Empowered To Run: 2019 Strategic Plan

We’ve been heads-down over the past year, working hard developing a revolutionary new approach to state & local candidate training: holistically focused on candidates’ running successfully and governing effectively; leading with values-based communication while supporting evidence-based governance; addressing candidates’ challenges while they focus on their constituents’ needs; deep, accessible, and scalable. We’ve built a lot, but have so much more to do. Here are our 2018 highlights and our 2019 plan…

New to Empowered To Run?

Here’s a quick primer:

2018: Bootstrapped success, Ready to scale

We’ve built a sweet boat with a lot of space to grow!

In our brief existence, we’ve accomplished a lot on a shoestring. We’ve built our organization, received 501(c)(3) status, developed our training infrastructure, honed our training model, and supported multiple cohorts of candidates. Candidates like Jill…

Meet Jill

Jill Manrique is heavily engaged in her suburban Illinois community, the nonprofit she works for, and her young family. She’s interested in representing and supporting her district in government and joined the pilot of our first course: Understand Your Voters. Her take?

I’d do it again in a hot second! It’s put me on the best start I could have asked for. Learning how to conduct thoughtful and meaningful interviews with constituents has been priceless for me — and my future constituents have loved it too!

Successful crowdfunding → New platform

The Empowered To Run training platform

We are extremely thankful to our many friends who helped us raise $25k after our pilot. With these resources, we developed our best-in-class training platform, enabling us to offer blended, peer-based, and team-based learning.

Enhance partner community training

This summer, we redeveloped Understand Your Voters and put our new system into action supporting She Should Run’s innovative Virtual Cohort program. The response was amazing (+50 NPS):

  • “It was a great exercise to help prepare us to learn to listen and ask the right type of questions to help get to meaningful conversation with our constituents. I think a lot of people feel like their voices and their votes don’t matter; and I think taking time to get to speak with and listen to constituents will help them feel directly the importance of their voices.”
  • “I think having these conversations is one of the most important parts of running a campaign. It may also be one of the most challenging/scary parts of running a campaign. This work helped make it less scary…”
  • “It helped me to get out of my comfort zone.”
  • “It gave me the opportunity to say out loud that I am considering being a candidate. Saying it aloud makes it more real and achievable.”
  • “I can’t imagine figuring all of this out on my own; and given I am starting from scratch; it would have taken me a lot longer to find a mentor who could have helped me develop my conversation skills. The Empowered to Run course certainly has given me more confidence and shortened my timeline in running for office.”

This is a model for future offerings, providing enhanced experiences for candidate communities that partners have cultivated.

Insights from the 2018 elections

The 2018 elections reinforced what we’ve learned from more than two decades of elections: authenticity and shared values connect with voters better than logic and facts; and local elections are not tightly coupled to national trends. That said, the updated landscape of who’s turning out to vote and where, and who’s now able to win and where are still valuable context for candidates and our work. We jotted down a few reflections:

2019: More courses → More impact

The Empowered To Run curriculum

We’re excited to unveil our full curriculum design to guide a prospective candidate from their first moment of curiosity about running to well into governing. It’s unique. Most other training programs provide just a condensed version of our Develop Your Campaign series, teaching candidates essential campaign mechanics. We help candidates empathize with the community members they will be representing, on their way to developing the substance of their campaign: what they are running for and how to authentically communicate it. Candidates gain confidence in themselves and critical skills for the race and job ahead. (Have thoughts on making the curriculum even better? Let us know!)

In 2019, we will develop the core courses from this curriculum, including state-specific policy trainings in 2–4 states, and test them with candidates preparing for 2019 and 2020 races. Where other organizations’ trainings cover topics sufficiently (some campaign mechanics), we will reference them, rather than recreating them. We will start by completing the Run With Your Community series and piloting one state’s Policy & Governance training.

To build on our success, we need…


We are raising $1.28 million to develop, evaluate, and release 20 courses in the next 12 months. Our budget funds course production and facilitation, tech infrastructure, core staff, and legal and accounting fees. Our production and facilitation operation is lean and scalable — any additional money we raise will allow us to develop and run even more courses.

The first $100k will fund our first state policy pilot and our Run With Your Community series.

These investments don’t just support 2019. We “build once, reuse many.” Once we produce a course, it needs very little effort and few resources to be offered again. Furthermore, with our core curriculum built, we will be able to employ a variety of revenue streams to offset the need for future donations, making our organization sustainable in the long term.

Interested in supporting our work? Donate here! Bonus: Empowered To Run is a 501(c)(3). Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.


We’re excited to partner with all aligned and complementary organizations, especially:

  • Subject matter experts on relevant policy, political, and governance topics (we can spread your knowledge and expand your reputation)
  • Candidate communities and training organizations (we can enhance your offerings)

Do you represent a potential partner? Connect with us!


We are building an Advisory Council and are on the lookout for prominent voices and deep experts who can advise us on relevant political terrain, resource opportunities, academic insights, political-tech startup best practices, and more.

Are you a potential advisor? Reach out!

Support the movement

Help empower thoughtful leaders everywhere to run for office successfully and govern effectively!

Donate to Empowered To Run



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Empowered To Run

Training thoughtful leaders everywhere to run for office successfully and govern effectively. Want to help? hello @ empoweredto.run