Resources from the Kelly Q&A - National Democratic Training Committee

Monthly, we provide learners the chance to engage with NDTC CEO and Founder Kelly Dietrich in a virtual Q&A. This format offers Democratic candidates, staffers, and local leaders the chance to get pressing campaign questions answered. While each month covers a different theme involving campaigns, certain panels feature talks with special guests from the Democratic ecosphere. 

To get the most out of attending a Kelly Q&A, take a look at our Participating in a Kelly Q&A Best Practices guide. This will give you tips on what to do before, during, and after the event to maximize your learning potential. 

Similar to our Virtual Live Trainings, Kelly Q&As reference resources from our vast library including courses, blog posts, and more. These handpicked, curated resources give learners everything they’ll need to tackle campaigning. If you’re looking for a recording, we also have select recordings up on our YouTube channel!

So, don’t worry about missing out on these resources, if you aren’t able to attend a Q&A. We’ve compiled them right here for access anywhere, anytime.  

You Can’t Say Victory Without Volunteers

May 19th, 2022

Where should I go to recruit new volunteers? And how do we persuade those who might want to volunteer for our campaign, but might be hesitant to commit?

  • Intro to Volunteer Recruitment and Management: You can learn how to identify your campaign’s volunteer needs and recruit people to fill them, how to conduct effective training sessions for your volunteer leadership team, and how to manage your volunteers to keep them coming back. 

 

What is the ladder of engagement and how do I design experiences to build meaningful volunteer opportunities?
 

  • Maximizing Your Volunteer Capacity: You can learn more about how to identify when a volunteer is ready to do more and expand their responsibilities, how to use 1:1 conversations to assess the capacity of your volunteers, and delegate work to support the team.
  • Engaging Volunteers Through Powerful Experiences: Deepening relationships and engaging volunteers is crucial to building a strong Democratic infrastructure. Hear from Lucia Nuñez (loo-SEE-uh NOON-yez), the Deputy National Training Director at the DNC on how she designs experiences for her volunteers. 

 

How do I assess who are the right people to be on my volunteer team?

  • Building Your Volunteer Team: You can learn how to identify your campaign’s volunteer needs and recruit people to fill them, how to conduct effective training sessions for your volunteer leadership team, and how to manage your volunteers to keep them coming back. 
  • Building Your Network: Donors, Volunteers, & Validators: Successful candidates cultivate their full network of friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbors, and newfound supporters — and organize those folks to help them implement their campaign plan.

 

My district has a lot of surface area to cover, and I can’t be everywhere at once. How do I manage volunteers if I can’t be with them on a regular basis?

  • Running a Distributed Organizing Program: Campaigns use distributed organizing programs to leverage volunteers during voter contact efforts across a large geographic area. Learn about the structure of a distributed organizing program and how to identify opportunities to use their organizing tactics. 
  • Relational Organizing: Whether you’re ushering a local party through multiple building and election phases, or just someone who wants to see their community more politically engaged and equitably represented, relational organizing is a strategy that can produce real, lasting results for progressive candidates and causes. 


Some of my volunteers are hesitant to be in a campaign office due to COVID19, despite our office following strict public health guidelines. Can some of my volunteers go virtual? If so, what is the best way to use those volunteers?

  • How to Train Volunteers to Phone Bank: COVID-19 has made campaigning a completely different process. But you can train your volunteers to phone bank, build camaraderie among volunteers, and create voter contact rockstars virtually! 
  • How to Train Your Volunteers on Peer-to-Peer Texting: There are many ways that campaigns are using their volunteer texting efforts to move voters to action, such as identifying existing supporters and persuading people on the fence. Learn how to teach best practices for peer-to-peer texting, establish your resource bank, conduct multiple authentic conversations faster than phone banking. 
  • How to Train Campaign Volunteers on Vote by Mail: Adding a Vote-by-Mail (VBM) program to your field plan covers nearly every angle your campaign needs to ensure your voters can safely cast their ballots. Educate staff and volunteers on your state’s rules for voting by mail, pPrepare your staff and volunteers to communicate with voters, and set your team up for success with vote-by-mail data tracking!

