NDTC Staff Academy FAQ

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Staff Academy FAQ2019-03-18T09:42:23+00:00

If you have a question that is not covered here, please email us at [email protected]. We strive to respond to all emails within two business days.

The NDTC Staff Academy is an intensive online and in-person training program that seeks to recruit, train, and place the next generation of Democratic campaign staffers to run winning campaigns. The goal of this program is to train future staffers to become finance directors and digital directors, and then work with our partners to place them on 2019 campaigns across the country.

As a participant in this program, you will receive valuable training in the hard skills you need to succeed in finance or digital roles, as well as management and leadership skills that will help you succeed throughout your career. NDTC will continue to support and foster this community of campaign staffers as you grow your career in politics, throughout 2019 and beyond.

The Finance Director creates, executes, and tracks the campaign’s fundraising plan. This usually includes:

  • Crafting the campaign’s fundraising plan, including revenue goals, timelines and avenues for raising money
  • Managing candidate fundraising calls, including researching donors, supporting the candidate during call time, entering data, and following up with donors and potential donors
  • Planning and executing fundraising events and meet and greets
  • Working with other members of the campaign team, including the candidate, other staff, and volunteers to make sure that fundraising goals are met
  • Tracking success of various tactics and reporting results back to the candidate and campaign manager

The Digital Director is responsible for determining a campaign’s digital strategy and is oftentimes responsible for executing and tracking said strategy. This can include:

  • Creating the campaign’s digital plan, content calendar, and ad budget breakdown
  • Determining how best to use digital tools to meet campaign goals including fundraising, volunteer recruitment, list growth, and voter turnout
  • Working closely with fundraising and field teams to ensure consistency across all online and offline content
  • Drafting and sending email blasts, ad copy, social posts, and text message blasts
  • Reporting status updates and overall results back to the candidate and campaign manager

The 2018 election cycle revealed a critical shortage of qualified campaign staff to provide the strategy and collaborative leadership needed to win campaigns at every level.

If we want Democrats to continue to succeed at the ballot box in 2019 and beyond, we need to invest the time and effort needed to ensure we have qualified staffers to run successful campaigns.

We spent time talking with our partners, candidates, and trainees and determined a program targeting digital and finance staffers would help us best fill the much-needed gaps we were seeing.

We also know that to date, beginning a career in politics has not been open to everyone. Part of the problem is campaign jobs are often only shared “within the community”. In other words, you have to have an “in” or someone in your network who is involved in politics to even know that a job is available and be considered. This system isn’t working. Many people who would make great campaign staffers — especially people of color, women, and non-binary folks — never get the opportunity to work on a campaign. We are committed to opening doors for these folks and to helping campaigns benefit from their experiences and perspectives.

You will be a great fit for this program if you:

  • You want to make a difference in your community.
  • You want your work to be aligned with your passions.
  • You want to be in the room where it happens.
  • You want to change the world, and make it a better place.
  • You are passionate about Democratic politics.
  • You are committed to learning how to run a strategic data-driven campaign (no previous experience necessary).

People of color, women, LGBTQ+ candidates, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. NDTC believes our differences enhance our strength as a political party – and as a nation. Campaigns benefit from a staff of diverse races, ethnic origins, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, economic backgrounds, abilities, and other facets of identity which make you, you.

You don’t need any experience in fundraising or digital strategy to apply. We’re going to teach you everything you need to get started in that field. This can be your entry into politics. If you’re a Democrat who wants to shape the world around you, this program is designed for you.

No. No experience needed. This can be your entry into politics. If you’re a Democrat who wants to shape the world around you this program is designed for you.

Preference will be given to individuals who have some demonstrated community engagement experience. You may have organized a voter registration drive or you may have spoken out at a city council meeting. You may have volunteered with or been a field organizer for a local political campaign or perhaps you organized a community action around an issue negatively impacting your community. Any of these — or a million other — experiences are ideal foundations that we’ll build upon in the NDTC Staff Academy.

If circumstances haven’t allowed you the ability to engage directly with your community, that’s ok, too. We realize not everyone has access to the same opportunities. If that is the case for you, tell us about it in your application. We are committed to building a more inclusive and egalitarian Democratic party.

  • You are expected to complete the entirety of the program, including the online and in-person training components, with excellent attendance and participation in all activities.
  • Commit an average of ten hours to online learning per week, from May 1 – June 18, 2019.
  • Travel to Chicago for an in-person training from June 20 – 23, 2019, traveling to Chicago on June 19, 2019 and traveling back home on June 24, 2019. (All expenses will be covered for the in-person training.)
  • In order to complete the online portions, you will need access to a computer with a reliable internet connection and web camera.
  • Participants will be connected with job opportunities, the majority of which will be in New Jersey, Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana. You should be prepared to relocate in early July.
  • Abide by the NDTC Staff Academy Trainee Code of Conduct that will be provided upon your acceptance into the program.

This is an eight-week program. Between May 1 and June 18, trainees will be expected to commit an average of ten hours per week to the program. This includes on-demand, online courses, joining group webinars, completing independent activities, providing feedback to other members of your cohort, and participating in online group practice and skill-building exercises.

The culminating, in-person training will run from June 20 – 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. NDTC will arrange your transportation and accommodations, but you can expect to travel to Chicago on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, and depart on Monday, June 24, 2019. In-person participation in this component of the program is required.

Nothing. There is no tuition cost for the training program, and NDTC will pay for your travel to/from the in-person training in Chicago as well as your accommodations and meals once you’re here.

We expect everyone who successfully completes the program to work on a Democratic political campaign in 2019. We are committed to facilitating introductions and interview opportunities for all of our participants who successfully complete the program until they are offered a position.

Maybe. Because only a handful of states have major elections in 2019, most available positions will be located in: Virginia, New Jersey, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Louisiana. Preference will be given to applicants living in or with connections to those states, and we will try to connect you with a position within your home state if it is one of those five, but it is not guaranteed.

The vast majority of participants from other states will be offered a position that requires you to move to one of those five states in early July.

Apply here! All applicants who apply by 8am on Monday, April 1, 2019 will be considered and given preference.

After reviewing your application, those moving forward will be contacted for a phone or online interview.

We will notify all applicants whether they have been accepted by Friday, April 26, 2019.

NDTC is invested in participants’ long-term success. We will support you throughout the 2019 election cycle, but we don’t intend to stop on Election Day. Once the campaign is over (and you’ve caught up on sleep), we want to support you in getting your next job, too. While we can’t guarantee lifetime employment, after Election Day we will offer resources and suggestions for leveraging your 2019 work into a position in 2020 and beyond.

And you’ll have a community of dozens of other political staff members who went through the Staff Academy with you and can help you network and share opportunities.

If you have any special needs or need additional support to complete your application or participate in the program, please email us at [email protected]. We strive to respond to all emails within two business days.

If you have any other questions, you can email us at [email protected]. We strive to respond to all emails within two business days.

You can do this. Let’s get started.


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