YDATL Blog NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
YDA Conference blog - Day 1 Part Deux
Okay, so it's Day 2 now, but you see there was a reception, then another reception, then an after-reception party.... And now there is much coffee. Let's see if I can type this quietly enough so as not to disturb Mr. Chairman, who thwarted my attempt to get him on our podcast by having a mouthful of cake. Damn you, cake!
Crystal Strait, our new Communications Director for YDA, led a training workshop on Press and Marketing: How to showcase your chapter and get press. Many of the ideas offered up by the group were already obvious: write letters to the editor, send out press releases, blog, etc. We still run into the same old obstacle: so we sent in a press release, but they still don't print them. I guess it just takes persistent nagging and the steady drumbeat of newsworthy items. Something that should have been obvious but wasn't to me: do more commenting on other blogs as YDAtl. The problem with that, of course, is that there's really nothing stopping the Young Republicans from making really stupid comments on blogs and signing our names. Typekey, save us!
One action item I definitely want to take away from this, though, is to create a Go Team for what guest speaker Bob Mulholland (CA Democratic Party) spoke about: Rapid Response. We need some volunteers with flexible schedules and sign-making materials ready to go within the hour when there's a hot event taking place -- show up, make noise, get in the news. Kind of like Page's action alert emails during the legislative section, but more mobilized. Letters to the editor and press releases also need to be rapid response, too, with as much boilerplate text prepared ahead of time as possible, ready to go. You see, this is why I need a bigger committee! (Especially when it comes time to make the press kits for the fundraiser next month).
New Member Orientiation started off with your basics about what the heck YDA actually is, but then became quite fruitful as the various representatives shared their most successful chapter initiatives. Of course, everyone loves the idea of our podcast, and wants a copy of the workshop presentation I plan on making for GPS2006. Rob Dolin of WA described a pretty creative and fun sounding fundraising event called a "Straw Poll," where they bring out candidates to speak to the group in a mini-debate and then conduct a vote (with $20 bills, hence the fundraising). Some questions at that meeting about 501(c)3, (c)7, and 527 status were enough to spawn a new session today with YDA's lawyers to discuss the various tax status and finance issues. I hope I can go to that, because we need to take a serious look at our status. Finally, Rob Dolin and I had some offline chitchat about technology issues, to make sure DEMopolis (YDA's new web platform for chapter communications tools) is open and accessible enough so as not to require another YDAtl site redesign in the future, should DEMopolis become the Must Have toy for all chapters.
Scott Kleeb, a YD candidate for the 3rd NE congressional district, spoke to the first meeting of the YDA Rural Caucus, which I snuck into so I could learn all about cattle. (No, seriously, he explained some serious agribusiness to us - he's got a whole PhD in it from Yale.) He credits Chairman Dean's 50 State Strategy for really enabling his campaign.
I'm going to start paying attention to the DNC session now. More later.