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Democratic GAIN Happy Hour Q & A Toolkit

Since finding work in politics is as much about who you know as what, Democratic GAIN is working to provide networking opportunities for political professionals across the country in the form of informal Happy Hours.

Thank you for your interest in helping make one of these great events happen in your area!

Q: What is needed for a Happy Hour?
A: Not much!

  • At least one person on the ground in the city who is familiar with the political players and geography. The more people who want to be involved helping, the better, that just takes some of the work off each individual.
  • A bar or restaurant that will let us use a space (often a backroom or upstairs) for free, in exchange for the free publicity that will come from the thousands of promotional emails. Also, since we typically do these on a weeknight, they are guaranteed to fill up their venue on an otherwise slow night. If you can negotiate with them to in order to provide some nibblies for free or cheap, along with drink specials, all the better!

Q: Should we get co-sponsors?
A: Yes, if at all possible.

  • Ask the "usual suspects” of political groups (ie: the state party, local chapters of advocacy groups like NARAL and Sierra Club, consultants, local blogs, etc.). Co-sponsors will be listed on the event page and all promotional communications, and in return we ask them to email the invitation to their lists and to send a representative from their organization to the event. In addition, we ask co-sponsors to toss in a couple of bucks to help cover the costs ($100-$250) if they are able to do so.

Q: How do we promote the event?
A: Several ways:

  • Democratic GAIN will send emails to our list in that area
  • You should reach out to local organizations with good lists, as well as any local political blogs, and ask them to co-sponsor the event and help spread the word.
  • Word of mouth. Send the email to everyone you know and ask them to pass it along to their networks.
  • Don’t forget when promoting to also ask "employers” to send representatives from their organizations – whether it’s advocacy groups, unions, consultants, campaigns, etc. The goal of the event is for folks to walk out with new contacts who can help them with their careers (both finding jobs and making them better at their current one), and the events are most successful when we have a good mix of "job seekers” and organization representatives. These organizations will need to have good folks in their pockets for when they need to hire – or when their clients do, so it’s a good use of their time to send folks.

Q: Should elected officials be invited?
A: Yes and no.

  • What we usually do is ask any Federal elected official’s offices to send a staffer or two to attend (to talk about working for federal elected, discuss any opportunities, and give advice to those who wish to follow that path). Then, we promote it as "representatives from the office of Rep. X and Sen. Y will be on hand”
  • Since this event is geared toward staffers and those looking for work, having high level elected officials completely changes the tone of the evening. We do encourage both the staffers and the elected official to join us if they are able.

Q: Will I have to write anything?
A: No, Democratic GAIN will create all promotional materials for you. You’ll just have to help get the word out.

Q: Have these happened in other cities?
A: Yes, and to really tremendous response! You can visit: and to see examples of event sponsors and promotions.

Q: Will a GAIN staffer be at the event?
A: Unfortunately, more often than not a GAIN staffer will not be able to come to the event. Our limited resources (both time & money) preclude us from attending every event we wish we could. So, we rely on our local leaders (you) to be the "on the ground” contact for us.