Glossary - National Democratic Training Committee



An ActionID is the account you’ll need to create in order to access the softwares created by NGP and the Voter Activation Network (VAN), including NGP 8, VoteBuilder, Open Virtual Phone Bank (OpenVPB) and the MiniVAN app.

Activist Code

Activist codes are used to identify someone’s affiliations, activities, or interests, such as union members, campaign volunteers, party officials, or signers of a specific petition. An Activist Code is essentially a “yes” to a question.


Analytics are analyzed data used to track performance of online performance and make decisions about what is and isn’t working for your campaign.


An attempt is any time you knock on a door or call a phone number in an effort to reach a voter, whether or not anybody answers.

Ballot Chase Phase

The ballot chase phase is the phase of a campaign’s vote-by-mail program where the campaign follows up with supporters who requested an Absentee Ballot to ensure that they both know how to vote with their Absentee Ballot, and to submit it as quickly as possible.

Base/Party Voter

A Democratic base voter is someone whose values align with the Democratic Party and therefore they are likely to always support the Democratic candidate for any elected office

Branched Script

A branched script is a voter contact script, usually used during canvassing, that guides volunteers through a list of different follow-up questions specifically based on a voter’s response(s).

Call Book

A call book is a binder full of call sheets that lives in the call room. Usually placed in an order of prioritization you want the candidate to call on a given day.

Call Sheet

A call sheet is a document with contact information, bio, and other useful background information on each potential donor.

Call Time

Call time is the time the candidate spends directly calling potential donors to build relationships and ask them for contributions.

Call to Action

A call to action is words that urge the audience to take a particular action.

Campaign Committee

The campaign committee is the official entity for your campaign, the name on your checks, and often the disclaimer that is placed on campaign materials.

Campaign Plan

A campaign plan is a living document that details how a campaign allocates its limited time, money, and people to win between now and Election Day. It includes specific instructions for fundraising, communications, field, digital, GOTV, and operations.

Campaign Universe

The Campaign universe is everyone in your Supporter, Voter, Persuasion, and GOTV universes combined.

Canned Response Bank

A canned response bank is a pre-populated collection of texts and responses provided to a volunteer conducting P2P texting for a campaign.


Canvassing is talking to people at their homes by going from door to door, which is the single most effective way for a candidate or volunteer to convince voters to cast their votes for you.


A challenger is someone going against an incumbent or any other candidate for a seat.


Collateral is tangible materials your campaign produces to hand out or advertise (e.g., fans, yard signs, pamphlets).

Communications Plan

The communications plan is the part of the campaign plan that details a campaign’s overall message and how that message will be amplified to communities.


The constituency is the group of people represented politically by an officeholder. For example, the constituency of a governor would be people residing in the state they govern.

Constituency Group

A constituency group is a collection of people with shared interests and political priorities. This term is often used to refer to groups that share a common identity or experience, instead of geography or district. For example, a constituency group may be organized around a specific racial/ethic group, age group, or around social affiliations (e.g., Labor unions, religious communities).


A contact is any time you have a conversation with a voter on your list.

Contact Rate

The contact rate is the percentage of attempts that result in a contact.

Coordinated GOTV

A coordinated GOTV is a GOTV program where all campaigns in your area feed most of their resources and volunteers into one program during GOTV. Ideally, this would be established a month in advance and all candidates would be brought in.

Core Message

A core message is a few sentences that clearly explain who the candidate is, why they’re running, and their promise to voters.

Crisis Response

A crisis response is a strategic response that reacts to an event or situation that could have a significant negative impact on a campaign’s goals.

Cultural/Societal Oppression

Cultural/societal oppression is when the messages people receive and internalize are embedded in discriminatory rhetoric. Usually hard to distinguish due to the pervasive nature within mainstream culture but can be found in what we collectively deem as appropriate or “moral.”


