Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Engage on Min Wage - THIS Friday @ Oak Metro Chamber - 8:30-10 AM

Ready to engage on minimum wage? Then we look forward to seeing you this Friday morning at Inside Oakland, as always the 4th Friday of the month from 8:30-10 in the Board Room at the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

To inform our discussion of one of the hottest policy issues of the day, we will be joined by leaders from two of Oakland’s most dynamic sectors – non-profits and restaurants.

Michael LeBlanc
CJ Hirschfield

Well-recognized Oakland non-profit leader CJ Hirschfield of Fairyland and widely-acclaimed restaurant entrepreneur Michael LeBlanc of Pican will talk about what the various minimum wage proposals out there would mean to them. City staff and the City’s economic consultant will be on hand to listen and answer questions. We have outstanding invitations to an economist, additional local businesses, and our local electeds. I will be there to delve into the Oakland Chamber’s survey and work to date on the issue. Most importantly, you all will be there to listen, learn, share your perspectives, and engage on what this issue could mean for you and your business, employees, and community.

Our goal is to continue forging a coalition for a regional, sustainable, and transparent minimum wage policy that continues fueling Oakland’s economic progress for all.

To get us in the right mindset for a vibrant discussion this Friday, check out the following quick bullets:

·         This CNN article talks about how the State of Washington, which has had one of the highest minimum wages in the country at $9.32/hour, and San Francisco, have some of the hottest job markets. Cause or effect? An important question for us to explore.

·         Meanwhile, in the airport town of Sea-Tac in the State of Washington, the airport (run by the Port of Seattle, much like OAK is overseen by the Port of Oakland) has claimed federal pre-emption and gotten excluded from the recently voter-approved $15/hour minimum wage increase. Here’s the story.

·         A few days ago Swiss voters rejected what would have amounted to a US$17.50/hour nationwide minimum wage, voting 76% against. Learn more at this link.

·         The leading national non-profit group Independent Sector has called for members to embrace a living wage while ensuring exemptions for seasonal, part-time, and youth employees, and also increases in private giving as well as state and federal reimbursements to non-profit service providers so that the can pay higher wages without compromising needed services. Press release here. Is that the right approach for Oakland? For our region?

The Chamber and other agencies have produced much more information to date about this issue. If you have not already received this information and would any of it in advance, please e-mail Isaac Kos-Read, Public Policy Consultant.

Thank you again for your engagement on and interest in this important issue…and we look forward to seeing you bright and early this Friday morning!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

"A" Is for Advertising – or Promotion, If You Prefer

If asked, most of us can recall a commercial jingle, image or logo that captivated or tickled us. Some examples that were shared at the April 15 Oakland Chamber NonProfit Roundtable meeting included, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener” and “Where’s the beef?”

Most of those that pop into our heads are from the private sector, and while many nonprofit brands are very familiar (the Red Cross, Human Rights Campaign or Girl Scouts), many, many more are not, even in their own local communities. For those of us in the nonprofit sector, there is a hefty disconnect between our organizations and advertising, and not just financial. Under the strict criteria of financial limitations, we explored how we could utilize the intentions of advertising without actually advertising.

Joyce Hooks of dealsnapt ( guided attendees through a rich conversation of how to create an economically possible pattern of advertising to our communities in order to increase familiarity and our connections. She began by separating marketing from advertising. Marketing, she shared is “the link between a society’s material requirements and its economic patterns of response. In brief, it’s everything you do to promote and brand your business.”

Advertising, however, is “mass media content extended to persuade audiences of readers, viewers or listeners to take action on products, services and ideas.” Specifically, advertising gets a person to do or buy something. Successful advertising simultaneously expresses the culture in the moment and adds feeling to that.

Her suggestions for expanding an organization’s reach include:
  • ·        Establish collaborations – do something together (have you seen the nonprofit double-page ad in East Bay Express?)
  • ·         Defining and concentrating on your target audience – in the present and the future (How do you connect to kids for life?)
  • ·         Review your metrics - target, test and repeat
  • ·         Analyze the cost and return on investment (ROI) to determine if your plan is affordable

To conclude, Hooks shared the advertising potential of membership in dealsnapt. Dealsnapt is a mobile app that is a market for mobile smartphone users who are looking for the best local deals. Local merchants offer deals and promotions whenever they want directly in the app. The shopping community is notified instantly and has the ability to share, rate and comment on deals. Nonprofits that join dealsnapt engage in a mutually beneficial promotional relationship.

