Resources from Build Blue Week 2022 - National Democratic Training Committee

This week marks NDTC’s second annual Build Blue Week! Throughout the week, NDTC hosts exclusive panel discussions featuring Democratic leaders from across the country. Join elected officials and Democratic leaders from across the nation as they discuss the top issues voters will be talking about this election year. Learn the talking points and strategy that will unite your community, encourage turnout, and help you reach your vote goal.

Interested in attending some of our one-of-a-kind events? Visit our events page for more information on registering for upcoming events. And, if you recently attend an Build Blue Week and need those resources our lead staff drop in the chat, you came to the right place! Below, find all of the resources mentioned by our Build Blue Week 2022 panelists. 

Day 1: Messaging That Wins in 2022 

2022 campaigns must navigate an America dealing with multiple complex and highly divisive issues. Engaging an exhausted and polarized electorate means communicating in a manner that unites voters through mutual values and shared visions for the future.

We launch Build Blue week focused on the key messaging points 2022 campaigns must use as the foundation for their communications efforts. Our panelists will provide clear talking points and messaging insight your campaign can take immediately and put into action to win the hearts, minds, and votes of voters.

Campaign CoPilot is a free, online, and on-demand campaign training program available to all 2022 Democratic candidates. It’s intensive, expert-led, and built for candidates serious about running winning campaigns. 

How to Talk to Voters: Get Out the Vote: Get Out The Vote (GOTV) is a crucial part of your campaign. After all of your hard work, it’s time to talk to voters, get out the vote and build blue. It matters how you reach out to voters, and what you have to say to them. It’s your job to remind them to vote, because if they vote, you win! This course will give you the basics on contacting voters during GOTV. 

Message Framing for Your Campaign: Message framing makes details easier for an audience to understand, and helps outline a campaign’s messaging in a way that provides shape and structure to the campaign’s policy positions. This mini-lesson outlines the four-step process you can use to approach message framing to maximize the likelihood of producing an authentic connection with your voters. 

How to Craft Your Candidate’s Story: The art of translating story and policy into unique messaging starts with learning how to craft your candidate’s story. Your candidate’s story and policy priorities must be able to connect to as many audiences as possible. Learn how to with our 10-minute course on crafting your candidate’s story! 

How to Talk to Voters: Values-Based Conversations: Values-based conversations can be an initial step to bring potential supporters into your campaign. These conversations allow you to build authentic relationships in your community that can help establish a sustainable infrastructure in your community. Take 10 minutes to go through a values-based conversation flow. 

Political Campaign Messaging Basics: Campaigns that consistently articulate well-tailored messages and connect to their many audiences will be much more likely to succeed than those that adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to communication. Use this course to get started! 

Using Personal Stories to Connect: The stories of your life experiences reflect your values and priorities, establish authentic connections with your community, and inspire others to action. Use this course to help you identify the building blocks of a personal story that is responsive to your audience. 

Creating Campaign Talking Points: Having a clear, consistent message is integral to the success of a political campaign. As you build a campaign’s messaging, there are specific ideas and policy points the candidate will return to time and time again. These are a candidate’s talking points.

Reaching Voters Through Your Communications Plan: As you embark on a political campaign, you need to write a campaign plan that includes a communications plan. Your communications plan is a written articulation of your campaign’s message. It also includes the where, how, and when of delivering it to voters.

Five Audiences For Your Political Campaign Message: The main goal of your campaign is to win and build blue. If people don’t know who you are, you’re simply not going to get the votes you need. Knowing your different audiences makes it easier to tailor messages to your community.

Day 2: Racial Justice Panel w/ Q&A

For Democratic campaigns to both live their values and be successful, racial justice needs to be much more than just a buzzword. It needs to be the soul of your campaign culture, messaging strategy, voter engagement efforts, and more.

