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

These 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.


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


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 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 Voters

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 branch 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 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 document with contact information, bio, and other useful background information on each potential donor.

Call Time

In call time, the candidate will directly call potential donors to build relationships and ask them for contributions.

Call to Action

Words that urge the audience to take a particular action.

Campaign Committee

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

Everyone in your supporter, voter, persuasion, and GOTV universes combined.

Canned Response Bank

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


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.


Someone going against an incumbent or any other candidate for a seat.


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

Communications Plan

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


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 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).


Any time you have a conversation with a voter on your list.

Contact Rate

The percentage of attempts that result in a contact.

Coordinated GOTV

Running a coordinated GOTV means that all campaigns in your area would 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 few sentences that clearly and concisely encapsulate who the candidate is, their motivations for running, and their promise to voters, if elected.

Crisis Response

When a negative unexpected event or situation happens that can significantly impact a political campaign (which requires your campaign to use rapid response).

Cultural/Societal Oppression

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 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.


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.


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s role is to elect as many Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives as possible, supporting candidates throughout the process.


The Democratic Governors Association supports Democratic gubernatorial candidates, helping campaigns hire staff, run ads, and do polling, and they direct money and resources to the campaigns.

Digital Plan

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


Actions based on personal bias of prejudice. Everyone discriminates and it can be intentional and conscious or unintentional and unconscious.


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

Dominant Group

A sociological term, referring to collections 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

Categories of monetary levels for donors.

Drop Date

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 3-5 days.


The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s 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.

E-I-N Number

Organization’s federal tax ID number, similar to a Social Security Number but for your committee.

Earned Media

Publicity in the media that your campaign doesn’t pay for or control.

Education and Application Phase

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 are effective ways to recruit small-dollar donors for very little (or no) cost, ideally plugging them into a recurring monthly donation program.

Email Series

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

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 formula that determines what your followers actually see in their Facebook news feeds.

Federal Election Commission (FEC)

An independent regulatory agency whose purpose is to enforce campaign finance law in federal elections.


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

Finance Committee

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

Flake Rate

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.


The practice of organizing, structuring, and reconfiguring a message without altering the fundamental attributes of that message.

Fundraising Events

Events 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

Sending a fundraising solicitation directly to a prospective donor via the mail.

Fundraising Plan

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

Geographic Targeting

Identifying most effective and highest value precincts

Get Out The Vote (GOTV)

An intense period of voter contact with the goal of turning out identified and predicted supporters.

Get out the Vote (GOTV) Phase

The stage of your field program, usually right before Election Day, that focuses on reminding your supporters to vote.

GOTV Hard Ask for Volunteers

Using 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 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.

GOTV Universe

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

An ask that brings a commitment to a specific action.

High-Frequency Voters

Someone who, regardless of party, votes often. 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

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

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

Identified Supporters

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 person who is currently holding office.

Individual Email Ask

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

Information Embargo

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

Informational Interview

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

Institutional Oppression

When institutions act in a prejudicial manner toward groups of people such as racial profiling or redlining.

Interpersonal violence

When someone allows their personal prejudice to harm others. For example telling offensive jokes, discrimination, and violence.


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 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

A framework designed to deepen engagement by asking someone to take increasingly important actions, leading to an ultimate goal.

Likely Supporters

People who will probably vote for you if they go out to vote.


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 are all broadly referred to as “literature.” It is often referred to just as “lit.”

Low-Frequency Voters

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 4 years.

Low-Salience Election

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

Main GOTV Universe

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

A text sent 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.


You’ll hear any or all of these words, depending on who you talk to, about using a platform to text a large number of people at the same time.

Max Out

A donor giving the maximum contribution limit that campaign finance laws allow for the candidate’s race.

Member Goal

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


The intentional articulation and sharing of a message across various mediums and contexts.


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


The process of using additional demographic and consumer information to identify persuadable voters.

Non-dominant Group

A sociological term used in reference to collections of people whose norms are not accepted as the default in a group or society. Non-dominant groups have less social influence and access to power than dominant groups.

