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>
Win America Back – through campaign powerhouses
Morton Blackwell
April 8, 2016
Win America Back – through campaign powerhouses
“I got involved in politics because of Barack Obama's election,” said Matt Krause. “I have four kids. I didn't want to be the generation that didn't leave a better country to my children and grandchildren than those who came before me.” I can't tell you how many times I've heard conservatives tell me a story similar to Matt's. But I'm encouraged more Americans every day wake up to the danger our country faces and take action. Matt Krause took the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School and won election to the Texas House of Representatives. As a donor, you empower my staff and me to train thousands of conservative candidates and activists like Matt and turn them into campaign powerhouses. Together, you and I – and the conservatives we train – advance our shared conservative principles to win America back. The training for conservatives – and the success – you make possible To win America back from the left, the Leadership Institute will hold numerous comprehensive training schools this year to equip campaigners and candidates for action. For campaigners, the Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School teaches them how to: Create a strategic campaign plan Build a grassroots organization of trained volunteers Plan a get-out-the-vote ground operation Mobilize voters to the polls Win the election “The Leadership Institute is a training ground for the conservative movement,” said Senator Ted Cruz. “In fact, one of the ‘secret weapons' in our upset Senate victory in 2012 was top notch volunteers and staff members trained by Morton Blackwell and the Leadership Institute.” LI does not support or oppose candidates, but once trained, Leadership Institute graduates become hot campaign commodities and work for conservative candidates of their choice at all levels of government – on races for city council all the way up to the White House. In LI's Future Candidate School, aspiring candidates learn how to: Assemble a network of loyal volunteers and campaign staff Get on the election ballot Develop a winning campaign message Handle hostile news media Connect with voters on a personal level Today, 32 Leadership Institute graduates are U.S. Senators and Representatives, 18 hold statewide offices, and 422 serve as state representatives. Leadership Institute graduates hold elective office in all 50 states – thanks to the training you provided them with your support. The Leadership Institute's new Campaign Academy builds on the trainings proved to create winning candidates. LI's Campaign Academy trains everyday Americans from Main Street America – business owners, teachers, doctors, pastors, and hard-working professionals. This new crop of principled conservative candidates, betrayed by establishment leaders, has stepped forward to fight the liberals themselves. Candidates in LI's Campaign Academy learn how to run for elective office and focus on how to build neighborhood teams of volunteers, connect with voters door-to-door and over the phone, research the electorate and opposition candidates, and prepare for media interviews. Everything is on the line in 2016 In the 2016 elections, the stakes are high. America will either continue down the road to socialism – on which there's a point of no return – or, conservatives will steer America back toward freedom and prosperity. With your help, I'm doing everything in my power to build campaign powerhouses to win America back. Since the 2014 elections, my staff has trained 554 conservatives in LI's Future Candidate and Campaign Management Schools, and another 8,201 trained in 256 political training schools. I have four Campaign Academies scheduled in battleground areas this year, with more to come. Let me end with an encouraging word from someone you trained – the second-youngest legislator in America. “The Leadership Institute gave me the tools I needed to beat an experienced liberal Democrat,” said 19-year-old New Hampshire state representative Yvonne Dean-Bailey. “Their training makes young leaders successful in organizing campaigns. I'm so thankful for the donors who helped LI train me to win.”
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Natalie Tuttle
April 4, 2016
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Each year, the Conservative Political Action Conference is a gathering of conservative leaders looking to network, advance conservativism, and learn from some of the greatest minds in the movement.This year, speakers like Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina rallied conservatives together. Above the stage read “Our time is NOW,” taken from Ronald Reagan's CPAC speech in 1981.At the conference, Leadership Institute sponsored, staffed, and organized of 5 conference events, including the job fair and boot camp training sessions.1. Activist Boot CampOn day one, the Leadership Institute partnered with the American Conservative Union and with American Majority to train 383 conservatives. Attendees were trained in student activism, community activism, and campaign technology.The Leadership Institute's Steve Sutton, David Blair, and Summer Ratcliff were among the boot camp faculty. Speakers from American Majority, Americans for Prosperity, FIRE, the Blaze, and the Franklin Center also trained activists and conservative leaders.2. ConservativeJobs.com - Career ConsultationsAfter the official CPAC kickoff on Thursday, Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs organized recruiters from LI and other conservative organizations to critique CPAC attendee's resumes and offer one-on-one career consultations. Recruiters from LI, Cato, The Heritage Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, and Americans for Prosperity sat down with 133 conservatives.3. CPAC Jobs and Internship FairOnce again this year, the Leadership Institute organized the CPAC Job and Internship Fair. Over 250 job seekers connected with 40 conservative employers.Organizations who recruited at the fair included grassroots organizations, media groups, think tanks, and policy foundations. Groups like Turning Point USA and Americans for Prosperity recruited field representatives while organizations like Townhall Media, Red Alert Politics, and Campus Reform looked for writers to hire.4. Campus ReformIn the exhibit hall, referred to by conference attendees as “the Hub,” Leadership's Institute's Campus Reform held an on-camera contest for students. Entrants were asked questions about issues on “live” camera by LI staff and competed for cash prizes.More than 100 students participated in the competition over the course of three days. All participants are eligible to be selected as Campus Correspondents, which will increase the number of conservative students exposing liberal bias on college campuses around the country.5. Young Activists Happy HourDuring CPAC, young activists from around the country network with each other. Swapping stories, discussing recruitment strategies, and just socializing with like-minded individuals are just a few highlights of the CPAC experience.To encourage networking among young conservative leaders, the Leadership Institute and seven other organizations hosted a Young Activist Happy Hour. Almost 400 attendees packed the bar and formed a line to the end of the block to spend the evening networking. Recruiters and staff of organizations like Young Americans for Liberty, Future Female Leaders, and the Charles Koch Institute mingled with activists.At the Happy Hour, the Leadership Institute welcomed many new activists to the Campus Leadership Program network. Almost aEvery year, CPAC is a new experience. Conservatives from all over the country (and from around the world) come together for a week of idea sharing, activist training, and coalition building. This year was no exception. With hundreds of new conservatives plugged in, trained, and employed conservative principles have a stronger voice going into election season.The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,759 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 172,000 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. >
