5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Lee Jackson
September 25, 2020
5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Every year, young people around the country ask me what they can do to make a difference as the country inches closer to election day.As someone who has been responsible for volunteer recruitment and Election Day Operations, I am always going to point you to your closest campaign and tell you the best thing to do is to volunteer. Here is a list of five things you should do prior to election day (in addition to voter contact):1. Check Your Voter Registration Status After spending roughly one million dollars, I won my last election by less than 500 votes. Believe me when I tell you that every vote counts. This November, positions from School Board to President of the United States will be on the ballot. Do not miss out on exercising your right to vote because you forgot to register to vote or you are registered to vote at the wrong address. I have seen students turned away from the polling booth because they thought they were registered to vote at school, but they registered to vote at home. You can check your voter registration HERE. 2. Vote EarlyI'm not aware of a single state in America that does not give the option to vote early in one form or another. Although the terms and guidelines vary from one state to the next, you should have the option to vote early regardless of where you are currently located.You never know what's going to happen on election day. Vote now and get it out of the way. Additionally, there are likely a few races or referendum questions you did not expect to see on the ballot. Getting your ballot early will give you a few days to research this new-to-you-content and allow you to vote responsibly. You can find more information about how to vote early HERE. Side note: Don't let the lingo about voting early intimidate you or stop you from doing so. In Maine, we don't have early voting, but we do have in-person absentee voting. Which is a fancy way of saying you vote absentee, in-person, prior to Election Day -- aka early voting. Also, a lot of jurisdictions are allowing voters to drop of their completed ballot at some sort of drop-off box or track where their ballots are in the mail. Make sure you leave plenty of time for the postal service to return your ballot after you vote. Like I said, this is going to be the year of close elections. Every note needs to count. Double check to see if you need a stamp.3. Keep an Eye on Campus Administration Classes, meetings, and liberal bias: three things a conservative student is pretty much guaranteed to experience during any given semester. When it comes to liberal bias on college campuses, the best disinfectant is always sunlight. If you see something that doesn't pass the straight-face test, you can send an anonymous tip to Campus Reform HERE.4. Take an LI training As we get closer to Election Day, the Leadership Institute (LI) is laser focused on training as many conservative activists as possible, so you can play your part in the upcoming election. LI hosts safe, in-person and online trainings. Many of these trainings are available to you at no cost thanks to the generous donors of the Leadership Institute. You can find LI's upcoming list of trainings HERE. Additionally, the campus leadership team has created three-hour trainings for club leaders and members. These Youth Leadership Workshops (YLWs) are flexible and range from Media and PR to how to recruit on campus. If you would like to organize one of these trainings for your group, you can email me at LJackson@LeadershipInstitute.org.5. Volunteer (Get Paid) to be a Poll Worker on Election DayHave you ever thoughts about what it takes to run an election? Not a campaign, but the administration part of an election? One of the crucial pieces of running an election is poll workers, who help check-in voters, answer clerical questions, and do tasks throughout the day. Due to coronavirus, election administrators are struggling to find people to work the polls. Not only do poll workers protect the integrity of elections, they can also get paid more than $100 for a days-worth of work. You can find out more information in this video by Campus Reform's Editor in Chief, Cabot Phillips. Decide now. What will you do to make a difference for your conservative principles as the country inches closer to election day?
Lead Your Future: College Students Shape a Brighter Tomorrow
Tiffany Roberts
September 12, 2020
Lead Your Future: College Students Shape a Brighter Tomorrow
Do you want to make a difference, but you don't think your vote is enough? According to the NY Times, less than 50% of Americans think their vote will make a difference. Not only are they wrong, but there's far more than just voting that you can do to make a change.The mark you can make is far bigger than you likely realize. Youth and grassroots campaigns are absolutely vital in politics. According to Forbes, college age voters dramatically swayed the 2018 elections with double the turnout of 2014. If you're in college, it's prime time to get involved.Around 20 million students attend college in the US every semester. That's 15% of the voting age population at your fingertips. Less than one fifth of college students vote in congressional elections. If you want your candidate elected, you can easily have a hand in making that happen. In Episode 7 of the Lead Your Future Podcast, you will learn about all the information you'll share and gain, the impact you can have, and how you can start getting involved right now!1. Help Educate Your PeersThe vast majority of people on college campuses don't know who their representative is, let alone what they're doing. When students learn how policy affects them, they head to the polls in much higher numbers. When you help other students learn, you can easily become an expert on the relevant policy issues. Most college students tend to have very internally conflicting beliefs. Youth campaigns give you an opportunity to help countless students educate themselves.2. You Can Impact Elections and PolicyBelieve it or not, you can be an integral part in turning the tides of elections. The hours you volunteer may be easy for you now, due to class schedules; but they are invaluable to any campaign. You may be saving a campaign thousands of dollars just by volunteering some of your time. Moreover, your impact is long-term. Statistically speaking, when you start voting a certain way at 18, you're likely to vote the same way for the rest of your life. When you campaign as a college student now, you help nurture fellow students into lifelong supporters of causes you believe in.3. Learn How to Get InvolvedThe first step is to attend “the bootcamp of politics,” the Youth Leadership School. This will teach you everything you need to know about the ground game of youth campaigns. The next step is to seek out organizations like the Conservative Leadership PAC and help lead the future of grassroots movements.Joining a youth campaign is not only a rewarding way to beef up your resume, but it's an invaluable opportunity to help shape a brighter tomorrow. Listen to Episode 7 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more from a youth campaign leader and veteran. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter
Four Tips to Land a Paid Campaign Position
Matthew Patterson
September 14, 2018
Four Tips to Land a Paid Campaign Position
