Taking Money Out of Politics: A Weighty Lift — Leveraging Media and Technology Expertise

November 16, 2017

This week our series featuring Voqal’s recent strategic review of its philanthropic investments to address money in politics continues with a look at the fourth of six recommendations from the Taking Money Out of Politics: A Weighty Lift report. Missed the last couple of blog posts? Subscribe to the #makingairwaves blog to make sure you don’t miss another one!

Recommendation 4: Leverage Voqal’s expertise and deep investment in New Media Ventures, Free Speech TV and other media-focused grantees to strengthen media and technology capacity among field organizing groups at the local level.

Voqal has access to partners and capacity that could address some of the persistent challenges around expanding outreach, engaging through social media, creating a shared narrative and encouraging media coverage on money-in-politics issues. Like earned media, social and digital media work is far more labor intensive and requires more skill than many people imagined when the internet, digital and online communications tools began to change how we receive information and connect with one another. And it’s not just the editorial or content function, but the strategy and administration (sometimes engineering) required to select, implement and maintain tools that are in a state of constant flux.

Voqal should leverage its media and technology expertise in several ways. It should investigate opportunities to invest (c)(4) dollars to advance the use of communications, media and technology in advocacy organizing and in the lull period following wins while planning for implementation, to keep up public awareness and support. In addition, it should consider expanding Voqal’s objectives to include related democracy reforms that shift power to ordinary Americans such as Automatic Voter Registration campaigns, defense of voting rights, redistricting and ethics reforms.

Given the mixed results from the open call, it is recommended that Voqal consider a series of planning and capacity grants that would fund media and technology (from content development to skills development to integrated, multi-platform distribution strategies and platforms) to certain, strategically placed grantees. Additionally, Voqal can provide technical assistance and networking to help connect local advocates to other grantees (Free Speech TV, Color of Change, Brave New Films, New Media Ventures) to help build communications capacity and improve reach and content.

Want to learn more about Voqal’s efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics? Download the Taking Money Out of Politics: A Weighty Lift and Balancing the Scales: The Fight for Our Democracy reports.