Today, we’re proud to publish Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s organizational objectives for the coming year. This document was produced by members of SSDP’s staff and board of directors, and outlines our priorities, goals, and metrics for success for the organization from September 2012-September 2013.
Expanding our reach. Our chapter network will expand from 189 to 220 in the United States. We will maintain an international staff person in a country most affected by the failed war on drugs. Our international chapter base will grow overall from 29 to 39, including new chapters in Mexico, Colombia, Europe and Australia.
Bringing people together. We will organize monthly phone or video-chat meetings that foster cooperation and knowledge sharing among our partners around the globe. Our staff will work with local chapters to host regional conferences–each attended by an average of at least 50 participants–in the following places during the Fall 2012 semester: Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Mountain Plains. Additionally, we will host four regional conferences during the Spring 2013 semester.
Strengthening the network. We will finalize memoranda of understanding with existing international SSDP networks in Canada, the UK, and Nigeria, among others, and we will have served as a go-to source for drug policy reform ideas and advice related to young people. We will also actively participate in international coalitions, such as the International Drug Policy Consortium. At least 100 students will participate in at least one online training, and an additional 200 students will receive one-on-one support provided by our outreach staff. We will continue to develop and review best practices and structures for promoting SSDP’s international work, including serving as an incubator for new youth based drug policy groups.
Increasing meaningful youth involvement. We will increase youth involvement in international forums, including the United Nations and international drug policy conferences. SSDP’s UN credentials will be used by active chapter members, drug policy reform partners and SSDP staff. As the only youth-led organization recognized with consultative status by the United Nations, SSDP has an obligation to ensure youth representation. We will continue to actively participate at the 2013 Drug Policy Alliance Conference, the 2013 Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting, the Latin America Drug Policy Conference, and the 2013 Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) conference, among others.
Recruiting people of color and increasing diversity. We will improve outreach to communities most affected by the drug war, such as people of color and the recovery community. SSDP will collect and analyze data regarding SSDP membership in order to monitor success and identify areas for improvement. We will also collaborate with groups from across the political spectrum and non-drug policy reform groups to spread our message of reform.
EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY
Spreading the word. Our staff will work with our chapters to organize coordinated events on national or international days of action including (but not limited to): National Voter Registration Day, International Overdose Awareness Day, World AIDS Day, International Youth Day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Tax Day, National Recovery Month, Repeal of Alcohol Prohibition and the UN’s World Drug Day.
Speaking truth to power. We will encourage our supporters to record and share video footage of successful encounters with elected officials and candidates for elected office, asking about their stance on various drug policy issues. Additionally, a majority of our chapters will meet with an elected or appointed official concerning drug policy reform. Our students will be invited to provide oral or written testimony before state or federal legislative committees at least 12 times. We will particularly focus on states and cities with influential gubernatorial or mayoral elections, such as New York City, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Pushing the policy envelope. We will provide our membership with timely opportunities to take action on state and federal level legislation. Through our online action center, we will generate more than 20,000 communications to state legislative bodies and Congress (as compared with 14,657 generated in the 2011-2012 academic year).
Saving lives through harm reduction. We will also encourage chapters to educate their communities and campuses about harm reduction policies and services. Such harm reduction topics, include overdose prevention, access to treatment, syringe exchange and safe injection facilities. Studies show the fear of arrest is the top reason why people don’t call for help during a drug-related emergency. Expanding on our recent string of victories, 20% of active chapters will work together with campus and community officials towards adopting good Samaritan policies. At least four local jurisdictions–including a campus as a jurisdiction–will adopt such policies. The policies adopted will cover the caller as well as the individual having the medical emergency. Additionally, SSDP chapters will help enact such policies in at least two states.
Educating students. At least two-thirds of our established chapters will host an informational meeting, guest speaker or film screening. We will provide students with a rich menu of activities to undertake, including promoting harm reduction/overdose prevention practices, teaching students their constitutional rights, changing marijuana and other drug prohibition policies to be more sensible and less punitive, international drug policy, racial justice, civil rights, and providing evidence-based drug education.
Highlighting our students and their work. Through aggressive media outreach, positive mentions of SSDP and/or our students will increase from 277 to more than 300 media hits in student and non-student outlets. Additionally, each time a new chapter becomes established, we will conduct and publish an interview or blog post with the chapter leader(s).
Executing strategic interventions. The executive director will leverage high-level contacts within the federal executive branch, Congress, and selected state governments to conduct advocacy when compelling opportunities for change arise.
Bolstering our brand. Through updated website functionality, an attractive new logo, and new merchandise, SSDP will present a strong, unified, professional brand to the public. We will launch a membership program, providing incentives for monthly donors. Through this membership program, we will enroll more than 100 monthly donors, resulting in at least $10,000 in annual revenue. Our merchandise will be attractive, and we will ensure enough materials are on-hand to satisfy public demand. Sales through our online store or at events will generate at least $2,500.
Growing our capacity. We will increase our email supporters from 188,428 to over 200,000. Additionally, online donations will increase from $36,185.92 (non-conference income) in 2011, to more than $46,000. Major individual and foundation grants will increase 20% from $480,615 to $576,738. Each of our student and non-student board members will raise at least $1,000 per year. Staff members will provide board members training in fundraising fundamentals. Our foundation will receive major donations from two foundation grantors who have never given to SSDP before. In order to communicate most effectively with our supporters, we will build strategic queries that allow us to tailor our message to individual supporters (otherwise known as segmentation). We will conduct a membership survey, review the results, and modify our communication tactics to ensure more meaningful contact with our supporters.
Spreading the word through social media. Our online presence will continue to grow, our Facebook likes will exceed 35,000 and our website will receive more than 500,000 unique views. Additionally, our total YouTube views will surpass 1.5 million, and our Twitter followers will grow from 6,957 to over 8,000.
Empowering young people. Our outreach staff will host monthly webinar sessions for students, on topics such as personal narrative, recruiting, organizational structure, delegation, fundraising, and of course, drug policy and human rights, as we prepare students to be lifelong advocates for reform.
Defining high-quality activists and chapters. Overall, a majority of our chapters will be high-quality, meaning the chapter fulfills at least half of the following criteria: (1) recruits at least five students each semester; (2) proactively sends SSDP headquarters their chapter information, such as rosters, at least twice per semester; (3) recruits and trains at least two officers each semester; (4) hosts chapter meetings at least once per month, including at least one educational event per semester; (5) provides harm reduction training and information to their campus community; (6) conducts tabling outreach at least once per semester; (7) attends at least one SSDP national or regional conference per year; (8) maintains a Facebook group for the SSDP chapter; (9) effectively manages conflict among members, as evidenced by the degree to which national staff intervention is not required to resolve conflicts; and (10) builds meaningful relationships with at least three other campus organizations and/or administrators.
Managing to change the world. We will be well managed. Staffers will feel appreciated and will be fairly compensated. Staffers will be given regular and prompt feedback about their performance, both regarding what they do well and where they need to improve. Expectations will be clearly set and understood and deadlines normally met. Conflicting priorities will be addressed and readjusted as needed. Staffers will be given a level of oversight appropriate to their position and abilities. SSDP’s supporter data will be up to date on a weekly basis.
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