Full disclosure… political campaigns aren't glamorous; they require long hours, low or no pay, a thick skin, and a lot of stress.But if you can handle all that, working on a political campaign can be one of the most exciting and rewarding careers in the conservative movement. You'll travel, talk to new people about your cause or candidate, be part of a dynamic and close team, and if you win, you'll effect change!Many conservatives hope to work on campaigns, but most of us can't afford to go without salary. With only a handful of paid jobs to go around, I'll give you four tips to land a paid position on a campaign.1. Strike while the iron is hotTo get involved in a campaign, try to find one early in the election cycle. By looking for a campaign early on, you can narrow down your pick of what kind of race you want to work, and in what capacity.Check Election Commission filings to find which candidates are raising funds for the race. The more money a campaign has, the more it can pay. While it may be more exciting to work for an underdog, unless they are self-funding or raising comparable amounts to their opponents, it may be difficult to get that paycheck. via GIPHYThe main advantage to finding a campaign early is that they likely don't have all their positions filled, which means they are hiring!2. Humble YourselfUnless you have previous election experience, or extremely relevant experience, the campaign may not bring you on immediately for a paid position.However, by offering to come on as a volunteer or intern you can show the staff and the candidate that you believe in their campaign and are willing to get your hands dirty. This will go a long way when time comes to fill permeant positions, so hold tight and pull your weight.via GIPHY3. Make your intentions knownCampaigns are generally tight with their budgets, spending every dollar where it will have the most impact. If the campaign team does not know you are seeking a paid position, it may never come.Be honest with the campaign manager, let them know you are seeking a paid role on the team. If you cannot afford to pay your bills, you won't be able to do much help for the campaign.By letting the campaign manager know your intentions, it will allow them to give you more specific tasks to gauge your aptitude for your desired role. This will help show the campaign staff that your pay would be money well spent.via GIPHY4. Always Be ClosingThere is no sleep during election season. Whether it's yard signs, flyers, events, or meetings, there is always an opportunity to get more votes.Always be closing on your goal, be the “3:00 AM type”.Be the person who will put out yard signs all night, walk in four different parades the next day, and still make it to that public speaking engagement that evening. Motivation and passion are what you must demonstrate to the campaign team.Make yourself vital, and that paid position won't be far behind!via GIPHY
Leadership Institute Program Catalog
Leadership Institute
January 16, 2018
Leadership Institute Program Catalog
The Leadership Institute increases the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this, LI identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media.LI's Program Catalog, available for you to view here, gives you a 41 page overview of Leadership Institute programs, including:- Campus leadership,- Campus journalism,- Career services,- 47 types of training schools,- International training, and- Online training and resources.
ADF’s Alan Sears and LI’s Morton Blackwell Friends in Liberty
Carol Wehe
August 9, 2017
ADF’s Alan Sears and LI’s Morton Blackwell Friends in Liberty
It is often said, our role models challenge us to become our best self. In the case of Alan Sears, one of his role models taught him valuable lessons to be successful in conservative politics. Alan Sears, former President of Alliance Defending Freedom (1993-2017), first crossed paths with LI President Morton Blackwell in 1967 in Kentucky. They've been through the gamut of conservative politics through the years – on campaigns, in the Reagan administration, and as presidents of two non-profits. “When I worked in the Reagan administration, when I worked in the private law firm, everything I have done had the hand of Morton in it,” Alan said. Back then, Alan was a college student and left school for a few semesters to work on a campaign in Kentucky. At the same time, Morton was the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) and ran the youth campaign for Louie B. Nunn for Governor of Kentucky. “My relationship and knowledge of Morton Blackwell dates back to, unbelievably, 1967 in Kentucky,” Alan recalls 50 years later. “My family is from Kentucky, I went to the University of Kentucky, and I actually dropped out of school twice, two semesters, to work for Louie.” “Every time I was with Louie,” Alan continued, “he would sit there and every time, it didn't matter who it was or what they were doing on the campaign, he would tell us about a man named Morton Blackwell. He would tell us, ‘everybody needs to be like Morton.' Morton got him elected to office against all odds.” At that time, liberals and unions ran the state. “Morton had really pulled off a miracle to help Louie get elected as Governor in this really hardcore Democrat state, with a very strong union presence. So I kept in contact with the guy,” Alan said. Morton went on to develop the Youth Leadership School (YLS) out of his success running youth campaigns and training student leaders during his time with the CRNC. The YLS became known as the “bootcamp of politics” because of how much valuable experience-driven training Morton packed into this two-day training. He made the YLS the flagship school of his Leadership Institute. After they saw the value of Morton's youth campaign strategy, Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn and many other leaders began to send young people to Morton's Youth Leadership School. “I've referred countless people to the Youth Leadership School,” Alan said. “Morton is a builder. He is a guy who understands the importance of personnel.” In 1972, Morton came up with the maxim, “personnel is policy.” That's something Alan heard from Morton and took to heart, especially running his own organizations. “Personnel is policy. It is the life blood of every organization that I have ever run,” Alan said. “Whether it was government, private practice, charitable, or ministry. I have adopted that slogan.” In between political campaigns, his work for U.S. Senators from Kentucky, and helping on President Reagan's 1976 and 1978 campaigns, Alan completed his degree and became a lawyer. Morton's tenure as Special Assistant to the President on President Reagan's White House Staff (1981-1984), Alan began working at the Department of Justice. He worked under both AG William Smith and Ed Meese. He served in both Reagan and Bush administrations before turning his attention to Alliance Defending Freedom. For 23 years, Alan ran Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a faith-based organization dedicated to defending religious liberty. Leadership Institute and ADF often partner on college campuses to find, support, and defend conservative college students struggling under the liberal bias rampant there. “ADF has won over 400 contested legal matters with private campuses or universities,” Alan says. “In addition to that, Morton has helped many students know that they have rights under the Constitution and that universities cannot just walk over them.” Alan says of all the lessons he's learned from Morton, “Being steadfast is a big one. Morton has withstood the storm in Washington, D.C. Once people get into the Beltway they get enamored with relationships in the Beltway and they become people pleasers. They lose their energy. Not Morton Blackwell. Morton is steadfast.” “Morton is a great friend to me and to the entire liberty movement.”>
Youth coordinator mobilizes support, propels Air Force Brigadier General to Congressional victory
Sara Wajda
July 28, 2017
Youth coordinator mobilizes support, propels Air Force Brigadier General to Congressional victory