The Conservative Internship Search: Capitol Hill vs. Non-profits
Derek Faraldo
March 31, 2016
The Conservative Internship Search: Capitol Hill vs. Non-profits
As a recent graduate of Georgetown University, I was blessed to have four years in the city of limitless internships, Washington D.C. However, not all students are lucky enough to attend college in the nation's capital. Fortunately, many universities have semester-long exchange programs, externships, or summer opportunities. During my undergraduate years, I participated in two non-profit internships and three congressional internships. If you do not have a few years to shop around for an internship then my experiences may help you narrow your search.Capitol HillI believe that in order to fully appreciate your time in Washington D.C. every intern should spend at least 12 weeks interning for a congressional or senate office.A congressional or senate internship can be a great resume booster, teach you some professional skills, and help you network on the Hill. Most interns are given simple office tasks to complete. While the work usually isn't anything inspiring, the experience of living in D.C. makes up for the sometimes boring days in a government office.For most prospective interns, there are some practical limitations. For example, in the year and a half I spent working for three different offices I did not get paid.If I had not had school housing, I would have been out of luck. There are some programs to help students pay for the cost of living in D.C, but it is an expensive city for a student on a budget.Non-profitsNon-profit internships are great starting points for careers in public policy, digital media, journalism, and many other fields. Each non-profit is different in office culture and atmosphere, but they generally operate in similar manners.For students or recent graduates who require monetary compensation and would like an internship with a job title and specific duties, the non-profit world is often a better option. In the conservative non-profit world, there are many paid internships that provide unique benefits.Often, these organizations hire from their own intern pool, so there is added incentive to make connections and maximize your efforts. The office environments vary, but at least you don't have to go through security every day!Most non-profits allow and encourage interns to work on projects that have value and many organizations treat interns like a staff member.A potential intern should really consider the kind of experience they want and set goals, always keeping in mind their practical limitations.Reflecting on my experiences, I would encourage students or graduates who lean conservative to seriously consider non-profit internships. Don't' worry, even while working at a non-profit, if you really want to see the Capitol building, you can visit your congressmen's office on your lunch break! One of his or her interns will give you a tour.Derek Faraldo is the current Grassroots and International Programs intern at the Leadership Institute. He recently graduated from Georgetown and will be working with Teach for America in the fall. Learn more about the LI Intern Program here.>
A Different Type of Activist
Natalie Tuttle
March 14, 2016
A Different Type of Activist
What do you think of when someone says that they're an activist? Do you picture scenes like supporters sign waving at the annual March for Life? Do you remember watching demonstrators on the steps of the Supreme Court waiting for a controversial decision? Meet Jason Jones. Jason is a conservative, pro-life activist who uses filmmaking to spread his message. His goal is to navigate through (and counter) morally challenged Hollywood. Known for films that promote a humane society, Jason is the president and founder of Movie to Movement, a project of his larger organization HERO (Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization). Through Movie to Movement, Jason targets a broad audience and tells stories that allow people to acknowledge the value of life at all stages. His films have won international attention for addressing tough issues that transcend generations and cultures. Published projects include the film Bella, winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. When asked about the reception of conservative principles in the left-leaning film industry, he said, “I don't fish from a bucket [of conservatives]. I fish on the lake and put the fish I catch in the bucket.” Jason and his team offer an alternative to the cultural norms Hollywood accepts and encourages. Jason tailors every project to promote the value of humanity in Hollywood. Even in Hollywood, he finds support. “I don't believe any areas are shut off. Regardless of ideology, we agree on more than we think we do. Everyone want the best education, the best healthcare, the best world… we just have radically different ideas on how to get there.” Jason hopes that projects like Bella communicate with people on an emotional level. While each project has its own underlying focus, the mission of Movie to Movement is “to promote the incomparable dignity and beauty of the human person through the power of film.” Much of the work he has done, he has attributed to the Leadership Institute. Jason moved to the Washington DC area in the year 2000. He attended Institute workshops on fundraising, TV presence, and non-profit organization management. He read every book Morton Blackwell recommends in “Read to Lead” and went to as many Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts as he could attend. Jason has adapted techniques employed by aspiring politicians for use in making and promoting films. For example, Jason transformed LI's precinct captain strategy into a “theater captain” program by assigning volunteers to advertise and advocate for Movie to Movement on the local level. This and other techniques learned in the classrooms at LI have helped Jason advocate for conservative principles in Hollywood. The Leadership Institute isn't just about learning techniques, it's about a network of conservative activists. While learning how to win at LI, Jason met his best friend. Jason has stayed in contact with many at LI, including Morton Blackwell. During his most recent visit to the Leadership Institute, Jason told staff members that because of LI, he knows how to do more than vote. Jason encourages everyone to take an active role in changing politics and culture. “If you think all you have to do is show up to vote, you're a D student,” he told the Leadership Institute interns. Jason champions party involvement and volunteering for causes and campaigns. To learn more about Jason and his project Movie to Movement visit www.movietomovement.com. The Leadership Institute thanks Jason for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulates him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,750 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 172,000 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.