The cycle is the time period between Election Days. Generally, this is considered the timeframe a campaign has to work toward their goal of being elected. For example, the 2020 election cycle is generally understood as the day after 2018 election through Election Day 2020. You will often hear people say they have worked “two cycles,” which means two campaigns, even if they didn’t have a job for the full two years of each cycle. In the media, this often refers to the two-year federal election cycle (e.g., 2019-2020 is the 2020 cycle). Note: For campaign finance purposes, states may define “election cycle” differently than this colloquial definition.


Daisy-chaining is linking messages from the past message. For example, when someone has made a donation you can continue sending them messages and acknowledging their donations in future emails that are sent to them.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is the Democratic Hill committee for the U.S. House of Representatives. Its role is to elect as many Democrats to the House of Representatives as possible, supporting candidates throughout the process.

Democratic Governors Association (DGA)

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is a 527 organization that supports Democratic gubernatorial candidates, directing money and resources to their campaigns and helping their campaigns hire staff, run ads, and do polling.

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is a 527 organization that recruits, trains, and supports local Democrats running for state legislative office, usually through the state caucus (e.g., North Carolina House Democrats).

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is the Democratic Hill committee for the U.S. Senate. Its role is to elect as many Democrats to the U.S. Senate as possible, using methods ranging from grassroots organizing to candidate recruitment to providing campaign funds for tight races.

Digital Plan

The digital plan is the part of the campaign plan that outlines how to use digital tools to engage with voters online.


Discrimination is acting based on personal bias or prejudice. Everyone discriminates, and it can be intentional and conscious or unintentional and unconscious.

Dominant Group

A dominant group is a collection of people whose norms are accepted as the default in a social group or society. Dominant groups enjoy greater access to power and outsize influence on society-wide culture.

Donor Tier

Donor tiers are categories of monetary levels for donors.

Drop Date

A drop date is the date that a vendor/printer will deliver political mailers to USPS, typically at a Sectional Center Facility (USPS bulk mail processing department). Voters usually receive mailers in three-five days.

E-I-N Number

An E-I-N number is an organization’s federal tax ID number, similar to a Social Security Number but for your committee.

Earned Media

Earned media is publicity in the media that your campaign doesn’t pay for or control.

Education and Application Phase

The education and application phase is the phase of a campaign’s vote-by-mail program where the campaign educates voters on how to request an Absentee Ballot and explains the Absentee Ballot’s importance to the campaign.

Email and Social Media (aka Digital) Fundraising

Email and social media fundraising is an effective way to recruit small-dollar donors for very little (or no) cost, ideally plugging them into a recurring monthly donation program.

Email Series

An email series is a string of emails designed to move a supporter up the ladder of engagement, typically containing a single hard ask for donations of money or time. Each email builds upon the previous email in the series.


Equity is a form of justice that involves giving people what they need, relative to their own circumstance, so that they can succeed in the opportunities presented to them.


Escalation is the act of increasing a volunteer’s level of responsibility (i.e. moving them up the Ladder of Engagement). An example is when a volunteer goes from attending a canvass event to hosting their own.

Event Briefing Memo

An event briefing memo is a memo that orients participants to the essential details of an upcoming event, ensuring that everyone has the information needed for a successful appearance.

Facebook Algorithm

The Facebook algorithm is the formula that determines what your followers actually see in their Facebook news feeds.

Federal Election Commission (FEC)

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency whose purpose is to enforce campaign finance law in federal elections.


Field is the component of a campaign that involves talking to voters one-on-one in an effort to identify supporters, persuade undecided voters, and get them to the polls on Election Day.

Field Plan

The field plan is the part of the campaign plan that details which voters a campaign needs to win and how to connect with them directly.

Finance Committee

A finance committee is a group of strong supporters who raise money on your campaign’s behalf, on a volunteer basis.

Flake Rate

The flake rate is the projected rate that a campaign estimates volunteers will not show up for scheduled shifts, even with proper confirmation and follow-up.


Framing is the practice of organizing and restructuring a message to emphasize specific parts without altering its fundamental components.

