Our Staff Training

Training staff is a top priority for us—with on-the-job training, in-the-classroom training, and a structured curriculum covering everything from basic activism to digital organizing to global warming.

And over the years, we’ve trained an army of organizers, fundraisers, advocates and other activists. Some people call us the “activist pipeline.”

Our first-year staff take part in three major trainings, which span five weeks over the course of the year and include more than 100 workshops. There’s an introductory training, a unit we call “Social Change 101,” and canvass director training. These trainings are prerequisites for further training in subsequent years.

Our staff in their second year or beyond attend the equivalent of one full week of training modules. Staff can choose from a list of modules that focus on issues, skills, tactics or strategy.

Each organization or team within our network also runs “job description” trainings, which, as the name implies, zero in on how to do your job and do it well.

We also invite staff to participate in senior staff trainings and strategy seminars.

Course Samples

Our Introductory Training, held in August every year, includes 50 workshops over two weeks. Here is a sample of what our trainees will learn.

Working with the media is an effective way to elevate the message of a campaign to the public and decision-makers. In this training, trainees learn how to pitch reporters, organize a news conference, write op-eds and letters to the editor, prep for editorial board meetings, conduct TV interviews, deal with hostile media and craft sound bites.

Winning change is easier when broad constituencies come together on an issue and push for the same solution. During this training, trainees will learn different types of coalitions and how to build one around solving the problem your organization is working to fix. After this module, trainees will also know how to work through coalition dynamics, including negotiating with leaders and managing group decision-making.

Organizing online will build visibility for your campaign and can help engage thousands of people quickly for urgent campaign actions. We’ll walk through the basics of creating digital content that will get attention, engage activists and donors, and build your list, as well as how to evaluate progress and success.

Strategy is how you get from here to there, from challenge to victory. We cover the difference between strategy and goals, or tactics and how to develop a handle on an issue. After this training, trainees will know how to craft a strategy to win on issues, and how defining the problem, the policy and their vision relate.

Addressing the challenge of global warming requires a profound change in how we interact with the planet. As organizers we need to understand: What are the biggest drivers of the problem? What are the politics of the issue? What are the most effective arguments for business as usual, and how do we counter them? 

See all of our course offerings

Eliseo: Eliott Foust, WeFoust Photo