Future Candidate School: Training Conservatives to Win
Natalie Tuttle
March 6, 2016
Future Candidate School: Training Conservatives to Win
If you knew the formula for winning, would you run for office?In January, thirty-four individuals attended the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School. Some of them were declared candidates in their state or local races. Others were planning congressional runs and the remaining few had just begun to contemplate a run in the future.If you haven't considered running for office, you should. Running doesn't require thirty years of political experience or a few million dollar donors willing to sponsor you. With the right tools and training, anyone can learn to win at LI's Future Candidate School (FCS).For four days, attendees focus on building a base, raising funds, identifying voters, and recruiting volunteers. The faculty roster included political consultants, media coordinators, fundraising gurus, and even a current U.S. Congressman.The intensive training also focused on personal and political preparation for a career in elected office.Day 1: Are you ready to run?Because running for office means more than showing up to events with a smile and a wave, FCS started out with a session examining your ability to enter a race. George Landrith, president of Frontiers for Freedom, helped students examine their past and present, looking for signs of trouble. In the second session of the day, attendees learned that running for a higher office can be a full-time job with plenty of overtime and candidates have to be sure their finances are stable at home.To help candidates decide if running is right for them, Congressman Alex Mooney answered questions candidly about the role and responsibility of the candidate.The rest of the day focused on preparing your network and recruiting volunteers to your cause as well as making sure you have a positive media presence on the day you announce your candidacy.Day 2: So you decide to run. Now what?So now that our candidates have decided to run, they should develop a persuasive message. Leadership Institute Vice President of Development Steve Sutton worked through recent election messaging to demonstrate the impact proper use of messaging can have on a campaign. Nancy Bocskor reiterated the importance of messaging during her presentation on storytelling, emphasizing communicating effectively.In addition to crafting your message and sharing it with your voters, you also should reach out to existing groups and coalitions in your constituency. These coalitions may be able to provide volunteers and maybe even connect you with good candidates for campaign staff. Quality campaign staff do vital work to ensure your campaign is functioning efficiently and legally.Day 3: Getting in isn't even the hard part.Winning the race is the goal of every campaign, but what about staying in the race? You can't win the race if you can't pay your bills. Make sure you have the budget to remain a viable candidate.Competitive candidates have had to suspend their campaigns because they lacked the funds to keep the lights on. Don't be one of those candidates. Future Candidate School teaches candidates that their number one responsibility is fundraising. Staff and volunteers can get your name on the ballot and they can rally the voters, but only the candidate can raise money from donors. Day 4: Acting the part.On the final day of Future Candidate School, Dr. John Shosky, president of Roncalli Communications, Inc, spent the entire day with attendees, coaching each student through communication and messaging techniques. Beginning with introductions and ending with elevator speeches, students were led through a series of exercises to increase their confidence and improve their interpersonal skills. To be successful, candidates have to be versatile. Different situations call for different communication styles. Students were given tips on everything from posture to intonation. After drafting rough speeches, Dr. Shosky gave each student short critiques and advice to take away from the training. These guidelines are meant to improve the impression that a candidate will make in the first three seconds of meeting a potential volunteer, voter, or donor. Those thirty-four individuals walked away from the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School with the formula to win. Will they run? Time will tell.To learn more about the Leadership Insititute or to sign up for a training go to LeadershipInstitute.org. >
CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp
Carol Wehe
February 26, 2016
CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp
American Majority and Leadership Institute are pleased to release the final agenda for the CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp, running Wednesday, March 2 – Friday, March 4, during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, MD.On Wednesday, attend one of three tailored tracks—Student Activism, Community Activism, and Campaign, Data and Tech—as well as top-notch training sessions on Thursday and Friday. Note: The CPAC Activism Boot Camp is included in your regular CPAC 2016 conference pass. Wednesday Student Activism TrackWednesday, March 2, 2016, 1pm-5:30pm, (Chesapeake A-C)1:00 pm How We Reached 1 Million Students in 2015 (and How You Can, Too): Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA1:45 pm “You Have to See This!”: Causing a Stir with Viral Videos: Caleb Bonham, DCO Consulting2:30 pm Changing Campus Culture: Summer Ratcliff and David Blair, The Leadership Institute3:15 pm There's No Such Thing as a Safe Space: Keeping Campuses Free: Catherine Sevcenko, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education4:00 pm Winning Student Elections: Scott Ellis and Micah Pearce, American Majority 4:45 pm Get Hired in Campaigns and Politics: