Advanced Campaign Management School (ACMS) 2017

Advanced Campaign Management School (ACMS) is a flagship Wellstone program that trains experienced leaders, who will be playing a key management role in state or national-level progressive races.
Participants will spend a week together learning from leading practitioners on effective campaign strategy and tactics, grounded in a foundation of intersectional learning and mutual respect. This cohort will emerge from a week together with new and enhanced skills in campaign strategy, tactics and management.

At Wellstone, we believe in a country where everybody’s in, nobody’s out -- no exceptions. We believe in power through community and through collective action. And we reject the notion that race, ethnicity, class, gender, national origin, immigration status, and sexual orientation do not play a significant role in relationships of power in our society.

Politics must be about the improvement of people’s lives, and our political, social, and economic institutions must be transformed so that they embrace and enact our core progressive values. Our training programs are focused on building progressive power through the creation of ethical and democratic social, economic, and political institutions, organizations, and movements that reflect the values of justice, inclusivity, fairness, opportunity, dignity, and respect for all.

Due to the customized and highly interactive focus of this training, attendance is limited to a cohort of 50 people. We believe this cohort size will maximize learning and maintain a high quality of content and experiential instruction.

We require individuals to complete an online application for Advanced Campaign Management School.

The application deadline of October 16 has now passed and we are no longer accepting new applications.

All applications received by this date will be reviewed together and admission decisions will be sent on October 24, 2017.

Training Details and Logistics

ACMS is an intensive, five day training. Participants will be in the training space from approximately 8:30am to 8:30pm  Monday, December 4 - Thursday, December 7. The last day of the training (Friday, December 8) will run from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

All participants will need a laptop or tablet; most of the content will be online throughout the week.

The exact location details will be provided to accepted applicants. 


The cost to attend ACMS is $2,000 which includes:

  • A single occupancy hotel room onsite for 5 nights (checking in December 3rd, checking out December 8th)*
  • All training materials (other than your computer)
  • All meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages for the five days of the training.

*We strongly encourage all participants to stay onsite at the hotel where the training is taking place, but if you prefer to stay somewhere else in the area, please note that the cost to attend the training does not change. A hotel room is included in the registration cost because the venue contract is all inclusive and based on the total number of people attending the training (meaning, if you do not stay there it still costs us the same amount).


Thanks to our generous donors who are committed to investing in the next generation of progressive campaign leaders we are able to offer a limited number of 50% and 75% scholarships and a couple of full scholarships.

You can indicate through the application if you will need a scholarship in order to attend.

Trainers and Curriculum

Trainers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including electoral and issue organizers at both the national and local levels. The training team will be a combination of Wellstone staff and adjunct trainers who are experts from across the country in specific areas of campaign work.

At ACMS we will cover a broad spectrum of material with learning objectives listed below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list:

Learning objectives: At the end of this training, participants will be able to:

Campaign Planning

  • Articulate the roles and importance that messaging, base-building, digital, field/targeting, fundraising, direct mail, earned media, paid media, data/analytics, and staff management play in campaigns
  • Understand all components that make up a successful campaign plan
  • Plan/create an integrated campaign timeline

Leadership and Management

  • Understand leadership and communication styles through a race and gender lens
  • Effectively and creatively hire and manage campaign staff
  • Understand how to identify, support and champion the strengths of others on your team
  • Delegate, structure and engage your team

Base-Building and Messaging

  • Understand that engaging authentically with your base/community is essential to building power and winning campaigns
  • How to develop and communicate a consistent, authentic message throughout every component of your campaign
  • Create a message box

Paid and Earned Media

  • Articulate the options and viability of various kinds of paid and earned media for your campaign
  • Articulate components of effective mail pieces
  • Work effectively and positively with the press/media

Field and Targeting

  • Understand concepts of, and options for, voter research/polling and targeting
  • Create a realistic and effective field plan for your campaign
  • Write effective scripts for direct voter contact
  • Understand how to effectively use a voter file to communicate with a target audience

Data and Analytics

  • Explain what analytics are and how they relate to metrics and testing
  • Develop a plan for how to incorporate data and analytics testing into your campaign

Budget and Fundraising

  • Develop a realistic campaign budget
  • Set fundraising goals that are realistic and ambitious for your organization or campaign
  • Create an integrated fundraising plan
Ideal candidates for this training

ACMS is geared toward training experienced mid and senior level career organizers who have managed campaigns or played key staff roles in campaigns, particularly state-level campaigns and are looking to hone their skills and move into managerial campaign positions.

There are a couple of other key attributes we look for in our applicants and those include:

Openness to New Things: Whether you have years of experience or are just starting to take your campaigning career to new levels, we are interested in leaders who are excited about challenging themselves to learn innovative ways of doing the work and partnering with others to come up with creative solutions. People should come ready to be present and engaged.

Dedication to Intersectional Solutions: At Wellstone, we are proud to center race, class, gender and sexuality during all our trainings and ACMS will be no different. We want our trainees to be open to discussion, not only from folks of different demographics, but different experiences, ages, geographies and organizing philosophies.

Questions?  Contact Us
Focus Areas
Public & Political Leadership