Author: Seth Yund

NxtGov in 2021: Call for Nominations and Volunteers

NxtGov in 2021: Call for Nominations and Volunteers

NxtGov is looking for passionate leaders and volunteers who can help make 2021 our most impactful year yet! If you’re looking to join a team of individuals working to improve and amplify the impact of the public sector, NxtGov is your community! 

 Leadership nominations will close Friday, December 18 and the new leadership team will start their work at the beginning of January.

What is NxtGov?

NxtGov is a nonpartisan, service-oriented 501(c)6 nonprofit organization (federal designation pending) working  to improve the public sector so we can, in turn, better serve the public. The NxtGov community doesn’t just include people who work for the public sector; it also includes those who work with or are interested in public service more broadly.  

What Does NxtGov Do?

We know government works better when agencies, organizations, and individuals work together. Unfortunately, collaboration isn’t always prioritized or possible in government agencies, which results in lost opportunities to learn from each other and build complementary policies and programs. 

NxtGov supports the development of collaborative, silo-breaking  relationships and opportunities.  We strive to enhance the capacity of California’s government by fostering a community that is committed to building bridges and lasting connections. 

NxtGov has three programmatic focuses, each of which is overseen by a Director who plans and produces related events, projects, and content: 

  • Community Engagement: Organizes opportunities for our membership to engage with and support our community through community services projects. In 2020 these have been transformed to remote volunteering through letter writing, phone calls, and socially distant trash clean-up in our own neighborhoods. 
  • Public Recruitment: Supports individuals who are interested in and applying for public sector jobs. Provided monthly How to Get a State Job webinars throughout 2020.
  • Professional Development: Offers training and workshops for the professional growth of civil servants and their teams. This year we started a virtual Anti-Racist Learning and Action Group for our members.

These programmatic areas are supported by two additional positions:

  • Director of External Communications: In support of all of NxtGov’s programming, the Communications team develops advertising strategies, designs graphics, and promotes events and content on social media platforms, our website and blog, as well as the monthly newsletter. 
  • Membership Officer: In addition to serving and representing the NxtGov membership, this position serves on the NxtGov non-profit board with legal and fiduciary responsibilities. 

Anyone can get involved in any or all of the program areas above. If you’re interested, check out our website, join our Slack channel, or email Collaborate@NxtGov.org to learn more! 

Am I Qualified to Lead? 

Anyone with a passion for serving others is qualified to make a difference, regardless of experience or knowledge of the public sector! Individuals who are interested in learning about or improving the public sector can support NxtGov’s mission by participating in an event, leading a project, or serving as a member of NxtGov’s Leadership Team. There are many ways to plug in to NxtGov, gain experience, and build a community of public servants! 

How Can I Get Involved?

If you would like to nominate yourself or others to join the NxtGov Leadership Team, please review the vacant position descriptions and fill out this form. The deadline for nominations is Friday, December 18. Nominations will be reviewed and confirmed by the Board at the end of December, with the new leadership team taking office at the beginning of 2021. If you are interested in volunteering in general, or have a project you would like NxtGov to take on, please fill out this form

After receiving your completed submission, a member of the NxtGov Leadership Team will follow up with each nominee and potential volunteer to help align your interests with the operations of the organization. We look forward to working with you! 

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to email Collaborate@NxtGov.org

Don’t Just Vote, Vote Smart: Resources for Maximizing Your Interests at the Polls

Don’t Just Vote, Vote Smart: Resources for Maximizing Your Interests at the Polls

Voting is an important public right and civic duty. However, voting in a way that maximizes your interests requires more than just checking boxes on a ballot – it takes research.

This research takes time and may seem daunting. Fortunately, there are many existing tools that can help make it easy to answer important questions, like:

  • What do measures and propositions actually do?
  • What do candidates stand for, and what have they done in the past?
  • Who has financed support or opposition campaigns for these propositions and candidates?

We have collected some resources to help you enjoy learning more about the contents of your ballot. However you might be voting this year (by mail, official ballot box, or at the polls), make a plan, and don’t forget to vote by November 3rd

County Voter Guides

Your county voter guide provides a great first look into candidates and initiatives. Every registered voter should have received a county-specific voter guide in the mail that contains:

  • Important logistical information including procedures on how to vote, ballot drop off box locations, and in-person vote center locations,
  • A sample ballot,
  • Brief statements from all candidates running for offices other than U.S. President, and
  • Full text of local measures in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

If you can’t find your paper voter guide, you should be able to find a digital copy on your county’s website (here is the Sacramento county’s voter guide). You can also review a California-wide voter guide produced by the Secretary of State. This contains similar information and should have also come in the mail.

Organizational Voter Guides

Many non-profits and other organizations have voter guides that state which candidates, propositions, or measures the organization supports or opposes. If there are organizations you support (think about those monthly donations you may make), check if they have posted a voter guide for this upcoming election on their website. 

If you would like to read a bit more and learn more about both sides, many non-partisan groups have developed clear and engaging guides for curious voters. We’ve collected a few of our favorites to share with you!

BallotPedia

Ballotpedia is non-partisan, neutral resource that aims to provide people with accurate and objective information about policy and politics. There are many helpful resources on their California webpage, but for this election you may find the following web pages particularly useful:

Voter’s Edge

Voter’s Edge asks you to enter your address and provides you with a sample ballot. Explore candidate endorsements, top priorities, political resumes, and even campaign donor information. This non-partisan non-profit has done the hard work for us, compiling videos from diverse sources, summaries, and organizational information on one centralized sample ballot for you to explore. They even let you save your choices so when you sit down to vote (or head to the polls), you have your selections ready to go. Voter’s Edge provides links to your Easy Voter Guide as well, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean.

CalMatters

CalMatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics. They have put together a full-service (and fully-entertaining) voter guide for California’s election:

  • Proposition Guide: Explore both sides of every proposition through an engaging 1-minute video. Scroll down for information about fiscal impacts and additional news stories to educate your vote.
  • Gimme Props: Want to gamify the process? This quiz asks a series of simple questions on each issue to help you understand which side may best align with your ideals.
  • Crossword Puzzle: Looking for further entertainment? Put your prop knowledge to work in this crossword puzzle featuring in-depth knowledge of each proposition! 

Campaign Finance Tools

While Ballotpedia contains a lot of information on campaign finance, the following resources can help you learn more about who financed campaigns supporting or opposing the contents of your ballot:

  • Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), Top 10 Contributors List, November 2020 General Election: The FPPC uses data from the Secretary of State to generate a list of the top 10 contributors to support and opposition campaigns for each proposition on the ballot. This is a great resource to explore first.
  • Secretary of State, Campaign Finance Activity, Propositions & Ballot Measures: Provides the full dataset that the FPPC uses to generate the top 10 contributors list.
  • Secretary of State, Campaign Finance: Candidates & Elected Officials: Provides a full dataset of contributions to each candidate running for a position in the California State Legislature.
  • Federal Election Commission, Browse Data: Provides a full dataset of contributions to each candidate running for U.S. President, the U.S. Senate, or the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Center for Responsive Politics, orgopensecrets.org: Provides great background information on federal-level campaign finance along with the same information as the Federal Election Commission’s webpage listed above.

Friends, Family, and Your Community

This research doesn’t have to be a solitary activity! Sharing notes and talking with others can help you process which candidates, propositions, or measures you truly want to support. You can also help others by encouraging them to do their own research – or you might even send them this blog post!

DISCLAIMER: This is an unofficial organization that is not connected to any one government entity.

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