Fundraising Events

Fundraising events are events that gather people at a specific time and place, something that tends to motivate donors to give. Events tend to be effective, but you have to balance the cost and time of events against how much you will raise. As a rule of thumb, an event should not cost more than 10% of its proceeds.

Fundraising Mail

Fundraising mail is fundraising solicitations sent directly to a prospective donor via the mail.

Fundraising Plan

The fundraising plan is the part of the campaign plan that outlines the fundraising goals, strategies, and tactics to raise the money needed by Election Day.

Geographic Targeting

Geographic targeting is identifying the most effective and highest value precincts.

Get out the Vote (GOTV)

Get out the Vote (GOTV) is an intense period of voter contact with the goal of turning out identified and predicted supporters.

GOTV Dry Run

GOTV dry runs are the two weekends leading up the election day. They are a set of practice rounds a campaign uses to test out their strategy, staffing plan, and reporting structure before election day to ensure they are ready for the final four days of GOTV.

GOTV Hard Ask for Volunteers

A GOTV hard ask for volunteers is an ask that uses the same framework as a traditional hard ask, but with increased urgency and a bigger ask (multiple shifts/days). Make multiple asks. Keep asking until you get a yes. Don’t stop at a yes. Ask for everything you need. Get a hard commitment for a specific thing.


The GOTV plan is the part of the campaign plan that outlines your Get out the Vote phase, which is the final phase focusing on mobilizing Democrats and identifying supporters to vote.

GOTV Universe

The GOTV universe is the group of people you are trying to get to vote for you to exceed your vote goal. Ideally these are your base voters and persuadable voters you have identified as your supporters.

Hard Ask

A hard ask is an ask that brings a commitment to a specific action.

High-Frequency Voter

A high-frequency voter is someone who, regardless of party, votes often. Campaigns will define this term differently, but as a rule of thumb: this is someone who has voted in all the general elections in the past four years.

High-Traffic Canvassing

High-traffic canvassing is a voter contact tactic in which campaign volunteers/organizers approach people at a large event or street corner to ask them to complete an action for the campaign.

House Party

House parties are intimate gatherings hosted in supporters’ homes used to solicit an action from supporters.

Identified Supporter

Identified supporters are eligible voters who the campaign has identified as supporting your campaign. These are individual people (e.g., Sally Jenkins at 123 Main St.), not groups of people (e.g., Sierra Club members).


The incumbent is the person who is currently holding office.

Individual Email Ask

An individual email ask is a one-off email containing a hard ask for support, like a donation or a volunteer shift.

Information Embargo

An information embargo is a request or requirement that the information in question will not be published until a specific time or date.

Informational Interview

An informational interview is a (usually informal) guided conversation, used to learn more about a broad career field, specific job, or specific organization.

Institutional Oppression

Institutional oppression is when institutions act in a prejudicial manner toward groups of people such as racial profiling or redlining.

Interpersonal Violence

Interpersonal violence is when someone allows their personal prejudice to harm others (e.g., telling offensive jokes, discrimination, and violence).


Intersectionality is the layering and interconnection of the various identities we all hold.


A keyword is a unique term (comprised of letters and/or numbers) that people can use to communicate with you via a short code in a mass texting program. For example, you might text HELP to receive info about a texting program.

Kitchen Cabinet

A kitchen cabinet is a trusted group of advisors that helps guide the campaign strategy and/or support the candidate, typically made up of close family, trusted friends, and people whose opinions your candidate highly values.

Ladder of Engagement

The Ladder of Engagement is a framework designed to deepen engagement by asking someone to take increasingly important actions, leading to an ultimate goal.

Likely Supporter

Likely supporters are people who will probably vote for you if they go out to vote.


Literature is pamphlets, postcards, and one-pagers that are used to introduce the candidate and their positions, to persuade voters to support them, and/or to encourage people to vote. It is often referred to just as “lit.”

