Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make a donation to NDTC and what is your donation address?
To make a donation online, please visit our donation page.
If you’d rather make a donation by mail, please mail your contribution to us at:
National Democratic Training Committee
910 17th Street, NW Suite 925
Washington, DC 20006
Where and how can I get involved?
We are thrilled that you want to make a valuable contribution to a Democratic organization like NDTC. We all have a unique mix of time, talents, and resources. You can see our list of open roles on our careers page, if you’d like to make a donation, please visit our donations page, or email us at [email protected].
How can I apply for a job?
Where can I see your event list?
Does NDTC provide help and support to individuals running for office?
Yes, NDTC empowers all Democrats compete for every office. We offer valuable tools and training—online and in-person—through our Blue Bench trainings, partner-hosted trainings, and via our Online Academy
And best of all, our training is always free.
How can I get in touch with NDTC?
How can I be updated on what's new at NDTC and/or receive emails?
Sign up for our newsletter or create an account to receive information on our tools and training. By creating an account and filling out your profile, you’ll also get information from partner organizations who provide additional support for people like you.
Can I be involved as a resident or a noncitizen?
Yes, permanent residents can work or volunteer on campaigns and/or donate to campaigns.
Do I have to be a Democrat?
Yes, our organization supports the Democratic party and we train candidates who identify as Democrats.
What do I do if I miss an in-person training?
We hold trainings every year in all 50 states. If you miss your state’s training this year, you can still find all the training, tools, and templates online. Just register for an account and log into the Online Academy. There are dozens of courses for you to explore. You are also welcome to attend a training in another state, all our upcoming events are listed on our events page.
What online trainings are available?
NDTC has dozens of online trainings available 24/7. You can see our full course catalog to see which of our trainings might best meet your needs.
Or you can take our quiz and we’ll help you find the right online trainings for you based on what type of work you’re currently doing to build Democratic power.
I’m a leader in a local Democratic organization. But when I log into the Online Academy, I’m seeing courses for candidates and campaign staff, not someone like me who is working with a year-round effort.
Sorry for the confusion! We’re hard at work building specific online trainings for organizational leaders like you. We expect those to be available in the Summer of 2020. But in the meantime, many of the trainings that we created for campaign staff and even candidates will be relevant to the work you’re doing. So we’ve put those on your roadmap in the Online Academy.
If you’re only interested in content specifically designed for local leaders like yourself, our In-Person Trainings include a track just for local leaders, and we’re probably coming to your state soon. See if we’re coming to your state soon or sign up for our newsletter to receive emails about upcoming in-person trainings near you.
I’m taking your online trainings, but my campaign is either nonpartisan, a primary election, or has some other unique feature. How does that change the best practice from the training?
We wish our trainings could cover every nuance that may affect the general best practices we share. But where that’s not the case, we’re happy to answer your questions. Just email us at [email protected].
How can I reset my password?
Visit the forgot password page and enter the email address you used when creating an account.
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What if I can’t make the training this time?
What do I need to bring to the training?
Nothing but yourself, a positive attitude, and a readiness to learn! During a full day of Blue Bench training, a light breakfast and lunch are provided for free during the training day.
Is it okay if I leave the training early?
We would love for you to stay the whole day in order to learn as much as possible across all content areas, but we understand if you have other obligations on training day. Please stay for as many sessions as your schedule permits.
Can someone else attend with me?
Of course! We do ask that they register for the event, even if it’s at the last minute.
What’s the cost of the training?
All of our trainings are free!
When does the next training occur in (City, State)?
I don’t know which training track I belong in. Is it appropriate for me to attend a training?
Absolutely! We can help you navigate which training track would be the best fit for you during the in-person training day. For more information on the hard and essential skills that are covered during a training day for a training track, learn more here.
Does the content overlap between training tracks?
While each track teaches different essential skills during each session, they are often complementary across tracks.
What is the NDTC Staff Academy?
NDTC’s Staff Academy is a 10 week 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 transgender (trans) and non-binary people. These communities drive the Democratic party but are historically underrepresented on campaigns. We want to ensure we, as a party, are representative of our voters.
Why do you prioritize women, people of color, and transgender and non-binary people?