This panel takes a deep dive into what racial justice really means for 2022 campaigns. Learn how your campaign can work to dismantle racism and inequity as part of your overall campaign plan, as well as how you can authentically discuss racial justice with the goal of uniting your community around this important issue.

Equitable and Inclusive Campaign Practices: In this course, you’ll apply the concepts of diversity and inclusion to the specific context of political organizing. You’ll learn how to shape your own campaign or local organization in a way that puts real action behind the intent to prioritize diversity. 

Foundations of Inclusive Practice: Working in Democratic politics is all about making positive changes in society. That means building a democracy that respects the inherent human dignity of all people. This course will help you build blue and introduce ways in which you can be a positive actor and contributor to conversations about equity and justice in political organizing.

Microaggressions and Stereotypes in the Virtual Workplace: Microaggressions and stereotypes exist on and off the screen. We navigate communication online differently in comparison to in-person interactions. But, in this work-from-home environment, what is the best way to handle these issues? 

6 Ways to Lift Up and Engage Latinx Voters: Despite the growing number of voters in the Latinx community, representation is severely lacking. How do we fix that? Your campaign must prepare to make substantial and consistent investments in staff and programming from the start.

How We Can Celebrate Native American Heritage Month: While 2020 demonstrated significant strides in the movement for equal representation, more work is necessary, especially on the federal level. The entire Democratic Party must build blue and actively create space for Native Americans to serve as candidates, staff, and local leaders.

Language Matters: Inclusion in Campaign Messaging: Every word spoken on a campaign, every social media post, and every fundraising ad has the potential to reach a supporter. Supporters come from every walk of life, so it is critical to maintain inclusive messaging in all campaign communications.

Inclusivity in Practice Reflection Question: This is a set of questions to complete after viewing Minnesota educator Jason Bucklin’s TED Talk video on practice-based approaches to gender inclusivity. 

IAT Reflection Guide (Foundations of Inclusive Practice): This is a resource for self-reflection following completion of a Project Implicit Associations Test (IAT). This series of questions guides individual reflection on the impact of internalized biases on individual and collective choices.

Advance Native Political Leadership Resource
If folks know a Native-American leader in their community that should consider running for office, below are the links to nominate and to apply for our Native Leadership Institute candidate training programs. Candidate Training Program & Nominate A Native Leader

Day 3: LGBTQIA+ Rights Panel w/ Q&A

Rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially trans people, take center stage this election cycle. Even if your community hasn’t been targeted specifically with discriminatory, hate-infused legislation, all campaigns must address and join the fight to protect the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community across the country.

During this panel, our experts discuss LGBTQIA+ rights and the approaches you can take to capture voter interest, discuss equality and gender identity, and respond to common questions or disinformation that will arise on the campaign trail.

The Intersection of Race and the LGBTQ Community in Politics: Strides toward progress must be taken with every member of a community in mind. This is done more effectively when our leaders come from an intersection of underrepresented identities. As these representatives enter the political landscape, allies must do their part to support them and the communities they represent. 

How Your Campaign Can Engage LGBTQIA+ Voters: LGBTQIA+ folks exist in every state and city throughout the country. They’re our colleagues, neighbors, friends, and loved ones. As a candidate or elected official, you aim to represent and protect this vital and vibrant part of the American mosaic. 

Run For Office: How Democrats Are Fighting For Democracy – Electing officials who are committed to the needs of marginalized and disadvantaged communities is crucial to protecting our democratic system. It is not enough for people to simply feel like they are represented. There must be active, unequivocal advocacy on their behalf.

Staff Academy: Changing Campaign Culture Across America– Too often, LGBTQIA+ community members, volunteers, and staff are subjected to harmful language on the campaign trail. Words have been used to denigrate these marginalized groups, which has a demoralizing impact on campaigns at every level. Staff Academy graduates work to build blue and create more inclusive campaign messaging, as well as more diverse campaign teams. 