“Pack your bags, Sara. We're getting on a plane in 24 hours to make you the new Youth Director for the campaign.”It took a second for those words from my colleague at the Don Bacon for Congress campaign to sink in. Even now, I still can't believe it sometimes.Let me tell you about the journey you put me on — that helped a committed conservative and retired Air Force Brigadier General win election in a battleground district.God had a different plan When someone asked me why I would ever want to get involved in politics, my first answer was shocking. I didn't want to go into politics. I actually wanted to become a labor and delivery nurse, but obviously God had a different plan for me.As my freshman year at Creighton University in Nebraska came to a close, the former youth director on now-Congressman Don Bacon's campaign invited me to join the team. Intrigued, I told myself I would get my feet wet in campaigning, but nothing more.In a few weeks I was knee-deep in campaigning!LI's Youth Leadership School opens new doors Shortly after joining the Bacon campaign, the Leadership Institute's “boot camp of politics” — their Youth Leadership School — came to town in Omaha. At the school, I gained an abundance of knowledge I could use both on college campuses and on the campaign trail.After the two-day, intensive training session, the campaign asked me to fly to Arlington, Virginia to receive further training and become the new youth director on Don Bacon's campaign.In Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, the race was neck-and-neck with a Democrat incumbent congressman, Brad Ashford.Armed with Leadership Institute training, another youth coordinator and I quickly canvassed every major college campus in Nebraska's second district and organized students to volunteer and vote for Don Bacon.More than 150 students regularly volunteered on Don Bacon's campaign! Hundreds more pledged to vote for him.The Youth for Bacon groups we organized worked 11,300 man-hours for the campaign and knocked on more than 125,000 doors. The Congressman himself credits the Leadership Institute's practical, tried-and-true training with his victory.From youth coordinator to Institute intern — and beyond Following the Bacon victory, I received an invitation to intern at the Leadership Institute. After my amazing previous experience with LI, I knew this was an opportunity I could not turn down. As an LI intern, I grew leaps and bounds in both my career and personal life. I had the opportunity to rub elbows with the most influential leaders in the conservative movement.I worked as a true member of the Institute team, not just someone who makes copies and gets coffee. Through numerous networking and career opportunities, I landed my job at the National Right to Work Committee, where I lobbied for federal Right to Work legislation.Life-changing opportunities abound at the Leadership Institute The Leadership Institute changed my life. Without the LI training my colleagues and I brought to the campaign, Congressman Don Bacon would not have defeated a Democrat with a 60 percent favorability rating. Without LI, I would not be on a path to advance conservative principles nationwide. Without LI, I truly believe the left would have taken the majority in the House and the Senate.I know that I have found success by dint of my commitment and hard work, but I also know that were it not for the Leadership Institute, none of the opportunities I've had would've been possible.I'm so grateful to Morton Blackwell, to the Leadership Institute — and especially to donors like you whose support helps make this country great. Sara is now back in Nebraska. At just 20 years old, she continues her political career as the state-wide Field Director for Governor Pete Ricketts' reelection campaign. Please join the Leadership Institute in congratulating her on her excellent work advancing the conservative movement at such a young age.>
Using Snapchat As An Activist
Stephen Rowe
July 21, 2017
Using Snapchat As An Activist
More than 160 million people check Snapchat every day -- and seven out of 10 of them are under the age of 35.The popular mobile app first became known for users posting videos and pictures that “self-destruct” (disappear) after they're played. But there's more to Snapchat than that. Members of Congress, media companies from the Wall Street Journal to the Food Network, and media personalities like Bret Baier are all on it too. Here's how you can make the most of Snapchat as an activist.#1 UsegeofiltersThe next time you're thinking of flyers for your event, think of Snapchat geofilters too.Geofilters are custom designs (think stickers) that overlay on Snapchat photos. They're limited to a specific location, known as a “geo-fence.” Example geo-fences may be inside a sports stadium, at a wedding venue, or a political rally or other event. You can create your own on-demand geofilters for any event to help spread your message. When people post a photo or video to Snapchat inside your pre-set geo-fence, they'll see your filter as an option. When they select it, they're sharing their photo or video plus your filter with their friends.Starting at just $5, geofilters are often cheaper than the printing costs of flyers -- and have the potential to reach far more people. That $5 goes far: 20,000 square feet or half the size of an NFL football field.You can use free design programs like Canva to create your custom design.Geofilters must be 1080x1920 pixels and saved as a PNG, a common type of graphics file. It is best to place your filter in the top or bottom quarter of the screen so the filter does not block the original photo. Choose when and where you want your custom design to be active. Then submit your design to Snapchat at least 24 hours in advance. (You can submit your design here.)The next day, you can see data about how your filter performed. #2 Create your storySnapchat lets you create custom stories within a specific location (yes, the geo-fence again). That means that anyone using Snapchat inside the geo-fence can contribute to a group story.You can select friends within your desired location to contribute to your story, or you can set it up so that friends of friends can also join in and see the fun. This all happens free of charge. This means more publicity for your events, conferences, and more. Your next event can be full of attendees sharing their experiences with their friends and on the geofenced story. You can create up to three custom Stories of your own. You can post an unlimited number of times in stories created by others. To make your own custom Story, swipe right on the home screen then click the plus symbol in the top right of your screen. Then select Geofence and pick your desired location.#3 BONUS: Take LI's Online Training: Emerging Social Media PlatformsStructured as fun, easy-to-understand introductions, the three days of LI's Emerging Social Media Platforms Workshop will get you up and running on new, popular social media platforms -- including Snapchat.Each day, you will complete "deep dive" into Instagram (Monday), Snapchat (Tuesday), and Facebook Live (Wednesday). You can check out the full agenda – and sign up – here.You will learn:• how to set up your account and choose from the different types of posts for Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook Live; • the meaning common terms and acronyms, so you can maximize your presence; and• lessons learned from how campaigns, media companies, and conservative organizations are using each platform.Register for Emerging Social Media Platforms workshop. >
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
Autumn Campbell
April 20, 2017
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