Evan Stewart, Campaign Hunter5:30 pm Adjourn followed by Activism Boot Camp Reception, open to all Activism Boot Camp attendees Wednesday Community Activism TrackWednesday, March 2, 2016, 1pm-5:30pm, (Chesapeake D-F)1:00 pm Community Organizing in a Post-Obama World: Matt Robbins, American Majority 1:45 pm How to Beat the Left at Their Own Game: Brent Gardner, Americans for Prosperity2:30 pm The Latino Vote: The Beginning or the End of the Conservative Movement?: Mike Madrid, GrassrootsLab3:15 pm Social Media: How to Become the Digital Activist Every Movement Needs: Aubrey Blankenship, American Majority4:00 pm The Wisconsin Model: A Five-Year Fight: Matt Batzel, American Majority4:45 pm Not Running? What YOU Can Do to Influence an Election: Chris Doss, Revolutionary Communications5:30 pm Adjourn followed by Activism Boot Camp Reception, open to all Activism Boot Camp attendees Wednesday Campaign, Tech, and Data TrackWednesday, March 2, 2016, 1pm-5:30pm, (Chesapeake 4-6)1:00 pm Campaign Messaging: How to Come Across in a Me-First World: Jessie Nicholson, Wisconsin Women's Council Board Member1:45 pm Setting and Reaching the Right Vote Goals: Steve Sutton, The Leadership Institute2:30 pm What Is Political Database Technology and How Will It Help?: Chris Littleton, Voter Gravity3:15 pm Social Media, SEO, and Campaign Branding: Use It or Lose It: Austin James, SOLVE 4:00 pm Say Goodbye to Clipboards: How to Run a Campaign from Your Smartphone: Ned Ryun, American Majority4:45 pm Money Made Easy: Campaign Fundraising: Rachael Robertson, American Majority5:30 pm Adjourn followed by Activism Boot Camp Reception, open to all Activism Boot Camp attendees #CPAC 2016 Activism Boot CampThursday, March 3, 2016, 10am-4pm, (Chesapeake D-E)10:00 am Bridging the Divide Between Veterans and Politics: Seth Lynn, Veterans Campaign10:30am Talking to Minority Voters: Making the Case for Conservatives Nationally: Mike Madrid, GrassrootsLab11:00 am If Reagan Ran Today: What 2016 Activists Must Learn from Reagan's Leadership Style: Peggy Grande, The Quiggle Group11:30 am The Best Campaigns of Last Cycle and What You Can Learn from Them: Tayt Brooks, American Majority1:00 pm Become the Press: Oliver Darcy, The Blaze1:30 pm Grabbing the Spotlight: How to Generate Earned Media: Matthew Hurtt, Grassroots Leadership Academy2:00 pm Face-to-Face Still Matters: How to Win the Day with Personal Interaction: Matt Batzel, American Majority2:30 pm Reaching the Female Youth Vote: Alexandra Smith, College Republican National Committee3:00 pm Engaging Millennials: Whitney Neal, Bill of Rights Institute3:30 pm Know Your Enemy: Opposition Research: Alexandra Angel, America Rising PAC #CPAC 2016 Activism Boot CampFriday, March 4, 2016, 10am-1pm (Chesapeake D-E)10:00 am Conservative Talk Radio: Rational Thought and the Average Joe: Andrew Wilkow, Host of the Wilkow Majority on SiriusXM Patriot10:30 am Heat and Light: Making Government Accountable and Transparent: Josh Mandel, Ohio State Treasurer11:00 am How to Get-Out-the-Vote with Digital: Kurt Bardella, 0ptimus / Endeavor Strategies11:30 am You Get What You Measure: 10 Ways to Evaluate Your Lawmaker: Jessica Anderson, Heritage Action12:00 pm How to Win the Room: Public Speaking Success: John Tsarpalas, Commonwealthy.com 12:30 pm The New Journalism: Citizen Journalists: Kevin Glass, Franklin Center>
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
Cameron Douglas
February 25, 2016
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
As an intern at the Leadership Institute and a recent college graduate, I attended LI's Future Candidate School. Though it isn't something I know much about, the thought of running for office has crossed my mind and I want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more. One of the best parts of the internship is the access to training programs staffed by outstanding faculty in relevant fields. During this Future Candidate School a member of Congress joined the list of expert faculty. Who better to lead a discussion on running for office than a sitting Member of Congress? Leadership Institute alumnus Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV) came to LI's Future Candidate School to teach attendees how to successfully run for, and win, public office. Congressman Mooney's lecture drew on his extensive experience in campaigns at both the state and federal level. He won three elections to the Maryland State Senate, where he served from 1999 to 2011. Then, in 2014, he ran for and won a seat in the US House of Representatives in West Virginia. For me, Congressman Mooney's presentation was valuable in two big ways. First, he gave a frank, clear-eyed assessment of both the upsides and the downsides of running for office. Second, he provided a great deal of practical knowledge about how to campaign. Rep. Mooney emphasized the importance of fundraising for successful campaigning. He advised 80-90% of a candidate's time should be spent raising funds, which reflects Leadership Institute founder Morton Blackwell's saying, “You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent.” The Congressman also stressed the importance of having a clear, simple message, and taking that message directly to voters by picking up the phone and knocking on lots of doors. The part of Rep. Mooney's presentation which stayed with me most was not anything he said; rather, it was the way he presented himself to us. He's a sitting member of Congress, and none of the students at the school live in his district. Yet, he came out to share his experiences with us. To me, his candid yet friendly way of presenting himself was a prime example of the attitude a candidate for office should have while campaigning. To learn more about Leadership Institute training go to LeadershipInstitute.org/training and register to attend one or more trainings.
