LWVNJ Activist Training Program

The LWVNJ Activist Training Program is a program designed to equip members and volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to carry out dynamic organizing strategies that can effectively influence public policy and the state of democracy in New Jersey.  

Program participants will have the opportunity to hone their skills in three core areas:

1: Legislative Advocacy
Although ‘lobbying’ is sometimes met with suspicion or negative connotation, it is an essential part of successful advocacy for legislation. Broadly, lobbying is anything we do to convince officials to bring about change. Talking to legislators and making the case for your campaign is necessary to getting legislation passed or developed at any level of government to address the problem your campaign seeks to solve.
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2: Grassroots Organizing
Grassroots organizing builds community power for a campaign and is critical to advancing any cause. Incorporating grassroots organizing strategies into your advocacy campaign (legislative, educational, or electoral) will bring attention, support, and momentum to your efforts. Build the skills you need to confidently participate in LWVNJ organizing efforts and develop grassroots organizing strategies for your own campaigns.
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3: Voter Outreach
Voter outreach and voter education are essential to democratic elections. The election process is complicated, hard to find information about, and often very localized. Get Out the Vote is a widely implemented effort focused on increasing voter turnout. Build the skills you need to impactfully participate in Get Out the Vote events. Become an expert in all things GOTV and host your own Get Out the Vote event or build your own campaign. Learn from the League of Women Voters – a leader in voter information, voter registration, and voter outreach.
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2022 Spring Course Schedule
Course
Training Area: Legislative Advocacy
Level
Date
Introduction to the Legislative Process
101
1/24/22
Conducting Lobbying Meetings
201
3/8/22
Understanding the State Budget
301
4/12/22
Training Area: Grassroots Organizing
Training Area: Voter Outreach
Course
Level
Date
Introduction to Grassroots Organizing
101
2/3/22
Digital Organizing: Using Technology to Build Power Online
201
3/28/22
The Power of Relational Organizing
202
4/21/22
Course
Level
Date
Introduction to GOTV
101
2/17/22
Navigating GOTV Conversations
201
3/3/22
Texting Out The Vote
202
3/22/22
Action Workshops
Through a series of Action Workshops, participants can apply skills they have developed by taking action on the League's ongoing advocacy efforts and voter education campaigns. Advocates will play a key role in our state and local campaigns, help promote legislative efforts, and bring local voices to the conversation.
Letter to the Editor Action Workshop
When organizing your community to advocate for an issue you care about it is important to find unique ways to spread your message to different audiences. Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is a great way to communicate your position and to encourage readers to take action in support of your cause. This training will prepare you to write letters to the editor that are compelling and effective.
During this workshop you’ll learn:
  • What a letter to the editor is and why you should write one
  • How to write a letter to the editor and what the appropriate length and formatting is
  • How to submit your letter to the editor for publishing
  • More about LWVNJ’s legislative priorities
Date/Time: February 24, 2022 | 5:30PM - 7PM
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You can put those skills to the test immediately by writing a letter in support of one of the critical pieces of legislation that LWVNJ is advocating for this legislative session. Attendees will be split into breakout groups where they will learn more about and be encouraged to write a letter in support of one of the following bills:
  • Same Day Voter Registration: This legislation will modernize New Jersey’s election infrastructure and strengthen access to the ballot by allowing residents to register to and cast a ballot on Election Day.
  • New Jersey Reparations Task Force: This legislation will establish a task force that will study New Jersey’s role in American slavery and make policy recommendations to repair its enduring effects.
  • Empowering Communities with Direct Oversight through Civilian Complaint Review Boards: This legislation would authorize municipalities and counties to establish civilian review boards to review police operations and conduct. This legislation allows communities to set up civilian complaint review boards with subpoena power, the ability to investigate at the same time as internal police investigations, disciplinary authority, and, most importantly, real community representation.
Vote411 Twitterstorm Action Workshop
Advocates are increasingly finding new ways to use social media platforms – like Twitter – to generate awareness, advocate for change, and mobilize supporters to take action. Because most candidates for public office maintain social media profiles to spread their message and communicate with constituents, this has emerged as an effective place to catch their attention and encourage them to act. Join this training to learn how to organize a Twitter Storm to urge candidates in your community to complete the Vote411.org questionnaire to ensure voters have the information they need to make an informed choice in the next election.  

During this Action Workshop you’ll learn:  
  • What a Twitter Storm is and how they can be used to raise awareness or encourage action
  • How to organize a Twitter Storm and tips for selecting targets and defining your messaging
  • Take part in a Twitter Storm encouraging Congressional and local candidates to complete the Vote411 candidate questionnaire for the 2022 election cycle
Date/Time: April 25, 2022 | 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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Spring 2022 Course Schedule and Descriptions
Legislative Advocacy Courses
Introduction to the Legislative Process (101)  

This training is perfect for anyone who is new to advocating for legislation or any veteran grassroots lobbyist looking for a refresher on how laws are made in the Garden State. Our trainers will provide an overview of the structure and powers of the New Jersey Legislature, explain how bills advance through each chamber, teach you how to research and track legislation, and let you know how you can start lobbying with the League.
Date/Time: January 24, 2022 | 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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Conducting Lobbying Meetings (201)

Meeting with legislators and key decision-makers to urge them to take specific action or vote in favor of a bill is an important way that constituents can express their views and influence the legislative process.  

