goal isn’t political power but improving our community through public policy.  Toward that end, OPEN 20/20 seeks to have a robust discussion about the role of government.

Areas:

Albany, Americus, Thomasville, Valdosta, Bainbridge, Tifton, Cordele, Moultrie, Columbus.

Macon, Warner Robins/Perry, Fort Valley, Milledgeville, Dublin.

Waycross, Brunswick, Hinesville, Statesboro, Vidalia, Savannah.

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OPEN 20/20 Business Outline

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I recently read Bishop T.D. Jakes business book “Soar” and decided to answer his list of Business Executive summary outline questions for OPEN 20/20.

Soar!

T.D. Jakes

Flight Plan : OPEN 20/20 (Our Policy Education Network)

What?

What are you selling?  What problem are you solving?

A grassroots policy network of 20 trendsetters or influencers in 20 south Georgia cities.  We are solving the problem of political, policy and issue efforts constantly seeking to populate events and rallies without a collection of the individuals who subsequently connect with the community as a whole.

What’s your mission and motivation?

Our motivation is to create a two-way conduit of public policy information that ensures that “regular” people are motivated to stay alert and vote.  As a mission, we seek to put policymakers and political candidates in front of an actual sampling of local residents and to have those residents be compelled by the issues to use their personal, community and viral connections to get “everyone” to vote.

What makes your business unique?

For decades every two years, political campaigns have started local networking from scratch or have relied on state and local political parties.  An army of energetic hipster urban volunteers were often dispatched to organize the local folks or to “teach” them what is important.  OPEN 20/20 acknowledges the naturally-occurring leadership of local trendsetters and seeks to cultivate those new leaders into an ongoing network of influence that is mutually beneficial.

What’s your destination?  What will success look like for your business?

Our destination is an incredible increase in local, state and federal voting from our community—a 20% increase consistently.  Success would look like political and policy town hall meetings with standing room only as engaged voters insist on representative government.

Who?

Who needs what you want to offer?  Who’s your ideal customer?

Political candidates, political parties, current officeholders, local trendsetters and all voters need our network.  Our ideal customers are candidates who are frustrated with low attendance at their events and frustrated with not having the best sampling of the community.

Who else could use your product or service?

Our network could be beneficial to any entity seeking to populate a meaningful event in our area or seeking to field test issues, ideas or concepts.

Who will be on your support team?  Who are the other professionals you need to consult or hire for their expertise?  Lawyers?  Accountants?  Consultants?  Others?

Our support team will be based upon the scale of the network.  With under $10,000, we can handle most of the compliance and regulatory aspects ourselves.  After that funding point, we plan to be resourceful by using former congressional staffers or campaign veterans seeking to remain involved in the field in a useful yet limited way.

Who might want to invest in your business?

Political consulting operations that claim to have insight and influence in our areas but don’t actually have influence could use our network to get a “finger on the pulse.”  For a nominal investment, these operations will be able to market their services as authentic and grassroots.

Why?

Why do people need your product or service?

People need our network because millions of dollars are spent on political campaigns that don’t hit the mark with the proper message or the message is solid but “real” people don’t hear it.

Why should they buy it from you instead of from one of your competitors?

Traditionally, political consulting operations stage rallies and receptions that are basically “preaching to the choir.”  These events are attended by citizens who “voice and vote” with regularity.  However, we seek to engage non-traditional community leaders; leaders who don’t realize their influence and power yet.

Why will they return to your business and refer others to you?

Numbers.  We will generate measurable numbers: event attendance, election results.  Effective political campaigns start with a review of what did and didn’t work in the past.  That is what we are.  From election analysis to word of mouth, we will be the entity that helped other entities achieve their desired goals.

Why will you succeed where others, similar businesses have failed?

We will succeed because we are “of the people” from the bottom up rather than top down.  We don’t seek to tell citizens how to vote; we will provide the platform on which information flows both ways.

How?

How will you operate?    How will you handle production, distribution, delivery, etc?

Without giving away our ideas, we will say that operations will center on social media and the internet.  Also, local establishments like eateries will provide local warmth and familiarity while supporting trendsetters’ associates.

How much money do you need to get started?   How will you raise this capital?

$10,000 would launch OPEN 20/20 in one congressional district with about 6 of the 20 areas.  This test area might remain the only area.  But if significant funding is secured in 2019, we could serve three targeted congressional districts—Georgia’s 2nd, 8th and 1st.

We raise this capital by convincing political campaigns, parties or candidates that our operation makes their work easier and more efficient.

How will you market and promote your business?

We market and promote via the internet and with our real world current political connections.

How will you manage cash flow?

Our regulatory/finance director will use online banking to fund local operations and to execute our budgetary plans and guidelines.

 

Where?

Where is your airspace, the ideal atmosphere where your business will succeed?