We believe campaign leadership and staffers should be representative of our voters. Many potential staffers are prevented from gaining entry-level experience on campaigns or are pigeon-holed into field organizer positions cycle after cycle. This disproportionately affects women, people of color, and trans and non-binary people. There are strong leaders in these communities that should be at the forefront of electoral work. Staff Academy is a resource for these leaders to sharpen their leadership skills, learn campaign strategy, and broaden their political networks.
While deeply intentional about recruiting leaders who are women, people of color, and trans and non-binary people, we know people of all backgrounds and identities make for fantastic Staff Academy cohort members. We recognize people hold multiple identities and our different experiences bring a richness to our community. All applications are evaluated on their own merit. We look for applicants who are committed to learning from others and are ready to grow their allyship of leaders who have different experiences than their own.
When does the application close and when will decisions be shared?
The application for the 2021 cohort are now closed.
All final decisions will be sent on December 18th, 2020.
Don’t worry if you missed your opportunity to apply to this cohort. You can still move your political career forward by taking our campaign staff online training courses.
How much does it cost?
The program is free to all cohort members.
Who should apply for the NDTC Staff Academy Cohort?
We look for highly motivated and passionate Democrats committed to pursuing a paid career in Democratic politics on 2021 and 2022 campaigns. You must be willing to begin work on a campaign as early as April 2021, which may require you to relocate.
We also look for people who aren’t already highly experienced in the fields of digital, fundraising, or communications. If you already have experience in one of these areas and want to continue to hone your skills, we recommend you look at the campaign staff courses in our Online Academy. If you are looking to transition from one area of campaign work to another, then Staff Academy can help you achieve your goals.
What’s the difference between NDTC online campaign staff training courses and Staff Academy?
NDTC’s Online Academy has many on-demand courses aimed at a campaign staff audience that 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.
Staff Academy is an intensive, 10 week experience involving deadlines and homework assignments, weekly webinars, personalized feedback and coaching, access to industry experts, and job search support. Cohort members also benefit from a strong collaborative community of peers, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help each other succeed in the program and in their careers beyond.
If you are interested in simply learning more about what it is like to work on a campaign or enhance your knowledge of a particular topic, then the on-demand courses are right for you. If you actively want a paid position on campaigns and are committed to completing the program then we strongly encouraged you to apply for the 2021 Cohort.
What should I do if I don’t have a resume?
Create one! It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do need to submit one with your application. If accepted into the program, we’ll help you improve your resume. Resumes should not be longer than 2 pages and should be submitted in PDF form.
If you’d like guidance while putting together your resume, we have a Mini Lesson about how to write a political resume that can help you out.
What type of experience should I include in my application resume?
All of your experiences are valuable. You can include more than your paid jobs. Volunteer, internship, or other leadership roles you’ve held in your community are also great. We know that a variety of experiences shape who we are, our professional interests, and our skills. And the skills learned from seemingly unrelated jobs can transfer incredibly well to roles in politics. For example, the customer service skills you gain while working in the service industry can prepare you for a career in fundraising.
Do I need political experience?
No, you do not need to have any political experience. While evaluating applicants, we look broadly at political experience to include paid or unpaid campaign work, community organizing work, and advocacy work. We encourage any person to apply who is passionate about Democratic politics and committed to learning how to run a strategic campaign.
Do I need references or letters of recommendation for the application?
No, we do not require any references or letters of recommendation.
Do I need to submit a writing sample for the application?
No, we do not ask for a writing sample for any applicants. Your answers to the application questions will demonstrate your writing ability.
How old do I need to be to participate in the program?
All cohort members must be 18 years old by March 22, 2021. We encourage applicants of all ages to apply! Last year, over 43% of applicants were over the age of 35.
Do I need to be a US citizen? Do I have to legally be able to work in the US?
We encourage any highly motivated individual to apply to our program, regardless of their immigration status. NDTC does not ask about citizenship or immigration status on the Staff Academy application. We will support you, regardless of immigration status, through the successful completion of our program. While work authorization is required for paid positions on campaigns, we are committed to supporting you in your professional development.
Can I apply if I was formerly incarcerated?
Formerly incarcerated people are encouraged to apply for Staff Academy. The Staff Academy application does not ask about criminal records. We’re here to support you the entire way through our program so you can successfully graduate and get a paid job in Democratic politics. We acknowledge that there are some employers, including some campaigns and political organizations, that may not hire people with a criminal record. However, we at NDTC are committed to coaching you throughout the job search process and helping you find a job in Democratic politics.
