The Plan for YDA

I’m thrilled to have been elected YDA First VP. Until I get the keys to the YDA website, I’m hosting my plan for the future on my home chapter of Manhattan’s website (see, I’m already living point number 4).

Below are 6 simple, revenue neutral (or revenue positive) ideas that will enhance the membership experience, reduce the dollar cost of our activities for our membership, empower our chapters, and it will enable us to do an even better job of telling our story to our communities.

Like what you see? Apply to join the First VP Team and help make these plans a reality.

1. More meetings at major hubs for travel.

Flights from NY to our last convention in San Antonio could be as expensive as $500. For the same dates and durations, flights to Chicago are $221. And, if you don’t want to fly, let’s carpool. Louisville was great because over half our delegation spent less than $50 on travel. It’s great to get around the country, but the burdens are unevenly shared.

2. Create an online “Can-Do Video Library” by recording YDA trainings and presentations.

Actually getting together is vital, and conventions are a crucial part of that.  But one of the most popular activities here, if you aren’t campaigning, are the trainings.  Given the widespread adoption of broadband internet and digital streaming, capturing the wealth of knowledge and experience our delegates access and making it available to the wider membership is a clear way to extend the benefit of the things we are already doing to an even wider group of young democrats.

3. Best Practices Catalog

We can make YDA the national hub for progressive activism by creating a catalog of best practices at the State and County level which will be shared freely to inspire Young Democratic activists across the country.  All of you are fighting fights, winning races, connecting with and learning from your communities.  If YDA does anything for its membership, facilitating the capture and transfer of knowledge and lore should be near the top of the list.

4. Shared IT Infrastructure

We can create shared technology infrastructure by centralizing hosting costs and building 3-4 WordPress templates which any YDA chapter can customize and use for free – even if they have zero money or cannot afford a vendor such as Salsa or Nationbuilder.

5. Data and online ads

I propose using a small amount of YDA funds to potentially make a lot more by giving micro grants for online advertising and fundraising so as to enhance chapter growth.  MYD has been lucky to snag not one, but TWO former Obama number crunchers. There’s not one for every chapter but it should be a simple matter for YDA to bring in 4 to 5 who will provide consulting to all of our chapters on how to use data, analyze their online outreach and make sure we’re spending our money on things that work.

6. Technology and Innovation Committee

While I was in San Antonio, a number of people familiar with my technology background approached me and talked about the details of ideas for improving YDA using IT. I realized there are developers and technology professionals involved in our political organization whose skills are going underutilized. The newest point to my list of promises will support all the others by drawing out the critical skills and ideas of our members in a crucial field.

Like what you see? Apply to join the 1st VP Team at to make these ideas a reality.

Ben Yee
First Vice President, Young Democrats of America
Downstate Vice President, New York State Young Democrats
President, Manhattan Young Democrats