News

All the latest and the greatest from the land o’ Bus. Check back here for updates, relevant research, news articles, and other related items.

Work with us! Work with us! Work with us!

Job Description: Operations Coordinator

Bus Federation Staff

Who wants a Bus that can’t run on time? The Bus Federation seeks an Operations Coordinator to make sure our trains buses stay on schedule. The Bus is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

This position includes the following responsibilities:

Financial Operations – 40%

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for bookkeepers, payroll processor and other financial contractors.
  • Process income and expenditures, serving as staff liaison in most financial matters.
  • Develop and maintain informal internal financial systems to be used in addition to formal accounting, not as a replacement.
  • Assist in preparing overhead and program budgets.

Human Resource Management – 20%

  • Serve as primary point of contact for insurance broker, SEP IRA broker, and other benefits contacts.
  • Assist with processes related to hiring and termination of employment.
  • Maintain office systems, supplies, and other staff needs

Records Management – 20%

  • Take first drafts of minutes of board meetings.
  • Maintain government filings and internal records in compliance with the law and organizational policies.

Development & Program Assistance – 20%

  • Assist local affiliates of the Bus Federation with development of their own systems.
  • Assist with development work as needed and as time allows.
  • Assist with program work, especially logistics, as needed and as time allows.

This is a position of significant leadership and may require other duties as necessary in a small organization.

Who You Are:
Strong applicants will be: detail-oriented, self-starting, system-building, clearly communicating, upbeat, awesome, and comfortable with diversity and inexperience in the workplace.

Relevant software & tools: Excel, Google Apps, Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, white boards & markers, sticky notes, etc.

Strong applicants need not have years and years of relevant experience or a college degree. The Bus specializes in launching extraordinary new talents into movements, so we’d rather you be awesome and eager to learn (although experience won’t hurt your application).

About this Position:
The Operations Coordinator reports to the Executive Director. She, he, or ze will oversee vendors, affiliates, and other partners. This position is a full-time exempt position. Salary is $26,000-$30,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include health insurance (we pay 80% of premium), SEP IRA (annual employer contribution), cell phone reimbursement (up to $75 / mo.), and a youthful workplace culture that feels roughly one part campaign, one part tech startup, and one part inflatable bouncy castle.

This position is based in our HQ in Portland, OR. For those unfamiliar with Portland, it’s a lovely, liveable, green city with a lower cost of living than most of the big fancy cities.

We aim to fill this position by early November 2014.

To Apply:
Send a cover letter (show some personality), a resume, and three references in a single document to jonathan@busfederation.com. Preference will be given to applications received by September 19, 2014.

About the Bus Federation:
The Bus Federation fuels a locally-led movement for next-generation, hands-on democracy. Our innovative network of state affiliates engages young voters, trains new leaders, and advances progressive policy. We currently have affiliates in different stages of development in Colorado, Illinois, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, and help coordinate national efforts like National Voter Registration Day and Trick or Vote. We’re big believers in fun, democracy, and the building of big tents. Be ready to lend a hand to field work and wear costumes for work occasionally.

If you really like PDFs:
You can totally view this job description as a PDF here!

Posted in News | Comments Off on Work with us! Work with us! Work with us!

An Army of Hannahs

Hannah Reagan and 7,005 voter registrations

Hannah Reagan, Voter Registration Coordinator with Forward Montana Foundation

Say hello to Hannah. As you’re reading this, Hannah is probably somewhere in Montana, registering a voter. She does that a lot (as you can see from the chalkboard).

Hannah is a secret weapon. Hannah is the reason I’m convinced that 2014 won’t be like 2010.

See, Hannah wasn’t even old enough to vote in 2010. But in 2012, when she turned 18, she walked through the doors of Forward Montana, our local affiliate in Missoula. Soon, she was volunteering, interning, working as a fellow. Now she’s taking the fall off to work full-time.

Hannah still can’t legally drink, but she’s helping run one of the largest voter registration drives in the history of Montana this year. She and her colleagues — ages range from 18-24 — will help over 10,000 other Montanans register to vote for this November’s election. In a state where Governors and Senators often have margins of victory in the thousands, this work makes a big difference.

It will especially make a difference this year, when Montana voters will decide whether to protect or eliminate Election Day Registration.

The Army of Hannahs

And here’s the good news: Hannah isn’t alone. There’s a whole army of Hannahs.

They’re not all named Hannah. There’s Keara and Shayla, Kiah and Debi, Breanna and Rudy, Aaron and Katie, Ariel and Elise, and so many more. And they don’t all live in Montana. They’re scattered around the country. But like Hannah, many are working in the same cities and towns where they were born and raised–the places they call home. And they’re working on issues, like immigration, fair wages, reproductive justice, and gun violence, that have real meaning in their communities.

