How to charter a caucus?
YDWA Advocacy Director Genevieve Huard and Communications Director LaKecia Farmer will present on the rules and expectations of YDWA Caucuses at 11am Saturday February 27 in room “Discovery C” during YDWA Convention.
The first step to working with YDWA to advocate for the issue you’re most passionate about is to form a caucus. To charter a caucus you must find a group of Young Democrats interest and submit the following to the YDWA Advocacy Director:
- A list of caucus members (there must be at least 5) and their contact information (phone number and email),
- A brief summary of the constituency the caucus seeks to represent,
- A brief summary of the state-wide initiative your caucus would work towards over the next year, and
- Results of the caucus vote on a chair and vice chair
You will share your application with the entirety of YDWA during Sunday business. They will have the opportunity to question your proposal and vote whether or not to approve your caucus.
How does a caucus work after convention?
Caucuses are managed by the Advocacy Director who will act as a mentor, provide resources, and be your liaison between the caucus and YDWA. Within a caucus, the Chair and Vice Chair have the responsibility of maintaining the caucus charter and caucus activity. This includes planning the state-wide initiative, researching topics and writing YDWA blog posts (or recruiting members to help), and developing a year long plan and a budget to be submitted to the YDWA general board for approval.
Caucus chairs need to plan their quarterly meetings and report back to YDWA executive board phone call or via email to Advocacy Director. Quarterly caucus board meetings must be with members from across the state – not just one local chapter. As a caucus chair, you become a part of the YDWA general board and will represent and report on your caucus during general board phone meetings.
Traditionally YDWA provides each caucus with a budget (between $250 – $500), with funds accessible upon completion of a one-year plan, the approval of an entire caucus (at least 5 people, statewide), approval of the Advocacy Director and Vice President of Government Affairs. Exact budget to be determined by the 2016 general board.
What caucuses must do:
- Submit a list of members and contact information.
- Maintain a Facebook group to communicate with caucus members across the state, use polls to vote on caucus decisions, etc
- Work with the Advocacy Director to create a year-long advocacy plan, complete with proposed budget.
- Write one blog post per quarter on an issue related to their caucus.
- Do one statewide initiative project to educate their membership, team build across the state, and/or advance an issue related to their caucus.
- Meet once per quarter at least and report back to Advocacy Director with minutes and action items and how we can support you with them (this can be a phone meeting) and you can submit your meeting agenda to Advocacy Director before each meeting if you want feedback.
What happens if your caucus does not meet these requirements?
The YDWA constitution removes someone from the board automatically after consecutive months of inactivity. This is open to interpretation by the general board, but has traditionally meant if a caucus does not submit a blog post and hold a quarterly meeting it is automatically dissolved and its allocated funds are returned to the general budget.
Want examples of kick-ass caucusing?
- 2014 Queer Caucus: Organized a statewide pride campaign marching in pride events from Bellingham, to Vancouver, to Spokane! See the blog post here.
- 2015 Diversity Caucus: Researched the history of black people in the legislature and created an infographic to share with others. See blog post and infographic here.
- 2014 Women’s Caucus: Organized a statewide hygiene drive to donate products to the YWCA and created a scholarship fund to send young women to the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington’s Candidate Training. See blog post here.