October 18, 2019
By National Democratic Training Committee
You: You are a passionate progressive leader who wants to launch or grow your career in politics but aren’t quite sure where to start. What kind of campaign staff training do you need?
NDTC offers three ways to get the training and skills you need to start or grow a career working on Democratic campaigns
The NDTC Staff Academy is a 10-week program, offered once per year, designed to recruit, train, and connect new staff to paid career opportunities in Democratic politics across the country. Participants choose to pursue one of three areas of career specialization: communications, digital, or fundraising.
When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people.
Applications for NDTC 2020 Staff Academy ARE NOW CLOSED, but you can sign-up for our waitlist to learn more and be the first to be alerted when applications open next year.
Our Online Academy courses for campaign staff are interactive and available online 24/7. You can take as many or as few as you’d like on your own schedule.
Whether you want to build the skills needed to grow your political career, fill in a knowledge gap, or need the tools and insight to handle a campaign issue right now, the NDTC Online Academy has a training for you.
These in-depth and comprehensive trainings prepare you with the skills to raise money, communicate your campaign’s message, build a digital strategy to connect with voters online, and be an effective and inclusive leader.
Regardless of the specific role you play in a campaign or how far you are in your political career, our 30+ courses for staff and volunteers provide the tools you need to succeed. See our current course offerings.
We also offer in-person training programs across the country where you practice hard and essential skills; learn from political professionals across digital strategy, field, fundraising, and digital; and build community with local leaders and fellow, passionate Democrats during the training day. Check-out our events calendar to find a training near you.
With three ways to get the training and skills you need to start or grow a career working on Democratic campaigns, we are excited to be able to offer a learning program for everyone who wants to build a career in politics.
So which campaign staff training program is right for you?
Let’s take a look at all three.
On-Demand Campaign Staff Training Course
Like candidate courses in NDTC’s Online Academy, on-demand courses for staff are interactive and available online 24/7. Unlike participating in the Staff Academy cohort, there is no application or interview process to access the courses. You can take as many or as few as you’d like on your own schedule.
You can choose an area of career concentration with a suggested course progression and syllabus for each. These primarily include fundraising, digital, field, and communications. If you’re a campaign manager, many of our courses will be helpful to you, too.
Take this quiz and for a personalize recommended course order.
We also offer courses to help you get started and figure out if a career in politics is right for you as well as several to help you improve your management and leadership skills.
See courses currently available HERE.
You can take courses just in your preferred area of concentration or you can explore the entire course catalog to fill in knowledge gaps and gain a better understanding of the workings of a campaign.
- Already Working on a Campaign?
Great! Our on-demand training is perfect for you.
If you already have a campaign job and want to sharpen or expand your skill sets, pick and choose which courses are right for you!
- Seeking a Campaign Job, but Can’t Commit to the Staff Academy Program?
On-demand campaign staff training is the answer. Here you can get the tools and training you need to pursue a career in politics, but do it on your own time schedule.
- Not Sure if Politics is Right for You?
If you are unsure if politics is right for you, but want to learn more and build your skills while doing that, on-demand campaign staff training is the best place to start.
The NDTC Staff Academy is a free program designed to recruit, train, and connect new staff to paid career opportunities in Democratic politics across the country. When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people. These communities drive the Democratic party but are historically underrepresented on Democratic campaigns relative to their vote share. We want to ensure we, as a party, are representative of our voters.
Staff Academy is an intensive, 10-week program that includes both an online and live training portion.
- What are the Requirements of Staff Academy?
During the online training part of our program, which runs from January 13 to March 26, 2020 for our 2020 Cohort, you must be able to spend at least 10 hours each week to complete courses, weekly webinars, core skills assessments, and homework.
You also must be able to attend weekly webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 7pm CT/8 pm ET. Your exact schedule will be determined by the area of career concentration you choose.
You must attend the entire duration of the four-day live training in DC.
You must also be willing and able to relocate to begin a full-time position on a Democratic campaign after graduation. The goal of this program is to develop leaders who want to work on Democratic campaigns. NDTC will support program graduates in finding campaign jobs by facilitating introductions and interviews with our partners. Most often, people will relocate temporarily to work on a campaign. It is possible, but unlikely, that you will find a campaign job in your own community.
- The Staff Academy Community
Cohort members also benefit from a strong collaborative and inclusive community of peers, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help each other succeed in the program and in their careers beyond.
- Don’t Worry, It’s Free!
The program is completely free for trainees. NDTC also pays for travel to and from Washington, D.C for the in-person training. This includes lodging at the event and meals during the in-person training
NDTC In-Person Blue Bench Trainings
- What is a Blue Bench Training?
