Applications for Arena Academy 201: Digital Skills are closed. Sign up for our emails to learn about future Academies. Applicants will be notified about their acceptance status the week of November 1.
Held in partnership with Priorities USA, this three-day virtual training will equip participants with the skills they need to run strategic digital programs. We’ll cover advanced digital paid media concepts, equip you to manage digital programs and budgets, and cover topics like running a bilingual ads program, how to raise money online and much more.
The training is meant for people who currently hold or are looking for a mid-level or senior-level digital position this cycle. The training is also a great fit if you would benefit from understanding how to integrate digital into your programs, like a campaign manager, program director, or a senior organizing position.
Registration for Arena Academy 201 costs $200. Scholarships and childcare grants are available. We make sure there are no barriers to attending Academy, and scholarship needs are not factored into who we accept.
When: December 8 – 10, 2023
Where: Online on Zoom
Arena Academy is for current and aspiring campaign staff looking to level up their skills and supercharge their careers in politics. 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 201 is for experienced staff who presently hold management positions on campaigns or hope to in the future. This two and a half day training equips experienced campaign staffers with the management and technical skills necessary to lead a team. Some Arena Academy 201s have a specific focus, like teaching tech and data skills to campaign leaders, while others focus generally on management and leadership. Even if you’ve never attended Arena Academy, our 201 level trainings can help you take your political career to the next level.
Arena ensures that cost is not a barrier to participation. Thanks to the support of our donors, 67% of Arena graduates have received a full or partial scholarship.
As part of your Arena Academy application, you will select your first and second choice tracks. Read the descriptions below to learn more about each track and decide which fits you best. If you’re not sure how your skills best translate to a campaign, check out our Campaign Skills Translator tool to plug in your current skills and see what jobs they match with.
Campaign Managers are the chief strategists and the heart of every campaign. They work alongside amazing candidates. They manage a team to achieve victory come Election Day. This track walks through every part of a campaign — from launch to the last counted ballot. At Academy, expert strategists guide you through crafting a pathway to victory, budgeting, fundraising, communications, and more. You’ll gain the skills and knowledge to pull it into a winning campaign plan in each session. Then in the Arena Cup, you will put your new knowledge to work by leading a team with members of other tracks to build a winning campaign plan during a 24-hour competition. This track will help you take that next step in becoming a confident leader in campaigns. Applicants for this track should have prior campaign experience or relevant transferable experience.
Communication staff play a central role in crafting a campaign’s core messaging, running the press shop, and directing the rapid response. In Arena’s Communication track, you’ll learn how to tell your candidate’s story and the story of what’s happening on the campaign to the press. Arena believes that great communications professionals are excellent storytellers and calculated strategists. This track will give you the fundamentals to develop a holistic communications plan. Then, with your new comms know-how, you will join members from other tracks to craft a winning campaign plan in the Arena Cup, a 24-hour competition. 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 staff on campaigns manages systems and develops analyses that help reach voters. The work of data staff can ensure that resources and know-how make the biggest impact. Arena believes that data should be actionable and drive people-focused campaign strategies. The data track teaches the necessary technical skills to analyze large data sets in an electoral context. This is an immersive experience where you will get an opportunity to write code (maybe your first line of code). As a part of the Arena Cup, a 24-hour competition, you will work with a team to incorporate analysis that informs a winning campaign plan. This track gives foundational knowledge for how campaigns work with and use data. This track is perfect for data practitioners 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 allows us to reach voters in places they gravitate to in online spaces. Depending on the campaign, digital roles can take on different focuses or specializations. This track emphasizes building your strategic skills in paid media, running a paid media program, making creative for paid media, and evaluating if paid media is successful. The track highlights owned media, digital fundraising, digital reporting, and running email programs. You also get an opportunity to integrate digital as a team member crafting a campaign plan in the Arena Cup, a 24-hour competition. You leave this track with new technical skills and frameworks for thinking about and running effective digital programs to win elections.
