(WISCONSIN) — The Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) and Arena, in partnership with Biden for President (BFP) and Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) are thrilled to announce the launch of Campaign Academy 2020, a free, all-virtual, interactive training that will teach participants the fundamentals of campaigning, organizing, and digital strategy in the COVID-19 era during the Democratic National Convention.
“In the age of coronavirus, the path to victory for Democrats up and down the ballot has shifted dramatically,” said Nellie Sires, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “In partnership with the DNCC and BFP, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Arena are proud to have the opportunity to pull back the curtain and equip Democratic volunteers across the country with the tools they need to succeed in such an unprecedented and rapidly changing organizing environment.”
From August 17-20, individual experts and leading progressive organizations, including staff of Biden for President, will join DPW and Arena to facilitate 16 sessions, livestreamed on DPW’s YouTube page. By registering at training.win, participants will be able to create their own schedule of sessions based on their interest and availability.
During the statewide election for Wisconsin Supreme Court in April, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin successfully pivoted its massive voter outreach operation to the digital space and sent Justice Jill Karofsky to a ten-point victory over a Trump-backed candidate. Since then, the party has rapidly scaled up its operation in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election, showing the world that what works on doors also works online. Now DPW seeks to impart the lessons of its successful digital pivot by partnering with Arena to host electoral trainings during national convention and channel the energy and enthusiasm of the moment into tangible action, empowering Democratic National Convention viewers with the tools to be fantastic Biden for President volunteers.
“Core to Arena’s mission is the belief that winning campaigns don’t just happen — they are the product of smart collaboration between behind-the-scenes political professionals and passionate volunteers,” said Ravi Gupta, Co-Founder of Arena. “But too often, potential staff and volunteers find politics inaccessible. That’s why we’ve built Arena to provide the training, coaching, and connections future campaign staff and volunteers need. There has never been a more important time to ensure that everyone has the knowledge, tools, and skills to participate in this election cycle, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to provide them at scale with our partners during the Democratic National Convention.”
Over the course of the Democratic National Convention, first-time volunteers and experienced activists alike will learn about the tactics and tools campaigns are using this cycle and about how best to plug into races up and down the ballot. They’ll also learn directly from community leaders in battleground states about the crucial organizing work already in action.
“As Vice President Biden often says, ‘we are in the battle for the soul of our nation’. To win that battle, we need the strongest grassroots army the Democrats have ever seen,” said Jen O’Malley Dillon, Campaign Manager for Biden for President. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Arena to host Campaign Academy 2020, an inclusive training that will empower and inspire the grassroots energy we need to defeat Donald Trump and see Democrats win up and down the ballot in November.”
About the Democratic Party of Wisconsin
Under the leadership of Chair Ben Wikler and Executive Director Nellie Sires, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has emerged as a leader in Wisconsin and on a national stage as a shining example of the power of state parties to lead Democrats to victory up and down the ballot.
On April 7, the nation watched as Wisconsin Republicans did the unthinkable and forced an in-person election for a critical State Supreme Court seat in the middle of a pandemic. The GOP used every lever at their disposal to rig the race in their favor – but DPW’s army of organizers and volunteers out-organized their suppression tactics, defeating Trump’s hand-picked candidate by over 10-points. We showed Democrats that what works on the doors also works online – we reached out millions of times through phone calls, text messages, and social media channels to help Wisconsinites cast safe absentee ballots from their homes, shifting our entire voter outreach program on the turn of a dime. By April 7, 2020, our organizing team was larger than it had been on election day of November 2018 – using a new set of tactics suited to a radically changed world. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has effectively established the COVID-19 campaign playbook for Democrats nationwide; as the New York Times wrote in the aftermath of the spring election, “Look to Wisconsin for Lessons on a Digital Campaign During a Pandemic.”
And we aren’t taking any vote for granted in 2020. With Wisconsin having the potential to swing the electoral college and legislative Republicans being three seats shy of veto-overriding supermajorities in each chamber — thanks to egregious GOP gerrymandering — the work we do in Wisconsin this cycle is incredibly important and will have an impact for generations to come.
To learn more about the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and how to get involved, visit our website.
Arena convenes, trains, and supports the next generation of candidates and campaign staff. Since its inception in 2016, Arena has built a robust suite of resources and trainings to create a progressive talent pipeline with the tools, skills, and networks needed to win in 2020.
In addition to supporting 63 individual candidates across the country, in 2018, Arena launched a campaign toolbox with free tools and templates that have been viewed more than 18,000 times. In 2019, we launched Arena Academy, a professional, immersive, in-person training opportunity through which we’ve trained more than 1100 current and future campaign staffers, the majority of which are women and people of color. Arena has also created Arena Careers, a one-stop platform for progressive job seekers and progressive organizations to search, connect, and hire for priority positions.
To date, we have trained over 1100 aspiring campaign managers, organizing directors, organizers, data and analytics directors, digital directors, finance directors, communications directors from 38 states + Washington D.C. 65% of our trainees are women or gender non-binary, and 55% are people of color. 59% of our trainees have come through our Academies on either a partial or full scholarship, and 77% of scholarship recipients are people of color.
We have placed more than 300 of our graduates into 2020 positions, 63% of which are campaigns on the national, state, and local levels. To learn more about our programs, visit arena.run.