Does Staff Academy support applicants and cohort members with disabilities?
Yes, we want you to apply to our program! NDTC provides reasonable accommodation to any person who needs it to participate in the application process or the program. We support and work with you to help you successfully graduate from our program. After graduation, we continue to support and coach you through the job search process to help you find a paid position in Democratic politics.
Please send us an email at [email protected] if you require accommodation for submitting your application or have any follow-up questions.
Below is the tentative schedule for the 2021 Staff Academy Cohort:
- October 26 to November 22, 2020 — Application is open
- December 18, 2020 — Final decisions are sent
- January 11 to March 18, 2021 — Online training
- March 19 to 22, 2021 — Staff Academy Live Training and Graduation
- March 23, 2021 — Graduates begin their job search
What are the requirements of the program?
To graduate from Staff Academy, you need to commit at least 10 hours a week to attend the weekly live webinars, take all the online courses, participate in a mock interview, complete homework, and pass the skills assessments. You also must attend Staff Academy Live Training from March 19 to March 22, 2021 for the full duration of the sessions.
To attend the weekly live webinars and Staff Academy Live Training, you need access to a computer with consistent internet access and video conferencing capabilities (speakers, a microphone, and a camera). If this is a barrier to your participation in the program, our Accessibility Scholarship may be able to help.
You must also be willing and able to relocate to begin a full-time position on a Democratic campaign as early as April 2021. While COVID-19 has increased the availability of remote work opportunities, we cannot guarantee potential employers will allow remote work. Temporarily relocating to work on a campaign is common. 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.
What is the Accessibility Scholarship?
We want to minimize as many barriers as possible for qualified applicants who want to participate in Staff Academy. We know that not everyone has access to the tools and resources necessary to succeed in our program. For our 2021 Cohort, we are piloting a scholarship fund to make Staff Academy more accessible. If you are interested in the Accessibility Scholarship, there will be an opportunity later on in the application process for you to share with the Staff Academy team your needs. We are purposefully leaving this open-ended—we don’t want a barrier to stop future campaign leaders from participating in Staff Academy.
What are the required training times for Staff Academy?
All cohort members should expect to spend at least 10 hours a week completing their Staff Academy work. Most of the program during the online training portion is self-directed and will allow you complete work in the week assigned at the time that works best for your schedule.
You also attend weekly virtual live training webinars that typically last between 60-90 minutes. The days of the week for each track are:
- Digital — Tuesdays at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT/6:00 pm MT/5:00 pm PT
- Fundraising — Wednesdays at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT/6:00 pm MT/5:00 pm PT
- Communications — Mondays at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT/6:00 pm MT/5:00 pm PT
There are also optional weekly Q&A sessions on Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT/6:00 pm MT/5:00 pm PT.
Staff Academy Live Training is from March 19 to March 22. You must be available during these four days to attend the entirety of the training.
What skills will I learn in Staff Academy? What campaign jobs does Staff Academy prepare me to do?
Depending on what track you decide to pursue, here are some of the core skills you learn during Staff Academy as well as some common job titles associated with each track:
- Developing a digital campaign plan and digital content calendar
- Writing and sending emails using NGP 8
- Crafting effective, targeted social media content and posts
- Building a campaign website
- Writing in a candidate’s voice
- Creating successful calls to action
- Moving people up the ladder of engagement
Common job titles in the digital field include digital organizer, email strategist, and digital director.
- Developing a campaign fundraising plan
- Making hard donation asks
- Creating call sheets, including researching donors and identifying new prospective donors
- Following campaign finance laws
- Tracking pledges and donations, following up with and thanking donors
- Using spreadsheets and donor tracking software like NGP
- Throwing fundraising events
Common job titles in the fundraising field include finance assistant, call time manager, and finance director.
- Developing a campaign communications plan and content calendar
- Crafting an effective message and tailoring it for different audiences
- Creating a stump speech and writing in a candidate’s voice
- Managing your candidate and preparing talking points for them
- Media monitoring and writing a daily morning communications brief
- Establishing production and approval processes for content creation
- Creating a campaign style guide
Common job titles in the communications field include communications assistant, press secretary, and communications director.
