Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bluebonnet Data a nonprofit?
Bluebonnet Data is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.
When was Bluebonnet Data founded?
Bluebonnet Data was founded in 2018 when our founder Nathán Goldberg reached out to Beto O’Rourke to volunteer his data science skills to Beto’s Senate campaign in Texas. You can read more about our founding here: www.bluebonnetdata.org/about.
How long does a cohort run?
Fellows are expected to stay on board for an entire cohort cycle, which runs for 11 weeks. After the cohort cycle, they can transition off the project or continue on as a volunteer with their partner campaign or organization. Our 2023 cohorts are:
April Cohort: April 24 - July 10
August Cohort: August 28 - November 14
Where can I find project ideas?
Check out the Partner Guide
Talk to a Bluebonnet staff member (email@example.com)
Read about Data Projects & Case Studies on the Bluebonnet Blog
Skim through our Campaign Data 101 blog series:
Part 1: How to think about Data if you’re not a “Data Person”
Part 2: How to use Data in your campaign for Field, Messaging, and Policy
Part 3: How to use Data in your campaign for Finance and Internal Operations
Part 4: Case Studies & Other Resources
How much does it cost to be matched with a team?
We charge an FEC-compliant fee to match campaigns and organizations to work with a Bluebonnet Data team. We charge $750 per cohort cycle to federal campaigns and state parties, and $500 to everyone else. In 2021, we also added a new matching fee option: $300 for a supplemental team match (1-2 fellows joining an ongoing team). The supplemental matching fee is only available to current clients looking to add to their team of Bluebonnet Data Fellows.
$750: Federal campaign or state party data team matching of 3-5 fellows
$500: Regular data team matching of 3-5 fellows
$300: Supplemental team matching of 1-2 fellows
Does the matching fee cover one fellow or a whole team?
The matching fee covers a team of several volunteers, typically 3 to 5 people.
Are there any other fees involved?
No, there are no other fees associated with the program beyond the matching fee.
What does the matching fee pay for?
This fee covers Bluebonnet Data’s service of matching a volunteer team to your campaign or organization. The fee is for the work done by Bluebonnet staff to coordinate and match a volunteer team with your organization. Once the fellows are matched, they become volunteers for your organization.
Can I be matched with a team more than once?
Yes! We have many partners and clients who choose to be matched with teams multiple times over the course of a cycle, or across different cycles. We also offer a continuous matching arrangement, in which you can pay an up-front fee to have fellows continuously matched with you (as needed) at each cohort cycle.
Does Bluebonnet Data match data teams with nonprofits?
We match data teams with campaigns, nonprofits, PACs, unions, state parties, local parties, legislative causes, and other progressive organizations.
Does Bluebonnet Data work in primary elections?
Yes, we do match teams with primary campaigns, and we will work with multiple campaigns in the same primary provided they meet our criteria. We keep the fellow teams separate before the primary and ask that the campaigns share projects and best practices after the primary election.
How do the data teams help nonprofits?
Data teams help not only in many of the same ways as for campaigns (Targeting & Outreach, Strategy & Planning, Reporting & Infrastructure, etc.), but also have the skillset and creativity to assist in innovative ways: Deep canvassing data systems, creative voter registration targeting tactics, managing Donor data, targeting areas for candidate recruitment, and more.
What do I do if a fellow drops out or I'm having another issue with my team?
Reach out to our Programs Team at firstname.lastname@example.org).
How do I offboard as a client?
Clients off-boarding from their Bluebonnet Data engagement are asked to fill out our feedback & off-boarding form. The information in this form is critical to Bluebonnet. We use it to inform how we structure the program for future cohorts. Clients can also schedule an off-boarding call with the Bluebonnet staff.
For wrapping up with the data team, we encourage clients to take over any accounts created for the Bluebonnet Fellows and to request access to any deliverables the fellows may have completed or still been working on. An off-boarding call with the team is highly encouraged.
Is the Bluebonnet Fellowship just for college students?
The Bluebonnet Fellowship is open to all people, regardless of age, gender, race, disability, religion, or other identities. We recruit heavily amongst younger age demographics (college students and young professionals), but our fellowship spans a large age range. Approximately 57% of fellows begin as college students, 28% as working professionals, 14% as graduate students, and 1% as high school students. We have a growing number of retired professionals joining the fellowship as well.
What does Bluebonnet Data look for in a Fellowship applicant?
We are looking for folks with intermediate to advanced data science and coding skills who are interested in volunteering their skills for progressive campaigns and causes. You don’t need to have prior political experience – around 50% of our fellows have never volunteered in politics before. We also look for fellows with campaign tech or digital experience!
How long does the Bluebonnet Fellowship run?
The Fellowship is approximately 11 weeks long. After the 11 weeks, fellows are welcome to stay on with their partner campaign or organization, or they may transition off the team. After completing a cohort cycle, fellows are invited to join other aspects of Bluebonnet activity as well.
Can foreign nationals volunteer with Bluebonnet Data?
Yes, but there are limitations. "Although foreign nationals may not make contributions or expenditures (including advances of personal funds) in connection with any federal, state or local election, an individual who is a foreign national may participate in campaign activities as an uncompensated volunteer. In doing so, the volunteer must be careful not to participate in the decision-making process of the campaign." (Link to source from the FEC).