Digital Creative Workshop is on for tonight
February 24, 2016
Digital Creative Workshop is on for tonight
The Digital Creative Workshop: Video, scheduled for this evening, is on for tonight. Attendees should be aware of inclement weather in the DC area.
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 for President's Day
Carol Wehe
February 15, 2016
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 for President's Day
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 for President's Day. You may leave a voicemail on LI's main line (703-247-2000) or send an email to individual LI staff. You will receive a response as soon as it is possible. The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. January 25, 2016 | By The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. The Written Communications Workshop scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evenings is also canceled. The Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Future Candidate School will be held as planned. Any changes or announcements for the Future Candidate School will be posted on this website. - See more at: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/#sthash.b6AuAA4O.dpuf The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. January 25, 2016 | By The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. The Written Communications Workshop scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evenings is also canceled. The Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Future Candidate School will be held as planned. Any changes or announcements for the Future Candidate School will be posted on this website. - See more at: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/#sthash.b6AuAA4O.dpuf
Regional Field Coordinator is Employee of the Quarter Award Recipient
Natalie Tuttle
February 12, 2016
Regional Field Coordinator is Employee of the Quarter Award Recipient
The Leadership Institute recognizes an employee each quarter. This quarter's award recipient is Emily Larsen, who effectively works with several departments to spread conservatism across the country. Although her official title is Regional Field Coordinator, Emily has represented the Leadership Institute at student conferences and regularly coordinates with the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform team to expose liberal bias on college campuses. This past quarter, Emily managed Leadership Institute field representatives in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Mexico as they trained and managed over 180 conservative student groups in these states. In addition to her regular responsibilities, Emily promoted Campus Reform through articles, radio interviews, and television appearances. She has gone above and beyond to help Campus Reform uncover liberal abuse and biases on college campuses. “Even though this would be more than enough work to keep an average employee busy, Emily also volunteered to host several of LI's live webinars. I hereby recognize Emily Larsen as LI's Employee of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of 2015,” Leadership Institute founder and president Morton Blackwell announced at the January all staff meeting. “Please join me in a round of applause in appreciation for Emily's work.” After the applause subsided, Morton ended with, “Congratulations, Emily, for your outstanding job as team player and serving as a role model for all LI employees.” Emily Larsen is the Leadership Institute's Regional Field Coordinator for the Piedmont region, where she builds the conservative student movement on college campuses in the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Mexico. Previously, she worked for LI as a Field Representative in Kentucky and West Virginia, and was an intern for the Campus Leadership Program. Before joining LI, Emily worked in the office of Mayor Richard J. Berry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she interned and acted as Boards and Commissions Liaison. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2014 with a B.A. in Political Science. In college, she led her Young Americans for Liberty chapter, interned for the New Mexico State Legislature, and volunteered for numerous campaigns.
Youth Leadership School Director Named 2015 Employee of the Year
Natalie Tuttle
January 29, 2016
Youth Leadership School Director Named 2015 Employee of the Year
Each year, the Leadership Institute recognizes one staff member for achievements that surpass all expectations. At the winter quaterly meeting, founder and president Morton Blackwell announced that the 2015 Employee of the Year is Youth Leadership School Director Daryl Ann Dunigan.In 2015, the Leadership Institute hosted 41 Youth Leadership Schools attended by 1,072 students from around the country and around the world."These impressive numbers set two new records for most students trained and the most of their particular school held in a single year,” Morton announced after the applause. The Youth Leadership School and Campus Leadership Program departments spent an average of three weekends a month training activists and student leaders, sometimes hosting two or three Youth Leadership Schools a weekend across the nation. Without dedicated leadership, this would not have been feasible. Daryl Ann and her team had an excellent year of recruiting and training.“These results would not have been possible without tireless work ethic and great leadership,” Morton said before giving Daryl Ann her award and a vase of flowers. Congratulations Daryl Ann!Daryl Ann Dunigan is currently the Youth Leadership School Director at the Leadership Institute, where she is responsible for identifying, recruiting, and training students across the nation.Prior to working for the Leadership Institute, Daryl Ann worked as Campaign Manager for Jeff Thompson's successful State Representative campaign in Louisiana. She was the Youth Coordinator for Congressman Andy Harris's campaign in 2010. She also was a summer intern with the Youth Leadership School department and John William Pope Civitas Institute.Daryl Ann graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies. >
People, Parties, and Power: Live Webinar with Morton Blackwell
Natalie Tuttle
January 26, 2016
People, Parties, and Power: Live Webinar with Morton Blackwell
The first webinar of 2016 featured LI founder and president, Morton C. Blackwell. Morton began the lecture by sharing his experiences and knowledge of the party system, before detailing various roles conservatives can play in political parties. He called on conservatives to get involved. Whether you are a high school student looking to start a Teenage Republicans club or an adult willing to serve as a precinct committee man or woman, connect with your local party and get involved. Most campaigns and party committees have work left unfinished because they lack volunteers. Morton advised conservatives who want to get involved to go to a campaign or a committee and say, "I am here to help you. Tell me how I can help.” This attitude is welcome and this volunteer will be busy. Volunteers who are demanding or pushy can be relegated to a corner and are often forgotten. When working within a party, success is won carefully. In the discussion, Morton outlined ten points to keep in mind when working within a party. These tips for success can be found in Morton's writings. After explaining how individuals can influence political parties, Morton answered questions from the audience. Each response encouraged conservatives to connect with each other and stand by their principles. When asked about the differences within a party, Morton replied, “People seldom agree on everything. The way you put together a winning coalition is to organize groups that are nonpartisan that are active in the public policy process and use those groups to identify very large numbers of people who share a conservative viewpoint.” Together conservatives are stronger. Morton encourages cooperation of conservatives so that they can use their influence to change a party, even if not everyone agrees on everything. “We can't insist that everybody take actions for the same motivations that activate us,” he told the audience. For more on this topic be sure to watch the entire interview with Morton Blackwell online. Get involved, build coalitions, and influence the party.
