Arena Academy FAQ

Academy FAQ Photograph

Arena Academy is an in-person training to give you the skills, knowledge, and tools you need to build 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.

1. 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.

2. 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:

3. What's the schedule?

Arena Academy consists of sessions in both your selected Track, as well as plenary sessions with the full Academy. We’ll cover topics such as management, diversity and equity, and cybersecurity in our plenary sessions. Days typically start at 11:00 a.m. EST and go until 6:00 p.m. EST, with some exceptions and optional evening programming. The capstone of Arena Academy is the Arena Cup, which allows you to put all you’ve learned into practice by coming up with a comprehensive campaign plan for a real district along with a team of people from other Tracks. The bulk of your work on the Arena Cup takes place on the fourth and fifth day of Arena Academy. Teams sometimes work into the evening to complete their work.

4. Do I need to be there for all five days?

Yes. You should plan to clear your schedule in order to participate fully. We expect you to be online, video on, fully present for the duration of Arena Academy. Additionally, you’ll participate in a team-based learning activity, and your team will count on you to be available for the duration of the event. We understand that many of us are juggling family, work, and household responsibilities at home. It can be difficult to find a space that is distraction-free and to commit to the full time. We believe in you. Your learning is worth investing in. We’ll have ample breaks and shorter days in order to make sure you take care of yourself and stay engaged.

5. 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 then 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.

6. Do you offer scholarships?

Yes. We offer need-based scholarships on a sliding scale. In past Academies, 67% of participants were awarded scholarships.

7. 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.

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.

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.

Digital: This track is for you if you love storytelling, analytics, writing, and using the internet to organize and mobilize communities. You’ll gain the know-how and skills to build and run a digital program on a campaign. From digital ads, digital fundraising to digital organizing, we’ll cover the 50,000-foot view and nitty-gritty of this ever-evolving field. You’ll end the course with a better understanding of how to use the internet to win elections and how to think like a digi pro. Working in digital on a campaign can mean many different things. This track will give you the foundational knowledge for how campaigns work and a better understanding of the kinds of digital roles out there and what you need to do to break into the digital space in electoral politics. This track is also great for digital-minded campaigners in non-digital roles looking to level up their digital know-how.

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.

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.

8. Will the Academy help me get a job?

We have placed Arena Academy graduates with 500+ jobs on progressive campaigns or at progressive organizations. After attending Arena Academy you will gain access to a variety of services and support through our talent program including resume workshops, networking, one-on-one career coaching, and Arena recommendations when applying to jobs.

9. 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.

10. What are the technical requirements?

Arena Academy will take place via Zoom. You will need a computer with a working camera and microphone and a connection to a stable internet to attend this training. We recommend you download Zoom ahead of time. You are expected to be online and on-camera for all Academy sessions. If you do not have a computer or internet connection, the Arena team will work with you to find reasonable accommodations.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

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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.