Campaigns and Coronavirus: What You Can Do Now

Let’s talk reality. Whether you realize it or not, COVID-19 is already affecting your race. Fewer volunteers, event cancellations, and more are challenging campaigns across the country.

But every challenge brings an opportunity.

At NDTC we’re here and ready to support you.

We’re developing new online courses, planning additional webinars to answer questions, and crafting resources to help Democrats continue the work needed to win.

Your first and most paramount concern should be for the health and safety of your staff, family, and community. If your inbox isn’t already overloaded with guides on how to stay safe, here’s the WHO recommendations.

Even with the outbreak Election Day isn’t changing. You still have limited time, money and people to meet your goals.

So what are some of the changes you need to make for your campaign right now?

The easiest way to say it:

Go Digital. 

Volunteers and Voter Contact

At present we advise campaigns NOT to knock doors for the next several weeks.

That’s right. Do not go door-to-door.

In fact, we recommend not bringing volunteers into the office. Let them work remotely.

Get them on the phones. Have them text. Have them interact on Facebook.

Yes, this can be a challenge. Yes, this is new. No, it is not impossible. It is an opportunity.

The health risks far outweigh the benefits and you risk alienating and angering voters who may not want anyone ringing their doorbell during this crisis.

Check out our digital messaging courses on:

Texting, Using Social Media and Understanding Email Strategy for more on best practices.


People are not going to attend fundraising events for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, this is a matter of weeks, but it may be longer.

Instead of canceling your in-person events, schedule virtual events using Zoom, Google Hangouts, or another video conferencing app.

Make it fun and encourage people to share their experiences and talk about the ways your campaign is dedicated to keeping up the fight…online…and how much financial support matters when doing digital advertising.

Digital fundraising via email and social media will also be more important than ever. Yes,  it takes time to scale up, but you need to start now.

Of course, as always, call time remains your best option. You can learn more about call time HERE and how to make an effective fundraising ask HERE.

Turnout and Vote Goal Calculations

It is way too early to tell if and how Coronavirus will affect turnout. Right now, your campaign should still move forward with your existing turnout calculations which should drive your whole campaign plan.

(Don’t know your vote goal? We have a course for that.) Learn how to calculate your vote goal.


Don’t shy away from Coronavirus. This is an opportunity for Democrats to bring healthcare policy to the forefront. How will you and your campaign make a difference in the life of this voter?

Remember to make it personal. Don’t talk stats and policy. Talk about your family and loved ones. Talk about how it affects their family and loved ones. Relate and empathize.

Use your Story of Self.

Would you advocate for paid time off for workers? Would you advocate for free testing for the virus?

These are just suggestions. Take the framework in our Story of Self course and apply it to the issues that matter to your voters.

Above all, remember people want leadership and they want to help – especially in challenging times like this.

Use the challenge to motivate supporters and donors to help your campaign.

Campaigning During Coronavirus

If you have questions or suggestions, please share them with us. We want to hear them. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or email us at [email protected].

This is going to be a challenging time for our country and our families. But together, we can not only take care of each other, but make the world a little better place – and elect more Democrats!

There’s more to come, but remember we have a whole free Online Academy with 69+ courses available to help you win your race.

Next Live Training
Online Academy

The training and tools you need, when you need them. Courses are available 24/7. Are you a candidate, campaign staffer or volunteer, at the beginning stages of your campaign or in the home stretch? We have the courses to address your specific needs and arm you with the knowledge to win.

View course catalog

Not sure where to start? Take a short quiz to help you determine the best place for you to get started.

Take the quiz

Kelly Dietrich

As founder and CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC), Kelly Dietrich brings more than 20 years of experience on dozens of Democratic campaigns across the country.

Kelly started NDTC in 2016, where at the time it was a collection of videos covering an array of campaign topics, available to campaigns and their volunteers for free. Five years later, those videos grew into a fully fledged training program with hundreds of courses, videos, and articles about running effective campaigns. Kelly’s expertise in various areas — fundraising, staff training, sci-fi (maybe not as much) — have shaped NDTC into an industry leader in Democratic politics.

Originally from Missouri, Kelly lives in Chicago, IL with his wife, daughter, and dog, Tulip, who is allegedly part cat. Beyond work, Kelly is a diehard Kansas Jayhawk and an avid poker player. Kelly also serves on the board of directors at his local park, Sheil Park. This is where he “plays” basketball, which according to his wife can only be loosely considered a hobby. Even with all these interests, Kelly remains committed to making sure high quality tools and training are available to any Democrat who steps up to run for office, work on a campaign, or make their community better.