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016.
January 25, 2016
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016.
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. The Written Communications Workshop scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evenings is also canceled. The Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Future Candidate School will be held as planned. Any changes or announcements for the Future Candidate School will be posted on this website.
Leadership Institute grad elected second-youngest legislator in the United States of America
Mitchell Nozka
January 21, 2016
Leadership Institute grad elected second-youngest legislator in the United States of America
She's 19. She's conservative. She's in college. And she's an elected official.Yvonne Dean-Bailey was fed up with the leftism she encountered at her college.She decided to do something about it – and enrolled in Leadership Institute training. Yvonne went from conservative student to Leadership Institute graduate to campus activist to state legislator in less than a year.A cesspool of liberalism: Mount Holyoke CollegeLI's campus field staff recruited and mentored Yvonne – a student eager to fight the left at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.Through the Leadership Institute's campus watchdog news website, CampusReform.org, students like Yvonne expose leftist bias and indoctrination to make an impact on their own campuses.Shockingly, leftists encircled and harassed Yvonne in the college's cafeteria. But Yvonne responded, “Despite this, I will continue to be an independent and active voice on campus until all sides are considered.”Yvonne enrolled in the Leadership Institute's Student Activism Conference, Television Workshop, and One-on-One Media Training.Then, Yvonne took her conservative activism to the next level. She ran for elected office in her home state.Yvonne takes her activism to the next level through Leadership Institute campaign trainingYvonne ran courageously as a conservative in New Hampshire's 32nd state district. “If I'm elected, I'm going to focus on fiscally responsible principles and conservative principles,” she said. “Some legislators think about tax dollars as just a number, when in actuality this is people's money.”Most observers didn't expect much from this 19-year-old young lady. But Yvonne had a crucial advantage. “Through the Leadership Institute,” Yvonne said, “I learned how to fundraise, how to handle the media, and how to organize a grassroots effort in a rural New Hampshire community.”With a record voter turnout in May, Yvonne defeated her leftist opponent with 52.4% of the vote.Donors train young conservatives for a lifetime of activismToday, Yvonne is the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the New Hampshire state legislature – and the second-youngest state legislator in America.“The Leadership Institute gave me the tools I needed to beat an experienced liberal Democrat. Their training makes young leaders successful in organizing campaigns,” Yvonne said. “I'm so thankful for the donors who helped LI train me to win.”Yvonne not only serves as the field director for a presidential candidate's campaign, but she now studies at the University of New Hampshire where she continues to fight campus liberals and hold them accountable – both as a Leadership Institute campus correspondent and as a state representative.Yvonne is one of the thousands of Institute-trained graduates who will fight to protect America's founding principles for many years to come. >
The Next Wave in the Conservative Movement
Thomas Bingham
January 18, 2016
The Next Wave in the Conservative Movement
In November 2014, Senator Steve Daines became the third Republican to hold a Senate seat in his state in a century. Winning by almost 18%, he became a Senator for Montana.Steve is a fifth generation Montanan who started his early political experience as one of the youngest delegates for the 1984 Republican National Convention. He was the president of College Republicans at Montana State University (MSU). After graduating from MSU with a B.A. in Chemical Engineering, he went on to work in the private sector for 28 years. In 2012, Steve won his election to the House of Representatives as Congressman for Montana, which has one at-large seat – and he quickly got to work.When asked about his experience in the House, Senator Daines explained, “I introduced bills that would address the challenges facing our nation and worked to move them through the committee process. Through these efforts, I was rated the most effective first-term Representative for the 113th Congress by GovTrack. Montanans sent me to Washington to be their voice and deliver results. I am committed to continuing to work hard for Montanans as I serve them in the Senate.”After an opportunity opened for conservatives to take the Senate, then-Congressman Daines decided to run. He faced some tough challenges in this race, but he knew how to activate his grassroots supporters.There's a new wave of support for the conservative movement. “Across the country, we are seeing Americans united behind traditional conservative ideals, such as reining in the federal government, protecting Americans from threats both abroad and here at home, and creating more good-paying jobs," said Senator Daines. "We must remain strong in our beliefs and work to effectively communicate how conservative solutions will get our nation back on track and promote economic opportunity.” Senator Daines' campaign shows conservatives can win when they have the right message and know how to activate their grassroots supporters. Senator Daines learned how to activate his supporters after he took the Grassroots Campaign Workshop in Bozeman, Montana. “I'm thankful for the work that the Leadership Institute does to further conservative ideals that have shaped the future our nation for future generations,” he said.The Grassroots Training Workshop teaches conservatives effective grassroots and campaigning organizing. Attendees learn how to get involved, drive support for an issue or candidate, organize activists in large or small groups for maximum impact, communicate more effectively, use the media to help advance an issue, and build personal leadership skills, abilities and confidence. The Leadership Institute thanks Senator Daines for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulates him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,761 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 170,266 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.>
2015 Accomplishments
Kyle Baccei
January 12, 2016
2015 Accomplishments
