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Bluebonnet Data Fellowship Partner Guide

Overview This guide is meant to help you, the Fellowship Partner campaign or organization, best understand your relationship with your Bluebonnet Data team (whether you already have one, or are considering getting one). Fellows are remote volunteers for your organization; they are from all around the country and they are working with you because they want to leverage their technical skills to support a cause they believe in. This post will explore:


 

Interested in getting a team? Fill out this form or reach out to programs@bluebonnetdata.org.

 

First, let's take a look at who the fellows are and what you can expect from your remote data team:

You will also be matched with a Project Lead to help streamline communication and aid with project management and support.


Time Commitment

We have asked each volunteer fellow and Project Lead to set aside 5-7 hours per week for 13 weeks (one cohort cycle) to work with their Fellowship Partner campaign or organization. Week to week, we recommend they set aside around an hour to meet with the Fellowship Partner, time for an internal team call, and the rest of the time for

project work. However, it is up to the Fellowship Partner and Project Lead to determine what meeting structure and timeline is best suited for the team.


Keep in mind that some fellows are also full-time students or working professionals, and may be working with unpredictable schedules. This means that meeting time with your fellow team may be outside of work hours. We will help the team coordinate a meeting time that works best for all participants.


Sample schedule of what fellows commit to:

30 minutes to 1 hour per week

Fellowship Partner Call 

We recommend teams spend around 15 minutes to prepare for the meeting, 30 minutes for the call, and some time to recap. During this call the team will give updates, receive feedback from the partner, and ask questions.

30 minutes to 1 hour per week


Meeting with team 

We recommend 30 minutes to an hour each week for teams to meet internally, working together on projects for the partner and giving updates.

3-6 hours per week

Independent Project Work 

Writing code, researching, cleaning data, putting together reports, communicating findings with the team, etc.

What can you ask fellows to help on? Bluebonnet volunteers have a wide variety of technical experience within data & digital specialties. Based on your data and digital needs, we will match fellows with relevant experience and skill sets to best support your campaign or organization. However, fellows on a team may not have a lot of political experience, and will likely not be familiar with your district/region. Bluebonnet provides bootcamps and a myriad of trainings on the political landscape and political data tools, but you should be prepared to give your fellows the necessary political and regional context for their projects and answer questions about these topics. We generally advise to not assume necessary background political knowledge.

Things fellows can do

● Use and analyze the data your organization has on hand or other publicly available data, including:

  • VAN or other voter & voter contact data

  • Census data

  • FEC or state donor Data

  • Past election data

  • Other local, state, and national data

● Provide useful analyses, including:

  • Voter, donor, and volunteer targeting

  • Data reporting and analyses for Field operations, fundraising, & more

  • Win number calculations & path-to-victory analyses

Assist with campaign tools & operations, including:

  • Tool acquisition & set-up (e.g. a Texting tool)

  • Website design & management

  • CRM set-up and support


Bluebonnet Fellows have a wealth of talent beyond what is listed above. Please view the Project Inspiration section below for more details on what your Bluebonnet Data Fellows can work on!

Things we don't ask fellows to do

 

Working with your Bluebonnet Team

Before Getting Started With Your Bluebonnet Team.

Meet with the Bluebonnet Data staff to map out your data projects, goals, and timeline. You can expect 1-2 quick meetings with Bluebonnet Data staff to ensure you are well-prepared for your fellow team. During this meeting, we will outline 2-3 data projects for your fellows. The more specific you can be, the better projects you will be able to develop with your team. 


Map out your resource and data landscape. What data resources do you have and what will you need for project success? What digital tools are you using? Are the data sources you need public or will you need to give fellows access? 


Complete our Services Agreement, pay the matching fee, and complete our Cohort Confirmation form. We will provide you with more information as we move forward with the onboarding process.

The First Week of the Fellowship 

Throughout the Fellowship

The Final Week of the Fellowship

 

Project Inspiration

Whether you are coming in with a list of to-dos for your Bluebonnet team or you could use a little inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of the most common Bluebonnet project types we encourage you to reference at this link.


Below, we'll unpack a few common project types in more detail, and you can find in-depth project examples in the rest of our blog.


As a reminder: while Bluebonnet is available to assist fellows and Fellowship Partners in all the ways discussed in this document, once matched to a campaign or organization the fellow is a volunteer to the partner and works under the direction, control, and supervision of the partner.



