It’s 2016: Do You Know Where Your Women Candidates Are?

by Donna Lent, President NWPC

As we begin a new chapter in 2016, there are wonderful indicators that the year ahead will be one of the best for women in America — ever. What do we mean by that?

MORE WOMEN DONORS — Already there are more women contributing to campaigns than ever before. There was a time when women were less than 25% of the high donors (over $250 — and that was just 20 years ago). In federal campaigns for the US Presidency and Congress, it is now likely that women will reach that magic 50% of federal donations.

MORE WOMEN BEING RECRUITED BY BOTH PARTIES — For statewide office, for Congress and for state legislative races, more states then previously, are already reporting more women — and more women of color seriously planning to run with over 70 per cent announced already.

MORE YOUNG PEOPLE REGISTERED TO VOTE — When more people under 35 vote, more women win. Young voters are a woman’s best friend in today’s elections – not only in America but worldwide. And, with Election offices making it easier to register, 2016 could be a record year for young voters with many states seeing young voters, especially young voters of color, making a deciding difference in the winners.

WOMEN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT – Although the NWPC has already endorsed Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, there are women running for President for both the Republican Party and the Green Party. More than 50 countries of the current 190 listed by the United Nations have had women Presidents; it’s time the USA had a woman President as well.

So, what is the National Women’s Political Caucus going to do about these astounding circumstances? We’re going to do what we always do – get ready to train all those awesome women who want to run.

The NWPC national office has developed new tools that we are ready to share with any chapter which is ready to sponsor an NWPC-certified training. We have more than 25 individual subjects from online fundraising to the importance of your voice and self-confidence; from managing your precious time to attracting that endangered species: the volunteer; from starting early to getting endorsements that are not from just the usual suspects. The subjects are now arranged in five modules – with one module being about as much as we advise you take on for one-day trainings.

Also, we have something new for all members who are designing their training event. We have developed a five part series on “How to Conduct a Successful Training”.: This includes:

  • Setting Your Caucus Goals (how many attendees, how much to charge, what to offer in subjects covered, who to have as guest speakers, how to reach our NWPC trainers, examples of other agenda’s, etc.)
  • Reaching/Registering Prospective Attendees (announced candidates, incumbents or their staffs, local PAC’s/political directors, women party leaders, former/current campaign managers, women who ought to run even if they will not in 2016, local business leaders, women’s organizations, college campus political science professors, etc.). We have draft flyers and emails you can modify for your own trainings.
  • Funding your training (Finding sponsors, getting in-kind contributions, identifying good prospects for underwriting certain aspects of your budget; preparing your budget, asking for sponsorships, pricing attendance, etc.).
  • The Timeline for producing an NWPC Successful training (starting 45 to 60 days out has proven to be the best way to ensure a great response and successful, well-funded training. Go through our list of 50 plus tasks on our checklist with a team of about eight to 10 committee members and you’ll find the NWPC training less stressful and more meaningful for all.
  • What to say to those tough questioners (“I’ve already been to one training – I don’t need to go to another;” “I haven’t decided whether to run or not;” “I can’t afford it;” “I’m an incumbent; I don’t need more training;” and “I can’t take an entire day off the campaign trail.”

Finally, the NWPC has been conducting successful trainings for more than four decades now and we make it our business to stay up with the trends and offer unique trainings that allow our members lots of new campaign insight you won’t find elsewhere, such as:

  • How to reach women networks, especially for purposes of raising money and getting more women involved in women candidates’ races;
  • How to reach young voters, especially in this upcoming year when a new record turnout of voters aged 18 to 35 will likely determine who wins in many district;
    The importance of diversity to all of us in all future races – from responding to issues of racism and intolerance to calculating minority population turnout in your district; from recruiting women of color to becoming up-to-date on the issues of many different diversities (disabled, people of color, immigrants, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual, women, etc.);
  • How to respond to gender biases by opposing candidates, endorsing PAC’s, the media, etc.;
    How to appeal to women voters, first and foremost, to get them on your side and by your side as opposed to having to respond to statements like “I’m not voting for you just because you’re a woman.” The NWPC is particularly strong in building relationships amongst women – either as individuals or as organizations.

With less than a month to go before the anticipated New Year, it’s time to start your planning for training the class of 2016 – and to do so in the style and experience of the NWPC. With so much at stake next year, we are ready, willing and especially able to help you help the women we all need to win in 2016.

Don’t put this off: take that first step to plan your training. We can help!