Frequently Asked Questions

What is advance? And what is Advance Camp?

Advance staff are political engineers — they make the nuts and bolts of political campaign events happen and make sure the best images of their candidate are transmitted to voters nationwide. From the smallest visit to a coffee shop to the largest rallies of 100,000 people or more, if you’ve been to a political event or watched one on TV, an advance person made that happen.

Advance Camp is a networking and training conference for anyone interested in learning more about political optics and logistics for Democratic campaigns on the national level, in preparation for the 2020 Presidential campaign cycle.

Haven’t campaigns run advance schools in the past? Why not just let them do it?

First, Donald Trump must be defeated in 2020. Our field of high quality candidates each deserve an excellent advance team during this primary, after which we’ll all come together to elect the winner that emerges.

In prior cycles, only the largest and best funded campaigns ran their own advance trainings, and smaller campaigns didn’t at all. By opening this up to all Democratic campaigns, we hope to help improve the quality of advance for everyone, from the smallest to largest operations.

Who is organizing Advance Camp?

Advance Camp is an all-volunteer effort run by veterans of multiple campaigns and administrations and is not affiliated with or funded by any 2020 campaign or organization.

Why do it 600 days before Election Day?

The 2020 cycle will be unprecedented for the Democratic Party, with more than 20 viable contenders expected to be in the race by the time the first caucus rolls around. By holding it in the first half of 2019, it ensures the widest number of attendees can make it prior to things really heating up. We’ll do it again some time in 2020, but only if it makes sense — sign up for our mailing list if you want a heads up for 2020.

Does applying for Advance Camp guarantee me a seat?

Initial interest in the conference has been very high. We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but it is possible that you will be placed onto a waiting list, due to space constraints. All applications will be responded to within 48-72 hours of receipt, so that attendees can arrange their travel.

It seems like there’s 30 people running — I’m not sure who I’d even want to work for!

At this stage, that’s totally understandable. During the application process, you’ll be required to upload a recent resume. And then you’ll be asked to select which candidates you’d consider working for, if you are actively seeking to participate in 2020. Select as many as you want (or none!) and we’ll send your resume to that campaign after the conference as someone interested in that candidate’s effort.

I like campaigns and politics, but I’m not sure I’m interested in advance.

Advance isn’t the right fit for everyone — it doesn’t pay much, it’s primarily based on the road, and it can be hard to figure out your career afterwards. About half of the attendees of Advance Camp will be veterans from one or more prior presidential cycles, so you’ll be able to ask them about their experiences and how they dealt with those challenges and decide for yourself if this is something you want to pursue.

Are advance teams diverse?

Yes, but not as diverse as they could and should be. A huge part of the mission of Advance Camp is to grow the ranks of trained advance staff who “look like America,” just like the expected group of candidates the Democratic Party is putting on the field. We are asking all attendees to do what they can to spread the word about this conference so that we can better reach these communities.

What can I expect from the programming at Advance Camp?

We envision the gathering to be 50% networking and conversation with other advance people of varied experience levels, 25% panel discussions focused on best practices and 25% breakout sessions focused on best practices.

Between the live panels & breakouts, along with written materials provided to each attendee, we’d like someone who attends with zero campaign or advance experience to at least have a firm understanding of the basic concept of and skills required for advance work when they leave.

What are the costs to attend?

Advance Camp is 100% free for all attendees. But it does cost money to put on, so if you are financially able, consider contributing to help defray costs.

Attendees are responsible for their own travel arrangements. Airbnb is always a good way to save $ on lodging in DC, especially on weekends.

When is it? Where’s it being held?

Advance Camp will be held on Friday, March 8th & Saturday, March 9th in Washington, DC. Like picking a venue on a campaign, we won’t select one until we know our crowd size (and budget!), but it will be in DC proper, not in the suburbs.

Do I have to arrive on Friday?

We recommend as many people as possible attend the opening mixer/reception on Friday evening, but if you are unable to make it then due to other commitments, you won’t miss any of the programming — that’s all on Saturday.

I’ve done advance before — what would I get out of this?

We need experienced people to participate in Advance Camp. Just like more experienced people naturally train newer advancers on every trip, we’re counting on that dynamic during Advance Camp. If you are interested in getting back out there this cycle, this will also be a great opportunity to meet others making the same decision. And tell stories. Lots of stories.

I’m more interested in statewide or local races?

Advance skills are definitely transferable to downballot races — and smaller races mean more responsibility for individual advance people, since you likely will be working alone or in much smaller teams.

What are the age requirements?

Students are welcome — many advance people take a break from college to hit the trail — but you must be 18 at the time of attendance. No exceptions.

Can I arrive late/leave early?

We ask that everyone arrive by the first session on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. to check-in. You can leave early if your plans require it.

Do I need ID?

Yes, please bring a government-issued ID for check-in, we will be verifying that each attendee matches an approved application, no exceptions.

What’s the dress code?

Campaign casual! It’s a long day, be comfortable!

I can’t come in March — do you have a mailing list for future events?

Yes — click here to fill it out.

I’m a member of the press. Can I cover Advance Camp or interview attendees?

Contact Morgan Finkelstein @ morgan.a.finkelstein@gmail.com.

Can I volunteer or sponsor?

Absolutely. Please get in touch with us at advancecamp2020@gmail.com.

Can I contribute?

Uh, yes please. Head to our contribution page and give what you are able.

I’m a Republican, can I come?

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