Project 1: District Analysis Ask your Bluebonnet team for an analysis or report on your district and demographics. A detailed report with district visualizations & unique insights can be referenced not only in your early Field planning, but it can also inform the strategic decisions that you make later on.


Questions to ask your team:

  • Who lives in our district? How/where are voters/constituents distributed? Fellows can answer these questions relating to party registration, age, education, income, gender, race, ethnicity, etc.

  • How have people voted in the past? This can help inform expected voter turnout for upcoming elections and goals for new voter registration and mobilization.

  • Are there areas with more unregistered voters? What communities have had high or low turnout rates? This could help you identify voter registration hotspots or communities to engage civically.


Project 2: Win Number & Path to Victory A win number is the exact number of votes that you need to win your election or generally, 50% + 1 voter. The win number goes hand in hand with a path to victory, the plan for who will supply your votes broken down into demographic segments. Your Bluebonnet team can help you determine these numbers and goals by taking into consideration your unique pulls as a candidate in conjunction with electoral results from past races.


Questions to ask your team:

  • How many voters are in my community? How many of them are likely to vote in the next election?

  • Exactly how many votes do we need to win? (50% + 1)

  • Who are we targeting and who is the opposition targeting?

  • How can we visualize our path to victory?


Project 3: Digital Support

This is a broad category of projects Fellow may be able to support on. While fellows are NOT going to replace a digital team or consultant, Fellows can provide digital support in some of the following ways:

  • Explore what digital/organizing tools are available to support your campaign and help set them up. For example: Texting tools, digital engagement platforms, relational organizing tools, etc.

  • Support with your existing digital presence, for example: building or managing your website, helping with social media operations, running digital ads, etc.


Innovative & Unique Projects Have a technical project idea that isn't listed above? We're always open to new kinds of projects! Our fellows often have unique specialized skillsets and many have created highly innovative tools & analyses in the past. If we can find fellows with the right skillset(s), we're always open to new kinds of technical projects.


As a reminder, to see an overview of various common Bluebonnet project types, you can reference this link and check out our blog.

 

Our Expectations for Fellowship Partners

Just as we try to set clear expectations for our fellows, we have community guidelines that we require Fellowship Partners to adhere to in order to be part of our program.


Matching Fee

Bluebonnet Data charges a matching fee. This fee covers Bluebonnet Data’s volunteer matching service; the fee is for the work done by Bluebonnet staff to coordinate, match, and support a Fellow team with your campaign or organization. Upon matching, fellows are volunteers for your organization or campaign. Review our Pricing Model here.

Communication

Bluebonnet and its fellows commit to engaging in open and honest communication––within their time commitment––and we expect partners to do the same. We are happy to assist any fellow or parter to establish sensible modes of communication or to resolve any communication issues that may arise.

Respect

Bluebonnet fellows commit to creating a volunteer team environment that prioritizes mutual respect and fair treatment. We ask that partners commit to respectful dialogue with fellows and we encourage fellows and partners to regularly check in to address any perceptions of disrespectful conduct.

Inclusivity

Bluebonnet strives to foster diversity and inclusivity among fellows and partners. We expect partners to make a commitment to inclusivity and in addition to respectful discourse, to treat fellows equally and without regard to gender, race, disability, religion, or other identities.

Effectiveness

Bluebonnet exists because of our deep belief in the importance and power of investing in progressive campaigns and causes, and we want to help all of our partners succeed. We expect partners to utilize Bluebonnet fellows to their full potential and to ensure that every task a fellow engages in benefits the partner organization in some way. We encourage any partners and fellows that aren’t satisfied with the amount or the nature of each other’s work to engage in honest communication or to reach out to the Bluebonnet leadership team for mediation.

Integrity

Bluebonnet fellows commit to doing no harm. This means that we expect our partners not to pursue and our fellows to actively reject and denounce projects that are immoral or illegal. We reserve the right to terminate the Bluebonnet + partner relationship with partners that violate our expectations or mistreat their volunteers.

 

About the Author

Becca Blais is the Executive Director of Bluebonnet Data. As Bluebonnet's first employee and now Executive Director, Becca believes in the importance of investing in talent and data infrastructure at the most local level.


Image credits to Pablo Stanley from Blush Designs and Christina Hahn from Bluebonnet Data.

 

If you like what you’ve read and want to learn more, you can reach us at info@bluebonnetdata.org. Or, want smart, passionate, young folx to help with your data now? Bring on a Bluebonnet team!



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