We’re excited to share the results of our pilot cohort of Navigate Pennsylvania Policy & Governance, the first-of-its-kind state-level policy course for candidates (and others at the intersection of policy and politics) that we co-developed with the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center.
In this rigorous eight-week online course, participants gained an EDG and took a big step towards positioning themselves as policy leaders ready to drive change in government. They built a mental model of both the policy challenges affecting their communities and government’s potential role in helping solve these challenges. This understanding strengthened these leaders’ ability to empathize with their constituents. And through deep listening sessions with community members, they gained valuable stories and language that they can use to demonstrate this empathy in their campaigns, helping develop authentic connections and support. Participants compiled all of these insights into their own policy briefing books, tailored to their communities. These are practical reference guides that they can continue to update and build upon as they engage more constituents and policy experts. As they move their focus to government, they will have the foundation to hit the ground running and develop and deliver effective, evidence-based policy that advances their constituents’ interests.
Learners loved this course
At the end of our pilot, the cohort assessed their experience. We’re thrilled that they overwhelmingly loved it, got a lot out of it, and recommend it to a wide range of the political & policy space!
Specifically, participants reported that the course gave them a much better understanding of:
- the power structures of Pennsylvania government
- the political trends in the state
- the background of and main positions surrounding the major policy issues currently impacting Pennsylvania
- and, critically, their local communities’ experiences with those major policy issues.
They also reported increased skill in eliciting insightful stories when interviewing community members. And they now feel they know which policy experts to speak with on issues of interest.
Here are just a few quotes:
- City council nominee:
[To advance my policy platform] I feel like I now have narrative AND strategy. These two sides feel like the resulting action will be wise and informed and also human and compassionate. The third part of this is authenticity. In listening to people’s narratives, I realize that the most valuable, effective stories happened when people were telling their REAL story. It felt like there was an urgency and an importance that they be heard. This was life affirming for me. Listen beyond the complaint, listen to the why. My weak area is stats and analytics. How we went from stats to narrative and back to stats was incredible to me. Suddenly, the numbers had human power behind them. The analytical part was key and exciting. Who knew!
- New borough councilmember:
I was new to seeking a governing position and other than being a decent person was ignorant of what the job entailed and what resources were available to me. Each of the current issue presentations were well done and eye opening. Definitely broadened my horizons [and] has led me to much more critical thinking on many issues.
- New municipal civil servant and future candidate:
This course helped me overcome some of my insecurities about not knowing enough to put myself out there as someone who wants to run. [Empowered To Run] is doing great work by giving people who care about their communities the tools to run for office.
- Campaign manager for a State House candidate:
I am absolutely blown away by the amount of content presented in this course, how well it was presented, and how applicable it is… With all the supplemental information provided, I feel like I can dig a little (a lot!) deeper on the issues and provide better context when engaging with voters. There are many times that I know the data in my head but haven’t had the resources to back it up. This will make for better conversations overall, and ultimately will allow us to better serve our constituents.
- Township council nominee:
I learned SO MUCH! [The best parts of the course?] So many parts! The mere fact that so many databases exist to learn about constituents and influences in people’s lives. The connection to so many policy organizations. The chance to think about some topics that I always hear about but feel I can never learn about. The opportunity to connect with a fellow classmate who might say something that really strikes a note with my own current struggle/journey is priceless. [What will I do differently?] Quite a lot! I will connect with experts more, ask questions, and know that there are people/groups out there that are doing the good work to provide info when needed.
- Seasoned campaign consultant and former Board of Education member:
Overall this is one of the best training courses I have done. I truly appreciate being a part of this cohort. I am working in 25 rural PA counties helping many candidates. They will all be developing a “Policy Briefing Book” from now on!
Participants recommended this course not only for candidates, but also:
- legislative staff
- campaign staff
- city managers and other key government hires
- think tank staff
- grassroots organization staff and other activists
- and anyone who wants to be an informed citizen
Loved how much? “Holy Grail”-level much!
One benchmark we pay close attention to after each course run is our Net Promoter Score (NPS), the industry standard for determining customer satisfaction. (You may recognize it from the ubiquitous survey question from which it is derived: “How likely are you to recommend <product / service / company> to a friend?”) High scores on the -100 to +100 scale are incredibly hard to achieve because it means not only do the vast majority of people really love the offering, additionally very few people were neutral or dislike it.
So we’re especially elated that our pilot cohort rewarded Navigate Pennsylvania Policy & Governance with a +72 Net Promoter Score. Anything above 30 would be quite good. A 72 is in the very top range described as “the Holy Grail of NPS and rarely attainable.”
We’re grateful to each participant in our pilot for their interest, effort, and feedback! Our heartfelt thanks to Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center for their partnership and collaboration, and to The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation for their sponsorship and support.
If you’re interested in working with us to expand the impact of our training to more thoughtful leaders on more subjects in more locations, please connect with us! If you’re interested in taking our courses, sign up to hear about our next offerings.