Another exciting year for the Leadership Institute is on the books! In 2015, the Institute trained more than 10,000 conservatives, set new records in the Campus Leadership Program, and expanded its career services -- all thanks to the generous support of LI donors.LI's staff and 320 volunteer faculty trained 10,253 students -- totaling 102,058 hours of student training. The Institute trained 8,322 students nationally and 1,931 students internationally, bringing the total trained to 171,185 since 1979.In total, LI offered 283 training events representing 42 types of Institute trainings. These ranged from on-camera TV trainings to week-long 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: Campaign Academies. These intensive academies combine five weekends of in-person training with online seminars so candidates and campaign staff learn how to win races for elected office. On college campuses around the country, LI's National Field Program staff identified 53,986 new conservative students and added 491 new student groups to LI's unique network of affiliated conservative student organizations. By the end of 2015, this network of conservative student groups had grown to 1,732 -- an all-time high.The Youth Leadership School set a new record. In 2015, 1,072 conservatives attended 41 trainings -- the most students trained at a Youth Leadership School in a single year.CampusReform.org remains America's #1 source for campus news online. Its 886 stories – many written by 60 campus correspondents – about liberal bias and abuse generated 11.5 million pageviews. In total, CampusReform.org's reporting led to 26 victories for conservatives on college campuses, 15 hits on the Drudge Report, and 101 appearances on TV. More than 2,585 job seekers connected with 2,195 available jobs on the Institute's ConservativeJobs.com. The Career Services Center hosted 569 attendees at job fairs and offered 271 hours of personal career mentoring. 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 2015 alone, 1,845 viewers watched LI's 22 webinars.LI's Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts hosted 1,067 attendees and 12 speakers in 2015. Speakers included Right to Work President Mark Mix, Congressman Jim Jordan, and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.The 44th National Fourth of July Conservative Soiree hosted 645 attendees. This year's featured speaker was Martha Boneta, a Virginia farmer, conservative activist, and LI graduate.It's been a good year at the Leadership Institute, and LI is excited about what 2016 has in store!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.>
12 Days of Christmas
Morton Blackwell
December 23, 2015
12 Days of Christmas
Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics. Every year, counter-culture bullies call for political correctness against celebrations of Christmas. College and university campuses are centers of this persecution. My staff at the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform powerfully satirized many of the actual regulations imposed by colleges as “inclusive holiday” guidelines. Their video, “The 12 Bans of Christmas,” a play on the popular “The 12 Days of Christmas” song, is quite funny, but it exposes outrageous leftist abuses. The list of actual bans includes the name of Jesus, Christmas parties, and even use of the colors red and green. The Leadership Institute fights counter-culture bias like this every day on college campuses. You'll enjoy the video below. See for yourself the out-of-control political correctness on college campuses this Christmas.
Picking a Presidential Nominee in 2016
Morton Blackwell
December 18, 2015
Picking a Presidential Nominee in 2016
The presidential nomination process is about to enter a very different phase. Until now, the 2016 presidential campaign has consisted mainly of words: speeches, debates, interviews, and the publication of some issue papers by the candidates. The coming contests in the states will actually elect delegates, and this race will become a test of each candidate's ability to identify supporters and organize them to participate personally in the primaries and conventions.Every state and U.S. territory has different election laws and party rules, not to mention different sets of political circumstances and local leaders. Organizing successfully to win nomination contests in enough states and territories to win a national presidential nomination is a massive problem. Some candidates will not come close to solving it.Conservatives are keenly aware of the fact that, among the several presidential candidates the Republican Party has nominated since Ronald Reagan, not one of them supported Reagan for nomination in 1980. If they can, conservatives should nominate in 2016 a candidate as genuinely committed to conservative principles as Reagan was. Several candidates now running appear to be more conservative than anyone Republicans have nominated for President since Reagan. Conservatives hope they can unite behind a single candidate, but they haven't yet come close to uniting. Can they achieve this and win the nomination and the general election?I think they can.First, almost every conservative leader I know, even those who have already endorsed a Republican candidate, will admit that there are several among the current field of candidates whom they would happily support in the November 2016 election. Their current preferences are at least somewhat fluid.Second, a great many conservative activists and leaders now have no single preference. If asked, they will list a number of candidates whom they believe are reliably conservative and infinitely preferable to the Democrats' likely nominee.As the contest enters the phase where grassroots organization and activism will determine who wins how many delegate votes at the Republican National Convention, serious conservative activists and leaders will have to decide for sure whom they choose to support. If enough of them choose the same candidate, that candidate will win the presidential nomination.That important decision will determine the future of our country.I know almost all of the presidential candidates, and some of them have been personal friends and allies of mine for years in the public policy process. Put me personally among the undecided in this contest.To help me think through this, I'm writing this brief discussion of what I believe to be the most important factors to take into consideration, and then I'll share it with conservatives whom I hope may find my thoughts useful in their decision-making process.Has the candidate a record of personal activism and leadership for conservative principles?Talk is cheap. Actions have consequences. Every experienced conservative has heard many candidates make false promises to appear more conservative than he or she has ever been. Past performance does not necessarily predict future results, but it usually is the best indicator.Is the candidate surrounded by people notable for their firm commitment to conservative principles?Personnel is policy. Long before he became President, Ronald Reagan had surrounded himself with competent and serious conservatives who were known and trusted by movement conservatives. If elected, a candidate without an inner circle of reliable conservatives to help him or her staff an administration has no chance of winning victories in tough battles against liberals. And conservatives should not forget that one more reliably