Low-Frequency Voter

A low-frequency voter is an individual who votes less consistently. Campaigns will define this term differently, but as a rule of thumb: this is someone who has missed an election or two over the past four years.

Low-Salience Election

A low-salience election is an election without a considerable amount of press or widespread community attention. In these races voters often lack key information about the election, candidates’ policy positions, and voting methods.

Main GOTV Universe

The main GOTV universe is the individuals who said they’d vote for you during the persuasion phase of the campaign and high-frequency Democratic voters who always vote and always vote Democrat.

Mass Texting

Mass texting is sending a text to an entire phone list at once. Similar to email, people must opt-in to receive campaign texts. Texts will come from a five- or six-digit phone number known as a short code.


To mass, blast, or broadcast is to use a platform to text a large number of people at the same time.

Max Out

To max out is for a donor to give the maximum contribution limit that campaign finance laws allow for the candidate’s race.

Member Goal

A member goal is a goal of people actively participating in your group or organization.


Your message is the takeaway you want your audience to remember. Messages can have many functions: they can inspire action, increase awareness of your candidate’s positions, mobilize volunteers, and more.


Messaging is the strategies and tactics used to deliver your campaign’s message.


Metrics are measurements (doors knocked, money raised, posts liked) that help you understand your progress toward a specific goal.


Microtargeting is the process of using additional demographic and consumer information to identify persuadable voters.

Non-Partisan Election

A non-partisan election is an election in which your partisan affiliation doesn’t appear on the ballot.

Nondominant Group

In sociology, a nondominant group is a collection of people whose norms are not accepted as the default in a group or society. Nondominant groups have less social influence and access to power than dominant groups.

Off the Record

To talk to a reporter off the record is to provide a reporter with a tip or lead they can follow with the understanding you will not be named as a source on the story.

On Background

To talk with a reporter on background is to provide context and details to help the reporter write a better-informed story or help frame the story. The source will probably be attributed to an anonymous source or “someone close to the campaign.”

On the Record

To talk with a reporter on the record is to do so with the understanding that they can use all the information you share and quote you by name. This is the default for conversations with reporters — assume your conversations are on the record.


A one-on-one is an organizing tool featuring an authentic conversation connecting two people about values and goals.

Open Seat

An open seat is a political office that is up for office however, there the incumbent is not running for reelection.

Operations Plan

The operations plan is the part of the campaign plan that details the organizational structure, policies, and procedures to ensure legal compliance and human resources.


Oppression is the system where dominant groups benefit from structural advantages and also have the power to discriminate against non-dominant groups who do not benefit from the structural advantages.

Organic Digital Media

Organic digital media is content shared via a digital platform that does not require paying to post.

Paid Media

Paid media is advertisements that cost the campaign money (e.g., TV ads, radio ads, digital ads).

Party Convention

A party convention is a very uncommon method of determining the Democratic nominee that appears on the general election ballot through party conventions or caucuses instead of primaries.


Patriarchy is a form of social level setting and power relationships in society that favors men, especially white men, and grants them more social, political, economic, sexual, and human rights.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P)

Peer-to-peer (P2P) texts are texts sent to one individual at a time by a campaign volunteer or staff member pressing a button. These texts can be sent to any person without them opting in to a list. Texts will come from a ten-digit phone number known as a long code.

Personal Oppression

Personal oppression is when someone personally discriminates against or degrades others. For example, someone may hold prejudice against people of color or gay or lesbian people and think bad about them.

Persuadable Voter

Persuadable voters are voters who need to be persuaded/convinced to support a specific candidate or cause.

Persuasion ID Goal

The persuasion ID goal is the number of targeted voters you ideally would like to identify as supporters of your candidate. This number is equal to your Vote Deficit.

Persuasion Phase

The persuasion phase is the stage of your field program that focuses on convincing voters that your candidate is the best and they should vote for them.

Persuasion Target

A persuasion target is a single person within your persuasion universe that the campaign is targeting in order to have a conversation with them about why they should support your candidate.

