Each year, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy board, staff, and select students and alumni come together for an in-person “Strategy Summit.” A couple of weeks ago, we gathered in Berkeley, CA to discuss the activities and direction of the organization and came to conclusions on our plan for the upcoming year. This plan is finalized as our 2016-2017 SSDP Organizational Objectives, which guide our work throughout the year and hold the staff and board accountable to SSDP’s 4,000+ student members. We’re proud to share this year’s objectives with you.
Strengthening the network.
We will expand our network with active presence on 400 campuses during the year — including 2/3 established chapters at any given time — with 3,500 active members.
We will continue to develop and grow the SSDP Alumni Association program, more strongly connecting students to Alumni members through the mentorship program, keeping Alumni engaged as advocates, and developing Alumni as philanthropists. Membership will grow to more than 230 members.
Our Campus Campaign program will strategically leverage drug policy initiatives between January and December 2016 in targeted states, leading to a 100% increase in the number of active campuses, 800% increase in the number of students we communicate with, and 300% increase in number of chapter members & Ambassadors.
We will provide meaningful resources and support to our international chapter network and seek out opportunities to empower international SSDP chapters within the SSDP network.
We — staff and members — will collaborate with allies from across the political spectrum and non-drug policy reform groups to spread our message of reform.
We will actively engage our stakeholders through regular, meaningful, and carefully curated contact.
We will seize compelling opportunities to address external audiences concerning drug policy reform and to engage in public debates.
Bringing people together.
Our staff will utilize professional best practices in event planning, execution, and evaluation.
We will work with local chapters and Alumni Association members to host regional conferences, attended by an average of 75 participants, in 6 locations during the Fall 2016 semester.
We will facilitate, in collaboration with allies, training opportunities to further legislative reform in at least six states.
We will successfully execute the SSDP2017 Conference in Spring 2017 with at least 400 attendees.
We will connect donors, alumni, and student members through networking receptions in major cities.
Creating safe spaces and fostering diversity.
We will provide a welcoming, open, and safe space for all stakeholders, but especially our members, including those who stand in conflict on other issues, and work to ensure that a wide range of perspectives are represented.
We will actively seek out opportunities for collaboration with other organizations including non-drug policy reform groups and those beyond our traditional allies.
The Diversity, Awareness, Reflection, and Education Committee will create and/or compile resources to assist chapters navigating diversity issues on their campuses, which staff will make accessible to chapters.
We will make every attempt to ensure that SSDP events, including conferences, provide a welcoming environment for current and potential members and strive to provide recognition of their lived experiences.
Education and Advocacy
Pushing the policy envelope & speaking truth to power.
We will provide training, mentorship, and resources to change campus and local policies and empower our membership with timely opportunities to take action on state and federal legislation, including meeting with elected officials and decision makers.
We will generate thousands of communications to government officials and decision makers.
Educating and empowering students.
We will provide students with a rich menu of activities to undertake in three change-making pathways: 1) chapter building, including recruitment, leadership training, and community organizing; 2) training and education, including peer education and expanding their knowledge; and 3) advocacy, including changing policies from the campus to the UN. We will do this work through an intersectional lens that includes harm reduction and public health, international drug policy, human rights, racial justice, civil rights, and constitutional rights.
We will provide students with training in the three pathways of chapter building, policy change, and training and education through:
- Skills-building workshops with a total of 500 attendees,
- One-on-one support by outreach staff to 1000 students, and
- Keeping resources/educational materials up to date and making them more easily accessible and navigable including updating each campaign toolkit at least annually.
We will connect our students and alumni with opportunities for professional development, including volunteer opportunities and employment with allied organizations, through the Career Services Programand distribution of information about compelling opportunities.
We will effectively utilize our special consultative status with the United Nations to ensure that the youth voice of the drug policy reform movement is represented at UN events where drug policy is a central topic.
We will facilitate active youth participation at drug policy conferences and events and SSDP participation in related conferences and events which are not specific to drug policy.
The Just Say Know peer education program will promote open and honest dialogue around drug use, drug policy, and drug culture.
Highlighting our students and their work.
We will highlight our students and their work through effective storytelling to donors, alumni, and the public — improving depth of data collected — and in hundreds of media reports, letters to the editor, and op-eds, including referring media to student members as often as possible.
We will improve our strong, unified, and professional brand and all team members will endeavor to adhere to brand principles and encourage chapters to do the same by equipping them with the SSDP style guide.