leftist presidential appointment to the Supreme Court could irreparably damage America.Are the candidate's currently stated policy positions solidly conservative?Quite often candidates, if elected, turn out to be less conservative than they promised to be in their election campaigns. Very rarely does an elected official turn out to be a better conservative than he or she led conservatives to believe. If a candidate currently advocates some liberal positions, the chances are almost zero that he or she will ever fight hard against the liberals on many issues.Has the candidate ever continued to fight hard for conservative principles when it appeared to be a losing battle?Never fully trust anyone who has not knowingly gone down fighting for an important, good cause that he or she believed was losing. Sometimes we have to live with content-free Republicans, but conservatives should not promote any of them to the White House.Does the candidate frequently reverse his or her positions on important issues?Every major politician, including the most admirable among them, occasionally changes position on at least a few issues, but a candidate who frequently flip-flops on policy issues for personal political advantage cannot be trusted to keep even promises solemnly made.Has the candidate built a record of helping conservative organizations and working to elect conservative candidates?The fight for conservative principles cannot be won without strong conservative organizations to pressure politicians and without conservative election victories, including in nomination contests with non-conservatives. A candidate who has never helped conservative organizations or conservative candidates cannot be expected to change that behavior if elected.If elected, would the candidate melt when the heat is on?Our country is in deep trouble. Most Americans believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction. Only strong, principled leadership can enable us to recover from the damage already done. Business as usual would make our major problems worse. Conservatives should consider candidates' strength of character.Assume that Republicans elect a President in 2016 and keep Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. How will the left react if a new President starts the difficult task of repairing damage the left has already done? For example, what if legislation were passed to cut significantly our currently bloated government spending?Leftist organizations now receive billions of dollars each year from government funds. For them, most government spending, except for defense spending, is virtually sacred. And left-wing groups are larger and better organized than ever before in our history. They would surely react immediately to any real threat to cut the cost and intrusiveness of government.I expect that the left would take violently to the streets and create as much ugly chaos as they could. The liberal media would work overtime to blame conservatives.What would conservatives have accomplished if Republicans nominated and elected a President without the strength of character required to persevere for the good of the country under difficult circumstances? Can the liberal media destroy any truly conservative presidential candidate?They'll try, but they have much less of a communications monopoly now than they had when they savagely but unsuccessfully attacked candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980.In the current run-up to the 2016 presidential primary season, the liberals have already fired their big guns to little effect against all the Republicans who now appear to be strong candidates. Most often those attacks have not weakened the targets' support. Some media attacks have actually helped those the liberal media intended to destroy. Polls now show that any of half a dozen Republican candidates could beat the likely Democrat nominee. If enough conservatives unite, they can nominate and elect any of the more conservative Republican presidential candidates. So there's every reason for conservatives to try hard now to unite in support of a candidate they believe would be the most determined and effective conservative President possible.>
Hoosiers take on a Race for Congress
Angel Chitnatham
December 14, 2015
Hoosiers take on a Race for Congress
Even campaigners with years of experience can stand to learn from the Leadership Institute. Earlier this month, Jadan Horyn participated in the Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School and came away with enough knowledge to give an edge to his congressional campaign. Jadan is currently the campaign manager for Jim Pfaff, a candidate running in Indiana's 9th Congressional District. “It all started when I was 13 years old,” said Jadan. “During the Bush/Gore 2000 election, I stayed up all night to watch election results. Pretty much from then on, I was fully enveloped in politics.” A 2012 graduate of Liberty University, Jadan dedicated years to build up his College Republicans group; work with the State Central Committee, the governing body of the Republican Party of Virginia; and serve on the College Republican state board. Jadan would go on to co-host his own talk show called “Rude Awakening” at Liberty University, hosting guests like Senator John McCain and Governor Mike Huckabee. After graduating, Jadan integrated his media background and his interest in political campaigns working for Laura Ingraham on her FOX News appearances, followed by three years of working in congressional communications. It wasn't until he started working in Congressman Tim Huelskamp's office did he meet Jim Pfaff, then Chief of Staff for Congressman Huelskamp. Jim Pfaff would then ask Jadan to be his campaign manager in his race for congress in his home state of Indiana. “I told him I'd take the job but that I needed to go to LI to fill in the missing pieces.” said Jadan. The week-long Campaign Management School provides the students with a run-through on the know-how and tools required to establish and build up their campaigns. “First day, we learned opposition research. It was the how, the methodology, was what I didn't know.” On the first day at the training, Jadan texted his staff how and where to look for the potential weaknesses of their opponent. “By 4:00 p.m. that day, I had an entire document from my campaign researcher about questionable votes made by our opponent. If I had never come to this training, I would have never had that ammunition to use on them.” When asked what advice he would give future candidates and campaign managers now that he's completed the Campaign Management School, he said “Sit them down and hold them accountable….and make sure they follow through on their goals.” Join the Leadership Institute in thanking Jadan for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulate him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,761 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 170,266 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.
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