Campaign fundraising staff are usually the first hired before a launch and last on payroll at the end of a campaign. Fundraising directors and assistants are some of the most in-demand roles in campaigns. The reason? This team raises the money that powers all other aspects of campaign operations. Fundraisers are often hired even before campaign managers. Arena believes in a relationship-based approach to fundraising. Through that lens, we cover the strategy and details of a successful finance department. This track teaches you how to cultivate donors, manage call time, make a strong fundraising ask, and raise money online. In the Arena Cup, a 24-hour competition, you will also get experience working in a team to develop a fundraising plan and timeline. This track will help you understand how fundraising can help build winning campaigns.
Organizers are the face of a campaign in the community. Organizers connect to voters online and in person. They create 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 culturally-competent 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. Through the Arena Cup, a 24-hour competition, you will see the development of campaign strategy. You will work alongside an Organizing Director to develop a plan to recruit volunteer teams. Many campaign professionals get their start as organizers on campaigns. The best organizers come from all walks of life and bring a deep passion for their community to this work. The organizer track is a great place to start if you’re new to politics.
Organizing Directors are both compassionate people managers and goals-driven data nerds. Organizing Directors set the strategy for the organizing program. They lead teams of organizers and volunteers to meet goals. This is oftentimes the largest department within a campaign. This track is for you if you want to step into a role managing the organizing program of a campaign. You’ll learn how to target voters, set goals, and manage a team of organizers to register, persuade, and turnout voters. You will work alongside other team members through the Arena Cup, a 24-hour competition, to develop a strategy and an organizing plan as a part of a larger campaign plan. Applicants for this track should have served at least one cycle as an organizer—on a campaign or in any advocacy, electoral, or community-based organization.
(offered at select Academies)
Putting your name on the ballot is a huge step. As a candidate, you lead with vision and are the face of the campaign. In smaller local races, as a candidate, you take on more responsibilities in planning and executing your campaign.
Run Academy is a unique opportunity to see the inner workings of a campaign. Expert strategists guide you through pathway to victory, budgeting, fundraising, communications, and more. You will also learn from past candidates and current elected officials about the hurdles they overcame on the way to Election Day. At Academy, candidates learn alongside future campaign managers, communications, data, digital, organizing, and finance professionals. You might even hire some of the staff you meet at the Academy.
Candidates whose names are on the ballot in 2023 and 2024 will get the most from this track. This training will be particularly helpful for candidates “doing it all” themselves. This training is not an endorsement of any candidate or campaign. Candidates who complete this program will not be endorsed by Arena.
Arena Academy culminates with the Arena Cup, a 24-hour campaign simulation in which participants compete to create the best campaign plan. Trainees join an interdisciplinary team made up of members from each training track and receive an imaginary candidate, district info, and challenger. It’s a hands on and fun opportunity to put new skills into practice.
Do you work on a progressive campaign or allied organization and manage or support staff, interns, fellows, or students who would benefit from attending Arena Academy? Email [email protected] to begin a conversation about whether your organization is eligible for partnership.
Arena Academy is comprised of 200+ current and future leaders in Democratic politics. Participants will work at all levels of campaigns, many overseeing teams, budgets, and strategies on battleground races up and down the ballot, all across the country.
Sponsoring Arena Academy is a prime opportunity to showcase what you have to offer and shape our participants’ understanding of how you can help them win. This is your chance to get the word out about your organization, services, or products to key decision-makers in the coming election cycle. If you are interested in learning more about Academy sponsorship options please email [email protected].
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Republicans have spent decades cultivating talent and investing for the long run, and right now we’re paying the price. Republicans control 30 state legislatures, 28 governors mansions, and are just a few seats away from regaining control of Congress. Together with an activist Supreme Court, they’re enacting policies that turn back progress on everything from abortion to voting rights to climate change.
Arena is building a new generation of political leaders who will lead the fight to save our democracy and build progressive power for the long run. It’s going to take all of us to make change. Join us in this work.
Paid for by Arena Summit, a section 501(c)(4) organization, and Arena PAC.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.