BISC’s Declaration of Equity and Accountability

What is BISC’s Declaration of Equity and Accountability (DoE)?

BISC’s Declaration of Equity and Accountability (DoE) is a commitment to engage in practices that actualize our shared values and center communities most impacted by the issues we collectively seek to address. 

Here at BISC, we believe that threading equity into all aspects of a campaign is how we win. Our commitment is to pursue a more inclusive understanding of what it means to win. BISC and our partners believe it’s not just ‘winning’ that matters, it’s how we win that helps us build power. We must move beyond only defining success at the ballot by 50% + 1 of the vote. To build a more equitable and just world, we must consider who’s driving the change and whether it will have a transformational impact on the communities that have been excluded for too long. 

To help move us towards greater equity, BISC created a tool to help us live our values and hold ourselves, our organizations, and one another accountable to our commitments: the DoE!

There is no one-size-fits all approach; every ballot measure campaign customizes their own DoE, and the DoE is to be reviewed, adjusted, improved, and incorporated into the ongoing discussions, decisions, and activities of a campaign. 

What is the purpose of the DoE?

Critical to BISC’s strategic framework is our theory of change — which includes the DoE, the 360 Ballot Measure Lifecycle, and the expanded definition of winning. We believe that to create transformational change and build something that lasts over and beyond a ballot measure win or loss, we must utilize the DoE and every phase of the 360 lifecycle to build capacity, bring people together around a common goal, center those most impacted, and shift the culture of how we do things. It’s how we win that helps us to build power. 

The DoE gives us a framework for centering and following the voices closest to the issue so that we can create stronger policy, culture shifting narratives, trusted messengers, greater volunteer and voter engagement, high functioning coalitions, and greater stakeholder buy-in. The DoE helps us build long-term power to not only pass initiatives when they’re on the ballot, but to defend them afterward and create lasting infrastructure to move bolder policies in the future. This ensures that policy efforts consistently build durable momentum, capacity, and power regardless of electoral outcomes. 

How does a Declaration of Equity and Accountability work?

A Declaration of Equity and Accountability works by weaving diversity and inclusion into strategy in 12 different areas of movement work:

What are the first steps for creating a Declaration of Equity and Accountability?

When embarking on the creation of a DoE for your campaign, there are five initial steps that will help you organize your process:

  1. Set ground rules: Embrace radical transparency, empower unheard voices, and keep people focused on the topic.
  2. Define your decision-making process: Allow participants to give more than “yes” or “no” choices. Clarify what types of decisions need to be made and by whom.
  3. Define roles: Share facilitating meetings and note-taking to encourage co-ownership of the process. Ensure meeting materials and documents are housed in a central, accessible location.
  4. Create shared definitions: Agree on definitions of important concepts like equity, racism, and power. Understand each other’s perspective on barriers to a more equitable campaign.
  5. Foster shared hopes: Ask what an equitable campaign looks like. Define what winning is for your members.

Can BISC help me create a Declaration of Equity and Accountability for my campaign?

Yes! BISC’s DoE Toolkit helps to develop specific practices to collectively build alignment around.

The DoE Toolkit serves as a guide to resources and examples of concrete practices, strategies, and tactics for disrupting race, power, and privilege dynamics.

It’s important to note that the DoE coincides with the principles and practices of the 360 Ballot Measure Lifecycle. These tools must be integrated for a transformational campaign strategy to be operationalized. To learn more about the DoE toolkit and talk about how your campaign can get started, contact BISC’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Adam Snipes, at [email protected]