With the Leadership Institute's Building Your Brand Workshop around the corner, here are some pointers to give you a head start on building your brand through op-eds.You have something to say. But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. How do you get your voice out there?A good place to start is blogging. I know, I know, everyone has a blog. But there's a reason for that. You can practice putting your thoughts and arguments down while getting feedback from friends and peers.Through practice on your blog, you can begin to harness your thoughts and build a framework for your field of expertise.So you've been blogging – but you're ready for more. It's time to write an op-ed.An op-ed is an article or piece with an opinion and written with a strong point of view. Here's why you'll shine in an op-ed:You'll show your expertiseDevelop your argumentLearn to use facts to back up your argumentAnd establish your credibilityFollow these general guidelines for your op-ed:Limit your word count to about 700 words or lessOpen with a strong leadMake your argument quickly and conciselyRemember, you cannot submit a piece that's already been publishedBe patient and don't give upYou'll find many informative websites on how to submit your op-ed. Here are a few links with guidelines for DC area news sources to get you started:Washington ExaminerWashington TimesWashington PostPolitico The Hill Now go write! (And remember me when you're a rich and famous expert.)Still want more insight? Take LI's Building Your Brand: From Op-ed to On-camera Wednesday and Thursday evenings, April 26-27. Register here!>
CPAC – A Family of Conservatives and a Chance to Learn
Ben Woodward
February 13, 2017
CPAC – A Family of Conservatives and a Chance to Learn
The conservative movement is formidable -- why? Because we're a family.Our organizations work together, share ideas, collaborate on events, and promote each other's staff and interns. Anybody who works in the movement will be able to list their many friends in think tanks, non-profits, lobby groups, and on the Hill.And, like any family… we have our challenges. We don't always cooperate the way we should, and we don't always speak with one voice. But we have a common purpose, and it drives us in the same direction.If the conservative movement is a family, then CPAC is Christmas dinner. The time when we all come together to catch up with old friends, celebrate our victories, commiserate our losses, trade ideas, network, and discover new opportunities. In this blog, I want to talk to you about the opportunities at CPAC, because CPAC is about so much more than big speeches, and selfies with members of Congress. CPAC is a chance to learn new skills! The Leadership Institute will run a Campus Activism Bootcamp, to teach you the core skills to fight liberal bias on campuses, draw attention to your activism, create student groups, change policy, and expose biased professors.Top lawyers will teach you the laws of academic freedom so you know when your rights to freedom of expression are breached. You will also learn how to draw attention to your activism and events through digital and social media efforts that have made many conservatives famous, and also given a platform for ideas mainstream media won't discuss. In addition, the Leadership Institute will run a Career Bootcamp to give you the skills you need to secure your next job or promotion in the movement. Learn to network with top conservatives, boost your resume, and stand-out at interviews.There will also be panel discussions with major recruiters from the movement, private sector, and beyond. Those of you serious about your futures should not miss out on this chance to question them and learn what you can do to work in the movement.To help you with your current job search… the Leadership Institute will be running Career and Resume Consultations throughout CPAC. Come find us!A few things to remember:Don't neglect ‘horizontal networking.' By this, I mean networking with people who are at the same professional level as you are. They are future leaders; they are also your connection to partner organizations who can help you in your endeavors.Get your business cards ready, and make sure you follow up with every person you meet. You never know whose recommendation will secure your next opportunity.Also, CPAC's true opportunities are waiting for you outside of the main conference hall. Go to as many lunches as you can manage, and as many after conference dinners as possible.The best networking happens in relaxed environments.CPAC is also a place to learn new skills and ideas. Go to the panel discussions, and learn from the experts in the areas of policy you agree with, and those you don't. CPAC is a chance to broaden your mind!The movement is growing, and CPAC is a great opportunity to put your foot on the door. Morton Blackwell, says in his Laws of the Public Policy: “Never miss a political meeting if you think there's the slightest chance you'll wish you'd been there.”This is one event you're not going to want to miss.I look forward to meeting you at what promises to be an eventful CPAC 2017!Find out more about Leadership Institute's six CPAC events at LeadershipInstitute.org/CPAC. Register for CPAC here.>
LI Trains Conservatives for Success in 2016
Kyle Baccei
January 3, 2017
LI Trains Conservatives for Success in 2016
Last year was an exciting year for many reasons! In 2016, the Leadership Institute trained 10,274 conservatives, launched new online programs, and trained candidates and campaign staff across the country -- all thanks to the generous support of LI donors.Through 2016, Institute graduates impacted campaigns across the country. The Youth Leadership School trained 925 conservatives at 37 trainings in 2016. Of those 2016 graduates, 81 were involved in a youth campaign across 16 states.LI's staff and 178 volunteer faculty trained 10,274 students -- totaling 103,014 hours of student training. The Institute trained 8,216 students nationally and 2,058 students internationally, bringing the total trained to 181,459 since 1979.In total, LI offered 371 training events representing 44 types of Institute trainings. These ranged from on-camera TV trainings to weeklong Campaign Management Schools to grassroots activist workshops to the Youth Leadership School, the boot-camp of politics.The Institute also launched a new type of training: online programs. These workshops offer attendees the same benefits as the Leadership Institute's top-notch trainings -- from the comfort of their own homes. Online attendees can see and hear the instructor, ask questions and talk with others in the workshop; and learn from a variety of lectures, hands-on-projects, and demonstrations -- just like any in-person training.LI trained 350 students online in 13 trainings, totaling 1,050 student hours.On college campuses around the country, LI's National Field Program staff identified 88,395 new conservative students and added 678 new student groups to LI's unique network of affiliated conservative student organizations. By the end of 2016, this network of conservative student groups had grown to 1,856.CampusReform.org remains America's #1 source for campus news online. Its 1,380 stories – many written by 70 campus correspondents – about liberal bias and abuse generated 15.8 million pageviews, 2,140 republications by online news outlets, and 151 appearances on TV. In total, CampusReform.org's reporting led to 36 victories and campus policy changes for conservatives on college campuses. More than 4,146 job seekers connected with 2,005 available jobs on the Institute's ConservativeJobs.com. The Career Services Center hosted 470 attendees at job fairs and offered 394 personal resume consolations. Viewers from all 50 United States and around the world have tuned in to LI's free webinars since they began streaming from LI Studios in 2011. In 2016 alone, 1,546 viewers watched LI's 23 webinars.LI's Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts hosted 1,059 attendees and 11 speakers in 2016. Speakers included Pete Hegseth, Congressman Tom Emmer, and Congressman Alex Mooney.The 45th National Fourth of July Conservative Soiree hosted 356 attendees. The 2016 featured speakers were Ed Gillespie and Rob Bell.There are countless stories about the impact of Leadership Institute graduates in 2016. It's been a good year at the Leadership Institute, and LI is excited about what 2017 has in store!Review the online 2017 training calendar for currently scheduled trainings near you.How has LI helped you? Email Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org to share your story. LI is always looking to spotlight faculty doing incredible things for the conservative movement, notable LI graduates making waves, and college students taking a stand on campus. >