Non-Partisan Election

Your partisan affiliation doesn’t appear on the ballot.

Off the Record

Providing a reporter with tip or lead they can follow with the understanding you will not be named as a source on the story.

On Background

Providing context and details to help reporters write a better informed story or help frame the story. The source will probably be attributed to anonymous source or “someone close to the campaign.”

On the Record

Talking with a reporter 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 organizing tool featuring an authentic conversation connecting two people about values and goals.

Open Seat

A political office that is up for office however, there the incumbent is not running for reelection.

Operations Plan

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


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

Content shared via a digital platform that does not require paying to post.


Peer-to-Peer texts are sent to one individual at a time by a campaign volunteer or staff member pressing a button. Often called P2P, these texts can be sent to any person without them opting in to a list. Texts will come from a 10 digit phone number known as a long code.

Paid Media

Advertisements that cost the campaign money (e.g., TV ads, radio ads, digital ads).

Party Convention

Very uncommon method of determining the Democratic nominee that appears on the general election ballot through party conventions or caucuses instead of primaries.


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.

Personal Oppression

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 Voters

Voters who need to be persuaded/convinced to support a specific candidate or cause.

Persuasion ID Goal

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 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 group of individuals who are eligible to vote for your candidate and who your campaign will try to convince to do so.

Phone Banking

Talking to people over the phone.


When a candidate takes a question on one subject and answers that question with a focus on a different subject.


Pledge Chase

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

Political Action Committees (PACs)

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.


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 Captains/Committee Person

This person 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.


A prejudgement based on a preconceived notion or stereotype. This judgement can be conscious or unconscious.

Primary Election

The most common method that determines the Democratic nominee that appears on the general election ballot.


Soliciting donations from people who have not donated to your campaign before.


The time period 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).


Action(s) based on prejudice that influence 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
When something occurs (positive or negative) that your campaign needs to react or respond to in a quick manner.

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

A method of setting up your field team and persuading voters that centers around relationships and interconnected teams.


Soliciting donations from people who have already made a contribution to your campaign.

Retweet and Share

Reposted or forwarded messages and posts on social media accounts; Twitter and Facebook, respectively.


Building a list of potential donors from personal contacts, removing duplicates, and organizing the list.


The language that a campaign suggests its volunteers use when speaking to a voter.


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

Sender Reputation

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

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

The direct influence on people by peers, causing an individual to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors.

Social Stratification

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


Person or entity who has an interest or concern regarding a particular issue.

Statewide Coordinated Campaigns

These statewide coordinated campaigns usually involved working with candidates to get out the vote for people who support the candidates, which can include voters they worked to persuade.


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 debunks through exposure and internalization.

Story of Now

An urgent story of the challenge, choice, and hopeful outcomes belonging to a group or community. The Story of Now requires dropping other things to prioritize taking action. It is rooted in the values of the Story of Us and Story of Self.

Story of Self

A personal story that clearly and concisely encapsulates your values and why you are taking action.

Story of Us

A collective story of a group’s or community’s shared purpose, goals, and vision.


Adding specific people, accounts, or terms to a post using the @ or # symbols to connect it to a specific community. Examples: #Traindems @traindemocrats.


The process by which messages are made relatable to a specific audience.


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


Used interchangeably across campaigns, these all mean the same thing: a text message sent to a phone.


The act of considering diversity in minimal or performative ways alone, often resulting in unintended or deliberate harm to people who hold nondominant 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 person that is legally and financially responsible for the campaign.


The percentage of registered voters who cast a ballot in a given election.


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

Union Bug

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


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.


Someone who can lend credibility to your campaign (e.g., a community leader or elected official).

Values-based conversation

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

Volunteer Coordinator

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 by Mail Program

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.

Vote Deficit

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 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

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

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

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 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 turnout to vote in any given year, with a score of 1 being the least likely and 100 being the most likely.

Voter Universe

A 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

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 sidewalks, amount of vehicle traffic, and distances between homes.

Weekend of Action (WoA)

Weekend of Actions 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.

Win Number

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.