The 2020 Plan: Emerge California's Strategic Plan

The 2020 Plan

A New Vision to Achieve  Women’s Political Equity in California

Emerge California Strategic Plan: 20162020 


From 2016-­‐2020, Emerge California will take a laser focus to our mission to train Democratic women – and concentrate on recruiting, training and supporting women for local offices in California. By increasing the number of women running for and winning local public offices, we will also help build the farm team (or bench) of candidates for higher office.

Our goal is to significantly increase the number of Democratic women we train. To do this, we will work with county-­‐based partners, offer programs simultaneously in multiple locations, streamline the length and content of our training, and expand our use of social media and video conferencing.   

In addition to building the skills, confidence and networks of individual women who will run for public office, we will also expand our efforts to break down barriers that impede their electoral success. To this end, we will launch a mentoring program and a Women’s Political Roundtable, a convening of women’s political organizations from throughout California to ensure a more coordinated and strategic effort to increase the numbers of women in elected office.  

Finally, we will capitalize on the dynamic growth of our organization and take strategic next steps to expand our fundraising and external communications and further professionalize our internal operations. 

Building on the work we accomplished through the goals set forth in our first strategic plan, we are now positioned and capable of accelerating our statewide contributions. We envision a leadership role training unprecedented numbers of women to run for public office and facilitating a stronger women’s political movement.   

We invite you to join us in this mission to achieve women’s political equity in California.



-  Deepen strategic partnership with leading statewide organizations to identify and recruit women leaders to train.

-  Launch a county-based outreach strategy to recruit women for local offices and also strengthen the capacity of local organizations to support women candidates.


-  Streamline the length and content of our training.

-  Expand training to 4 regions.

Support & Movement Building

-  Launch the 2020 Mentoring Initiative.

-  Convene the California Women’s Political Roundtable.


-  Take operations to the next level to support The 2020 Plan.

-  Evolve the fundraising program to be primarily driven by major donor contributions.


1  Throughout this document, the term “Democratic women” is used to convey the rich diversity of women in the Democratic Party.



In addition to working with state partners to identify women to participate in the Emerge California training program, we will add a county-­‐based approach to our recruitment efforts. This county-­‐based approach will be a systematic effort not only to identify potential candidates to train, but also to help strengthen the longer-­‐term capacity and influence of our local partners to support women candidates.


Statewide Strategy

Emerge California will continue to conduct focused outreach to our statewide partners to identify and recruit women to participate in our regional campaign skills training.

  • We will use email outreach, webinars and informational meetings to advertise the Emerge program.
  • We will also work with state partners through one-­‐on-­‐one calls and meetings, asking them to identify members and colleagues who can participate in the Emerge training program.

County-­‐Based Strategy

Emerge California will launch a new county-­‐based approach to recruit Democratic women to participate in our regional training program. Each year through 2020, we will identify counties where Democrats can win and where there is under-­‐representation of women in public office. We will then work closely with local women’s political and Democratic organizations not only to identify potential women candidates – but to strengthen the organizational capacity of women’s groups to train, support and advocate for the election of women.

  • Target Counties -­ We will select priority counties2 where there is a need for more Democratic women to run and where Democratic women can win.
  • Create Coalitions -­ We will invite county partners (women’s organizations, Democratic groups, local elected leaders, labor unions) to participate in one or more meetings to map the political environment – potential candidates, open seats, additional key organizations, mentors/coaches.
  • We will invite EMILY’s List or a local women’s political organization to co-­‐sponsor (and co-­‐brand) a one-­‐day basic skills training in our targeted counties, with the intended outcome of identifying candidates for the more in-­‐depth Emerge regional trainings.

  • We will fine-­‐tune our selection process (application, interview) to increase the likelihood that we are investing our training resources in women who have clearly identified the seats they want to run for and those who are potentially viable candidates but who have not yet identified a seat.

We will encourage one or more of the women’s political organizations to develop a strong presence in the community to advocate for increased political representation of women.


 Statewide Outreach

  • 3 email blasts
  • 2 webinars
  • 5 informational meetings led by Board members
  • 10 phone calls with statewide partners, resulting in 10 email blasts (provide template) and generating 2 candidates per organization.


County-Based  Outreach

  • 4-6 counties targeted based on identified decision criteria.
  • In each county, meetings held with key women’s and Democratic groups to conduct environmental scan of open seats and potential candidates.
  • One-day basic campaign skills training held in each county.
  • Candidates identified for Emerge training.