 

My team is growing and I can’t train every volunteer. How do I choose volunteers who would be good at training, and how do I train the trainer?

  • Training Campaign Volunteers: Volunteers are a pivotal component of any successful campaign and they rely on your leadership team to provide excellent training in order to be successful. Set the tone and expectations for volunteers, coordinate a successful training session, and develop campaign volunteers into leaders. 

 

What are the biggest mistakes you see campaigns make when it comes to building their volunteer teams?

 

Field Plan Secrets Your Opponent Doesn’t Want You To Know

April 21st, 2022

Calculating Your Vote Goal: Learn how your vote goal impact your field plan.

Intro to Field: Understand the goals of your field plan. Then, learn to break those down into segments so you can evaluate if you’re are on track.

Field Tactics: What are the different field tactics we should consider as part of a bigger plan? How do we navigate which are right for our campaign? 

Targeting Voters: How do I prioritize the voters I reach out to? 

Running a Persuasion Field Program: Develop a layered approach to direct voter contact in a persuasion program.

Votebuilder 101: Votebuilder is a powerful tool, but it can feel overwhelming at first. Here’s what you should use it for, and how you can get access. 

Votebuilder for Field Directors: Utilize the tools available in VoteBuilder to make sure you’re targeting the right voters.

Votebuilder for Data Management: Create systems within VoteBuilder to efficiently track key metrics.

Running a Distributed Organizing Program: How can local party leaders and organizations best support campaigns in their field efforts? 

Running a Voter Registration Program: Develop systems of accountability for your team’s voter registration program.

Running a Ballot Access Program: Determine the appropriate tactics for your campaign’s situation.Relational Organizing 101: Learn how relational organizing tactics can be used to supplement a traditional Field program.

The Building Blocks of a Strong Campaign

March 17, 2022

All strong campaigns are built upon a foundation of a few key elements. These are the cornerstones of your campaign and will set you up for success. Which means it’s incredibly important you invest time and energy into these strong foundational pieces now. But how? And where do you prioritize your efforts?

Kelly digs into these crucial pieces of strong campaigns to help you focus on what matters.

Getting Your Campaign Off the Ground: Find our course here on the fundamentals to get your campaign up and running to set yourself up for success on day one! We also have our 30 Day Challenge and our Campaign CoPilot that will give you steps to take to get you campaign ready to go through election day! Sign up for copilot here:

Raising Money: Learn new and time-tested methods for raising the money your campaign needs — from how to use social media to good, old-fashioned phone calls (they still work!).

Making the Ask: Asking others for help doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Learn to overcome your discomfort, and take the first step in securing critical funds for your campaign.  

Preparing for Call Time: Any campaign will need to invest time in donor research in order to gear up for fundraising calls. You’ll also need a properly formatted call sheet, and a priority list to get started. 

Staffing Call Time: How can you maximize your campaign’s Call Time effectiveness? These are some of the best practices for both candidates and staff. 

Rolodexing Template: For fundraising you have to exhaust you personal networks and resources. Rolodex anyone and everyone. With our template, you’ll go through and give them two grades: how like are they to give and how much they will give. You have to be comfortable, bold, and aggressive. And don’t forget to use your story of self to garner the support you need from those individuals.

Campaign Events: Without proper planning, events can be a drain on valuable resources such as time, money, and people. In this course, you’ll learn how to make events work for you, and not against you.

Running in a Red District: Vote Goal and Vote Targeting Do you fear that your Democratic campaign message will conflict with the opinions of many local voters? This course gives pointers on how to stick to your values without isolating those who aren’t as progressive in their opinions.

Persuading Voters in a Red District: There’s always commonality to be found among voters, even in contentious election cycles. This piece covers the best methods to building relationships with local voters during the persuasion phase of your campaign.

Upcoming Event

Calculating Your Vote Goal: Everyone knows your vote goal is important, but many candidates can start out confused on both how to get the data and how to use it effectively. Join us with any questions you may have on March 23rd!

