Training the Next Generation of Democratic Field Directors - NDTC


Do you want to become a leader on a Democratic campaign? Do you hope to learn everything you need to know in order to become a successful Field Director?

On October 4, the National Democratic Training Committee wrapped its first Democratic Strategy Institute Field Director cohort. This intensive nine-week program trains the next generation of Democratic Field Directors. 

Over the course of the program, cohort members attend live webinars, take courses, and complete homework assignments that prepare them to become leaders on campaigns across America. 

Here’s how DSI gave cohort members the tools they need to become effective, successful Field Directors:


The content cohort members consumed serve them well as they continue careers in Democratic politics. Coursework in the Field Director program builds on the campaign experience participants already have, in order to prepare them for leadership roles in the future.

Cohort members master the essentials of Field planning. They learn to create data-oriented Field plans that effectively get their campaigns off the ground. 

The cohort also learns how to run various supporting programs for Field campaigns. These include digital organizing programs, persuasion operations, as well as voter registration and GOTV programs.

Outside of strategy on the ground, participants gain best practices for hiring staff and managing a campaign team, which includes volunteers and consultants. They learned how to create an inclusive environment through an understanding of identity, oppression, and privilege. DSI graduates are prepared to lead individuals across the board, keeping in mind breadth of diversity within their community, the Democratic Party, and the electorate as a whole.

And finally, data is key. Cohort members train in running data-driven campaigns. Through tools including VoteBuilder and NGP VAN, DSI prepares graduates to use the right metrics to propel campaigns to victory. 

Live Training

The live training component of DSI reinforces the important information cohort members receive. Our live trainings are immersive, encouraging cohort members to learn from each other, as well as the Field experts and NDTC staff facilitators.

Aside from weekly webinars, participants have access to 1 on 1 support. This regular communication with an NDTC program associate assures that they have the support they need during and after the program.

Midway through, participants engage in a mandatory half-day training. They take part in activities and campaign scenarios using the knowledge acquired up to that point, while collaborating with fellow cohort members to solve issues that may impact future campaigns.

In addition, the program culminates in a three-day training event in early October. Each day of training contained essential field organizing skills, as well as the tools cohort members would need to lead campaigns. The three days ends with a graduation ceremony to celebrate the successful completion of the program.

Job Search Assistance

In order to participate in the Field Director cohort, we ask applicants to commit to searching for a Democratic campaign job for the 2022 cycle. The purpose of the DSI Field Director program is to connect well-qualified staff members to paid positions on campaigns. As a result, NDTC committed to using every resource at our disposal to assist cohort members in finding work.

NDTC helps cohort members at every step of the job search process. Staff facilitate networking sessions with partner organizations and campaigns looking to hire staff. Cohort members receive resume coaching, and learn effective interviewing techniques. We also ensure potential employers know that graduates are trained and backed by NDTC.

Additionally, NDTC has a very strong network. We maintain an active job board for participants and graduates where we post opportunities regularly. Often, graduates share advice to support each other through the job search and interview process within that same channel.

Learn More About NDTC’s Staff Training Programs!

Our first ever Democratic Strategy Institute Field Director Cohort was an exceptional group of future campaign leaders committed to electing Democrats in 2022. We are excited about the future of the program, and its potential to help train and develop Field Directors across the country.

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April 4, 2023

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Matt Burke

Matt Burke is an Instructional Designer at the National Democratic Training Committee based in North Carolina. Prior to joining NDTC, Matt worked as a Lead Coach for Organizing Corps 2020: a program of the DNC designed to train 1,000 Field Organizers for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. His political experience includes working as a Field operative for several Democratic candidates, including former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Senator Chris Murphy, Senator-elect Jon Ossoff, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While initially focused on organizing in rural communities, Matt has worked in a variety of turfs, from college campuses to the Atlanta suburbs to rural northeastern Oklahoma. In his free time, Matt enjoys fishing and falling asleep while deer hunting, usually while listening to the Grateful Dead.