Management and Leadership (all tracks)
- Creating an inclusive team culture through an understanding of identity, oppression, and privilege
- Pitching your campaign plan to various campaign stakeholders
- Managing up and laterally with teams, vendors, and volunteers
- Preparing for the job search with coaching on resumes, interviewing, and networking skills
- Managing your time and priorities effectively to accomplish your goals and avoid burnout
Will training materials be available in multiple languages?
At this time, our training materials are only offered in English.
If I’m accepted, am I guaranteed to complete the program?
No. We are committed to a rigorous learning environment and setting you up to succeed in a campaign career. If you are not able to complete all program requirements or you do not successfully complete core skills assessments, you will not be able to graduate from the program.
How many people will be in the 2021 Cohort?
We are planning to graduate 150 cohort members in 2021.
What does the Staff Academy Live Training event include?
Staff Academy culminates with a four day training event. Each training day includes content on both track-specific skills as well as essential skills for managing and leading on campaigns. Our training content is highly participatory and action-oriented in its design through simulation-based activities and professional development sessions. At the end of the training, we celebrate our cohort members’ successful completion of the program with a graduation ceremony.
What was the 2020 Staff Academy like?
Over 800 people applied and 126 people were invited to participate in our second cohort. In 2020, our cohort members were 63 percent women, 60 percent people of color, and seven percent trans and non-binary people.
Throughout the program, our cohort members developed a strong collaborative community, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help each other succeed in the program. Many of them have continued to stay in touch with each other even after the program concluded. Our alumni community remains active with our 2019 and 2020 cohorts supporting each other by sharing job opportunities and advice.
How has Staff Academy been affected by COVID-19?
NDTC has always been a virtual-first organization that specializes in providing high-quality training materials, available at any time for any Democrat across the country. Our virtual-first approach is an important principle we carried over into the design of the Staff Academy program. From inception, Staff Academy has always been a predominantly virtual program. Typically, the first 9 weeks of the program are virtual, followed by a 4-day in-person training.
After a successful virtual Staff Academy Live Training weekend in 2020, we have made the decision to hold our final training event virtually again in 2021.
How will NTDC support cohort members during the program?
Staff Academy is a community of people who invest in each other. NDTC is fully committed to supporting cohort members in their learning, in meeting program expectations, and in searching for a paid campaign position upon graduation.
This support includes:
- 1-1 support and regular communication from a NDTC program associate
- Weekly Q&A sessions with industry experts for coaching and questions about coursework
- A strong, collaborative, and inclusive learning environment with ongoing feedback to support cohort members’ growth
- Job search support and networking opportunities with NDTC partners
Which track is right for me?
Each of the three tracks will teach the core skills needed to succeed in those roles on a campaign.
Digital staffers focus on managing a campaign’s digital presence. Their work often involves managing a campaign’s social media accounts, writing emails and text messages, and maintaining the campaign website to help raise money, recruit volunteers, and communicate with voters. If you enjoy posting on social media and flexing your creative muscles, digital might be the track for you.
Fundraising staffers focus on bringing in the money so that the campaign can operate smoothly. Their work often involves staffing call time with the candidate, researching donors, planning fundraisers, and making hard donation asks. If you like building relationships and interacting with others, fundraising might be the track for you.
Communications staffers focus on developing and spreading a campaign’s message widely. Their work often involves speechwriting, monitoring media coverage, drafting press releases, and preparing candidates for debates or forums. If you love storytelling and making connections with others, communications might be the track for you.
I’ve taken courses in NDTC’s Online Academy. Can I still apply for Staff Academy?
Yes, if you have already taken some of our Online Academy courses you can still apply for the Staff Academy cohort. The online courses are just one part of the overall Staff Academy experience. You will also complete homework assignments, attend weekly virtual live training webinars, receive personalized feedback and coaching, have access to industry experts, and receive job search support as a member of the 2021 Cohort. Cohort members also have a community of peers to turn to for additional support during the program and beyond.
How does NDTC help graduates find campaign jobs?
The purpose of NDTC’s Staff Academy is to connect well-qualified staff to paid positions on Democratic campaigns. The program is specifically designed to train leaders who are fully committed to working on Democratic campaigns in 2021 and 2022. In order to accomplish this goal, NDTC deeply supports graduates during their job search.
