Resources From Trainer Talks - National Democratic Training Committee

Every month, NDTC gives learners a chance to engage directly with our expert trainers in a panel-discussion format. We call these Trainer Talks, in contrast to our traditional Virtual Live Trainings (VLT) that center around a specific lesson. Trainer Talks provide insight from first-hand perspectives and on-the-ground experience. Across the Democratic campaign world, our trainers possess a breadth of knowledge. And, each panel centers around a theme, including an audience Q&A portion. Past themes have ranged from implementing your GOTV plan to fundraising tactics. 

Another principal aim of these trainings is to connect our learners with valuable resources to successfully start their campaign. We’ll update this post regularly with new resources centered around our Trainer Talks themes for all our learners to access. 

Trainer Talks: Voter Facetime

August 11th, 2022

Getting Your Campaign off the Ground: You can learn how to register your campaign and make your candidacy official, how to get your name on the ballot, and how to research your key deadlines.

Getting Started Checklist: Worried about forgetting something? Use this resource to make sure your team doesn’t overlook anything in the campaign’s first few months. 

Raising Money: You can learn how to run an effective call time operation that brings in 60–70% of your campaign’s revenue, how to use email and social media to solicit donations, and how to decide if you need — and then organize — a Finance Committee. 

Finding Qualified Campaign Staff (Blog): You can learn more about how to interview qualified campaign staff and about NDTC’s Staff Academy and how Staff Academy connects qualified staff with candidates.

Calculating Your Vote Goal: You can learn how to project the number of votes you need to win, how to estimate the number of base voters whose votes you can count on, and how to estimate the number of voters in your persuasion universe (the people you will try to convince to vote for you).

Trainer Talks: Across the Voter Universe

July 14th, 2022

GOTV: Learn how to research advance voting options that will be available for your election, how to identify the voters your campaign will contact during GOTV (or Get Out the Vote), and how to make the most of your volunteers during GOTV.

Why We Apply Pressure in GOTV Conversations): Using this blog post, you can learn more about the importance of applying social pressure to GOTV conversations and advice on how to structure your GOTV scripts.

Mini Lesson on Determining Your GOTV Universe: Learn how to identify common threads within your voter base, determine which voters your campaign will contact during GOTV, and assure that your supporters will cast a vote for you. 

How to Train Campaign Volunteers on Vote by Mail: This mini-lesson provides tips on how to educate your staff and volunteers regarding your state’s rules for voting by mail. It will also help you prepare your staff on how to communicate with voters, and set your team up for success with vote-by-mail data tracking.

Vote by Mail Data Tracker Sample and Template: Here is our template to help you keep track of voter’s voting-by-mail process and keep that data up-to-date:

Trainer Talks: Connection Perfection With Your Audience

June 6th, 2022

Crafting Your Message: Learn how to use storytelling to effectively communicate with any audience. This includes how to craft your campaign’s core message using storytelling, how to draft a standard, 3-minute version of your stump speech, and how to stick to your message, whether you’re speaking to a group of supporters or the media. 

Political Campaign Messaging Basics: You can learn how to understand the difference between campaign message and messaging, tailor and frame your campaign messaging, and reach voters with your message.

Message Box Blog: You can learn more about how to use the Message Box and effective methods to make the most out of this resource.

Five Audiences For Your Political Campaign Message: Of course, the most important thing about your message is that it is heard by those you’re trying to reach! From voters to donors and more, here are five core audiences to consider when crafting your message.

Three Steps For Staying On Message During Your Campaign: Once you have a strong message, it is important to stick to it! This blog post contains three best practices for sticking to your message.

Trainer Talks: Building Your Dream Volunteer Team

May 12th, 2022

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

How to Train Your Volunteers in a Virtual Environment: You can learn how to strategize digital methods to recruit new volunteers, evaluate ways to welcome volunteers to your campaign or organization, and create a plan for how you want to train your volunteers online

Maximizing Your Volunteer Capacity (Additional Resource): 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.

Local How to Escalate a Volunteer Into Leadership: This outline details four steps to help a leader recognize volunteers’ leadership abilities, introduce informal leadership opportunities, and provide leadership test opportunities.

Trainer Talks: Field of Dreams

April 28th, 2022

Votebuilder 101: You can learn how to use VoteBuilder to create lists of voters (including your base and persuasion voters), how to utilize the basic capabilities of the software, and how to enter data from voter contact efforts back into VoteBuilder.

VoteBuilder For Field Directors: Through this on-demand course, you can learn how to get the most out of VoteBuilder as a campaign Field Director, directly from a Field Director who has used it to win competitive elections. If you want to take your VoteBuilder knowledge to the next level, this course is for you.