During this training you will learn:  
  • Best practices for scheduling and preparing for a lobbying meeting
  • How to structure an effective and persuasive discussion
  • Tips on how to use the information you learn from your meeting
Date/Time: March 8, 2022 | 6:00PM - 7:30PM
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Understanding the State Budget Process (301)

Each year the Executive and Legislative Branches work together to approve a new state budget and determine how the state’s resources will be allocated. This process is complex and can be difficult to follow. During this training our experts will walk you through how government agencies and the Office of Management and Budget collaborate to determine policy and program priorities, review important fiscal deadlines, and help you understand the ins-and-outs of this important government exercise.

Required Prerequisite(s): Introduction to the Legislative Process (101)  
Date/Time: April 12, 2022 | 5:30PM - 7:00PM
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Grassroots Organizing Courses
Introduction to Grassroots Organizing (101)

Grassroots organizing happens when everyday people come together to identify common problems faced by their community and work together to address the issue or advocate for change. This training will provide you with an understanding of grassroots organizing principles, an overview of organizing strategies, and guide you through the process of creating a campaign plan to mobilize your supporters and reach critical goals.  
Date/Time: February 3, 2022 | 5:30PM - 7:00PM
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Digital Organizing: Using Technology to Build Power Online (201)

As our lives are increasingly spent online and in virtual spaces, it’s more important than ever to leverage the power of technology to reach new audiences and build support for your cause. Employing digital organizing will help you mobilize supporters, maximize your resources, and achieve campaign goals.  

During this training you will learn:  
  • What digital organizing is and why it is effective
  • Best practices and strategies you can implement to build online communities and encourage supporters to take action
  • Different digital tools you can use to reach your organizing goals
Date/Time: March 28, 2022 | 5:30PM - 7:00PM
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The Power of Relational Organizing (202)

If you’ve ever taken the time to watch a movie or read a book recommended by a friend, it’s likely because you trust them to give you an honest and reliable opinion. Similarly, as trusted messengers we have the ability to reach out and empower our friends, family, and neighbors to engage in the democratic process and advocate on the issues that matter the most. This taps into the practice of relational organizing. Relational organizing is a strategy that allows advocates to leverage their personal networks and mobilize supporters to take action.  

During this training you will learn:
  • What relational organizing is and why it is effective
  • Best practices and strategies for tapping into your own network
  • Different digital tools you can use to reach your organizing goals
Date/Time: April 21, 2022 | 6:00PM - 7:30PM
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Voter Outreach Courses
Introduction to GOTV (101)  

GOTV or Get Out the Vote is a term used to describe a popular grassroots effort focused on increasing voter turnout and educating voters. LWVNJ holds nonpartisan GOTV efforts ahead of each Primary and General Election. This introductory course will teach participants about the various GOTV strategies – phone banking, textbanking, postcard writing, lit dropping, canvassing – and help participants understand the pros and cons of each contact method. We will prepare participants to participate in LWVNJ’s ongoing GOTV efforts or plan their own GOTV events.  

During this training you will learn:
  • What GOTV is and why it is important
  • The types of GOTV strategies that we can use
  • The advantages and disadvantages associated with each strategy
  • Overview of how to host your own GOTV events
Date/Time: February 17, 2022 | 5:30PM - 7:00PM
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Navigating GOTV Conversations (201)  

This training will prepare participants to engage with neighbors and community members about voting. We will break down the components of a successful GOTV conversation. Participants will learn best practices for discussing the importance of voting in every election and how to answer questions about voting eligibility, dates and deadlines, and more. We will also go over navigating successful nonpartisan conversations at a time where hyperpartisanship is high and can be contentious. The course is designed to give participants the confidence to jump into GOTV events and connect with voters.

During this training you will learn:
  • How to confidently answer questions about voting in New Jersey
  • How to navigate hyperpartisan tensions and concerns in conversation
  • Skills to participate in canvassing, phonebanking, textbanking, or any Get Out The Vote effort
Date/Time: March 3, 2022 | 6PM - 7:30PM
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Texting Out The Vote (202)

As a leader your impact goes beyond just the conversations that you have with voters; it extends to the conversations that are had because of the people that you trained or the event that you hosted. This advanced level course is designed to prepare activists to host a textbanking Get Out the Vote effort with their local League or their own network of supporters. Participants will learn how to organize a textbanking event and train new texters in partnership with LWVNJ staff.

During this training you will learn:
  • How to organize a textbanking effort with your local League or group of supporters
  • How to train others to contact voters using ThruText (the texting platform used by LWVNJ)  
  • LWVNJ staff will provide each participant with all of the tools necessary to organize a training (including PowerPoint slides, best practices, FAQs etc).  
  • LWVNJ staff will practice with each participant and provide feedback before they host their own training.  
There will be opportunities for LWVNJ members to volunteer to train new texters or to host a textbank event (with training conducted by LWVNJ staff). During these events, LWVNJ staff will provide support with technology, creating contact lists, and other logistics.
Date/Time: March 22, 2022 | 5:30PM - 7:30PM
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