Data and Analytics Camp
Wellstone Action’s Data and Analytics Camp (DAC) equips progressive leaders with the cutting edge-data and analytics skills necessary to support electoral and issue based organizing. In today's political climate, we believe that the best approach to organizing is one that includes all experiences; this training is built on a foundation of intersectional, hands-on learning and mutual respect. This five-day training accommodates practitioners at various entry points and includes blended curriculum from data, analytics, and organizing strategies to help campaigners and activists build winning online and offline campaigns.
Attendance to this training is based on application due to the intimate size of the training. Please apply here. The application period will close at 11:59pm PT on February 24, 2017. We will send admission acceptances and scholarship decisions on March 3.
Training Details and Logistics
This training will run from 8am - 8pm, April 3-7. Data and Analytics Camp is needs-blind, and admissions decisions will be made without regards to ability to pay. You will be able to indicate through the application if you will need a scholarship to be able to attend. The regular cost to attend is $1,800 which includes all training materials, meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages for the five nights of the training. Note that you should plan to arrange your own lodging, which is not included in this price.
Please read on for more details regarding curriculum, ideal candidates for this training, and technical requirements. If you have remaining questions, please contact us here.
At DAC, we will cover a broad spectrum of material with learning objectives listed below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and the training will culminate in a capstone project integrating all the skills below and more.
Trainers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including electoral and issue organizers at both the national and local levels, specializing in analytics, engineering, and data to support field and digital organizing.
Learning Objectives: At the end of this training, participants will be able to:
- Create a strategic technical plan to link digital and field actions
- Understand the variety of field roles on a campaign and their tech needs
- Understand how data can support digital, communications, and fundraising
- Understand how to manage your time when juggling multiple demands
- Understand how electoral or issue data can be used to support long-term community building
Tech and Engineering
- Articulate the differences and limitations of voter database systems, SQL, Excel, Command Line and Python for data management
- Create GIS Maps
- Create a security plan for a campaign or organization to protect against phishing, surveillance and other security concerns
- Explore the following based on their current skill set:
- Link and standardize various datasets inside of Google sheets and Excel using formulas such as TRIM and VLOOKUP
- Create SQL tables, write SELECT and WHERE statements
- Use command line to navigate through files, create new folders, and create new files
- Use command line to manipulate a file and output the results to a new file
- Write a macros to standardize and link datasets in Excel and Google Sheets
- Write complex SQL scripts to generate field reports bridging digital and field
- Write a Python script to retrieve data from online resources
- Understand how models are created and are used by electoral and issue campaigns.
- Evaluate the predictability of field models and how they could be used in a field campaign based on their predictability
- Create field reports for field directors, campaign managers or senior advisors
- Create analytics crosstabs of field results to gain insights into a campaign’s supporters
- Understand best practices for setting up testing and experiments
- Create a set of strategic outreach suggestions based on analytics reports
Strategic Data Support + Targeting:
- Understand the various tech skills available to tackle data issues on campaigns, including Excel/Google Sheets formulas, GIS, SQL queries or voter database analytics tools
- Evaluate which tech skills are necessary to achieve a specific, rapid response data or analytics task to support a campaign
- Understand the differences between voter files in different states and counties
- Create a vote goal and path to victory for an electoral or issue based campaign, given a voter database and election date
- Evaluate what data appends or enhancements could support organizing outcomes
Ideal candidates can come from all walks of life: data practitioners looking to sharpen their skills and complete beginners passionate about organizing are equally welcome.
However, there are some attributes shared by all our applicants and those include:
- Technical Aptitude: Whether you have experience in writing code or not, we are interested in organizers able to pick up new technical skills quickly and proficiently. If you like pulling things apart and fixing them with or without an instructional manual or if you naturally find yourself troubleshooting others tech issues, you may be a good fit.
- Organizing Insight: You don’t need to be a professional politico, but we’re looking for applicants with experience doing organizing work on the ground. That can be long term work in your community, being a volunteer leader on a political campaign, or running an initiative yourself. Whatever it is, we’re looking for your passion, your creativity and your insight.
- Dedication to Intersectional Solutions: At Wellstone we are proud to center race, class, gender and sexuality during all our trainings and DAC will be no different. We want our trainees to be open to new ideas, not only from folks from different demographics, but different experiences, ages, geographies and organizing philosophies.
There are a few technical requirements to attend DAC. If possible, we ask all accepted attendees to bring a laptop computer with a minimum 4 GBs of RAM, capable of connecting to the Internet and downloading applications. Windows machines, Macs and Unix boxes all welcome. If you do not have a laptop which fits all these criteria, there will be some available for use during the training.
What do People do with their DAC Training?
DAC Alumni have gone on to be national, regional and deputy data directors on presidential and national issue campaigns; engineers for grassroots organizations, non-profits, and tech companies; GIS and analytics engineers for the White House and Federal Government; campaign managers, state directors, trainers and much more.
Note: we do plan to hold another DAC, July 31-August 4 in MN. This will be a separate application period and further details will be announced in late spring.
Questions? Contact us here.