OFA Launches Campaign Organizing Bootcamps
By Elizabeth Erickson, OFA Training Director
Last week, OFA launched a brand new training series focused on helping volunteers and organizers of all levels get trained up on the essential skills for working on a campaign — whether it’s for a candidate, a ballot initiative, or any important local issue.
This week, OFA volunteers are diving right in with live, in-person bootcamp trainings across the country to make sure their friends, family, and neighbors have the skills to effectively advocate for the issue, cause, or candidate they care about most.
In Centennial, CO folks came out to learn how to use their own personal stories as a way to connect over shared values with their neighbors and then practiced active listening skills in order to have better conversations together.
In the Northeast — in Whippany, NJ; Allentown, PA; and Beverly, MA — organizers applied key insights from the bootcamps to their work on local issues. Like so many other OFA chapters across the country, what may have started out as a set of strangers has grown into a group of friends. They’re not just concerned citizens, they’re neighbors who enjoy getting together regularly to talk about important, often under-covered challenges affecting their communities. They volunteer together, they train together, and they discuss how to persuade others in their community to start getting more involved as well. In cities like Allentown — about an hour’s drive north of Philadelphia — veteran organizers like Arlene and Washington drop by trainings to share insights from their experience and pick up new skills and training resources — like OFA’s Spanish language materials.
Outside Atlanta, GA, Shelia’s chapter worked on digital organizing for both new and seasoned organizers. In both Tampa, FL and Charlotte, NC, organizers focused on how to motivate people in their networks by digging into the weeds of the Persuasion Conversation training. Malanda described her event in Tampa as a “fantastic evening of empowerment.”
In Shakopee, MN, dedicated OFA volunteers teamed up with partners from IndivisbleMN in Chanhassen & Chaska to learn best practices for running staging locations. At the same time, organizers down in St. Louis and Manchester, MO joined together to learn from OFA training staff about the persuasion conversation framework and how to be genuine when speaking with people in their community. Volunteers from various local campaigns and partner organizations like Indivisible participated there as well.
Fueled by a never-ending supply of coffee and snacks, volunteers in Las Vegas, NV were up early for an all-day training bootcamp that covered everything from personal stories to digital organizing. These organizers left fired-up and more prepared to make an impact in their own communities.
Out on the west coast, near Woodland HIlls in San Fernando Valley, CA, Amy and her daughter hosted a training at their home with participants ranging in age from 18 years old to 90 years young. They spent their time discussing best practices for GOTV conversations, reaching out to younger voters, and Digital Organizing.
And not too far north, in Antelope Valley, CA, Anne and her team gathered for an OFA staff-led bootcamp on Persuasion & GOTV Conversations. Their key takeaways:
“It’s all about relationships, intentionality, and authenticity. Listening, connecting… and practice, practice, practice.”
Volunteers working on a wide array of local issue fights and campaigns dropped by to sharpen their organizing skills. And, as often happens when you’re building community networks, organizers and activists from local partner groups like the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, OFA Antelope Valley, and Building the Base Face to Face were there to help support, share their experiences, and refine their campaign organizing skills as well.
But that’s not all!
There are still more Campaign Organizing Bootcamp events happening around the country this week.
Check to to see if there’s one happening in your area or host your own or follow along with the hashtag #OFAction on social media.
It’s always been this movement’s bedrock principle that no matter who you are, or where you live, passionate people have the power to create the change they want to see — but we know that that requires a plan. This Campaign Organizing Bootcamp training series is designed to break down every piece of that plan so that first-time action-takers and seasoned organizers alike can effectively advocate for the issues or candidates that matter to them.
What skills will you learn? Good question. Over the course of five self-guided training modules, we cover everything you read about above: (1) sharing your personal story, (2) holding persuasive conversations, (3) motivating your networks to get to the polls, (4) preparing staging locations, and (5) digital organizing.
You can watch and learn at your own pace, but since organizing isn’t a solo sport, we highly encourage you to gather friends, family, and neighbors to join in, build your team, and maximize your organizing power. If you’re interested in hosting a Campaign Organizing Bootcamp yourself, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll follow up with everything you need to make it a success.
There’s no better time than right now to get involved — no prior experience necessary. You bring the passion; we’ll bring the expertise.
Respect. Empower. Include. Win.