I’ve been thining about how to best help local races and am excited to tell you about the local race coaching program.

After working on campaigns in seventeen states and seven countries, I’ve started to see models and tactics that are effective for local campaigns. nd I’ve made it a point to be hands-on and learn how campaigns organize. And I’ve taken a lot of those tactics and ways of doing things and have worked to organize and so I can train people how to manage races.  My goal: take that knowledge, make it eassy to understand and implement, and find ways to coach and teach campaigns what I’ve learned.

Aren’t all campaigns different?  Yes, and in every state and country that I work, I hear that phrase that “everything is different here. But there are some commonalities in the way in which effective campaigns approach their planning, and there definite things in common on the tactics that campaigns use.   I think we can teach campaigns how to build their campaign instead of only offering services that are done for campaigns (done for you services).

There’s a real challenge in how we help local campaigns. And there are gaps in how operatives and consultants can support local campaigns.  Some even are told that they have to spend $25,000 their frist month for a bio video and communications consulting.  And entry level campaign staff are typically paid $3,000/month.  May campaigns can’t afford that.

There’s a lot of excitement around the Presidential campaigns, and local races will face a real talen crunch in 2020, there’s a significant problem coming.  We’re likely to see one of the biggest “talent crunches” that we’ve ever seen in Democratic politics.  Larger campaigs are already having problems recruiting staff, and local races will have an even bigger challenge.  We have to start thinking abut that now.

In 2015 I lead an audit and analyses of the GLBT Victory Fund’s campaign training program, and as part of that work I researched how Democratic and progressive organizations are training campaigns.  There have been some changes since 2015.   Campaign Greenhouse offers individual and group coaching.  The Democratic Training Institute, a for-profit entity that launched in 2016, offers free-in person trainings in many states.  The Democratic Training Institute offers in-person trainings and online resourcess. Organizing Corps, a DNC program is “…recruiting and training 1,000 young people in key battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia — to work on the 2020 presidential campaign, starting this summer.”  

There are a lot of people doing great work in the training space, and I hope this program can fill in some gaps.   What is the biggest gap?  Most trainings are limited to in-person trainings that often cost time and money (registration fees, travel, and missed time at work).  That limited format means we’re only training a a specific type of person, someone that has the time, money, and exact availability to attend an in-person training.

And there are other obstacles outside of availability and cost.  Some people are turned off the format (not everyone learns that way, and the idea of coming to a training can be intimidating, especially for people are new to politics).  Many of these trainings are a one time experience without ongoing support and foll  Many focus on what to do, but not how or why.  That doesn’t mean these in-person trainings aren’t valuable, but it does mean there are some gaps.

Here’s another way this program will be different. This program will be 100% online.  You can learn just about anything. earn a degree, or get support on everything from fitness to training.  I tthink people can learn about campaigns and get the support they need in a similar format.  Online coaching and training gives people more options for training and attracts a new set of people to the political process.

Here’s what the program will entail:

  1. Training on the best framewoorks to buil your campaign. We’ll walk you through a model and process to plan the final weeks of your campaign.  
  2. One 1-1 strategy session to help you build and refine your plan.  We want you to set goals for the program and personalize that to you and your campaign.
  3. Atleast five hours per week of office hours.  These are group sessions where you can ask questions publicly or submit them privately before the call. We’ll have themes to some of the office hours, but we’ll talk through and help you with whatever questions you have.  If we run into a lot of campaigns struggling with the same issues, we’ll develop short trainings that go deeper than office hours.  We’ll start by finding times that you’re available and can attend.
  4. Weekly priorities memos that outline the most important things that you should be thinking about each week. From GOTV tips to finalizing your mail plan, we’ll make sure we help you focus on the most important tasks for each week.  We’ll boil down the things that a campaign manager would be thinking about each week, and outline them in a clear and actionable format.
  5. Email support with a twenty-four hour response time  Want us to look at a script, digital ad, budget or plan?  Send it in and we’ll reply within 24 hours.
  6. Access to a growing library of campaign resources to help us avoid recreating the wheel and to save you time.

The first program is a one month test program for candidates with September primaries.  We’ll begin this work in late July and are focusing on Connecticut and Minnesota, but other states are welcome to participate.  Our next cycle will focus on candidates with November 2019 elections.  The  November session will get one additional benefit: a significant amount of on-demand online trainings that are tailored to local races.

Who can join?

  • Democratic candidates.  If you’re running in a non-partisan race, let’s hear about your race.  We’re open to left leaning campaigns.
  • Campaign staff and operatives.
  • Local party chairs and leaders.  
  • Activists who care about an issue or are helping an issue or electoral campaign.

What are the other expectations?

  • You’re coming into this program with goals and specifics that you want to work on.
  • You have some campaign already in place, and want some support and help along the way.  This program costs $250/month.  It’s not a full service program where we run your campaign or help you with services.  If you need help, we’ll refer you to atleast three vendors that can help you.
  • It helps to think about consulting and vendors as offering three categories of service – you do it, done with you, and done for you.  Our program is a mix of training you to do it in a very hands on way.
  • This is a group coaching program.  To be fair to other participants, we can’t do 1-1 calls or in-person meetings.
  • Your campaign needs VAN or Nationbuilder access.  If you’re running in a state where the voter file isn’t cost effective, we can give some tips to help. But you’ll need to get this within a week of starting the program.
  • You have to willing to learn and follow basic expectations for a campaign.   We don’t want you to join the program if you’re unwilling to make a fundraising call or stay committed to campaign priorities.  You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be willing to learn, grow, and make decisions.

Thanks for reading.  I’m really passionate about this program and I’d love to get your thoughts.  Could you send me an email at team@thenorthconsulting.com if you have advice or feedback?

There are way that other consultants, operatives and political vendors can get involved.   Send me an email if you’d like to learn more.

Thanks for reading.


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