WHAT WE DID
- Conducted and produced original research on belonging, political homes, & community
- Designed and managed DPI’s Narrative & Identity Research Portfolio
- Cultivated a Learning Circle of over a half dozen power-building organizations to inform research & share learnings.
- Translate research findings into usable civic engagement program tools for organizers
The Democracy & Power Innovation Fund (DPI) is a community of funders, researchers and organizers working to use research, shared learning, and innovative programs to build political power, with a particular focus on communities of color. Its mission is shift the paradigm
Traditional political institutions, campaigns, and industry spaces often are singularly focused on winning elections which results in transactional politics that conflate voting with power. What has resulted is polling, research, and political programs that do not account for intra-group differences, intersectionality, and the ways in which values and identity drive political engagement within BIPOC communities. DPI seeks to disrupt normative assumptions about civic engagement and organizing by leading innovative research and creating a community of learning that informs organizational political power-building programs nationally.
We curated a portfolio of research on Black Narrative and Identity with leading researchers and organizational partners in GA, PA, MI, and WI – that provided insight on how to leverage Black political power for long-term organizing. The research helped inform and targeted civic engagement and digital campaigns in Georgia in 2020, 2021, and 2022 that drove turnout and political engagement. In collaboration with Equis Labs and over half dozen Latinx-led organizations we designed a national Latinx Values survey that moved beyond an assessment of policy preferences to better understand how cultural values, ideology, and identity inform political attitudes and engagement. Sojourn also designed and conducted original qualitative research with three organizations Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), Voices de la Frontera, and PICO California to better understand how the underlying concept of a political home resonated across geography, organizational type, as well as with individuals with different levels of engagement or connection to community organizations. What we found was that a political home means building a community that creates a sense of belonging, builds trust, drives impact, and reflects a common set of values and beliefs.
Through our findings, we were able to identify five actions that political organizations should be doing to not only grow their membership but develop deep and sustainable relationships with their members: :
- Develop trust and authentic relationships
- Leverage family and friends’ social networks
- Cultivate belonging through shared values and beliefs
- Amplify organizational impact
- Develop leaders intentionally
We will also be sharing and discussing the learnings of this portfolio of research at SXSW on March 12th.