DSA Training Programs and Library

Upcoming Programs  

If you are looking to request a particular training, please scroll down to Request a Training.

Leadership Intensive

The Growth & Development Committee is excited to invite you to the next edition of our Leadership Intensive program. The Leadership Intensive is meant for chapter officers (or prospective chapter officers) of all experience levels to come together, learn from one another, and take away a set of new skills and key best practices.

This two day training will consist of two sessions that will cover all aspects of DSA Leadership from understanding the role of leaders to how to take on the day to day administrative tasks necessary to run a successful DSA Chapter.

Ongoing: Org + Technology Tools Trainings

Org Tools facilitates training, administration, and support for chapter leaders and members regarding their use of DSA Org Tools – check out these upcoming trainings for how to better utilize tools like Action Network, VAN (Voter Activation Network) and texting/dialing programs.  

Request Trainings 

If you’re interested in scheduling one of the trainings or workshops below, 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. Through the DSA Training Resource Library, groups (DSA/YDSA chapters, national committees, etc) have access to standardized educational and skill-building resources. Here are some currently offered trainings: 

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

List Work Workshops

Description: This is a hands-on workshop (with some training and coaching components) where you will work on an actual list of people, inputting information and deciding on individual next steps in order to help both understand and grow your capacity. You will have to complete follow up steps as part of the process.

What you will take from it: Hands-on practice from an outside trainer on how to use this to tool to grow capacity, along with a list of next steps to take to engage people in your work and a rough plan of how to continue the process moving forward.

Audience: Anyone with access to a list of people that you need to figure out a way to systemically engage – usually chapter/committee leadership but sometimes national committees too. 

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

Grassroots Fundraising 

Description: Learn how your chapter can build power by becoming strong grassroots fundraisers and raise more for your local chapter. 

What you will take from it: An understanding of why grassroots fundraising is the most sustainable way to fund our work for the long haul, plus grassroots fundraising tactics and best practices.

Audience: Chapter leaders interested in building out grassroots fundraising efforts in your chapter; DSA members interested in incorporating fundraising work into ongoing organizing efforts

Roberts Rules 101

Description: Learn how to use Roberts Rules of Order to foster discussion and make decisions within your chapter.

What you will take from it: A thorough overview of using Roberts Rules as a participant and tips on how to use Roberts Rules as a facilitator.

Audience: Chapter leaders and members who want to refresh their Roberts Rules basics for democratic decision-making.

Field Plan Deep Dive

Description: One hour training get into the weeds on your campaign and field plan and talk through the essential elements of a successful electoral campaign.

What you will take from it: A comprehensive breakdown of systems, tactics, and resources for running insurgent, class struggle, electoral campaigns in your chapter and setting clear goals for member recruitment, onboarding, and leadership development during your campaign.

Audience: Chapter leaders and members who are active in the chapter’s electoral working group or are planning electoral campaign work in the chapter. If tailored to specific electoral campaigns, limited to DSA members in good standing.

VAN Deep Dive

Description: One to two hour training building off of the Org Tools VAN 101 to walk members through the step by step process of setting up VAN for their electoral campaign.

What you will take from it: Building a foundation for your campaign in VAN and going through the motions to ensure that good data practices are being followed and that members are ready to knock doors and collect IDs.

Audience: Chapter leaders and members who are active in the chapter’s electoral working group or are planning electoral campaign work in the chapter. Recommended this include members with experience using spreadsheets and who are software savvy if possible. If tailored to specific electoral campaigns, limited to DSA members in good standing.

How to be a Canvassing Maniac

Description: One hour training and overview of how to run a successful canvass for your electoral campaign.

What you will take from it: Step by step understanding of how to prep for, launch, and complete a canvass as well as train field leads during your campaign and resources like a canvass checklist and guide for canvassing dos and dont’s.

Audience: Leaders of the chapter’s electoral campaign field program and anyone else interested in being more involved with the chapter’s canvassing efforts. If tailored to specific electoral campaigns, limited to DSA members in good standing.

Electoral Strategy 101: The DSA Difference

Description: A training for chapters who are interested in starting electoral work for the first time or have limited experience running campaigns.

What you will take from it: An understanding of the “DSA Difference” in electoral campaigns as well as an overview of the key elements needed to develop a strategic class struggle electoral campaign.

Audience: All members interested in learning more about DSA’s electoral strategy especially with an eye towards an upcoming campaign. If tailored to specific electoral campaigns, limited to DSA members in good standing.

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!

Previous Programs  

Fall 2022: Labor 101

DSA’s Growth and Development Committee and the National Labor Commission are excited to announce a comprehensive 5 Week Course on Labor 101 to kickstart and deepen labor work across DSA chapters. This training series is aimed at members in chapters with either leadership roles in their labor formations (working groups, committees, branches, etc) or those looking to get work started. Learn from experienced organizers and case studies of chapters successfully running rank-and-file pipelines, strike support, EWOC coordination, and more! 

Green New Deal Campaign Training Series

A better world is possible, and we’re going to build it by winning socialist Green New Deal fights across the country, at every level of government. To win this vision, our socialist organizers need to run strategic campaigns that shift power away from the fossil-fuel funded, ruling class to green public services and the working class. The purpose of this training series is to guide organizers through how to fight for a Green New Deal locally, equipping them with the political education, tools, and coaching to launch, run, and win these local campaigns. We will use real case studies to show how socialists can and have won Green New Deal campaigns across the country. 

Fall 2022: Kickstart Your Chapter Series

DSA Chapters/OCs that are struggling to build their membership, build leadership, and engage in outward-facing organizing are invited to apply for this training series. The series includes five biweekly sessions, optional peer discussion groups, opportunities to apply concepts directly to your work between sessions and ongoing organizer 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 is a highly participatory training, and you should come prepared to discuss and share. 

National Speakers Training

The DSA National Speakers’ Training Series is a course intended for active DSA organizers who would like to develop speaking skills. Socialists must be able to explain and promote socialist politics among a broad audience of their working class peers. Because most workers are not trained in public speaking, DSA’s National Political Education Committee is offering this training in an effort to create a new layer of members who can write political presentations and speak publicly. This will help members learn to argue in clear and compelling ways, to help lead political education within their chapters or working groups, and to speak to an audience in any capacity. Reach out to [email protected] with any questions

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 and YDSA build 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 2022, 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 how to build a campaign timeline and budget. This series will include direct and indirect support from DSA/YDSA mentors and trainers so you chapter can democratically decide on a strategic campaign and a plan to execute.Request a Training