Our airspace is the political arena of south Georgia but if we meet with early success, the network could be duplicated in other areas.

Where will your business be located physically?

The business will be in south Georgia but web- based.

Where will potential customers learn about what you’re offering?

Customers will learn about our network in political circles and online.

When?

When will you start your business?  What specific season and date make sense?

OPEN 20/20 Network will start in the summer of 2019 to start slowly building trust and comfort with the trendsetters.

When will you know your venture is a success?  When you are serve a certain number of customers? Make a certain percentage margin of profit?  Reach sales of a certain number or range?

We will know the venture is a success when our Facebook page has pictures of crowds at rallies we populated and one-on-one contact photos at receptions with pleased candidates.

When will you need to rescale your business?  Hire more employees?  Move to a larger location?

We will need to rescale when entities request that we do more events and provide the required funding.

When will you consider selling your business?

We will sell when our side of the political spectrum request ownership to scale up for the better good.  However, the concept could be for sale now.

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Researching the Trendsetters

Summary: The backbone of OPEN 20/20 would be the networking in our community of 20 people in 20 south Georgia cities that are networking experts.  Of course, we know about and support the traditional network of elected officials and community leaders; traditional methods will continue.  But, we seek to cultivate the trendsetters who don’t realize their networking skills and importance.  Ultimately, our educational operation might be use to bring energized, informed crowds to traditional rallies.

Resourcefulness: If a person in the community has an existing network, we simply seek to employ them to use it for the community education and improvement.

Benefit: We shouldn’t forget that the trendsetter is also networking in the public policy arena with us and those new connections can be beneficial to them.  Because community improvement is more than just voting, OPEN 20/20 plans to encourage growth politically, socially, economically and culturally year round because an interesting element is currently driving the youths’mindset.

Edge: OPEN 20/20 is not and should not be for everyone.  Over the last few decades, a softness has developed when discussing public policy.  The kitchen table issues and real world problems facing this state and nation requires frank and edgy discussions—make it plain.  To be honest, the traditional establishment groups can’t be involved in this type of straight talk because it might be somewhat “innovative and direct.”  However, we feel the public is hungry for options like ours.

We aren’t saying our approach instead of traditional methods.  We are saying us in addition to other methods—reach them one way or another.

Method: OPEN 20/20 seeks to listen to the pulse of the 20 cities after asking the questions:

Who moves the crowd in our community?

Who is a social media monster?

A positive party isn’t complete locally without whom?

When drama happens with the government, who is voice of reason and leadership?

Which 20 somethings with positive energy do others follow?

Who is the unofficial leader of that area of town?

Frankly, who is “community play” dad, momma, aunt and uncle?

Who has epic old school parties and cookouts?

Whose funeral would be too big for any church?

Examples of community influence:

Barber/Hair Stylist

Youth Pastor/Choir Director

Funeral home worker

Little League Coach

Retired Coach

PTA Leader

Entrepreneur

Popular Employee at local plants

Community volunteer

Popular Police Officer

Returning Vet

Beloved young teacher

Best D.J.

Paid Party Thrower

Most Popular Food Store Employees

Class Reunion Organizer

Former H.S. Ball Stars

Member of the biggest family

Local Café/Pub Owner

 

Who can move the crowd?

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OPEN 20/20: Goals, Objectives and Tactics

The initial outline for the OPEN 20/20 Network follows basic Business School concepts.   NFL Great Herm Edwards said “A goal without a plan is a wish.  What’s your plan? It’s on you, because you have to do all the work.”

Goal: A broad primary outcome.

Strategy: The approach you take to achieve a goal.

Objective: A measurable step you take to achieve a strategy.

Tactic: A tool used in pursing an objective associated with a strategy.

The blueprint for OPEN 20/20 is:

Goal: To increase rural Georgia citizens’ policy and issues education; to increasing voter turnout and to improve quality of life through better government.

Strategy: To cultivate a network of 20 non-traditional community leaders in 20 cities; to use the network to encourage smart voting; to test policy/issues approaches (feedback) in the cities; to utilize the network to bring voters out to campaign season forums and events; to have the network leaders influence radiate into most segment of the targeted areas.

Objective: To produce 2008 voter turnout results in the 20 communities every election season; to reach 70% of the 2008 voter turnout during early voting; to have the 20 leaders in place in small forums and to use them to have 100 voters in bigger forums.   Ideally, the 20 leaders would have 20 people in their spheres of influence and would receive compensation for having them at events.

Tactics: Use social events to encourage participation (party with a purpose); employ social media to build and connect the network as a two-way conduit; to use the network as a proving ground for candidates and as a “farm team” for future leaders.

Plan:

Phase 1: Secure seed funding to identify the 20 leaders in 20 areas and have small receptions with them.

Phase 2: Secure larger funding based on Phase 1 to encourage attentive attendance at political forums and hosting our own early voting events in 2018.

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