DSA Training Resources


2021 Programs 

Kickstarting Your Chapter Training Series

DSA groups who have struggled in some way during the previous year are invited to apply for this new training series, which includes six sessions over a three month period, featuring assignments in between and ongoing organizer and peer support. You will take an active, “hands on” approach to using organizing skills to come out of the training series with much more capacity and strength than you started with. This series has concluded and will be relaunched soon.

Launch a Strategic Campaign Training Series

Strategic campaigns focused on building socialism and improving the conditions of the multi-racial working class are the core of how DSA builds power! However, identifying a transformative demand and target(s) is part ART and part SCIENCE. If your chapter is planning to launch a strategic campaign in 2021, you are invited to apply for this new training series, which will include trainings on how to choose a campaign, how to use a “power map” to inform your strategy and include direct and indirect support from DSA mentors and trainers so you chapter can democratically decide on a strategic campaign and a plan to execute. This series has concluded and will be relaunched soon.

Request a Training

Through the DSA Training Resource Library, our groups (DSA/YDSA chapters, national committees, etc) have access to standardized educational and skill-building resources. Below are trainings we currently do with DSA and YDSA groups. If you’re interested in scheduling a training for your group, please fill out this form. After you submit, we will look at the request and figure out the best way and timeframe to hold the training. 

Building a Mass Working Class Organization 

Description: Why build a mass organization and what will it take? This training includes historical context, discussions, and breakouts to explore the idea of building a mass organization, and why DSA is committed to becoming a mass working class organization.

What you will take from it: a base level understanding of Y/DSA as a political project, the fundamentals of our uniting politics, and more clarity around what we’re trying to build together.
Audience: Any DSA members

Introduction to DSA as a National Organization

Description: A high level overview of national DSA committees, structure, operations and tools, including an overview of core organizing trainings 

What you will take from it: a better understanding of the structure of DSA and how to navigate DSA as a national body

Audience: Important for new chapter officers, of interest to members who would like to know more about the national organization 

Building Capacity & Developing Leaders

Description: A training on power as it relates to the work of a socialist organization, the importance of utilizing mobilizing models, understanding the role of leaders in our work, and the nuts and bolts work of charting, listwork, and making an organizing ask. 

What you will take from it: a concise understanding of the difference between mobilizing and organizing and how that affects your work, a concrete model and examples of how to do list work and better ability to identify leaders
Audience: Chapter leaders & elected officers, national body members

Strategic Campaigns

Description: Walk through the process of how to best choose and execute campaigns that will build long-term power for Y/DSA & the working class.  

What you will take from it: Questions to ask when planning a campaign and tools to assess your campaign plan for maximum impact.

Audience: Chapter leaders & elected officers, national body members, members who are interested in the strategic work of the organization

Structured Organizing Conversations

Description: Looking to engage your members more deeply in DSA? A training on how to ask individuals to get more involved in our work and take on roles of responsibility. 

What you will take from it: The purpose and six steps of an organizing conversation and the ability to see it modeled and practice it yourself

Audience: Chapter officers, especially those dealing directly with member recruitment and outreach, anyone working on a strategic campaign or other project

How to Hold Meetings

Description: Meetings are a tactic we use to strengthen effective campaigns and to increase our members’ ownership over the work. This training will help members structure meetings to support our on-the-ground organizing, facilitate political and strategic discussion, and engage attendees during and after the meeting. 

What you will take from it: Principles of what makes for good meetings & concrete and anti-oppressive best practices

Audience: All active DSA members but especially elected officers & people in charge of working groups, committees, etc.

Effective Coalition Work

Description: A training on why DSA should build and join multiracial, working-class coalitions, the basics of what a coalition is and is not, and how DSA can participate and lead coalitions

What you will take from it: Understand why DSA works in coalitions, share best practices and pitfalls for building effective local coalitions, and provide first steps for joining existing coalitions

Audience: Chapter activists working on issue and/or electoral campaigns

New Member On-Boarding

Description: A training on best practices for welcoming new members and creating a path to involvement.

What you will take from it: Best practices for outreach and communications to new members, case study from Huron Valley DSA, role play to practice your skills

Audience: Chapter officers looking to create or fine tune your process for onboarding new members

Power Mapping 101

Description: How do you move your decision-maker to concede to your demand? Map where their power and relationships. In this training, you’ll learn how to use research and relationships to build a power map and move your target.

What you will take from it: A solid understanding of what power mapping is and the template / framework by which you can move forward to power map your specific target.

Audience: Anyone looking to go more deeply into a potential or current strategic campaign


There are a number of other trainings that are available (including upcoming national trainings on dsausa.org/calendar) so feel free to reach out to your organizer to identify them and take advantage of the opportunity to practice your skills!