Persuasion Universe

The Persuasion universe is the group of individuals who are eligible to vote for your candidate and who your campaign will try to convince to do so.

Phone Banking

Phone banking is talking to people over the phone.


Pivoting is when a candidate takes a question on one subject and answers that question with a focus on a different subject.


Pledge Chase

A pledge chase is following up with folks who are considering a donation or have made a commitment to donate, but haven’t yet made their contribution.

Pledges Binder

A pledges binder is a binder that contains call sheets of people who have made a pledge.

Political Action Committees (PACs)

Political action committees (PACs) are organizations that combine money from many contributors to support candidates directly, and most endorse the candidate they fund, lending credibility and viability to those campaigns.


A precinct is the smallest geographical unit in terms of election administration, with each precinct usually having a polling place. Any given county can be broken down into potentially hundreds of precincts. Local organizing infrastructure is generally built at the precinct-level, each with a precinct captain.

Precinct Captain/Committee Person

A precinct captain or committee person is a person who plays a critical role in voter turnout through getting out the voter for base Democratic voters in their precinct. The precinct committee person has built relationships with their precinct’s Democratic voters throughout the year.


Prejudice is making a prejudgment based on a preconceived notion or stereotype. This judgment can be conscious or unconscious.

Primary Election

A primary election is the most common method that determines the Democratic nominee that appears on the general election ballot.


Prospecting is soliciting donations from people who have not donated to your campaign before.


A quarter is the time period for which a campaign is reporting fundraising totals. This may be a quarter of the year (e.g., January through March) or another time period, as defined and required by the campaign finance authority (e.g., January through April or 45 days).


Racism is acting based on prejudice that influences the individual, cultural, and institutional components of society. Only majority groups can participate in racism because of the access this group is granted whereas marginalized groups can discriminate but lack the power to influence societal norms.

Rapid Response
A rapid response is a strategic response that reacts to an event or situation that has the potential to have substantial effects on the campaign.

A refcode is a reference code, a URL parameter that you can add to contribution form links in order to collect useful data about where your donations are coming from.

Relational Organizing

Relational organizing is an organizing strategy that emphasizes the use of pre-existing personal relationships and spontaneous values-based connections.


Resoliciting is soliciting donations from people who have already made a contribution to your campaign.

Retweet and Share

To retweet or share is to repost or forward messages and posts on social media accounts; Twitter and Facebook, respectively.


Rolodexing is building a list of potential donors from personal contacts, removing duplicates, and organizing the list.


A script is the language that a campaign suggests its volunteers use when speaking to a voter.


Segmentation is the separation of email subscribers into smaller segments based on set criteria like geographic location, past contributions, and much more.

Sender Reputation

Sender reputation is a score assigned to an email sender based on the quality of email campaigns, their frequency, size, and user interaction, and determines whether email service providers deliver emails to users’ inboxes or spam folder.

Social Power

Social power is access to resources that promote a stable, healthy, and happy lifestyle. On a basic level includes food, shelter, safety and education. Resources can also include beneficial policies, positive media depiction, and social acceptance as normal. Groups with social power are able to influence culture and stereotypes that enhance or inhibit policy around marginalized groups.

Social Pressure

Social pressure is the direct influence on people by peers, causing an individual to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors.

Social Stratification

Social stratification is the process by which societies organize people into hierarchical groups based on characteristics like race, economic class, education level, and gender.


A stakeholder is a person or entity who has an interest or concern regarding a particular issue.

Statewide Coordinated Campaign

Statewide coordinated campaigns are campaigns that usually involve working with candidates to get out the vote for people who support the candidates, which can include voters they worked to persuade.


A stereotype is a belief about a group of people. This can be negative or positive assumptions about a group encouraged by our social and institutional surroundings. Typically can be debunked through exposure and internalization.

Story of Now

A Story of Now is a component of your Story of Self that creates urgency about an issue or campaign and calls voters to action.

Story of Self

A Story of Self is a personal story that clearly explains your values and why you are taking action.

