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).
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 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.
Backwards mapping is a project management strategy that begins by using the final date of an important event to work backward and create time-bound goals and a plan of action.
Any program a campaign may execute (collecting signatures, for example) or any requirement it must reach (filling out a form, paying a fee, or raising a certain amount of money) to be placed on the ballot.
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 know how to vote with their Absentee Ballot and submit it as quickly as possible.
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
Boosting is the process of promoting a popular Facebook post, turning it into a type of digital advertisement that is designed to reach a larger audience.
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.
A call sheet is a document with contact information, bio, and other useful background information on each potential donor.
Call time is the time you spend directly calling potential donors to build relationships and ask them for contributions.
Call to Action
A call to action is content (e.g., words, images, and videos) that asks voters and/or volunteers to take a particular action to help achieve the campaign’s goals.
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.
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.
Candidate voice is the specific way a candidate speaks that makes them sound identifiably like themselves.
Canned Response Bank
A canned response bank is a pre-populated collection of texts and responses provided to a volunteer conducting peer-to-peer (P2P) texting for a campaign.
Canvassing is talking to people at their homes by going from door to door, which is the most effective way for you or your volunteer to convince voters to cast their votes for you.
A closed meeting of members of a political party where individuals determine nominees for elected offices.
A challenger is a candidate for office running against the incumbent elected official in either a primary or general election.
Collateral is tangible materials your campaign produces to hand out or advertise (e.g., fans, yard signs, pamphlets).
The communications plan is the part of the campaign plan that details a campaign’s overall message and how the campaign will amplify that message 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.
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.
The contact rate is the percentage of attempts that result in a contact.
The percentage of subscribers who open an email, click the link, and complete the action the email asked.
A coordinated Get out the Vote (GOTV) is a GOTV-phase 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.
A core message is a few sentences that clearly explain who the candidate is, why they’re running, and their promise to voters.
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 oppression refers to any aspect of culture that can be used to legitimize mistreatment of or violence against non-dominant social groups. For example, racial stereotypes that associate Black communities with crime and danger reinforce oppressive practices such as housing discrimination and over-policing.
The cycle is the time period between Election Days. Generally, this is considered the timeframe a campaign has to work toward its goal of getting its candidate elected. For example, the 2020 election cycle is generally understood as the day after the 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 the “election cycle” differently than this colloquial definition.
Daisy-chaining is the process of building new campaign messages off of past interactions. For example, after a supporter has donated, your campaign would continue acknowledging and building off that interaction in future emails to that supporter.
A database is an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system.
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 political organization whose role is to support Democratic candidates for governor and elect as many Democrats to governorships as possible.
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is a political organization whose role is to support Democratic candidates for state legislative office and elect as many Democrats to serve in state legislatures as possible.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is a political organization whose role is to support Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and elect as many Democrats to serve in U.S. Senate seats as possible.
The digital plan is the part of the campaign plan that outlines how to use digital tools to engage with voters online.
Discrimination is actions based on personal bias or prejudice. Everyone discriminates, and it can be intentional and conscious or unintentional and unconscious.
In sociology, 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 tiers are monetary categories into which a campaign sorts its donors. For example, your campaign’s highest donor tier may indicate supporters with a giving capacity of over $1,500, while the second tier indicates a giving capacity of $1,000-$1,499.
A drop date is a date when 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 to five days.
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.
An EIN number is a Federal Tax ID Number all organizations or campaign committees must have; it is similar to a social security number for an individual.
Email acquisition is the process of gathering potential supporters’ emails for a campaign email list. This can be done either in person or online.
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.
An email series is a string of emails designed to deepen engagement with supporters by asking them to take increasingly important actions, usually donations of their 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 circumstance, so 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.
An escalation one-on-one is an authentic conversation connecting two people about values and goals, with the goal of asking a volunteer to take on a specific leadership role.
Event Briefing Memo
The event briefing memo is a type of memo that orients the candidate, staff, and key volunteer leaders/finance committee members to the essential details of an upcoming event, ensuring that everyone has the information needed for a successful appearance.
The Facebook algorithm is the formula that determines what your followers 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 to identify supporters, persuade undecided voters, and get voters to the polls on Election Day.
The field plan is the part of the campaign plan that details which voters a campaign needs to win and how the campaign will connect with them directly.
A finance committee is a group of strong supporters who raise money on your campaign’s behalf, on a volunteer basis.
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 gather people at a specific time and place, which tends to motivate donors to give. Events tend to be effective, but you must 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 is fundraising solicitations sent directly to a prospective donor via the mail.
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 is the process of identifying the most effective and highest value precincts for voter persuasion and mobilization.
Get out the Vote (GOTV)
Get Out the Vote (GOTV) is a campaign phase of intense and increased voter contact that happens just before election day; its goal is turning out all identified and predicted supporters to vote for a candidate.
GOTV Dry Run
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 identified supporters to vote.
A 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.
A hard ask is an urgent and specific ask directed towards a volunteer/donor that encourages commitment to an action.
A high-frequency voter is an individual who consistently votes. Campaigns will define this term differently, but as a rule of thumb: this someone who has voted in all the general elections in the past 4 years.
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 parties are intimate gatherings hosted in supporters’ homes used to solicit an action from supporters.
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.
An information embargo is a request or requirement that the information in question will not be published until a specific time or date.
An informational interview is a structured conversation or meeting set up by a person who wants to learn more about a career field, specific job, or specific organization.
Institutional oppression is when institutions act in a prejudicial manner toward groups of people, such as by racial profiling or redlining.