Why Your Campaign Skills Make You an Asset
Ben Woodward
December 5, 2016
Why Your Campaign Skills Make You an Asset
The campaign is over. It's been a tough few months, and now you have a moment to breathe. I hope you have taken time to enjoy your victories -- or for those not as lucky, commiserate your defeats. But it is important to remember that life moves on and the time to think about your next career move is now. Whether you are looking for a job in the administration, think tanks, non-profits, or on the Hill, seize the moment. The current opportunities in the conservative movement are boundless. Following the election, hundreds of vacancies are opening up as people change jobs. If you're coming off a campaign, you may have gained skills which will make you an asset. The following skills you have learned could carry you to your dream job:Fundraising: During the campaign, you learned how to sell your candidate. You learned what to say in order to convince donors to help keep the campaign afloat. You probably accumulated these donors into a network you could rely on. To do this you may have planned events, written direct communications, created social media campaigns, and more. A development role in most movement organizations will require these skills. They will need you to be able to sell what they offer and convince donors why giving to their organizations will advance the movement and produce tangible results. Event Management: One of the toughest elements of a campaign is event management. This is your opportunity to reward your donors and volunteers, raise publicity, and raise money. You have booked venues and entertainment, managed a budget, and procured caterers. To do this you may have had a small team to run, you had to keep an eye on the details, and your organizational skills were pushed to the limit.Use these skills to your advantage. All organizations run events of some kind, and there is a high demand for competent event staff.Using Digital: Marketing in the private sector, organizations are constantly seeking new ways to sell their brands and identify new customers. The competition to remain at the forefront of digital marketing is intense. Campaigns are no different. During the campaign you used social media initiatives to target supporters and boost posts; you may have used Facebook Live for example. You may have used Photoshop software, mass emails, and explored your creative gifts.For conservative organizations to compete with the left, they have to hire talented, creative, and tech savvy candidates. That's where you come in.Planning: To fail to plan is to plan to fail. Working on a campaign means you planned how to use time, people, and money effectively. Planning ahead means you anticipate mistakes, you research, and most importantly you manage a budget accordingly.These skills are universally valued, and they will aid you in all aspects of your life.Communications & Marketing: Campaigns are a fierce battle between rivals who are not just selling themselves but discrediting their opponents. Learning to deliver your message effectively so that people identify your candidate with the right policies is essential. Learning how to handle negative information is also a requirement. You have to know when to discredit attacks, when to apologize for them, and when to ignore them. Learning to identify the target market of an organization, deliver your message, and manage negative information will make you an asset in the job market.Managing people: Management is tough; you have to be a leader, be able to give clear direction, and know your staff well enough to identify their strengths and weaknesses. A campaign is a team effort; and without a motivated army of committed activists, it will fail.Organizations in and out of the movement are no different. Success depends upon good leaders who get the best out of their teams. Personnel is Policy.GOTV: Getting out the vote is not so different from persuading clients and supporters of organizations to invest, purchase, donate, and volunteer. During the campaign, if you knew there were individuals who were likely to vote for your candidate, it was your job to make sure they voted.Many conservative organizations require those skills to motivate people to attend their events, sign up for correspondence, and actively participate in their campaigns.Remember, if you have worked on a campaign, you are a uniquely skilled individual! Some or all of these skills, and no doubt many more, will apply to you. Use them, be proud of them, and most importantly, use them to get a job!Ben Woodward works with the Leadership Institute's ConservativeJobs.com. He provides jobseekers with career advice and helps them find jobs in the conservative movement. >
Elections Have Consequences -- On Your Career
Ben Woodward
November 8, 2016
Elections Have Consequences -- On Your Career
The Leadership Institute trains thousands of conservatives each year; many currently have jobs in campaigns and other areas of the public policy process. These energetic, ambitious individuals are committed to learning how to win and to spreading conservative ideas. For some, however, particularly our younger graduates, there is only one concern at the front of their minds – their careers.Today's elections are sure to have a significant impact on the conservative job market, regardless of the outcome. If individuals are seeking employment within the movement, if they work in the movement, and especially if they currently work on a campaign, they should be planning for all possible circumstances. Elections have consequences.In careers, the most important Law of the Public Policy Process we live by is number 26: “Personnel is Policy.” An employer who wants to advance conservatism can achieve more by hiring qualified people who share those principles. On the other hand, a conservative job seeker can promote conservatism, even if the employer is not to the right, simply by moving the conversation away from the middle.If the new administration is friendly to conservative principles, then countless opportunities may arise; however, in the event that those in power do not sympathize with conservatives, job seekers should not be afraid to broaden their horizons.Politics is a bumpy road, and individuals may have to find a new career path at any time. It is important, therefore, to keep an open mind about careers. Conservatives should not be afraid to work outside the public policy process. For example, a sound conservative may be able to influence a company or non-profit simply by moving it to the right from within.For those currently involved in a campaign, they will learn a broad variety of skills that are applicable to multiple career paths. Learning to communicate messages effectively, networking, and organizing events are all skills which will prepare them for other careers.Too many people believe that simply being conservative and philosophically sound will guarantee their success. It is not enough, however, to simply have the right ideas. If conservatives want to succeed in the movement and broaden the influence of conservatism in the public policy process, then they must prepare for any eventuality.If you are seeking employment in the conservative movement, or you are looking to progress in your current position, attend the Leadership Institute's Conservative Career Workshop on November 15 & 16 by following the link here.>
New Overtime Rule is Dehumanizing
Joe Metzger
October 24, 2016
New Overtime Rule is Dehumanizing