Story of Us

A Story of Us is a component of your Story of Self that highlights shared values, goals, and struggles within a specific community.

Stump Speech

A stump speech is a candidate’s standard speech, delivered day after day during a typical political campaign.


Tagging is adding specific people, accounts, or terms to a post using the @ or # symbols to connect them to a specific community (e.g., #Traindems, @traindemocrats).


Tailoring is the process by which messages are made relatable to a specific audience.


Targeting is the process of prioritizing and developing the means by which to connect to specific press segments.


Text and SMS are text messages sent to a phone. These terms are used interchangeably across campaigns and mean the same thing.


Tokenism is the act of considering diversity in minimal or performative ways alone, often resulting in unintended or deliberate harm to people who hold non-dominant identities. Common forms of tokenism include asking racial or gender minorities to speak on behalf of their entire community and placing minority groups in positions of visibility without actually affording them opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the organization.


A treasurer is a person that is legally and financially responsible for the campaign.


Turnout is the percentage of registered voters who cast a ballot in a given election.


Undervotes are the difference between how many people show up to vote and how many of them actually vote for a particular office.

Union Bug

A union bug is a label that a union printer adds to the materials they print.


A union is an organization of workers who come together to achieve collective goals. Union members negotiate with their employers for fair wages, good benefits, secure retirements, and much more.


A validator is someone who can lend credibility to your campaign (e.g., a community leader or elected official).

Values-based conversation

A values-based conversation is a conversation between people connecting their values to a particular issue or candidate with an invitation for involvement at the end.

Volunteer Coordinator

The volunteer coordinator is the person on the campaign in charge of recruiting, scheduling, training, and managing your volunteer pool. They also find the right job for everyone who wants to help.

Vote Deficit

The vote deficit is the difference between your vote goal and the number of high-frequency base voters (i.e., those voters whose support you can count on without persuading them) in your district.

Vote Goal

The vote goal is the total number of votes you want to receive in an election. In a two-person race, this is 52-55% of projected turnout.

Vote History

A vote history is the list of previous elections in which the voter casts a ballot, and sometimes the method by which they did so.

Vote Share

A vote share is the amount of votes a candidate receives in an election proportional to their opponent.

Vote Tripling

Vote tripling is a relational mobilization tactic to increase voter turnout by asking a voter to commit to talking to three friends about voting.

Vote-by-Mail Program

A vote-by-mail program is a specific program in your GOTV plan that outlines how to encourage your voters to vote by mail. This will include a specific budget, voter contact plan, and universe.

VoteBuilder Committee

A VoteBuilder committee is the VoteBuilder account that holds all of your campaign’s or organization’s specific data — it belongs solely to your campaign or organization.

Voter File

A voter file is a comprehensive, enhanced database of the people who are registered to vote in a given district. May include phone number, gender, date, party affiliation, vote history, and more.

Voter Score

A voter score is a numerical indication of how likely a voter is to support a Democratic candidate or turn out to vote in any given year, with a score of 1 being the least likely and 100 being the most likely.

Voter Universe

The Voter universe is the set of people you are attempting to mobilize via your canvass and phone audience. You can think of this, in broad terms, as your Persuasion universe + GOTV universe.

Voting Plan

A voting plan is a plan made with voters to outline the who, when, where, and how they are voting.


Walkability is how easy and safe an area is to canvass; often measured by the prevalence of sidewalks, amount of vehicle traffic, and distances between homes.

Weekend of Action (WoA)

Weekends of Action (WoAs) are a tactic used by campaigns to simulate urgency and increase volunteer capacity. By designating one weekend as a special opportunity for volunteers to engage with the campaign, campaigns are able to grow, recruit more volunteers, and boost their voter contact.


Your “why” is the main reason you were motivated to run for office and/or get involved with a particular candidate or issue.

Win Number

The win number is the number of votes your campaign estimates that it must receive on Election Day in order to win. In a two-person race, this is 50% of projected turnout + 1 vote.