Self-Care as Political Resilience– ‘Self-care’ has become somewhat of a buzzword. Capitalism and social-media depict self-care as spa-days and gourmet meals. What self-care actually is involves finding that which actively supports our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. This makes it easier to be resilient to the struggles we face on a daily basis. 

Making Your Digital Campaign Space Inclusive: Pride Month may have inclusivity at the forefront of your discussions, but the work of making campaign culture positive and welcoming is a year-round commitment. Take the time to consider how you make your campaign spaces inclusive to staff and volunteers of all identities. This is especially important as we continue to shift an unprecedented amount of our work to the internet.

Staff Academy Graduate Spotlight: Peter Nouhan– In June 2019, Peter graduated from our digital track and now serves as a Digital Advertising Associate at MissionWired Strategies.  We talked to Peter shortly after. He says, “As an openly gay man, I know what it feels like to be a marginalized member of my community – especially growing up in rural Michigan. But being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is also a source of strength and pride for me. I’m not on the sidelines.  I’m taking action with others in my community to fight for greater justice and inclusivity for everyone who is treated unfairly.”

Diversity and Inclusion Outreach in Political Campaign Fundraising – In all aspects of outreach, campaigns need to ensure they make their potential donors and supporters feel safe, welcomed, and supported. It’s important that your campaign embraces diversity and inclusion practices that make every potential donor feel comfortable when they are speaking to a representative of your campaign. 

Victory Fund, General Website : Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped elect thousands of LGBTQ people to positions at all levels of government. These LGBTQ voices have made significant contributions to advancing equality for LGBTQ Americans. Their efforts have passed non-discrimination laws to defeated amendments to ban marriage equality.

Victory Fund, Endorsement Process: Victory Fund endorses openly LGBTQ political candidates for local, state and federal elective offices. All endorsed candidates are profiled on their website. They’re also promoted through digital media platforms and allowed use of the Victory Fund endorsement seal. 

Victory Fund, Candidate Trainings :Victory Fund’s intensive, in-person four-day and virtual three-day Candidate & Campaign Trainings provide comprehensive, non-partisan best practices to present and future LGBTQ candidates, campaign staff, and community leaders. Trainees learn the necessary skills and strategies by engaging in tough, realistic campaign simulations and working with peers to develop a plan to run for office and win. 

Pronouns Matter: Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance or name. These assumptions aren’t always correct. Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them. 

Day 4: Reproductive Rights Panel + Q&A

With the recent wave of draconian state laws targeting Roe v. Wade, it’s now more important than ever to proactively affirm reproductive freedom for everyone. Whether you are a candidate, a campaign staffer, or a local leader it is important to understand the current status of access to reproductive healthcare in communities across the country and how attacks on these rights affect those in your community.

This panel discusses how to discuss access to reproductive health and rights with voters by holding values-based conversations rooted in empathy. Panelists will discuss how you can combat anti-choice rhetoric and work to preserve access to reproductive rights in your community.

Latest Reproductive Freedom News, VOTEPROCHOICE: Reproductive freedom isn’t just about abortion—it’s about everyone having the rights and access they need to make decisions about their own bodies and families. We all deserve to live, work, and raise our families in communities free from harm. To achieve reproductive freedom, we must also achieve racial justice, economic justice, and environmental justice. We will highlight the latest news touching this intersection. 

Run to Win, Emily’s List: EMILY’s List candidate trainings are here! In-person and online trainings are a great way to learn about the nuts and bolts of running for office. This applies to those who are thinking about running, AND those already started a campaign. Find an upcoming training near you. 

Reproductive Freedom Conversation Guide, Emily’s List & Planned Parenthood: Throughout your conversations with constituents and media, you may be asked about your views on abortion and reproductive rights. This guide will help you learn the most appropriate language to support the movement for reproductive health and rights.

Bans Off Our Bodies, Planned Parenthood: Abortion is still legal. It’s still your right. But the Supreme Court is prepared to end your constitutional right to abortion. Our country is facing an abortion access crisis. By this summer, 26 states could move to ban abortion. This affects 36 million women today, plus countless others who can become pregnant in future generations. This is personal. 