Texas and 20 other states have announced a lawsuit to block the Obama Administration's destructive overtime rules, which are slated to go into effect December 1, 2016. With less than 3-months to spare, victory in the case would save businesses and workers across the U.S. from this dehumanizing and economically damaging law.According to the new rule, salaried workers earning below $47,476 per year must be paid time-and-a-half for work done in excess of forty hours per week. This is up from a previous salary threshold of $23,660. The rule promises more pay for working long hours, more money for lower-income employees and struggling families, and fewer hours for the same pay! Doesn't that sound wonderful? Unfortunately, that isn't how it will work out in reality.I know, because I'm the person at the Leadership Institute who is responsible for implementing the changes. I see the real faces of those it will impact every day, and I am not looking forward to hurting our employees with a counterproductive rule that harms more workers than it helpsOur salaried employees enjoy being salaried and treated like adults. They are given tasks to do, and they decide how and when to do them. Nobody looks over their shoulders with a stopwatch telling them how long they have to drink coffee.Sure, they have some weeks that are very busy and which require long hours, but if they want to come in late for a few days in a row, leave early, or take an extra week off during the slow season, they get that flexibility too.They get the flexibility to work from home or pursue job-related training opportunities. If they need to take a couple hours off to pick up a sick child from school or take care of some errands, they have that option.Effective December 1, however, I have to take away that flexibility and freedom.President Obama's new rule will make it illegal for the Leadership Institute to pay for work product, and instead it mandates that we pay only for time. If we are compelled to pay for time, we have to track time precisely.That means that we can't let employees work from home because we can't track their hours. Employees who leave early to pick up their kids must lose paid hours. An employee who works a late night must take time off that same week even if he would rather have time off the next week. Worst of all, every employee must start punching a clock while every minute of his day is scrutinized.If the Leadership Institute does not follow all of these practices, we risk fines from the Department of Labor and retroactive overtime payments if anyone alleges uncompensated overtime.In addition to these dehumanizing workplace changes, we have to adopt additional cost-saving measures.Administratively, the time keeping requirement is time consuming. For our payroll budget, we have no idea what this will cost since we've never tracked hours closely before, but we know this is not going to make things less expensive.To offset these expected costs, we are planning more unpleasant changes that harm staff, including an end to paid work-related training. Although we take pride helping staff develop new skills to enhance their careers, this benefit becomes too expensive at time-and-a-half. We also plan to cut staff salaries by the amount of overtime we expect to pay during the year. If staff work overtime every week, they'll receive the same salary as before, but if they work fewer hours, they'll receive less money.Because this rule affects only employees who are paid less than $47,476 per year, effective December 1, we'll have a two-tier employment system: lower-paid, second-class employees who lose their freedom and flexibility while being treated like children, and higher-paid, first-class employees who continue to enjoy all the benefits of a salary structure.President Obama talks often about wanting to reduce “inequality” in this country, but he successfully found a way to create more inequality while hurting employees and their families. Let's hope that this coalition of states is successful in its effort to block these disastrous changes before they take effect on December 1.This article was originally published on FoxNews.Joseph R. Metzger is Vice President of Finance at the Leadership Institute in Arlington, VA.>
Recent graduate uses Leadership Institute skills to launch campaign in Washington, DC
Jami Averwater
August 24, 2016
Recent graduate uses Leadership Institute skills to launch campaign in Washington, DC
It is safe to say Ashley Carter stays busy as the Grassroots Director for the Independent Women's Forum. This role leads her around the country speaking on many vital topics, including the importance of women running for public office. In fact, the organization has recently expanded to 10 states where they advocate heavily for issues of importance to women and families. Ashley covered these topics on a panel at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Now, Ashley Carter has announced her candidacy for DC Board of Education member At-Large.To recruit volunteers for her campaign, Ashley shared with me she had success using Leadership Institute's free job placement service, ConservativeJobs.com. "I have found LI to be a wonderful resource," she said. "And I continue to flourish in my career and now my campaign because of the Institute." In preparation for her campaign, she participated in both Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School and Future Candidate School. In the picture below, Ashley stands in the front row with a group of fellow Leadership Institute graduates at the Campaign Management School."Being immersed in a deep learning about campaigns with other candidates and leaders who share my beliefs helped to turn an idea about becoming a candidate into reality." Before beginning her role with Independent Women's Forum, Ashley attended the Women's Leadership Workshop and Women's Communications Workshop at the Leadership Institute in 2014. Ashley says that participating in these trainings helped her to find a network of conservative women who have continued to support her endeavor to be elected to the Board of Education in Washington, D.C. When asked what advice she would give to young people in the conservative movement, Ashley responded, "I believe all young conservatives should keep their minds open when facing new experiences. . . as a young conservative, you are an ambassador to the movement... Be proud to be a conservative!"Jami Averwater is a summer intern in the External Affairs Department for the Leadership Institute. Follow her on Twitter (@Jamikristin). The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,619 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org. >
Conservatives Learn Data Skills for Campaigns
R. McKinley
August 11, 2016
Conservatives Learn Data Skills for Campaigns
Early this summer, I was among 40 students who attended the Leadership Institute's first-ever Campaign Data Workshop.Since liberals began using data driven technology in 2004, conservatives have put themselves at a disadvantage by stubbornly sticking with inefficient paper walk books. Their campaigns have suffered the consequences.During the evening workshop, attendees heard topics ranging from general campaign advice to specific data applications in case studies.“Data driven technology acts as a force multiplier and data can help campaign managers make key decisions," said Joshua Fimbres, a Business Intelligence Analyst at Freedom Partners. Joshua specifically spoke on data and why it is important for campaigns. He showed various companies who provide data services to campaigns, and strategies to use voter data within the different phases of a campaign.