Arena Academy Phoenix - FAQ

Academy Basics

Arena and Instituto are teaming up to train 200+ current and aspiring campaign staffers to make an impact in the 2022 elections and beyond. Instituto focuses on building power with low income and communities of color, and believe that those most impacted by social inequities should be advancing solutions to today’s problems. We have to organize everywhere, from Maricopa County to Yuma County, Instituto and Arena Academy are teaming up to bring first-class campaign training so every AZ community is set up to succeed. 

  • When: May 4-8, most days start at 10 a.m. and go to 6 p.m. 
  • Where: In person at the Phoenix Convention Center, South Building, 100 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
  • Who:  200+ current and aspiring campaign staffers 
  • What: Participants take part in an immersive five-day learning experience, selecting one of seven tracks: Campaign Management, Communications, Data, Digital, Finance, Organizing, or Organizing Director. The hands-on experience culminates with the Arena Cup, a campaign simulation in which participants work together in teams to build a winning campaign plan.

Arena Academy is designed to help you build the skills, knowledge, and tools you need to drive winning campaigns and movements. If you’re considering working on a campaign, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are a few frequently asked questions about Arena Academy.

Table of Contents

More Details

Who is the Academy designed for?

Arena Academy is for anyone who wants to learn how to work on a Democratic campaign. We consider applicants at all levels of campaign experience—including those seeking to switch industries. We’ll teach you everything you need to get started or to level-up your skills and achieve a new role. In the process, you’ll get to know people from around the country who are hungry to get involved, and you’ll learn from seasoned campaign experts.

What happens at the Academy?

To get a good sense of the full experience, read stories from our previous Arena Academies on our blog:

Here’s a video recap from our first Arena Academy in Des Moines, Iowa:

How much does the Academy cost?

Our five-day Academy’s full cost of registration is $300, which is hundreds and even thousands of dollars less than the true cost of attending Arena Academy and than other comparable programs. It does not cover the actual cost per trainee to Arena, but it does offset our overall investment in the Academy program.

Will I need to provide details on vaccination status?

We at Arena are doing everything we can to keep all attendees safe from COVID-19 while participating in Arena Academy Phoenix, while understanding we can’t eliminate all risks.

To that end, and in alignment with our values, Arena requires that everyone attending Arena Academy Phoenix receive a booster shot against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to May 4.

If accepted, when you register in late March or early April we will ask you to confirm your booster status. We will collect a photo of your vaccine card (or another medical record) during registration. Participants will need three mRNA (Pfizer & Moderna) doses or two doses if one is Johnson & Johnson to be considered boosted.

Religious and medical accommodations will be considered on an individual basis.

Follow this link for up-to-date information on our covid protocols and policies.

Will we receive the training materials?

Yes. Slides will be made available to participants after the course. You’ll be asked to join Arena Careers to have access. You can join ahead of time by creating a profile.

Will there be a virtual hybrid learning option?

No. We do not currently offer an online option for in-person events.

Will Arena host virtual Academies in the future?

Yes. Stay tuned!

I can't make this Academy! How do I hear about the next one?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know when we announce the next Academy.


Do you offer scholarships?

We want to make sure there are no barriers to applying, so we offer need-based scholarships. Just complete the scholarship section of the application. And if you have other questions as you consider your decision, just email [email protected] or if you receive a text message from our team about your application, just text back.

Does the scholarship cover transportation & housing?

In the past, our scholarships have covered travel expenses in addition to registration fees. In the application, there’s a section where you can share more about your scholarship needs. We want to make sure there are no barriers to applying, so we’ll take into consideration all of the info you provide in the application.


When is the application deadline?

Monday, March 21, 2022, 11:59 pm ET

What do I need to complete the application process?

Prepare this information in advance:

  1. A short video (3 minutes or less) or a written response (500 words or less) – it’s your choice — explaining why you want to attend Arena Academy.
  2. A copy of your current resume. PDF, please!
  3. If you don’t have a formal resume, please tell us about your past experience in your own words. 
  4. We recommend preparing all of this in advance so that you can simply plug it in when you sit down to complete your application.
What makes a good application prompt response?
  1. It tells us why this work is important to you.
  2. It tells us what you plan to do with this training.
I don’t have any experience at all in politics, am I really eligible?