Our online presence will continue to grow and we will validate its impact through data-driven processes:
- Facebook presence will grow by 15% as measured by fans (to 60,000) and engagements (to 335),
- Our website will receive more than 190,000 unique visitors and 390,000 pageviews,
- Additionally, our total YouTube views will surpass 2.7 million, and
- Twitter followers will grow to over 30,000.
Defining high-quality activists and chapters.
Overall, a majority of our chapters will be high-quality, meaning the chapter earns 250 CAT Points or achieves two of the three following benchmarks:
(1) earns 75 CAT Points by engaging in a campaign to change at least one drug policy at the campus, local, state level, federal, or international level through activities such as lobbying, submitting letters to the editor, passing student government resolutions, changing a policy, and submitting a case study on a policy change campaign.
(2) earns 50 CAT Points through educational activities such as hosting educational events, hosting film screenings or debates, distributing educational materials, and engaging in direct service volunteering.
(3) earns 75 CAT Points through chapter-building activities such as attending leadership trainings, hosting regular chapter meetings, recruiting and training officers, tabling on campus, and building/maintaining relationships with other organizations on campus.
AMPLIFYing our message.
Through a partnership between SSDP and the music community (the AMPLIFY project), SSDP students will reach out at concerts and music festivals to recruit new supporters, provide on-site harm reduction, and educate the public about harm reduction policies, practices, and services.
Cultivating meaningful donor relationships. (January – December 2016)
Evidence of nurtured relationships with our donor network will include:
- individual and corporate gifts will be received in excess of $500,000;
- foundation grants will be received in excess of $275,000 and will include two foundation grantors who have never given to SSDP before or not given in the last 5 years;
- conference and event income will exceed $95,000;
- other income (including merchandise and fee-based activities) will exceed $25,000;
- other gifts and support will exceed $40,000 through strategic fundraising drives;
- in kind donations will exceed $20,000; and
- our monthly giving program will enroll 44 new donors at $25 per month or more, generating more than $100,000 in support.
Donor, member, and supporter files will be up-to-date and maintained according to best practices for privacy and security.
Each member of the Board of Directors and Trustees shall meet minimum fundraising requirements.
We will seek to incorporate best practices in fundraising, including maintaining diversity among our sources of funding.
Effectively managing our finances.
Reporting will be up-to-date, including semi-monthly balance reports, monthly profit and loss and budget-to-actual reports, and other information required to maintain excellent fiscal health.
Expenditures will be carefully managed and decisions about expenditures will include careful analysis accounting for hard costs, staff time, and the value of the opportunity.
Opportunities to save through discounts, in-kind support, and efficiencies will be sought out.
All staff will responsibly manage finances and spending according to nonprofit best practices and with an eye for efficiency.
Managing to change the world.
SSDP will be well managed.
The Boards of Directors and Trustees will hold themselves accountable for carrying out their responsibilities and will conduct annual reviews of the conflict of interest policy.
Board and staff will actively ensure compliance with government regulations and industry best practices. We will invest in keeping SSDP free from liability and in organizational good standing.
Staff will feel appreciated and be given regular and prompt feedback about their performance, both regarding what they do well and where they need to improve.
Additionally, staff members’ performance will be formally reviewed annually and salary will be assessed at that time; salaries and benefits will be fair, competitive with organizations of similar size and scope, and will reward excellence.
Expectations will be clearly set and understood and deadlines normally met.
Staff will proactively communicate with and promptly respond to the Boards of Trustees and Directors according to their appropriate roles.
Staff will quantify organizational accomplishments.
Conflicting priorities will be addressed and readjusted as needed.
Staff will improve their professional abilities and proactively seek new opportunities for growth, participating in at least two professional development opportunities annually.
SSDP will provide a robust and meaningful internship experience by ensuring interns have ownership over projects, regular feedback, and access to unique opportunities outside of the day-to-day functions of the organization.
SSDP will make every effort to capture and maintain institutional knowledge.
Our organization will prioritize stability and maintain a high standard of quality, ensuring that expansion is managed responsibly when it occurs.
Staff and board members will actively communicate concerns in an open manner, and decision makers will empower critical debate.
Our staff will embody a culture of excellence that emphasizes going above and beyond to reflect the following core values: efficiency, transparency, humility, optimism, inclusiveness, light-heartedness, diligence, objectivity, self-care, compassion, and consistency.
Will you join with us in ending the War on Drugs by joining the Sensible Society today?