“In fact,” Joshua went on to say, “I would even go as far as to say that all campaign structure exists to implement these data driven decisions." He also covered examples of strategies he implemented in California and Maryland where voter data was used to effectively map out campaigns.Chris Stolte, Director of Campaign Accounts from i360, followed with a practical exercise on how to use their i360 app. Students downloaded the company's app during the lecture and practiced its use by generating a mock call list and walk book.One student in the workshop raised his hand to vouch for the application. As an employee at uCampaign, the student had previous experience with the program while placed on the Ted Cruz campaign. He also added valuable insight on how their application helped the Ted Cruz campaign effectively reach and mobilize voters using the freshly updated data provided by the other users. Many of the students' own campaign experiences shone through during a group exercise which provided an opportunity to create questions to identify potential voters. Laughter, discussion, and flying pens brought a sense of camaraderie as attendees shared different voter ID questions with the class. Thomas Bingham, Political Training Coordinator at the Leadership Institute, closed out the evening training workshop by emphasizing the winning difference on close campaigns. "Comparing a campaign with no technology at all going full throttle, to one with a smaller staff using technology and data to make decisions on their campaign, it can make a difference in performance of anywhere from 5% to 8%," he said.As a former campaign volunteer myself, I can tell you there is a night and day difference between the paper walk book system and the modernized system.The paper system often leaves you with frustrated volunteers, missing data, and wastes time, while data technology provides up-to-the-minute updates to headquarters, making it easy for volunteers to see their own progress and succeed. Learning how to effectively collect and use voter data is essential for anyone who is serious about winning a modern election; attending the Campaign Data Workshop gave many campaigns a head start.The next Campaign Data workshop is to take place on August 17 in Arlington, Virginia. R. McKinley is an intern in the Political Training department at the Leadership Institute. Click here for more information on upcoming trainings. The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,643 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.>
Leading Without Authority
Patricia Simpson
July 26, 2016
Leading Without Authority
Most of us don't run an organization or company, we aren't calling the shots, and we certainly aren't signing the checks. But that doesn't mean we can't be leaders in our current positions. Here are some helpful tips to put you in a position to influence your peers, and even your supervisors.1. See yourself as a leader. If you don't have confidence in yourself or your abilities, you can't assume anyone else will. Whatever task you are assigned, become an expert in it. Confidence often comes when you feel knowledgeable, and when you're confident you command respect.2. Having a network means you're connected. A good manager appreciates when their subordinates have contacts that can help a project be successful. If you know someone at another organization or company who would provide a positive impact on the project you're working on, speak up and let your supervisor know. There's a good chance they'll listen.3. Don't present problems. Present solutions. If you find yourself hitting roadblocks when working on a project, figure out the best way to work around it. When you let your supervisor know about the problem, you should already have a solution. It shows responsibility, creativity, and innovation – and puts your ideas and actions in the driver's seat.4. Act like you've been there before. There is always going to be a scenario in which you've never found yourself before. If you take charge and tackle the problem head on without hesitation, individuals are much more likely to listen to you because you are the automatic “expert.”5. It's a game of pushing and pulling. Figure out how other people communicate. Some are influenced by being pulled into a situation through leading and involving while others are pushed through inquiring and proposing. Once you identify how an individual is influenced, you can adapt your approach to any individual to make them more likely to listen and follow you. Use these five tips to drive results wherever it is you're currently working. Peers will follow your lead and supervisors will notice the example you're setting for others. If you're driven and learn to read others, you don't need a title to be a true leader.Patricia Simpson is the Director of Career Programs at the Leadership Institute. In addition to overseeing the Division's trainings, like the Conservative Career Workshop, she manages all aspects of ConservativeJobs.com -- the Institute's free job placement service. >
Leadership Institute graduate uses training to play active role in the Republican National Convention
Jami Averwater
July 19, 2016
Leadership Institute graduate uses training to play active role in the Republican National Convention
Joy Lee is a graduate of the Leadership Institute. She served as an attorney at the Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Joy was born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, CA and Baltimore County, MD. Joy is a proud graduate of University of Maryland and Washington and Lee University School of Law.Read her interview about her experiences at the Leadership Institute and the Republican National Convention. 1. How did being a Leadership Institute (LI) graduate prepare you to work for the Legal Division at the Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention (“COA”)? I attended the Leadership Institute's Women's Leadership Training in March 2014 in Arlington, Virginia with dozens of other women from around the country. Though this training did not prepare me for the legal and substantive parts of my role today, it provided me with a general framework as I started my career. Politics and the field of law are often considered to be male-dominated fields, so it's especially important for young women to learn how to present themselves as leaders wherever their careers take them.I was fortunate to be surrounded by and learn from some of the best legal, political, and logistics operatives in our party—many of whom are women. 2. How many months in advance does the COA begin to plan the Convention? I moved to Cleveland from Washington, DC for this position in late February/early March 2016, just under five months before the start of the Convention. At that point, the COA was already staffed to approximately fifty people, most of whom moved to Cleveland from various parts of the country.The first staff member of the COA was hired more than a year in advance of the Convention. At its peak, the COA had approximately 120 staffers, dozens of independent contractors and interns, and hundreds of volunteers. 3. Why was Cleveland chosen as the location for the 2016 Republican National Convention for the third time in history? The last time the Republican National Convention came to Cleveland was June 1936. Since then, the city of Cleveland has had its share of losses—economical and sports-related—but in recent years, Cleveland has experienced a resurgence. To showcase that on a national and even international level, the city of Cleveland submitted a bid to host not only the Republican National Convention but also the Democratic National Convention for three cycles in a row. When I asked a member of the Site Selection Committee why they chose Cleveland, he answered, “We felt special there.” Now that I've been in Cleveland for a few months, I can relate to that sentiment. The city of Cleveland has welcomed us with open arms, and it's evident how much this Convention means to the people of Cleveland. Especially in light of its recent NBA Championship—its first sports championship since 1964 and effectively earning its reputation as being a cursed sports city until now—there is a distinct buzz around town. It's exciting to be a part of history, not just for the party, but also for the city of Cleveland. >
Happy Independence Day
Mitch Nozka
July 4, 2016
Happy Independence Day
