This fall, Veterans for Political Innovation (VPI) has begun executing an aggressive national launch strategy. Laser-focused on the goal of building a national movement of veterans and supporters advocating for three, targeted election innovations, VPI’s four-person national leadership team:
9/15: Hosted a veteran roundtable dinner at the Veterans Chamber of Commerce in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with 10+ veterans attending
Identified three VPI Task Force Wisconsin leaders who volunteered to help build and grow VPI’s mission to pass Final-Five Voting in Wisconsin
Built momentum with key “grass blades” community stakeholders.
9/22: Hosted a series of Colorado Meetings – VPI’s COO met with:
Tyler Fisher from Unite America (along with Sol Lieberman and Aaron Menenberg, co-Executive Directors for IPI),
Amber McReynolds, the Chair of the National Vote at Home Institute and
Three outstanding veteran leaders who volunteered to serve as the first VPI “State Leaders” building VPI’s presence in Colorado.
10/13: Executed a Launch Event in Madison, Wisconsin attended by over 50 people
Spent the day lobbying and moved a number of key state legislators from no awareness of Final-Five Voting to curious; and one or two to supporters.
Built cross-partisan rapport with legislators who attended the launch event and energy / momentum around Final-Five Voting.
10/29: Hosted a Saint Louis veteran roundtable lunch
Led by VPI’s national leadership team (Todd, Dan & Eric) with over 20 veterans in attendance.
Most attendees learned about Final-Five Voting for the very first time.
Used a conversational approach to get feedback, build credibility and buy-in.
11/06: Helped organize and support VPI Task Force Wisconsin marching in the Milwaukee Veterans Parade for Final-Five Voting:
VPI’s HQ team provided a custom-made parade banner, along with swag and compelling handouts
Team of 6-8 volunteers handed out over 200 brochures with information regarding Final-Five Voting
11/9: Participated in a National Zoom Event with over 200 attendees
Hosted by John Opdycke (Open Primaries) and Sol Lieberman (IPI)
VPI’s guest panel included CEO Todd Connor, Board President, Yinka Faleti and board member Charlynda Scales.
Great dialogue and energy around Final-Five Voting, and VPI’s leadership in the political innovation space, sparked many follow-up conversations.
11/9 – 11/10: Attended and led meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada11/9, COO attended the Southern Nevada Veterans Chamber of Commerce launch event with over 100 people; lots of great conversations with Nevada veterans11/10, COO met with potential Task Force Nevada Leaders for lunch to answer questions and concerns regarding the potential Final-Five Voting campaign
Eric also met with Sondra Cosgrove and Doug Goodman (Army veteran), two of Nevada’s “original” reform pioneers and leaders.
11/18 and 12/14: Led the first and second “All-Hands” Zoom for all of VPI’s Key Volunteers / State Leaders
VPI’s CEO led an energetic and thought-provoking conversation with volunteer leaders representing 13 different states.
These monthly calls will serve as a rallying point for all key volunteers to set goals and share accomplishments and lessons learned from the previous month.
12/14: VPI Task Force Wisconsin Leader, Kevin Miller, testifies in front of a Wisconsin Senate Committee in support of the pending “Final-Five Voting” Bill (SB-250)
Other Noteworthy Events and Milestones:
8/11, VPI’s COO attended a Bunker Labs networking event in Madison, Wisconsin where he was a guest speaker and highlighted Final-Five Voting.
9/30, VPI submitted a grant proposal, for two specific interventions, to the Strengthening Democracy Challenge sponsored by Stanford University.
10/5, VPI’s COO participated in the Bunker Labs “Office Hours” program — a national livestream program — hosted by veteran “Iron” Mike Steadman.
10/29, VPI received its first tranche of funding ($50,000) from the Dr. Bronner’s Family Foundation
11/15, VPI submitted a multi-year grant proposal to the Tawani Foundation and Pritzker Military Museum & Library
11/29, VPI leadership met with Unite America’s Executive Director and submitted a multi-year grant proposal
December: grant proposals initiated and/or submitted to: one individual donor, The Good Party, Arnold Ventures, Better Elections Missouri
Since VPI’s public launch in October, over 50 veterans have completed the VPI volunteer intake form via the website, representing over 20 different states
In approximately four months, the Veterans for Political Innovation national, four-person leadership team has executed an ambitious, national launch strategy. Concurrently, VPI has built an outstanding, interactive website with excellent volunteer resources; made dozens of compelling posts on LinkedIn and other platforms; released four high quality blog posts to hundreds of people on the VPI mailing list; participated in numerous strategic planning meetings with national and state-based reform and campaign partners, and grown a national volunteer base, with a personal onboarding process, leading to the onboarding of outstanding veteran leaders in over 20 different states.