This year, the affiliates of the Bus Federation have already registered 24,409 folks to vote. Combined with our work last year, we’re over 40,000 for the cycle–bigger than we did for the entire 2010 election cycle — and we still have the biggest period of the voter registration cycle to go. We’re set to eclipse our 2012 numbers by a healthy margin.

Chart showing registrations in 2010, 2012, and 2014

Meanwhile, National Voter Registration Day — now less than a month away — has over 100 more committed partners than we had in 2012.

Getting to the Finish Line

But as incredible as all these numbers are, we’ve got work left to do. September and October are the biggest months of the year. The operations that Hannah, et al., have been building will crank into high gear, registering tens of thousands of folks to vote in just a few weeks before pivoting into education and turnout.

Posted in News | Comments Off on An Army of Hannahs

Join the Team!

The Bus is hiring a National Programs Manager. You should totally do it.

The Bus Federation Civic Fund seeks an awesome individual to oversee the Bus’s work for National Voter Registration Day, Trick or Vote, and Fair Elections Pledge programs and generally engage with the Bus’s other partner-driven work. National Voter Registration Day and Trick or Vote engaged over 1,000 partners across the country in 2012, in the process registering over 300,000 eligible Americans and knocking on nearly 100,000 doors. The Fair Elections Pledge is a new national program to empower local organizers to protect community access to the ballot through engaging local election administrators.

The Bus is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

This individual will be responsible for:

  • Overseeing day-to-day work of National Voter Registration Day and Trick or Vote, including broad discretion in programmatic budgetary decisions.
  • Working in partnership with the Program Director to execute the Fair Elections Pledge campaign, navigating national partner relationships and engaging election administrators.
  • Working with a nonpartisan network of dozens of national organizations and hundreds (if not thousands) of state and local organizations to develop plans, ensure voter registration cards are returned to the proper election offices, and capture data to allow for voter mobilization.
  • Handling logistics around design, printing, and distribution of local print materials, plus ensure reporting of accurate field metrics.
  • Supervising additional staff or interns working on these projects as necessary.
  • Maintaining clean and accurate data in the Salesforce install used to manage both projects; and
  • Reporting regularly on the status of both projects to other staff, the board of directors, and possibly to funders.
  • Additionally, this individual may be responsible for some cultural and marketing partnership work.

This is a position of significant leadership and may require other duties as necessary in a small organization.

Who You Are:

Strong applicants will be:

  • Talented and culturally competent organizers.
  • Detail-oriented.
  • Friendly and confident.
  • Familiar with 501(c)(3) constraints
  • Self-starters.
  • Experienced in volunteer or staff management.
  • Comfortable (even giddy) engaging in diverse coalitions
  • Committed to grassroots democracy.

 

Relevant Software & Tools:

  • Salesforce, Google Apps, and HTML
  • Pages, Numbers, & Keynote
  • Staplers, Paperclips, Sticky Notes, White Boards, Markers, and Pens;

 

Strong applicants need not have years and years of experience. The Bus specializes in launching extraordinary new talents in movement organizing, so we’d rather you be awesome than anything else (although experience never hurts, of course).

About this position:

The National Programs Manager will report to to the Program Director. She, he, or ze will oversee other staff, interns, vendors, and partners from time-to-time. The position is a full-time exempt position. Salary is $28k – $35k per year, commensurate with experience. Benefits include health insurance, SEP IRA, cell phone reimbursement, and a youthful workplace culture that feels roughly one part campaign, one part tech startup, one part inflatable bouncy castle.

We hold a strong preference for this position to be based out of our home office in Portland, OR (though exceptions are theoretically possible for extraordinary candidates).

For those unfamiliar with what it’s like to live and work in Portland, this city is pretty great, with a cost of living 23%-33% lower than DC or NY.

This position will ideally start immediately, with interviews on a rolling basis and will remain open until filled.

To Apply:

Send a resume, three references, and a cover letter that shows some personality to henry@busfederation.com.

About the Projects and the Bus Federation Civic Fund:

The Bus Federation Civic Fund fuels a locally-led movement for next-generation, hands-on democracy. Our innovative network of state affiliates engages young voters, trains new leaders, and advances progressive policy. We currently have affiliates in different stages of development in Colorado, Illinois, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, and help coordinate national efforts like National Voter Registration Day and Trick or Vote. We’re big believers in fun, democracy, and the building of big tents. Be ready to lend a hand to field work and wear costumes for work occasionally.

In 2012, the nation’s first National Voter Registration Day brought together over 1,000 organizations across the country to make sure no eligible voter was left out because of registrations. The once-per-year event aims to provide a non-partisan reminder of the need to register (and re-register) to vote in the United States. The working group organizing National Voter Registration Day is comprised of APALA Education Fund, the Bus Federation Civic Fund, the Fair Elections Legal Network, the League of Women Voters, Nonprofit Vote, and Voto Latino. National Voter Registration Day 2013 saw a growth in field partnership and showed that voter registration can and should be done year round, regardless of who’s on the ballot.