They called him “Silent Cal.” Calvin Coolidge, America's 30th president, was known as a man of few words in his private life. But on the presidential stage, when he had to lead our country, Coolidge spoke with conviction to the American people. “Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery,” Coolidge said. Appropriately for a man of principle, Coolidge was born on the 4th of July. As you and I enter into this Independence Day weekend, please enjoy this wisdom spoken by Coolidge on the 150th anniversary of our nation: “We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.” In a day where the left spits upon our patriotism, as long as I have breath, I will dare to maintain constitutional, liberty-loving, God-fearing convictions. And you are patriotic and courageous. Thank you for standing with the Leadership Institute to train grassroots conservatives to restore and protect America's founding principles against those who work to destroy them.>
Never Too Young – Teen Eagles Soak Up Activist Training
Elizabeth McCullough
May 6, 2016
Never Too Young – Teen Eagles Soak Up Activist Training
'You do not have to wait until you are 18 to make a difference -- you can start today.'This Spring, fifteen Tennessee Teen Eagles students, and parents landed in Washington, DC for a long-awaited trip-of-a-lifetime.Teen Eagles is affiliated with Eagle Forum, founded by conservative pioneer, Phyllis Schafly.After a year of studying history and politics, these bright students arrived to see history for themselves. First stop -- the Leadership Institute.While touring the U.S. Capitol at night, catching a free opera concert at the Kennedy Center, and visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Teen Eagles soaked up customized training taught by expert faculty and stayed in the LI dorms.Steven Sutton, Leadership Institute's Vice President of Development, spoke on the Real Nature of Politics.“Never attack the opponent; rather, define the opponent. Work in your community - do things that make a positive difference.”Guest lecturer and former LI Regional Field Coordinator, Matthew Hurtt, taught effective grassroots activism techniques and messaging.“Build coalitions among various conservative groups - remember, it's better to add and multiply than to subtract and divide.”Jeremiah Lorrig, of Generation Joshua https://www.generationjoshua.org/GenJ/, took the students on a journey through historical political ads, including a Reagan ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU-IBF8nwSY, discussing media messaging and bias. Of course, if you have something to say, you ought to say it well. Dr. John Shosky brought his talents in public speaking, challenging students to step out of their comfort zone and bravely face the mic. Through every session, the theme remained the same:"We are a government 'By the people, For the people.' But that only works if the people are engaged and involved. And you're never too young to make a difference." -- Jeremiah LorrigEngaging and practical, the Teen Eagles left D.C., a bit sunburned but excited to get involved when they returned to Tennessee.“The training I received at the Leadership Institute was an eye opening experience to how politics really work. It was extremely informative and very well prepared. It also made me want to come back soon for more training,” said Janey age 18. “Leadership Insitute Training helped me realize that I could be an influential role in America's present and future. Each speaker was very passionate about what they were teaching and I obtained so much knowledge from them. I left each class feeling inspired and longing to learn more,” said Rachel, age 17.Interested in making a difference for the conservative cause? Check out the complete list Leadership Training here.>
Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action
Paul Van Remortel
April 19, 2016
Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action
In the digital era, videos that are really popular "go viral." This is true of online petitions as well - they spread quickly across social networks and a viral petition takes on a life of its own.For activists, this is a Godsend. Petitions have historically relied on word of mouth and community bonds to gain traction (and signatures). Today, it's easier than ever to rally thousands of individuals who share a given point of view and will show their support through signatures and sharing alike, substantially multiplying the impact.Unfortunately, the Left has dominated the medium through sites like Change.org, which has gathered more than 100 million users in support of primarily liberal causes. That success has fueled a myth that the tactic of online petitioning is one that only “progressives” can or want to use. But conservatives are increasingly realizing the benefits — and necessity — of incorporating online tools into modern activism efforts.Fortunately, anyone can become an effective advocate for any of the issues they care about with just a few simple steps.First, identify a cause you are passionate about — it doesn't have to be a national issue like Common Core or the Second Amendment. Sometimes the most powerful, effective petitions address local issues that others in your community care about as well.At StandUnited, an online platform we created to level the playing field for supporters of individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited government, individuals have created petitions that have had diverse impacts, from successfully requesting that Congress repeal the Medical Device Tax, to saving a historic Confederate War memorial in Portsmouth, Va.The next step is to identify the decision makers that will be able to effectively address the issue at hand. This could mean your local city council or the president of the United States ­— the beauty of digital activism is that anyone is easily accessible with your message.After identifying the decision makers for your issue, create and share a thoughtful, articulate petition with friends, family, neighbors and like-minded individuals. Nothing has made activism easier and more effective than social media, which is why it's so crucial that you share your petition on your social media profile to make sure as many people as possible see it. You might even be surprised by who agrees with you.Make sure that your local media is aware of your petition, and update them on the progress of the petition and the importance of your cause. This can be the most daunting part of the process, especially if you are not familiar with media outreach. Fortunately, most local media are interested in the issues that impact their city or state, and media coverage of your petition is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of decision makers.A great opportunity to get media coverage is to deliver your petition in person to the decision maker. If there is a deadline such as a vote, a hearing, or an election, use this opportunity to press the decision maker on your issue and get publicity.Finally, don't give up on your issue. Activism isn't a process that works immediately — sometimes it takes weeks or months for a petition to gain steam. Keep working to spread awareness of your petition and the issues at hand, and you're likely to see your hard work pay off.Thanks to the rise of digital activism, that sentiment is truer than it's ever been. Never have individual voices had a louder megaphone, higher platform or more direct access to decision makers, and as a result the power of the petition is greater than it's ever been. You have the power to make your voice heard.This piece was adapted from a recent Column on Townhall.com.Paul Van Remortel is the senior product manager at Intermarkets, Inc., a privately held digital media firm founded in 1997. Paul will be leading the “Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action” webinar hosted by the Leadership Institute on April 27. For a free registration visit https://www.leadershipinstitute.org/live/?ID=31958>
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