Using VoteBuilder For Data Management: The most successful campaigns are data-driven and use data to plan, track, and adapt their campaign strategy. This is why it’s vital to have accurate information and consistent data records. VoteBuilder, the predominant organizing software used by progressive campaigns and organizations, allows you to easily track important metrics – learn more about using it for data management through this online course!

Field Tactics: You can learn how to have a conversation with voters at their doors and over the phone, best practices for training volunteers to canvass, phone bank, and text bank, how to best incorporate canvassing, phone banking, and text banking into your broader Field plan, how to handle canvass, phone bank, and text bank management, and how to prepare a Persuasion script for contacting voters.  

Trainer Talks: If You Build It…

March 31, 2022

Political Campaign Plan Template and Guide: Creating an entire plan is no small feat. In fact, many people don’t run because they’re unsure of how they would go about creating and running a campaign. We’ll walk through the campaign plan template we offer, and provide you with resources to plan your campaign. Examples of how to apply these resources are also included.

How to Craft Your Core Message: You can learn what a core message is for your campaign, how to root your core message in your personal story, and learn what some common mistakes are to avoid when crafting your message.

Calculating Your Vote Goal: You can learn how to project the number of votes you need to win, how to estimate the number of base voters whose votes you can count on, and how to estimate the number of voters in your persuasion universe (the people you will try to convince to vote for you).

Political Campaign Field Plan Template: You can learn more about how to outline your campaign’s strategy to contact voters in order to persuade them to vote and then to actually cast their ballots. You’ll also learn about the five parts of a strong political campaign Field plan: Vote Goal, Ballot Access Plan, Voter Targeting, Voter Contact Plan, and Timeline.

How to Build Your Own Fundraising List: You can learn about rolodexing your personal and campaign networks to raise money, organizing and prioritizing your donors, and using re-solicitation of donors and their networks.

Equitable and Inclusive Campaign Practices: You can learn more about actionable ways to prioritize diversity and inclusion on your campaign, how to design and manage a campaign that consistently lives its values, and strategies for communicating the urgency, importance, and impact of authentic diversity.

Trainer Talks: Plan To Win

February 24, 2022
Our three expert NDTC trainersLacey Connelly, Jasmine Worles, and Kevin Wei, about how to make proactive and comprehensive plans to win your campaigns. You’ll learn why planning is an essential part of successful campaigns. And, our trainers will provide real world examples of how campaigns create and use plans to drive their goals. Additionally, our free resources are here for you to use to create campaign plans specific for your needs!

Campaign Plan Template: NDTC has a blank template for you to consider using with your campaign!

Getting Your Campaign Off the Ground: Election rules can change based on what city and state you’re running in, and they’re different for each office; i.e. a mayoral vs. a state legislative race. Set yourself up for success from day one. Take this course to learn how these election rules might govern your campaign.

Building Your Network: You can learn how to create organized lists of people and groups in your network, how to research additional people and organizations you want to build relationships with, and how to identify the ways you will ask your contacts to help your campaign by endorsing (or validating) you, volunteering, and/or donating.

Run for Office: A Special Q&A with Katie Porter and Lauren Underwood: You can learn more about the motivations to run for office from two people who have done it before, Katie Porter and Lauren Underwood, and other tips in this interview with NDTC CEO and Founder, Kelly Dietrich.

Trainer Talks: Encouraging and Recruiting Candidates to Run for Office

January 27, 2022

NDTC trainers Colmon Elridge III, Jordan Berg Powers, and Ryanne Olsen lend their expertise this January for a roundtable discussion on recruiting candidates to run for office. Our trainers draw on a wide range of lived experiences from their time championing progressive causes. They then walk learners through what factors they’ve learned to prioritize when approaching this topic. 

The resources listed below cater to your needs when seeking out strong candidates to run for office. What makes a good candidate varies. It largely depends on the specific nature of the race, the district, and the individuals who enter the race from the primary to the general election. Equip both you and your candidate with the knowledge to be successful on the campaign trail. 

Political Candidate Recruitment: You can learn more about how to identify great candidates, explore strategies for persuading potential candidates to run for office, and outline best practices for supporting newly recruited candidates.

Choosing a Potential Candidate: You can use our Prospective Candidate Brainstorming document to help you compare issues and names.

District Profile Template: Use our District Profile Template to organize your thoughts and build an agenda for a meeting with the recruit.

NDTC Campaign Startup Resources, by State: Campaign startup resources by state for you and your candidates to use.

So You Think You Want to Run for Office?: Learn how to decide whether you want to run for office, what you want to run for and when, and how to use NDTC’s online candidate training to build your skills as a candidate and run a winning campaign. This would be a great resource to share with prospective candidates as well!


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