There is no shortage of public policy issues that demand our attention here in San Diego. From homelessness to climate action to growing equity in our communities, San Diegans have much to consider.
Business For Good serves as an educational resource hub for many local policy issues. As our members learn more about the policy areas that resonate with them, they will often begin to alert our Board of Directors to important policy endorsements, asks, and calls to action that could benefit from BFG’s support.
This got us thinking: How can we determine which local San Diego policies BFG should endorse and advocate for? How can we best channel our collective energy and support? What actions can we take that will most effectively help improve San Diego for all?
To help answer these questions, our Board of Directors created the BFG policy rubric. It acts as a guidepost for where we are going, what we can take on, and how we can maximize community impact. Read on to learn more about how it works and how you as a BFG member can use it.
The purpose of the BFG policy rubric
The BFG policy-evaluation rubric provides our Policy Committee a clear set of requirements to use when evaluating policy endorsement requests. Doing so helps our organization and its work in three key ways:
- Keeps us on track with our mission and core values—We can make sure that we’re giving priority to the policies that are best aligned with our purpose and beliefs
- Provides accountability for our decisions—We always have a clear understanding of how and why we chose to support certain policy initiatives
- Allows us to vet timely issues—Our members and community partners regularly bring time-sensitive policy matters to our attention. Using the policy rubric, we can quickly address any call to action so that it gets the support it needs right away
“Allowing our Policy Committee to look at these proposals through a consistent lens is crucial for any public advocacy group like BFG,” said Austin Evans, Business For Good Board Member. “The rubric will also help us make consistent decisions even as future committee members come on board.”
We get requests for BFG to participate in or partner with different organizations for a wide array of policy actions. Many of them are time-sensitive.
“Oftentimes, action must be taken immediately or in a short amount of time,” said Juan Pablo Sanchez, another Business For Good Board Member. “We needed a way to streamline the process we use to approve policy action for BFG. The policy rubric does that while also creating uniformity in our responses.”
How the BFG policy rubric works
The policy rubric itself is pretty simple. It is an accessible Google form that BFG members, community partners, and values-aligned outside organizations can use to present us with local policy endorsements for consideration.
“When a policy proposal first comes to us, we first scale it against our mission and core values,” Austin said. “We also look to see if the proposal fits within one of four core public policy action areas of our existing committees. Or, we think about how it may be a new concept that would suggest a special ad-hoc effort—or perhaps it could launch a new standing working group that helps advance our mission.”
The proposal doesn’t necessarily have to meet any specific criteria. But proposals that land across all our values and align with BFG member committees will be more likely to receive support as we advance our work.
After an official policy request is submitted, the Policy Committee will return a decision to the applicant within 48 hours. If approved, the committee will take the necessary endorsement action within that time frame as well.
Although the rubric was just recently created in June 2021, our board has already used it to determine a few key policy actions:
- Reviewing several net energy metering proposals (Environmental Health)
- Supporting Employee Rights Center in the push to create a Legal Defense Fund used to represent immigrants facing deportation at the Otay Mesa Detention Center (Immigration)
- Partnering with SAY San Diego to promote their Light Our Way campaign (Community Advocacy)
What are the evaluating criteria on the policy rubric?
Our policy rubric is divided into two major sections—internal logistics and scrutiny against BFG core values. Here are the details of the main areas of evaluation used to determine support.
Business For Good internal logistics
- Description of the policy—A brief explanation of the policy, issue, ask, or call to action and why you believe it’s a good fit for a BFG endorsement
- Who brought the request to BFG—If it’s not a direct request or proposal from a BFG member, please list who or what organization initiated the request
- The BFG Member Committee to which it’s applicable—Policies that are aligned with our four core action areas and their respective member committees are most likely to gain endorsement. However, we are open to all values-aligned requests
- Supporting documentation—Be sure to include all relevant documents, handouts, or web links that will help our Policy Committee with their decision
Business For Good core values
- Social Responsibility—Does this policy initiative help our members go beyond the bottom line to invest in the livelihood of their employees and the health of our community?
- Stewardship—Does this policy initiative promote investment in our communities and employees by government policies, budgets, and priorities?
- Voice—Does this policy initiative foster a dynamic where no single person, business, or special-interest group has any more access than any other to influence the development of community policies?
- Equity—Does this policy initiative fight for social and economic justice to level the playing field for all businesses and the community to thrive?
- Perseverance—Does this policy initiative give us an opportunity as an organization to stick with it, no matter the odds?
“We feel very confident in our new policy evaluation process,” Austin said. “It ensures that all our BFG endorsements resonate with our values and the significant efforts of our member committees. Setting our sights on this while making consistent decisions going forward is one major way BFG can keep driving real local impact.”