Following Hooks’ presentation, NonProfit Roundtable Co-chair Âna-Marie Jones of CARD ( shared several ideas on how to promote your organizations:
  • ·         Offer yourself as a solution to a problem that most people think they have
  • ·         Engage others to speak on your behalf – the most powerful form of advertising is word of mouth
  • ·         Evaluate what you hand out in the community – how do these things say what your organization does

Following the introduction, Jones divided up attendees into teams for an exercise. First, we each shared what we considered one awesome thing that you wish people would know? (Yes, the question purposefully opens itself to interpretation.) Then the teams were tasked with the following situation: You are making a presentation about your organization at an event, but all of your logoed gift items and handouts are not available. Someone hands you a sample of someone else’s gift items, and in only a few minutes, you need to use these items as if they were yours.

The goal of the task is to find ways for people to bond with the item, particularly in a way that reminds them of you. For example, a Sharpie®, in the hands of someone talking about at-risk youth can be used to make a big “x” to describe the life situations of the youth, and then immediately translated into a pen to check off success points. This combines the items with words and gestures and invites people to bond with the item. Once bonded, they will remember, and may even use the item in the same way.

Jones also encouraged attendees to leverage what they can from for free or at a very low cost. And then use your items, your words and your gestures to brand your agency in their consciousness.

This is how you advertise.

Special thanks to Dale Marie Gordon of Torrey Pines Bank ( for bringing a door prize.

* * * * * * * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber NonProfit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. Please join us in a conversation about volunteers, the flowers of our organizations.

Co-Chair: Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair:Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison: Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Curious about the latest on increasing the minimum wage in Oakland? Here you go:

This week, on Tuesday, April 29, the Community & Economic Development (CEDA) Committee of the Oakland City Council heard an item presented by Oakland City Councilmember & Vice Mayor Larry Reid to increase the minimum wage in Oakland to $10.20/hour next year, about one year and ten cents ahead of the already approved state increase in the minimum wage, but with some very important exceptions (trainees, youth employment, etc.). The primary alternative proposal, which continues moving forward, is a voter initiative currently gathering signatures to go on the November ballot and increase the minimum wage to $12.25 next year with no exceptions and requires paid sick leave and other measures as well.

The item was heard, no action taken, and staff was directed to conduct additional research and outreach. The Chamber's input on the issue was reflected in the staff report and discussion of the item. Specifically, based on the survey results (see below or in the latest Oakland Business Review) our new President & CEO Barbara Leslie provided the following public comment recommendations for any minimum wage policy for Oakland:
  1. Transparency: Any minimum wage policy should not be crafted behind closed doors by special interests. It should be enacted through a transparent legislative process.
  2. Sustainability: There are currently important questions to be asked relative to any proposed wage increase. How much? How fast? What areas should it cover? Who will be the winners and losers? Are there any businesses or industries that should be exempted or treated differently (small businesses, non-profits, and/or tipped employee businesses like restaurants, for example)? What will be the unintended consequences of some proposals? 
  3. Regionalism: The greater the region covered by the proposal, the better for Oakland employers and workers because it ensures a level playing field and broader regional benefits. What happens when a business is choosing to locate on the Oakland/San Leandro or Oakland/Emeryville border and they can reach the same market with lower labor costs? They may not choose Oakland. Further, whatever policy we adopt locally or regionally, we should advocate on a broader scale.

Here is a link to the original staff report including a cover letter from Vice Mayor Reid.

Here is a link to the supplemental report with updated information about proposals across the region.

The CEDA Committee is Chaired by Vice Mayor Larry Reid, and includes Councilmembers Libby Schaaf, Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, and Pat Kernighan. Click on any of their names if you would like to send them an e-mail regarding this issue.

If you would like to see the complete survey results, please check out the latest edition (May 2014) of the Oakland Business Review. Here's one graphic showing that the majority of respondents felt they would not benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, with a plurality not sure or saying it depends on the details:

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