here for PDF format
of Meeting, Internal Discussion
Civic Caucus, 8301
Creekside Circle, Bloomington, MN 55437
Friday, October 10,
Johnson, chair; David Broden, Charles Clay (by phone), Marianne Curry,
Paul Gilje (by phone), Jim Hetland, Jim Olson, and Wayne Popham
Context of the meeting--The
current Civic Caucus strategic plan was adopted in November 2007. See
http://www.civiccaucus.org/strplan.htm. Today we are reviewing aspects of
that plan as well as looking at a communications plan for the Civic
Developments since strategic plan was adopted--Paul
reviewed objectives for 2007-2008 that were part of the strategic plan:
1. Increase participant list
from 600 to 1,000--Objective has been reached. We're now about
2. Establish and refine our
website--We established our website in January 2008, http://civiccaucus.org,
and we have made significant refinements since then.
3. Concentrate on government structure and process--We
issued several position papers, all dealing with structure or process,
including redistricting, judicial selection, and constitutional
4. Emphasize education and
involvement as our first priority--While we have issued
position papers, we have continued our weekly education reports. Early in
2008 we made a major change in receiving input, by seeking responses to
specific questions, in addition to inviting general comments. All
responses are reported on our website. We consistently receive six or
more pages of comments each week.
5. Add new core participants--We
have added David Broden, Marianne Curry, Marina Lyon, and Joe Mansky.
6. Continue collaboration with
the Citizens League--Both organizations provide website links
to one another. The executive director of the Citizens League receives
the same information as core participants.
7. Raise additional funds--We
have maintained in 2008 the same level of funding as in 2007. We have not
undertaken a more ambitious fund-raising effort as had been contemplated
in the strategic plan
8. Consider a special role for
selected veteran thought leaders--The strategic plan called for
an evaluation of whether a special role might be developed for some of the
most respected civic and governmental leaders in Minnesota, past and
present, We have yet to proceed on that front.
9. Consider expanding the Civic
Caucus work program--The strategic plan called for an
evaluation of a significant expansion of our ability to gather, organize,
and disseminate information. We have yet to proceed on that front, other
than to conclude that we're probably doing as much as we can now with
David Broden presentation on communications plan--David
Broden gave a power point presentation on what we might consider in
expanding our communications efforts. Broden stressed the following:
1. Overall approach--The
communication plan has these elements:
--Define the Civic Caucus, its objectives, vision,
strategy, scope, and purpose
--Identify the Civic Caucus target audience.
--Identify the "soft" and "hard" products of the
Civic Caucus, how they can be used, and by whom. "Soft" products include
its core group, its ability to analyze public issues, and its 1,000-plus
participants. "Hard" products include its interviews, summaries, website,
and policy recommendations.
--Leverage the Civic Caucus unique operating
structure and process
--Develop communication plans unique to each type
of Civic Caucus report.
--Build a process and criteria for succession of
Civic Caucus leadership.
The strategic plan and communication plan must be dynamic and always subject to update and change to reflect
changing interests of the Caucus and the activities of government, the economy, or other issues.
2. Key Civic Caucus strategies--The
key Civic Caucus strategies are:
--Build a prototype virtual organization that
could be emulated by other groups in Minnesota and elsewhere.
--Emphaize education and involvement on public
affairs by utilizing an internet-based network of thought leaders from
--Establish the Civic Caucus as a "go-to" resource
for in-depth, substantive, high quality public policy information which
supports and enables policy maker debate and action.
3. Types of audiences for the Civic Caucus--Three
types of audiences were identified:
--A primary audience of Civic Caucus network
participants and thought leaders.
--A benefiting audience of impacted government
officials, units, and agencies, plus collaborative partners (other public
--A communication/information audience of media,
interest groups and the general public.
4. Collaboration opportunities-We
have opportunities to collaborate with organizations such as the Citizens
League, Growth and Justice, the Minnesota Business Partnership, 20/20, the
Minnesota Free Market Institute, MPR, MinnPost, the Humphrey Institute,
5. The need to develop a "brand"--The
Civic Caucus needs to be easily understood by others. An
easily-remembered label is needed, conveying the essence of what we are.
6. Audience survey needed--The
Civic Caucus should survey its audiences to capture their understanding,
opinions, and impact of the Civic Caucus.
7. More background on website of
priority topics--We should add a page to the website that
identifies our top priority topics, including purpose and benefit of each,
to orient participants and serve as a guide for the core.
8. Key strengths of the Civic
Caucus--The Civic Caucus has these key strengths:
--Its unique process for education, involvement,
Discussion by Civic Caucus core--During
general discussion by core participants the following points were raised:
--A member urged that the Civic Caucus continue to
emphasize structure and process and stay out of governmental operations.
--A member said we need to define the process for getting
information and interviewing key people.
--A member stressed the need for broader involvement by
--A member observed that we need to make it clear to others
that we do not lobby governmental officials.
--A member suggested that branding requires a logo, which
surfaces the identity question: Who are we?
--There was general agreement there are too many topics. A
member wants selection criteria in alignment with objectives.
--Members expressed a desire for the Civic Caucus to become
recognized as a "Go To" organization: maybe a name change is necessary,
selection of individuals with extensive public policy experience for the
Core Group is an asset; quality of information must remain very high; we
need to define a strategy for establishing a relationship with key
--A member said the plan must be results oriented, not
process oriented. He suggested that "public policy development" needs to
be integral to CC's identity.
--Structural change is an over-riding theme as it applies
to transportation, education or energy. For example, maybe we should be
looking at a different delivery system (ie, internet education, more
efficient underground transmission lines, removing the local government
authority to build roads and thereby forcing more integrated planning. Or
abandoning the Highway Trust Fund (!!) to allow more flexibility for
--It was suggested we need to look at the question of who
decides how these public services are delivered.
--A member would add state economic policy and impact of
downturns to list of topics
--Curry agreed to do some work on the governance questions
facing CC: succession, criteria for selection of Core Group members,
Paul's role, Core Group role, terms of appointment, expectations with
respect to participation by Core Group, identifying skill sets needed
within Core Group.