Trick or Vote is the nation’s largest collaborative Get Out the Vote event. Reaching over 160,000 households in 2010, Trick or Vote harnesses the power of face-to-face outreach by mobilizing costumed volunteers door-to-door on Halloween. Social science experiments have shown Trick or Vote events highly effective at mobilizing new volunteers and voters.

We run these programs every year, regardless of national elections, because we truly believe that every vote, every election, every year is important.

In case you want a PDF of this job description for some inexplicable reason, here it is: National Programs Manager Job Description

Posted in Experiments | Comments Off on Join the Team!

…and then there were 7

We’re growing!

Yesterday, the boards of directors of the Bus Federation voted to bring two organizations formally into the Bus Federation: the Ohio Student Association (OSA) and M.O.V.E. San Antonio.

Who they are: It’s hard to overstate how excited the Bus family is for this moment. Despite being relatively young organizations, OSA and MOVE have demonstrated incredible work in the field. Last year, MOVE organized the single largest campus event for National Voter Registration Day in the country, helping over 700 San Antonians register in a single day (their photos are amazing).

OSA has just launched an expansive community fellowship with youth from across Ohio, from both on- and off-campus, developing new leaders for change. They’re bringing an intense focus to educational access and equity in Ohio, as well as the criminalization of youth and the state’s school-to-prison pipeline.

What this means: All Affiliates of the Bus Federation get connected to our whole network for peer learning and support (both remotely and through in-person convenings), access to technology platforms and program models to apply locally, and a commitment from our national team to help with everything that is needed, from training to fundraising to coaching to whatever folks need. In recent years, we’ve moved hundreds of thousands of dollars into local programs and are on track to repeat that performance this year.

How This Happened: Yesterday’s vote was the culmination of a nearly year-long process for both organizations. The process involves Bus leaders from our boards and existing affiliates meeting with and working alongside leaders from these organizations, helping with program, development, and operations planning and getting a deep sense of the organizations. The Bus is committed to growth–but in an intentional way and at a deliberate pace.

Posted in Updates | Comments Off on …and then there were 7

The Gateway Drugs of Democracy

You’d be hard-pressed to find many organizations in politics that are more enthusiastic than the Bus: Enthusiastic about democracy. Enthusiastic about our home towns. Enthusiastic about the people we work with and the future of this country. We’re an upbeat bunch–and we have the goofy costumes and gif-filled emails to prove it.

But every once in a while we get upset. And the IRS just ticked us off. In a new draft proposal aimed at reining in dark money organizations, the IRS ended up suggesting giant new loopholes for dark money groups, while simultaneously targeting nonpartisan voter registration and voter education drives as “partisan political activity.”

I have a confession: reading the draft rule, it was incredibly difficult to stay calm. But we did what grownups do: we put on our fancy clothes and drafted a formal comment on the proposed new rules and submitted our comment to the IRS. We think it’s a pretty good comment. You can read it here.

But we also wanted to share with all of you, our friends, just what rubbed us wrong about it in a bit less stodgy language. Our democracy, you see, is facing some challenges. One of those is the influx of huge donations from anonymous individuals and corporations. But another is simply the barriers to participation facing millions of Americans.

Our outdated voter registration system excludes millions. Confusing and intimidating ballot language makes voters feel stupid, so they opt-out of the system.

And in this gap, groups like the Bus (and lots of others) step up and fill in. We engage in hundreds of thousands of one-on-one conversations to help people register for the first time, feel confident casting a ballot, and even volunteering to work alongside our crews doing outreach–the actions that we sometimes call the Gateway Drugs of Democracy.

Because the goal here isn’t really ever about the next election. It’s about forming civic habits that last a lifetime. For the Bus, that means emphasizing school, city, and state elections just the same as Presidential elections. It’s why at this early date, we’ve already helped over 19,000 voters register during this two year election cycle.

The IRS’s draft rules for 501c4s threaten to derail these sorts of activities for thousands of organizations across the country–and to intimidate or confuse charitable organizations away from this nonpartisan activity. Fortunately, organizations are pushing back. And the final result may be much stronger as a result–providing greater clarity for nonprofits and doing a better job of fighting the dark money that is the target of these regulations.

Posted in News, Updates | Comments Off on The Gateway Drugs of Democracy

Bus Crosses 50,000 Voters Registered in 2012

Not even counting National Voter Registration Day, the Bus in 2012 has helped over 50,000 Americans register to vote. Here are the numbers by state:

Posted in Experiments | Comments Off on Bus Crosses 50,000 Voters Registered in 2012

Save the Date: 9 – 25 – 2012

Along with a whole bunch of friends, the Bus is working hard to put together a giant National Voter Registration Day in 2012. And the date has been set!

September 25, 2012

Put it in your calendars. Plan your September around it. Be ready to volunteer. And let us know how you can help!

Posted in Experiments | Comments Off on Save the Date: 9 – 25 – 2012