Winning the Internet

Training at Netroots Nation: How to craft a winning proposal

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

So, you want to give a training at Netroots Nation? Great! In order to create the most well-rounded agenda possible for NN12, we’re asking members of the community like you to help us develop and organize the sessions.

This year we’re asking for training proposals to be submitted separately from panels. You can find detailed information about submitting a training here, including the submission form.

Choosing a topic

Deciding what your topic should be? We surveyed Netroots Nation community members to see what type of sessions they’re interested in attending this year. We used those responses—and feedback from top trainers in the movement—to put together the following list of suggested topics. We’d love to receive training submissions on these but please don’t let this list limit your creativity!

  • Campaign strategy development
  • Theory of change
  • New media tools (especially affordable advertising, advocacy tools, mobile and other new tools)
  • Growing your campaign or movement
  • Using social media strategically
  • Effective message strategy
  • Campaign infrastructure
  • Overcoming institutional obstacles to change
  • Blogging or working with elected officials effectively
  • Measuring success
Is there something you’re struggling with that you’d like to learn about? Let us know in the comments.

Designing the session

The training committee will ultimately decide which trainings are selected. The committee offers the following guidance for anyone thinking of submitting a proposal:

  • One or two presenters only. The most cohesive and effective trainings are often given by only one or two people, so we’re asking for submissions with only one or two presenters this year. More presenters can lead to trainings that feel more like panels or several disjointed mini presentations.
  • Experts and practitioners are welcome! You don’t have to be a professional trainer to give a training, as long as you really know your stuff. That being said, if one or more of your trainers does have training experience, feel free to mention that in your proposal.
  • Highlight key take-aways. Remember that these are trainings, not panels. Design your session so that participants will come away with concrete ways to implement what they learned, and be sure to highlight those take-aways in your proposal.
  • Use examples. People love case studies—examples of successes and failures both work well.
  • Interaction is important. Nobody wants to sit and watch someone drone for 50 minutes! Design your session to be interactive and dynamic (just keep in mind that there will be up to 70 people in your session).

In addition to trainings, we’re also accepting proposals for panels and film screenings. You can find everything you need to know about the proposal process, including links to the submission forms, here. The deadline for all submissions is January 31, 2012.

If you’re looking for tips on organizing an engaging panel, check out Nolan Treadway’s post on the New Organizing Institute’s blog. Or, join Netroots Nation organizers for a webinar and chat via Spreecast on the panel submission process on January 26 at 2pm Eastern. Please RSVP for the webinar.


About Melissa Foley

Melissa is the Director of Training and Mentoring for Netroots Foundation and New Media Mentors. She aims to use her MBA + nonprofit background to teach organizations to use new media tools strategically.