While there are a number of fantastic organizations out there dedicated to training the next generation of political professionals, I think we can all agree there will never be enough trainings to teach future staffers.
In an effort to help alleviate the problem of "never enough qualified staffers”, Democratic GAIN is introducing a new program that encourages senior level professionals to take it upon themselves to hold "Do It Myself” trainings.
These trainings – or more appropriately, "training seminars” – can be any type of program or topic with which the individual professional is comfortable. We have listed a couple of different models below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Some other ideas might include: Modeling & Targeting, How to use Catalist/Voter files, How to Conduct Good Research, etc.
The goal of these training seminars isn’t to train hundreds of people. The goal is to pick a time and a place, let folks know about it, and train whoever shows up – if it’s 3 people, great; if it’s 30, even better.
What you need to do:
- Pick a date that works for you
- Locate a conference room – either yours or a colleagues you can borrow. The goal is to train a handful of folks at a time, so you don’t need to rent a huge convention venue. If your conference room holds 8 people, then you train 8 people.
- Put together the materials you feel you need. Democratic GAIN has all of our training manuals online in Wiki format so you can easily download those materials. Unfortunately they are by no-means complete, so you may need to locate or create other materials. We recommend using old plans and materials from previous campaigns rather than reinventing the wheel. (If you do end up creating materials, or power point presentations, if you are comfortable sharing those with GAIN so others can take advantage, it would be really appreciated)
- Decide on a price-point. Pricing depends on you and what you are comfortable with. We strongly recommend you charge something – even if it’s just a nominal $5 – to help make sure those who RSVP actually show up. Democratic GAIN will split the income with you 50/50. If you are putting forth money (photocopies, snacks, your time), you shouldn’t feel bad about charging. Participants should see this as an investment in their careers and should be willing to pay something. We do ask that you not get too costly and that you give dues-paying GAIN members a discounted rate.
What Democratic GAIN does to help you:
- Create an event webpage that you can use to market the event.
- Manage your registrations and payments directly through our website.
- Help you market the event by:
- Adding your event to the calendar on our homepage
- Sending emails to our list to promote the training
- Assist you with designing the program and thinking through your agenda
Why should you bother?
There are many reasons it is worth your time to help train the next generation of political professionals. From a purely selfish standpoint, you always have staff around you – whether working directly for you, working for the clients who hire you, or working in the organizations with whom you have to collaborate – and it makes your life so much better if those staffers are talented and trained.
In addition, meeting and training the emerging talent helps you keep an eye out for people with whom you’d like to work, and allows you to place people with your firm, your clients or your colleagues who you know are qualified and up to the task.
In an unselfish capacity, those of us who are successful in this business didn’t get here all on our own. At some point in our careers we were fortunate enough to have people willing to take us under their wing and teach us the lessons (both professional and life) that we needed to learn. This is your opportunity to give back to those who will carry on the torch.
Training Session Example Model 1:
Advanced Specialty Training (Finance/Communications/Campaign Mgmt/Field/etc)
- Geared toward individuals with at least 1 cycle (preferably more) of experience in that specialty who want to go to the next level
- The program should incorporate things like:
- Developing and managing a plan
- Working with the Campaign Manager/Organization Director
- How to motivate and manage your team (and your candidate)
- Tricks of the trade
- You can pre-screen attendees by asking them to send resumes before approving them to attend (if you want to, you don’t have to). This might be a good option if you have very limited space, and/or want to make sure the conversation can truly stay at an advanced level.
- Time frame: no less than 2 hours and up to a full day
Training Session Example Model 2:
- Geared toward people who have never worked professionally in campaigns but want to.
- Program should include:
- An overview of a campaign structure
- Roles of various teams/departments
- Introduction to the various types of campaigns
- Tips on how to get a job on a campaign
- The program should most likely be heavily focused on field organizing since most rookies go into the field; but also give an idea of what assistants in other departments do and how to get involved with them
- Time frame: no less than 2 hours and up to a full day
Training Session Example Model 3:
Resume and Job Searching Tips Workshop
- For anyone who wants to hone their resume and make sure they are doing all they can to find their next job "in politics”
- First part of the discussion is spent on resume tips; Second part discusses the importance of networking with a focus on how to network and maintain and use your personal relationships
- Also give an overview of the various types of opportunities available to a "political professional” (ie: advocacy groups, campaigns, parties, consultants, PACs, etc)
- We recommend spending 5-10 minutes with each individual afterward to discuss their resumes and give individual advice
- Time frame: approx. 1 ½ hours