2   We will select counties where the political environment is “ready” to elect more Democratic women – based on metrics like party registration and electoral results for major Democratic candidates (Obama, Feinstein, Harris, Yee).  We expect to begin with 4-6 counties, and expand by 2020 to a minimum of 29, half of California’s 58 counties.

3   We believe that the presence of a strong women’s political organization in a community creates a social demand for more women in public office. Example: Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee.



Our goal is to substantially increase the number of women we prepare to run for public office – to expand our training capacity from 50 women a year to 200 women a year by 2020.

To train more women, we will offer regional trainings simultaneously in multiple locations. Our goal is to grow from the current two trainings (now in Northern California and Southern California) to four (see Figure 1 on next page), rolled out as follows:

2016:  Host trainings in 2 locations

2017:  Host trainings in 3 Locations

2018 -­‐   2020:  Host training in 4 locations

To increase the likelihood that women will apply to the training program, we will streamline the length and content of our training, and expand our use of online and video conferencing tools.

Streamline the Length and Content of Emerge CA Training

  • We will restructure our 7-­‐month training program into a 5-­month program.
  • We will assess how to focus our curriculum on local races, how the curriculum can be structured into a 5-­month program, who will conduct the trainings, and what new online/media tools might be used
  • We will integrate a mentoring/coaching component into our training program – and will support program members to identify and secure local mentor/coaches who can help them explore and launch their political careers.
  • We will continue program member evaluations of trainings and the overall program – and convert to an online platform for more efficient analysis and sharing of the evaluation results.



December – April (training)

May – September – County Meetings & One-­‐Day Trainings

September – November – Application and Selection

Training Modules -­‐   sample curriculum only – not final

December (in-­‐person, 2 days) Orientation, Effective Networking, Public Speaking

January (in-­‐person, 2 days) Campaign Plan & Diversity

February (in-­‐person, 2 days) Fundraising & Field Operations

March (in-­‐person, 2 days) Media/Messaging

April (in-­‐person, 2 days in Sacramento) Endorsements & Shadow/Party/ Labor

Program Member Graduation to be held after April Session.


The majority of Emerge California’s work involves training women – preparing the future farm team to make viable bids for public office. To succeed in actually electing more women, we need to adopt additional strategies that push the political status quo to make good on their commitments to women’s political equity.

To this end, we will launch two initiatives where our organization’s statewide role and influence are most strategically deployed. In addition to encouraging program members to identify a local coach or mentor as part of our training program, we will launch a statewide mentoring initiative. We will also step forward to spark strategic, action-­‐oriented conversations among women’s political organizations – with the aim of strengthening California women’s political movement and increasing our collective capacity and influence to elect more Democratic women.

2016 -­ 2020

The 2020 Mentoring Initiative

We will launch a statewide effort that secures commitments from past or current elected officials – 20 men and 20 women – to mentor or coach a current or potential woman candidate.

After a pilot year, we will recruit 40 new mentors each year.

Emerge CA can build support for political women by giving accolades and visibility to the mentors. The success of this effort will depend on setting realistic expectations about the duration of and activities expected of coaches (see below).

While this initiative will require some additional funds, it is ideally led by board members who can utilize their political influence and connections.



  • To pilot this initiative in 2016, set a goal of announcing 10 mentors and mentees at the SF annual event – and 10 at the LA event. Invite the mentors and mentees to a VIP pre-­‐reception.
  • Publicize political successes of mentees and the support received from mentors.
  • Be realistic about the chemistry required for true mentorship, and emphasize coaching.
  • Establish a menu of possible coaching activities, such as introduce your mentee to 3 Democratic leaders, introduce your mentee to donors, appoint your mentee to a local board or commission, offer your mentee a position in a policy project or campaign, etc.

2016 -­ 2020

Movement Building: The Women’s Political Roundtable

We will convene or collaborate in convening a Women’s Political Roundtable to facilitate analysis and strategic planning to coordinate and improve efforts to recruit, train, run and support Democratic women candidates at the local and state levels.


To boost the numbers of Democratic women holding public office at both the local and state levels, we need to build a stronger organizational infrastructure to recruit, train, run and support Democratic women candidates.

It is our assessment that only Emerge California and a few other organizations have the statewide presence to effectively play the role of convener to assess and build a stronger political infrastructure.  Fortunately, there are a number of local women’s political organizations (e.g., Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, some local chapters of NWPC) that can be partners in this effort, as they have built considerable visibility and clout to elect significant numbers of women in their communities. Unfortunately, many communities have no political organizations that advocate for greater numbers of Democratic women in public office – which underscores the critical importance of building a stronger political infrastructure.