DOPO Abortion Care & Education for All, General Website: Dopo is an international co-operative of doulas, educators, artists, and advocates,  on a mission to redefine how we experience and talk about abortion. 

What’s an Abortion? “What’s an Abortion, Anyway?” is a medically accurate, non-judgmental, and gender-inclusive resource for young folks about abortion care. In this book you’ll learn about what an abortion is and some of the reasons people have them. You’ll also gain insight into the ways people might feel about their abortions. 

Day 5: Building a Pro-Worker Economy

What’s good for American workers is good for America. While Democrats have worked hard to keep worker’s rights a priority as our country navigated an economic crisis, there is so much more to be done.

So how do you talk to voters about the importance of worker’s rights and why pro-labor legislation supports the goals and quality of life of every American? Join our union leaders as they share the facts and stats around the labor movement and talking points that can fuel your pro-work campaign messages and strategy.

Planning to Earn Union Support Worksheet: Candidates should identify key unions early in the campaign cycle. Use this worksheet to research, prepare for, and reach out to unions for campaign support. 

Raising Money from PACs & Labor Unions: PACs can provide a platform for your campaign to raise money, gain endorsements (and press), and recruit a whole new audience of volunteers and supporters. Learn why a PAC (Political Action Committee) might be interested in your candidate or campaign, how to identify which PACs might be interested in a specific candidate or campaign, and how to custom tailor a pitch to a PAC. 

Earning Union Support: Your campaign can build blue and benefit greatly from union endorsements and the support they can provide (like volunteers or donations). But you have to do the work to earn their endorsement, which this course will help you with.

Making Pro-Worker Campaign Commercials and Live Events: Running a “pro-worker” campaign is a top priority for many Democratic candidates. “Pro-worker” refers to the practice of exclusively contracting union labor for work done outside the purview of traditional campaign staff. For example, a pro-worker candidate, committee, or organization uses union print shops to produce campaign materials and merchandise. Learn how IATSE strengthening the pro-worker movement and how campaigns can incorporate their initiatives into Democratic political campaigns! 

How to Earn Political Endorsements: Endorsements provide more than a stamp of approval for a political campaign. They also rally the power of the endorser’s membership and audience on behalf of the candidate. 

AFSCME President Lee Saunders on Earning Union Support: AFSCME is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. If you grew up in a working class family, you may be familiar with this union or another. President Lee Saunders discusses, in this candid conversation, what it takes to work with a union for your campaign. 

Workers United – Organize! You Have the Power: Building a strong movement begins with you and build blue! Workers joining together, building power right on the shop floor leads to a strong union! Workers United has a simple proposition. Joining together helps working people gain strength in numbers, and gain a voice at work. This power is necessary to address the issues that are important to the workers themselves. 

4 Communication Tactics to Counter Anti-Union Rhetoric When Organizing: Though the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) confirms the rights of unions to communicate with workers, employers often throw up roadblocks to keep union messaging from reaching employees in an effort to keep a workplace from organizing. Learn how to break through that anti-union rhetoric and mindset. 

There’s Still Time

Even if you missed a panel discussion from Build Blue Week, stay tuned to our NDTC YouTube Channel for full virtual live trainings! You’ll gain valuable insights from some of the brightest minds and bravest leaders in Democratic politics.

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Dale Dorlin

Dale spent twelve years in the cultural service sector working for nonprofits across the country to build community and usher in new eras of organizational growth and change. He thrives in designing patron experiences and strategic communications. Upon graduating from NDTC’s inaugural Staff Academy Cohort in 2019, Dale went on to work in advance operations for Pete for America in the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle. His passion lies in storytelling and providing access and opportunity for historically oppressed and marginalized communities. Born and raised on the eastside of Detroit, Dale holds an MFA in Management from Wayne State University, is an Americorps service alumni, and an avid runner.