We’re accepting people at all experience levels and yes, you are eligible.

When will I hear back from you regarding my application?

Monday, March 28, 2022

Which track should I do?

Our five-day intensive training program focuses on equipping you with the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in a specific role. But regardless of the role for which you’re training, all of our curriculum includes a heavy emphasis on management, leadership, and digital and data literacy. You’ll pick from one of seven training tracks, including:

Campaign Manager: Campaign Managers sit at the heart of every campaign, managing a wide range of people and projects to achieve victory. It is uniquely exhilarating and hard work, and this track will equip you with the foundational knowledge you need to run a smart, progressive campaign this cycle. (And improve upon them in the future.) This track walks through every part of a campaign, from creating a pathway to victory, to budget, finance, communications, and more. In each session, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to pull it all together into a winning campaign plan. Because this track assumes a basic level of campaign knowledge, it is best suited for those with prior campaign experience, though, relevant transferable experience is considered when reviewing applications.

Communications: This track is for you if you are looking to step into a role crafting a campaign’s core messaging, running the press shop, and directing rapid response. You’ll learn how to tell your candidate’s story and the story of what’s happening on the campaign to the press. We believe that great communications professionals are excellent storytellers and calculated strategists. Whether you’ve worked on a campaign before or have transferable skills from another industry, this track will give you the practice and the tangible skills you need to help campaigns communicate their message.

Data: Our philosophy is that data should be actionable and drive people-focused campaign strategies. The data track teaches the necessary technical skills needed to analyze large data sets in an electoral campaign context. This is an immersive experience where you will get an opportunity to write code (maybe your first line of code) and work with a team to incorporate analysis that informs a winning campaign plan. This track gives foundational knowledge for how campaigns work and use data, which is perfect for anyone looking to break into data within electoral politics. This track is also great for data-minded campaigners in non-data roles looking to level up their data know-how.

Digital: The field of digital on campaigns is vast and can mean many different things. This track gives you a foundational understanding of what it means to work in digital and how different campaigns structure digital teams. We place a heavy focus on building your strategic skills in paid media, how to run a paid media program, how to make creative for paid media, and how to evaluate if paid media is successful. We also dive into owned media, digital fundraising, digital reporting, and running email programs. You leave this track with some new technical skills and the frameworks for how to think about and run effective digital programs to win elections.

Finance: The finance department raises the money that powers all other aspects of campaign operations. In this track, you’ll learn how to cultivate donors, manage call-time, make a strong fundraising ask, and raise money online. From writing a finance plan to writing a fundraising email, we’ll cover both the strategy and details of a successful finance department. This track is for you if you like the idea of building high-powered networks and managing their capacity to fund a robust campaign.

Organizer: Many campaign professionals get their start as organizers on campaigns. At Arena, we believe the best organizers come from all walks of life and bring a deep passion for their community to this work. Organizers are the frontline of a campaign, connecting to voters digitally and in-person and creating teams of dedicated volunteers to scale and amplify the campaign’s efforts. This track will teach you the skills you need to be a successful organizer in a digital world. You’ll learn how to develop and manage teams of volunteers to amplify the campaign’s message and move voters to the polls to vote for your candidate. If you’re new to politics, the organizer track is a great place to start.

Organizing Director: You must have served at least one cycle as an organizer—on a campaign or in any advocacy, electoral, or community-based organization—to be considered for this track. Organizing Directors set the strategy for the organizing program and lead teams of organizers and volunteers to meet goals. Organizing Directors are both compassionate people-managers and goals-driven data nerds. This track is for you if you are looking to step into a role managing the organizing program of a campaign. You’ll learn how to target voters, build voter universes, establish metrics and goals, and manage a team of organizers to persuade and turnout voters.

I’ve attended Arena Academy in the past, and I’d like to apply to another track. Will I be accepted?

We’ll consider each application on a case-by-case basis. Having attended an Academy in the past makes you no more or less likely to be accepted. Be sure to cover in your application why exactly attending another Academy will contribute to your future goals and aspirations on campaigns. We also strongly encourage new applicants to apply.

