Candidates ‘First Stop’
This course is for local election candidates who are just starting in politics. You will receive a ‘soup to nuts’ overview of the many steps involved in beginning and running a campaign for office. Topics highlighted include building a campaign team, deciding on your key messages to appeal to voters, getting signatures for nominating petitions, finding endorsements, raising campaign funds, and developing a campaign plan.
Nominating Petitions (Do’s and Don’ts)
Before you can get elected, you need to have your name placed on the ballot for the primary election. This course provides the details you will need, including the rules for circulators, getting the required number of valid signatures, completing the candidate section, and filing the petitions with any required documentation.
You need to provide voters with reasons to vote for you. What are your three (or more) winning arguments – things you will do in office to make it better, and hopefully improve lives of your voters? And how will you take those and turn them into a stump or elevator speech that you can pull out and talk about easily at any time? You also need to get your message out – learn all about these topics in this course.
If you intend to run a serious winning campaign, you will need to raise funds for expenses such as printing and mailing campaign literature, lawn signs, website and advertising. Learn the rules about forming a campaign committee and reporting campaign donations and expenses.
Any successful campaign involves getting your message out directly to voters through canvassing (door knocking or phone banking) with effective candidate literature, delivering your winning messages, using direct mail and having visible lawn signs showing support for your campaign. This course will provide a multi-approach framework for recruiting and engaging your team of volunteers in the field directly with voters.
Winning campaigns takes money. Candidates need to communicate their message to voters using website, social media, ads, campaign literature, lawn signs, and possibly paid staff. This course will educate candidates and campaign staff on methods and approaches for raising campaign funds by solicitations to small and large donors, political action committees, support groups, and through events and other means.
There is no more effective way of communicating your message directly to voters than through a constant presence on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms). This course will guide you through the process of establishing candidate profiles on these platforms, designing attention-grabbing posts that will attract followers and shares, targeting your audience, and running effective ads that get results.
This course will teach the ins and outs of dealing with the press: how to write and deliver a press release, how to handle a press interview effectively, and generally how to not make a mistake with the press that can and will hurt your campaign.
LOCAL ZONE OPERATIONS
This course provides an overview of best practices for Chester County Democratic Committee zone operations, including planning and running meetings, establishing and maintaining working bylaws, recruiting and motivating volunteers, and communicating with voters and zone stakeholders.
Successful political committees inform and motivate their supporters regularly through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. This course provides guidance for setting up and managing these accounts, building followers, finding and posting relevant content, setting engagement policies, responding to unwanted comments, running ads, and making these platforms effective for your zone organization.
Each zone may have its preferred means of raising funds for performing zone operations (primarily printing and mailing expenses, but may include for social media and digital ads). This offering will present a myriad of suggestions for zones and provide guidance for local events, mail & online solicitations, targeted asks, and other options. It is intended as an interactive session so that attendees can both contribute to and learn from others.
Whether to expand the base of voters in your precinct or encourage turnout, zone organizations need to be reaching into the community to meet voters. Committee persons and volunteers inform the public about our candidates, listen to their issues, talk about Democratic Party progress, and find ways to get them to the polls and vote Democratic. This workshop will discuss ways to engage with voters through newletters, website and social media, door knocking and phone banking, local meet-the-candidate or meet-and-greet events. It is intended as an interactive session so that attendees can both contribute to and learn from others.
(For Zone Leaders and Asst. Zone Leaders) This course will teach Zone Leaders and Assistant Zone Leaders about Roberts Rule’s of Order in depth. The goal of this course is to understand how to run a smooth and manageable zone business meeting. Curriculum includes motions, discussion/debate rules, voting procedures, quorum, bylaws, how to deal with hecklers, and more. This course will be taught using simulations, readings, and lectures with Q&A sessions on Robert’s Rules of Order in-person and on Zoom.
(For Committee Persons) This course will teach Committee People and Secretaries the basic rules of debate/discussion. This includes of motions people can make, how voting can work, discussion/debate rules, and basic minutes writing. This Course will be taught via Zoom using lectures, readings, simulations, and Q&A sessions.
This course will teach students how to be advocates for any and all issues in front of legislatures. This includes how to write scripts for people to call their representatives/senators, how to read a bill properly, how to write a convincing letter/email, petition writing and spreading, how to organize a peaceful protest against certain a bill(s), how to create awareness to certain bills via social media, and how to inform people who their elected officials are. This course will teach how to tell officials to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on legislation, and how to talk to officials on both sides of the aisle.
This training will discuss resolving conflicts within zone organizations, between candidates and campaigns and within other committees within CCDC. The intent is to learn a process and techniques for finding mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict, and includes: separating the people from the problem; focusing on interests, not positions; working together to create options that will satisfy both parties; and negotiating with people who are more powerful, refuse to play by the rules, or resort to “dirty tricks”.
Attendees for this real-time training will learn how to look up voters, create lists of specific voters in a precinct, and print lists for canvassing and phoning. In addition, the training will include an introduction to the Virtual Phone Bank and why using this feature is superior to paper lists. Other topics include loading a voter list to MiniVan and an overview of texting and robocalls. Attendees should have an active VoteBuilder account and a Wi-Fi-enabled device (laptop or tablet.)
Committee person Basics
This training will guide Committee Persons to understand the responsibilities of a Committee Person and how to succeed in the Role, to include availability, managing Information and data, understanding organizational structure and where you fit, and planning for Election Cycles. Get to know your precinct, meet your voters, recruit volunteers, support campaigns, and door-to-door operations. You will learn how to develop a plan for success, achieving your goals, and expanding on achievements.
CCDC Academy Training Methods
The method of training delivery will be detailed within the specific course syllabus and CCDC Training Course Catalog, and currently include face-to-face (if appropriate), real-time virtual training, or self-paced training (video-based or using a training guide, without an instructor.)
Face-to-face (in person) training – this is typically needed when hands-on instructor support is needed, such as for a highly interactive workshop where the instructor needs to ensure understanding and see what the attendees are doing with immediate feedback. A room must be pre-arranged and reserved that either has the equipment (projection, connected devices, etc.) needed or it can be provided and easily connected.
Virtual training – with the rapid availability of virtual sites and rooms, and for location /travel convenience, this may be the preferred training method. Course syllabuses must describe the required connectivity and device needed; for example, a smart phone in most cases will not provide easy readability of training materials. Courseware and materials using this method should ensure that fonts and presentation slides are readable on smaller screens rather than a large in-class projection screen. Depending on the expected or required interaction, this may also suggest a class size limit be specified.
Self-administered training – some courses with basic and easily learned concepts not requiring immediate feedback on understanding may be developed and produced either using video or basic reading materials. Regardless, there should be basic self-testing provided at the end of self-paced training to ensure understanding of the required learning concepts, and course evaluations should still be required. This material may need to have secure, limited access. When requested, the student would be authorized access and receive a secure link to the course materials.