Friday, February 20, 2009

A letter to all the Candidates for SCDP Chair

To all the Candidates for Chairperson of the Shelby County Democratic Party

With so many candidates in the race for Party Chair, it is comforting to me that it seems that there is despite all of the divides within the party, a clear consensus on what needs to be done to make the SCDP a viable and respected vehicle for positive change. I am referring of course to the pressing need to reach out to the grassroots and to build a lasting party infrastructure that can tap into the excitement and energy of the Obama campaign and build on it.

Many have called for the creation of a fully functional Ward and Precinct system. Others have called for the development of a small donor program to aid the Party in fundraising efforts.
I myself have been a long time proponent of the development of Sanctioned and Chartered Neighborhood clubs, and Grassroots trainings.Others have called for greater cooperation with the State Party. The truth is, we need all of these things. Our next Chair will have a very difficult and challenging task ahead of them.

That is why I am calling on all of you today to ask for your support as I work in my own way to help these things come to pass. I have been working with the leadership of Howard Dean's Democracy For America, to return their wonderful DFA Training Academy to the Memphis area. This low cost, two day training will host workshops on all of the basic skills of electoral organizing. The date of the Training is April 25-26, which would be about one month after the convention. That would be a perfect time to get down to the business of building up the skill base of newly active Democrats well before the 2010 campaign season.

So I would like to ask each of you to please take a look at the curriculum for the Training Academy.

Most of all I am asking each of you, will you if you are elected Chair, urge Democrats to take part in this workshop?

Below is part of an email I sent out giving more details about the workshop and the issues covered.

Thank you for your time and Good Luck.

Brad Watkins

UPDATE, I want to thank Candidate Lee Harris for responding to my email. Lee agrees, that trainings and workshops like this one are a great value to the future of the Democratic Party. I also want to thank him for pledging his support for this event and his pledge that if elected Chairman that these are the kinds of programs he wants to enact.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are You Ready To Work For Change?

Hello everyone,

Do you have what it takes to become a candidate for public office?

Have you ever wanted to work on a political campaign?

Do you feel so strongly about an issue and want to know how to run a campaign around that issue?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then this is the place to start.

For the past few months we have been working to bring Democracy For America's Training Academy back to Memphis. At this intensive TWO DAY training attendees will learn all of the basics of Electoral Organizing. From creation of a WARD and PRECINCT system, to HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL GOTV effort. Classes about FUNDRAISING, and how to run an ISSUE BASED CAMPAIGN. As well as trainings centering around MEDIA RELATIONS and COALITION BUILDING.
This Training has it all, and would be a great companion piece to those who have completed the Grassroots Organizer Training for Power program here at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. The following is a broad list of the DFA Training Academy Curriculum. that will be offered at the Memphis Training.

Field & Voter Contact
Setting vote goals & targeting
Voter contact strategy
Voter contact tactics & timelines
Absentee & vote by mail
GOTV (Get Out The Vote)
Canvassing & Phonebanking
Using a Voter File

Making "The Ask"
Donor research & targeting
Fundraising tactics: Call Time, Direct Mail, Events
Online fundraising tools & tactics

Crafting a Campaign Message
Working w/ Earned & Paid Media
Crisis Management & Rapid Response
Drawing contrasts with your opponent
Designing effective campaign literature
Writing & delivering a Stump Speech

Organization Building

Recruiting Volunteers
Managing Volunteers & Developing Leaders
Strategic Planning
Building Precinct organizations
Holding effective meetings
Coalitions & Endorsments

Online Organizing
Utilizing email & websites to generate volunteers,
fundraise and push your message

New Media

Campaign website design
Blog outreach
Using Facebook, Myspace & other websites

Issue Advocacy & Citizen Lobbying

Organizing around an issue
Generating public pressure
Citizen lobbying of elected officials

Event Date: Apr 25, 2009
Event Time: 9:00 AM EDT
Venue Name: Southwest Tennessee Community College
Address: 5983 Macon Cove
City: Memphis
State: TN
Zip Code: 38101

So sign up today, and DEMAND CHANGE

Brad Watkins
Organizing Coordinator
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center