A series of candid discussions needs to take place to identify 1) where existing capacity supports greater numbers of Democratic women running and winning, 2) where existing capacity is falling short, and 3) what kind of additional capacity is needed. This environmental scan needs to assess existing and needed organizational infrastructure at both the local and state levels – and it needs to lay the groundwork for an action plan focused on goals for 2020 and beyond.

Emerge California can and should play a central role to spark the analysis and strategic planning needed to jumpstart California’s women’s political movement.


Convene a 2016 Women’s Political Roundtable.

Possible objectives might include:

  • Identify existing organizations that work to recruit, train, run or support Democratic women candidates.
  • Conduct a pre-­‐Summit survey to determine each organization’s capacity and reach.
  • Convene organizations to assess strengths and needed capacity statewide.
  • Identify priority actions that mainstream Democratic organizations should take to increase their support of women.
  • Work with organizations to set strategic goals for 2016-­‐2020.
  • Set up a quarterly communication structure (conference calls, updates).
  • Get buy-­‐in to ensure accountability for follow-­‐up strategies and a 2017 Roundtable.


We will continue to professionalize our operations focused on fundraising and events, communications, accounting, staffing and board management and development.

In some instances, The 2020 Plan will provide a unifying and creative theme for Emerge California’s operational goals, particularly as they relate to fundraising and communications.


We will develop and launch a comprehensive fundraising plan.

Currently, our fundraising strategies are primarily event-­‐based and focused on support for our organization and its mission of training more Democratic women to run for office.

Through The 2020 Plan, we will promote a broader mission to excite and unite men and women throughout the state:  to join together in an initiative to elect more women throughout California by

2020.  Objectives include:


  • Expand our major donor program into a year-­‐long, ongoing fundraising effort.

             -­Increase outreach to corporate, Democratic, and labor organizations.

             -­Host regional major donor cultivation events.

             -­Step up major donor outreach through our four primary Emerge events

  • Continue to grow the success and visibility of our 4 major events.

            -­Streamline fundraising event management with templates for timelines and host committee management.

  •  Develop and roll-­‐out a sustainer program – a monthly credit card debit program where supporters commit to give $20 a month through 2020.

           -­Set targets and publicize.

           -­Reach out to alumnae to identify 20 who commit to the $20 per month contribution program.

  •  Assess the number and cost-­‐effectiveness of all events.

          -­Evaluate staffing requirements and outcomes.


We will develop and implement a communications strategy that creates a public expectation for increased political representation of Democratic women – and an awareness of the central role that Emerge California is playing in pursuit of this goal.  Our organization and Executive Director will be a top “go-­‐to” source for media on issues relating to women and politics.


  • Identify and create a hard-­‐hitting analysis that contributes to the dialogue about the need to elect more Democratic women and provides visibility for Emerge California.
  • Publicize the 2020 Mentoring Initiative in multiple state and local channels.
  • Identify alumnae and Board Members who can be used as surrogates for the organization in the media to reach a geographically diverse range of media.
  • Update our communications plan with specific recommendations and a timeline to expand Emerge CA’s print and social media reach.


We will continue to update all accounting processes, building on the professionalization that has occurred over the past two years. During this time, Emerge California made updates to our Accounting and reporting systems, revised our Chart of Accounts to better reflect revenue and expense line items, revised our board reporting package and metric tracking, "audited" our NGP and Quick Books reporting to ensure proper matching, added a new checking account specifically to ease petty cash expenses (controls) incurred by the staff, and reviewed all accounting processes.

2016 -­ 2017

  • Conduct a soft audit including account reconciliation.
  • Identify and establish written protocols for undocumented process.
  • Review best practices (including problem avoidance) and update policies and procedures as required.

Staffing  & Board Management and Development

New directions for Emerge California will require an assessment of staffing needs – and funding to support staff. New directions for the organization will also require an assessment of Board member composition and responsibilities.

2016 -­ 2017

  • Identify staffing structure and requirements

­           ‐Assess costs of hiring Regional Directors in 4 Regions.

           ‐Develop a succession plan for the Executive Director and ensure availability of briefing documents and minutes.

­           ‐Conduct final review of updated personnel manual.

  •  Establish benchmarks and continue to diversify the Board of Directors on the basis of geography, race/ethnicity, etc.

           ‐Institutionalize a standardized Board orientation for all new Board Members.

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