How to Establish and Launch a Winning Campaign

February 17, 2022

February’s Q&A is all about the initial nuts and bolts of establishing a winning campaign.

Navigating the logistics of campaign building can feel overwhelming at first. You’ll need plans for fundraising, message crafting, and a field plan too. This Q&A with Kelly gives learners the chance to ask their questions around these issues and receive advice based on Kelly’s on-the-ground experience. 

Alongside the Q&A, NDTC has put together the following collection of resources to help folks make their way through these initial steps: 

NDTC Resources

Getting Your Campaign Off the Ground: This course walks you through the first steps of launching your campaign, including registering your campaign committee and getting your name on the ballot. 

Getting Started Checklist: This checklist will help you make sure you’re following all the necessary steps for properly establishing your campaign, including establishing a campaign committee, creating a budget, campaign staffing, and more. 

Intro to Volunteer Recruitment and Management: Knowing how to recruit and manage volunteers effectively is critical to setting up a successful campaign. This course will walk you through how to navigate this area successfully. 

Using Personal Stories to Connect: Take this course to learn how to use stories to emotionally connect with voters. The best stories will inspire others, communicate your values and priorities, and easily adapt to different audiences. 

How to Craft a Core Political Campaign Message: Take this course to learn how to craft and stick to a concise and clear core political campaign message. Remember, you’ll be communicating this message to each and every voter, donor, and volunteer you encounter. That’s why this is a crucial stepping stone for you campaign. 

Political Campaign Plan Template and Guide: Your campaign plan is a bird’s eye view of how all the different elements of your campaign will function. The elements of a campaign plan will include seven distinct items. These include a district overview, field plan, fundraising plan, communications plan, budget summary, compliance plan, and a legal plan. 

NDTC Fundraising and Finance Resources

Budgeting and Financial Compliance: Like any organization, campaigns need an organized budget and a system for tracking inflows and outflows of money. Check out this course for a guide to best budgeting and financial practices. 

Writing Your Fundraising Plan: Fundraising is the lifeblood of your campaign and requires intentional planning and research. Use this course to learn about what goes into creating an effective fundraising plan. 

How to Build Your Fundraising List (Mini-Lesson): Finding sources of revenue is one of the most important and most daunting elements of starting a campaign. Our mini-lesson will slow things down and take you through the process of building out your fundraising list. 

Complying with Campaign Finance Laws: Our course will take you through the ins and outs of navigating campaign finance laws, including donating guidelines and reporting requirements. The consequences of failing to comply with these laws make this course paramount for those setting up a campaign. 

Non-NDTC Resources

State Filing Deadlines: Click here to see your state’s filing deadline for the 2022 primaries.  

Run For Something’s Beginners Guide: This guide from Run For Something will walk you through the important steps and considerations to follow as you begin to put together your campaign. 

Candidate Recruitment Q&A with Ashanti F. Gholar

January 20, 2022

2022 starts with a special Kelly Q&A on candidate recruitment with Ashanti F. Gholar, President of Emerge, an organization dedicated to recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office. Kelly and Ashanti dove right in, talking about considerations in recruiting candidates for office. Ashanti also illustrates how Emerge implements these key components into their work.  

The following resources were chosen to build the framework Democrats need to confidently approach this topic. Here we go:  

Political Candidate Recruitment: One of the first and most crucial steps to drive change in your community is political candidate recruitment — but finding potential candidates to run for elected offices in your area is easier said than done. Candidate recruitment can be one of the hardest tasks for a local leader. This course teaches you a proven candidate recruitment process. You’ll learn to identify the traits of a good candidate, how to persuade them to run, and best practices for supporting them.

Candidate Support Plan Template: Running for office can be daunting, so your candidate is going to need lots of support. This template will guide you through the various ways you can be the support they need. In other words, it’s the foundation to create the strongest campaign possible. 

 

 

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How to Use Peer-to-Peer Texting on Your Campaign

May 17, 2022

1:00pm - 2:00pm (ET)

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