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. For example, the experience of a Black woman is different from the experience of a Black man or a White woman because of the way her identities layer.
An introductory one-on-one is an authentic conversation connecting two people about values and goals, with the goal of introducing potential volunteers to a campaign or organization.
A keyword, specifically in the context of texting for campaigns, is a unique term comprised of letters and/or numbers that people can use to opt into a mass texting program. For example, this may look like “Text OBAMA to 54321.”
A kitchen cabinet is a trusted group of advisors that helps guide the campaign strategy and/or support you, typically made up of close family, trusted friends, and people whose opinions you highly value.
Ladder of Engagement
The Ladder of Engagement is a framework designed to deepen engagement by asking potential supporters to take increasingly important actions for the campaign, leading to an ultimate goal.
Likely supporters are people who would probably vote for you if they go out to vote.
Literature broadly consists of pamphlets, postcards, and one-pagers that campaigns use to introduce you and your positions, persuade voters to support you, and/or encourage people to vote. Literature is often referred to as “lit.”
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.
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
A main GOTV universe is the individuals who said they would vote for you during the persuasion phase of the campaign and high-frequency Democratic voters who always vote and always vote Democrat.
A maintenance one-on-one is an authentic conversation connecting two people about values and goals, with the goal of connecting with and supporting current volunteers.
Mass texting (sometimes called blast or broadcast texting) is sending texts to an entire 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.
Maxing out is when a donor gives the maximum contribution limit that campaign finance laws allow for your race.
A member goal is a goal for the number 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 positions, mobilize volunteers, and more.
Messaging refers to the strategies and tactics your campaign uses to deliver its 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 demographic and consumer information to identify persuadable voters.
A non-partisan election is an election in which your partisan affiliation doesn’t appear on the ballot.
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.
Norms are mutually agreed upon standards of conduct to which all members of a group are held. They are used to build a positive, respectful, and efficient working culture.
Off the Record
Talking to a reporter off the record is providing a reporter with a tip or lead they can follow with the understanding you will not be named as a source on the story.
An off-year is a year in which there is not a presidential election (e.g., 2018, 2022, etc.).
Talking with a reporter on background is providing 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
Talking with a reporter on the record is talking to them 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.
An on-year is a year in which there is a presidential election (e.g. 2016, 2020, etc.).
A one-on-one is an organizing tool that connects two people through an authentic conversation about values and goals. There are three basic types: introductory, escalation, and maintenance.
An open seat is a political office that is up for election where the incumbent is not running for reelection.
The operations plan is the part of the campaign plan that details the organizational structure, policies, and procedures to ensure legal compliance and the presence of 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 on a digital platform that does not require paying to post. For example, this includes all social media posts that are drafted and posted directly by members of the campaign.
Organizer math is the mathematical process of using identifiable goals and metrics (e.g., vote goal) in order to make future projections about a field or organizing program.
Paid media is advertisements that cost the campaign money (e.g., TV ads, radio ads, digital ads).
A party convention is a very uncommon method of determining the Democratic nominee that appears on the general election ballot. A party convention is an alternative to more traditional nomination processes, like primary elections and caucuses.
Patriarchy is a prevalent social and governmental system in which men hold outsized power over woman and non-binary individuals. This often grants them increased access to human rights, political power, money, and safety.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Texting
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 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.
Voters that tend not to be hardline Republicans and can be persuaded to vote for a Democrat or progressive candidate in a specific election.
Persuasion ID Goal
The persuasion ID goal is the number of targeted voters you ideally would like to identify as your supporters. This number is equal to your Vote Deficit.
The persuasion phase is the stage of your field program that focuses on convincing voters that you are the best and they should vote for you.
A persuasion target is a single person within your persuasion universe that your campaign is targeting to have a conversation with them about why they should support you.
A persuasion universe is a list of voters your campaign has identified could be convinced to vote for your candidate in a specific election.
Phone banking is talking to people over the phone.
Pivoting is when you take a question on one subject and answer that question with a focus on a different subject.
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.
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 by getting out the vote 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.
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 previously donated to your campaign.
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.
A refcode is a reference code, a URL parameter that you can add to contribution form links to collect useful data about where your donations are coming from.
A registration advantage is the number of additional registered voters that one party has compared to another. For example, if there are 250,000 registered Democrats in Wayne County, and only 200,000 registered Republicans, Democrats hold a registration advantage of 50,000 voters.
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
Retweeting or sharing is reposting or forwarding 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.
Social power is access to resources that promote a stable, healthy, and happy lifestyle. On a basic level, this 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 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 is the direct influence on people by peers, causing an individual to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors.
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 from people who support the candidates, which can include voters they worked to persuade.
A stereotype is a belief about a group of people that is encouraged by our social and institutional surroundings. These assumptions can be either negative or positive and can typically 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.
A storybank is a repository of stories from the candidate and voters on specific issues important to your campaign.
A stump speech is your standard speech, delivered day after day during a typical political campaign.
A surrogate is an influential public figure who campaigns for the candidate on their behalf.
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.
Talking points are clear phrases that outline your candidate’s policies or ideas and help keep your candidate on message.
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.
A union bug is a label that a union printer adds to the printed materials it produces.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A vote share is the number of votes a candidate receives in an election proportional to their opponent.
Vote tripling is a relational mobilization tactic to increase voter turnout by asking a voter to commit to talking to three friends about voting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A 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.
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 can 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.
The win number is the number of votes your campaign estimates that it needs on Election Day to win. In a two-person race, this is 50% of projected turnout + 1 vote.