NDTC’s Blue Bench Training Program is a day-long, hands-on, intensive learning experience.
Trainees practice hard and essential skills; learn from political professionals across digital strategy, field, and fundraising; and build community with local leaders and fellow passionate Democrats during the training day.
Blue Bench Trainings are built for three main audiences: Candidates and Potential Candidates; Campaign Staff (including Volunteer Staff); and Local Leaders.
Trainees are split into these groups at the beginning of the day, and our action-oriented training material is tailored to each audience. Each group follows their own training path so they receive the information and practice most relevant to their needs.
- What skills are trained?
Each trainee is trained in the following areas crucial to a successful campaign, with content specific for their role: Communications, Digital, Field, and Fundraising.
- Can I participate in Blue Bench Trainings AND take online courses?
You can! While you cannot take online courses AND be part of a Staff Academy cohort, you can participate in both a Blue Bench Training and online courses. In fact, Blue Bench Trainings are a great way to enjoy some of the in-person and community aspects of Staff Academy while still having the flexibility of online training.
Do You Want a Full-time Position on a 2020 Democratic Campaign?
You cannot participate in both Staff Academy and take on-demand staff courses. So, it’s important to take a look at both programs to determine which is right for you.
From a logistical and time commitment standpoint, if either program works for you, here is what your deciding factor should be based around: Your professional goals.
If you are interested in learning more about what it is like to work on a campaign or enhance your knowledge of a particular topic, then the on-demand campaign staff training courses are right for you.
Still Not Sure Which Campaign Staff Training Program is Right for You?
These charts can help you determine which campaign staff training program is best for you.
Staff Academy Cohort
|No. Any Democrat can sign up for the Online Academy at any time.||
Yes. The application includes submitting a resume and answering short answer questions about your experiences and motivation to work in Democratic politics. The application process may also include an interview with a member of the NDTC team.
When can you start?
|Anytime. There is no application and no cut off period for when you can start taking courses in the online academy (but the sooner the better so you can get out there and make a difference in your community).||
Staff Academy only happens once a year. Applications are open October 28th- Nov 17th, 2019 for the 2020 cohort. Online training will start on Jan 13th, 2020. Please see our FAQ for a full timeline.
Who can apply?
|Any Democrat. Our on-demand courses are open to any Democrat.||
Any Democrat committed to pursuing a paid career in Democratic politics on 2020 campaigns. When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people.
|Flexible. Take on-demand courses at your own pace with no start or stop dates.||
Set. You must complete the program requirements along with the rest of the 2020 cohort during the training period of Jan 13 to March 30, 2020.
|No. All training is done completely online. We offer monthly “virtual” office hours to ask questions of our team and there are online discussion forums within most courses to learn from other trainees.||
Yes. Each week, Staff Academy cohort members come together for a live webinar. The program also includes live weekly office hours and 1-1 support from NDTC Staff. You also must attend the live training in DC from March 27 to March 30, 2020.
Career concentration areas
|Yes. Courses are categorized and syllabi available for six areas of concentration, including: fundraising, digital, field, communications, data, and campaign management, but online learners are free to take any of the available courses.||
Yes. Cohort members choose to apply to one of three areas of concentration: digital, fundraising, or communications. All members are trained on leadership and management skills.
|Go at your own pace. You can take on-demand courses anytime and on a schedule that works for you.||
Time intensive program. Acceptance into the Staff Academy program requires a commitment to the 10-week intensive training program including online training and a four-day in-person training.
|No. Take as many courses as you want, whenever you want.||
Yes. There are weekly required webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM CT/8:00 PM ET. Your exact schedule will be determined by the area of career concentration you choose.
|No. All courses are accessible online, 24/7 and require no travel to complete.||
Yes. By accepting a position in the Staff Academy Cohort, applicants agree to travel to Washington D.C. on March 26 – 30, 2020 to participate in a four-day in-person training following the completion of the online training. Travel costs are paid for by NDTC.
|Free. Access to all courses is completely free to any Democrat who wants to create change in their community||
Free. The program is completely free for trainees. NDTC also pays for travel to and from Washington D.C for the in-person training.
|Online learners will be ready to seek out paid jobs or be volunteer leaders on Democratic campaigns. If you are seeking a paid position, check out our Progressive Job Search and Presidential Job Search resources!||
Graduates of the Staff Academy Program will receive support to find a paid career in Democratic politics in 2020. NDTC provides helpful job resources like coaching and access to an invaluable political network.
Whichever campaign staff training program is right for you, we can’t wait to support you with the tools and training you need to launch (or continue) the career in Democratic politics you’ve dreamed of.
Still have questions? Email us at [email protected].