Run for Something’s 2021–2022 Strategic Plan

  • A recap on what we accomplished in 2020
  • What we learned from the 2020 election results
  • What we learned from our 2020 candidates
  • Our focus in 2021–2022
  • Our program in 2021–2022
  • What we need to get it done in 2021–2022

2020: What we did, in spite of it all

  • Our candidate pipeline grew from 45,000 at the beginning of the year to now more than 67,000 young people who’ve said they want to run for office (and 5000+ of those folks have signed up since Election Day 2020!!!)
  • We’ve endorsed 1480 individual candidates in all 50 states, including a brand new 2021 class. Of those, we’ve elected 488 people across 45 states. Those winners are 55% women and/or non-binary, 56% BIPOC, & 21% LGBTQIA+. All are 40 years old or younger. There are multiple (2+) RFS alum in 36 of the 99 state legislative chambers and on 28 different school boards/city councils/county boards (and many more who serve on different levels in the same city or county). Check ’em all out on our candidate map, which has been viewed more than 50,000 times!!
  • When the pandemic began, we launched resourcesforcampaigns.com, a hub for candidates with resources from 40+ Democratic organizations that nearly 20,000 people visited. We ran the Armchair Chat series all summer long, reaching more than 2 million viewers.
For more on our program, go to runforsomething.net/how-we-help
For more on our program, go to runforsomething.net/how-we-help
  • Our communications team helped shape stories or get op-eds placed in Teen Vogue, Crooked Media, The Atlantic, CNN.com, The 19th and more. We launched a podcast with Dear Media that is generating thousands of downloads and owning the story of our candidates and alumni.
  • We built or sustained more than 100 partnerships with state, local, and movement groups across the country, because we know no one does this work alone.
  • We set an initial budget of $3.1million, lowered it to $2.2m when the pandemic hit (and cut expenses accordingly), then ultimately raised nearly $3 million anyway, taking us into 2021 with a healthy runway.
  • Our technology team built out an entirely homegrown internal database for managing candidate information, rebuilt the candidate directory on the website so external partners can better surface the folks they’re interested in, and is in the process of automating all of the data pipelines to increase efficiency.

2020 was really fucking hard. We did amazing work anyway. That’s a credit to the Run for Something team, supporters, candidates, volunteers, and the entire community who’ve kept their eyes on the prize: Sustainable power.

2020: What we learned from the election

  1. We’ve gotten better at this: better at identifying all-star candidates and better at supporting them so they can run winning campaigns
  2. While there were losses in state legislatures, we had big wins at the city, county, and school board levels of the ballot
  3. We did a lot of work in primaries earlier this year
  • A Trump electorate is different than a non-Trump electorate (as shown in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 elections and again in the 2021 Georgia runoffs)
  • We were fighting on tough state legislative and congressional districts thanks to 2010 gerrymandering — the map was set against us a decade ago, and we picked off the low-hanging fruit in 2018.
  • Polling was wildly off, affecting resource allocation.
  • Money came in very very late, especially for state legislative races, and much of it was spent on TV/online ads.
  • Not canvassing was the right public health decision at the time, but came with some consequences.
  • The strategy to winning the White House & the strategy to win everything else aren’t always the same.
  • We’re on year 4 of a long-term 40 year plan to build power; Republicans are on year 39.

2020: What we learned from our candidates

The key takeaways: Our work matters.

2021–2022: Our focus

  1. There are no off-years
  2. Resource every state like a battleground state
  3. Chase power, not shiny objects
  4. Win local elections so we can win national elections
  5. Win local elections so we can make people’s lives better
  6. Measure success past Election Day
  7. Commit to diversity
  8. Embrace primaries
  9. Reject the false choice between “persuasion” and “turnout” — do both, all the time!
  10. Even if Trump’s not on the ballot ever again, Trumpism is.

Local, local, local — We’ll be doubling down on our commitment to recruiting and supporting candidates for city councils, school boards, county executives, and every other local position on the ballot in 2021 and 2022.

Our 2021–2022 priority states are AZ, FL, GA, KS, MA, MI, MN, MT, MO, NC, NH, NY, OH, PA, TX, VA, and WI.

We’ve worked with candidates in all 50 states + D.C. — that won’t change! See the map at runforsomething.net/map

What our program looks like over the next two years

  • Candidate intro calls specifically for BIPOC candidates (broken out in groups as appropriate), addressing challenges unique to these folks
  • Peer-to-peer relationship building between candidates in smaller groups — in addition to the 1:1 alumni advisor relationship and the 1:many construct of the Slack and Facebook groups
  • Led by our political team, we’ll build partnerships with 80+ state and local organizations, identify 40+ new local partners and vetting leads, 100+ priority recruitment opportunities, and continue building with aligned issue/movement-based organizations.
  • ≥50% BIPOC
    — ≥20% Latinx candidates (17% in 2020)*
    — ≥25% Black candidates (25% in 2020)*
    — ≥8–10% AAPI candidates (6% in 2020)*
  • ≥50% women
  • ≥25% LGBTQIA+

Empowering the program

2021–2022: What we need

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Run for Something

Run for Something

Recruiting & supporting young people running for office. Building a Democratic bench. Want to help? hello@runforsomething.net