Event Logistics

What should I expect each day?

Each day, you can expect to participate in a comprehensive and challenging program, designed to prepare you for a staff position on a 2022 campaign. There will be a mix of track-specific and program-wide sessions. You can expect to be part of a dynamic, diverse, and thoughtful cohort of peers. You can expect to talk with and learn from some of the smartest political minds in the country. You can expect to be challenged, empowered, and asked questions.

What is the Arena Cup?

The Arena Cup is a competition that attendees tackle in interdisciplinary teams, made up of one participant from each of the Academy’s six training tracks. The teams will be assigned an imaginary candidate and a real district. Then, participants will have 24 hours to work together on a strategic campaign plan. They’ll draw on everything they’ve learned and seek advice from one coach (a “General Consultant”).

The goal is to develop a winning campaign strategy that showcases the team’s creativity, integration, teamwork, and expertise. This is an opportunity to apply all that was learned in the first four days of Academy.

At the end of the teamwork period, all teams will have 15 minutes to share their plan among a group of peers, and receive feedback from a panel of expert judges.

Learn more about past participants’ Arena Cup experiences here.

What do I need to bring?

If accepted, you’ll be getting a full packing list from us in the lead up to Academy. In the meantime, we encourage you to bring comfortable clothes, a notebook and something to write with, a laptop and cell phone if you have them, an N95 mask, and a positive and open attitude.

When should I arrive?

To get the most out of the experience, we strongly recommend that you plan to be present for the full five days. We ask that you arrive in the Phoenix Convention Center Ballroom no later than 12:00 pm local time on Wednesday, May, 4th.

When should I depart?

We ask that you plan to depart the Phoenix Convention Center no earlier than 4:00 pm local time on Sunday, May 8.

Will there be pre-work?

Yes. Most tracks will have pre-work and/or pre-reading, which you’ll receive approximately two weeks before Academy.

Will there be food?

Each day you’ll be on your own for breakfast and dinner. Lunch, snacks, and coffee will be provided while we’re working away. Please list any dietary restrictions on the pre-survey, and we’ll accommodate them.

You’ll be on your own for dinner, though we’ll provide suggestions on where to go. We hope you’ll use this time to get to know fellow participants.

Will there be free time?

Yes. Each day will have at least two breaks, plus lunch, and you’ll be on your own most evenings with optional workshops and social events.

Are there gender-neutral bathrooms?


I’ve been accepted to Arena Academy, can I change tracks?

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate requests to change tracks once you’ve been accepted. The application process was extremely competitive, so we carefully assembled each track, considering each participant’s background and future goals. But trust us…whichever group you landed in, you’ll have top-notch trainers and a cohort of like-minded peers.


I have a disability and need support or accommodation.

We are committed to supporting all participants in their learning experience. If you need accommodation or support of any kind, please let us know on your application form.

What's the refund policy?

You can request a full refund up to 14 days before the Academy start date. However, no refunds are offered within 14 days of the Academy start date.

Post Academy

What kind of support exists for grads after completion of Arena Academy?

Be sure to join Arena Careers (and link to Arena Careers) Arena Careers is a free platform to match job seekers with campaigns and progressive organizations. With more than 7,000 active users, including many of the 2,000 Arena-trained staffers, the majority of whom are women and people of color, we function like a LinkedIn for politics and break down traditional barriers to progressive hiring.

You gain access to unique one-on-one and group support from the Arena Careers team. After the training, you can join trainings and request job search coaching including resume review and interview preparation, or coaching to help you navigate your current role. Staffers trained at Arena Academy have worked in more than 700 roles on campaigns and in progressive organizations

COVID Policies

We need your support.

Arena needs your help to convene, train and support the next generation of candidates and campaign staff. Our programs are designed to make politics more accessible to more people. That’s why everything we do is free or low cost. This is made possible by the support of generous donors. Chip in to help progressives build winning campaigns.

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Stay up to date with news and resources from the Arena community

By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive periodic updates from Arena, including automated text messages and phone calls. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg & Data rates may apply. See our Privacy Policy.