NDTC will facilitate introductory networking interviews with our partners who are actively looking to connect with campaign staff for candidates and campaigns they work with or hire staff for their organization. Graduates who have not already secured a campaign role during the training phase of the program are eligible to participate in this process.
In addition to formal job postings, many political campaigns and committees reach out to their network looking for resumes of well-qualified staff who may be interested in joining a campaign as paid staff. NDTC maintains an up-to-date folder of Staff Academy Graduates who are job searching which we share with our partners.
Additionally, the Staff Academy network is strong and actively committed to supporting each other. We maintain an ongoing job board where NDTC staff and other Staff Academy Graduates post job opportunities. Graduates often share information and learnings to support each other through the interview and job offer negotiation processes. Graduates continue to work directly with NDTC staff during the job search for individualized coaching and support.
We do all that we can to support your personal goals and help you find the right campaign position for you!
Will I get a job after graduating from the Staff Academy?
This program is for people who are fully committed to pursuing a paid career in Democratic campaigns upon graduation. For that reason, one of our big priorities is to help every Staff Academy graduate find a campaign job. In 2019, 86% of our graduates secured political jobs. Despite the impact of COVID-19, 39 of our 2020 graduates have political jobs.
Unfortunately, we cannot promise employment. Here’s what we can promise. We will:
- Prepare you to find a job, coach you on your resume, and help you build effective interview skills
- Use our network to ensure graduates are informed about open jobs and that their applications are highlighted to employers as appropriate
- Ensure potential employers know graduates are trained and backed by NDTC
Too often campaigns only share jobs within their network. Staff Academy will be your new network and give you access to opportunities you won’t always find elsewhere.
What impact has COVID-19 had on the job search?
COVID-19 will continue to be an evolving situation, and while we can’t predict what the effects will be on 2021 and 2022 races, NDTC will do everything we can to keep you aware of all potential job opportunities and support you in your job search.
For graduates of our 2020 Cohort, we saw many campaigns and organizations alter their hiring plans in the early months of the pandemic. Despite COVID-19 altering the job market, 39 of our 2020 graduates have so far started new jobs in politics. Remote work opportunities have also increased with COVID-19.
What if I already have a job?
If you already have a job outside of politics, you should only apply if you can commit to the time requirements of the program and are willing to leave your current job to pursue a career in politics as early as April 2021. If you can’t commit to those requirements, we recommend that you look into NDTC’s On-Demand Courses and Virtual Live Trainings.
If you already have a paid job on a Democratic campaign and are looking to transition into a new area of work, you are still welcome to apply. Please tell us in your application so we can ensure there are no legal implications.
I'm not sure if I want to take a campaign job in 2021, should I still apply?
Not yet! We only recommend applying to Staff Academy if you are certain you want to work on a Democratic campaign in 2021 and 2022.
If you’re not quite ready for that commitment, that’s okay! There’s still plenty you can do to get involved and decide if this is a career path you want to pursue. A great place to start is by taking some courses in our Online Academy and volunteering for a local campaign. These courses will help you develop and sharpen skills that will make you a valuable volunteer to any campaign. This will give you firsthand campaign experience that can help you decide if a career in electoral politics is right for you!
Will I need to relocate for a job?
While COVID-19 has increased the availability of remote work opportunities, NDTC cannot guarantee potential employers will allow remote work. Campaign work generally requires relocation to a new community for the duration of the campaign. Staff Academy applicants should be prepared and willing to relocate in order to build a career in Democratic politics as early as April 2021.
Campaigns may or may not offer relocation expense support, but it is something you can discuss and negotiate with prospective employers.
What are some examples of roles currently held by past Staff Academy Graduates?
Here are a few examples of roles currently held by Staff Academy Graduates:
- Campaign manager for state legislature race
- Deputy Training Director for a state party
- Digital Advertising Associate for a consulting firm
- Email Production Manager for a consulting firm
- Deputy Finance Director for a congressional race
- Deputy Field Director for a senate race
- Political coordinator for a local SEIU chapter
- Communications Assistant for a congressional race
- Direct Mail Production Manager for a consulting firm
- Finance Assistant for a congressional race
- Digital strategist for a senate race
Can’t find an answer? Contact us.