Have a question about SNAP? Contact us and take a look at the FAQ answers below.
Fellowship Experience and Application Process
What is SNAP?
We are the the nation’s largest student-run political action committee. Since our founding in 2005, we have given over 100 SNAP Organizing Fellowships to students and young people to work on progressive political campaigns across the nation.
What is the SNAP Organizing Fellowship?
The SNAP Organizing Fellowship is our flagship program. It provides students and young people the opportunity to work as paid field organizers on progressive political campaigns. We assign Fellows — selected from a competitive applicant pool — to a campaign, and provide them with stipends, training, and transportation. Most Fellows work for 10-12 weeks during the summer, beginning after our training in late May of the election year. Although our main fellowship program operates during the summer of an election year, some spring and fall fellowships are also available.
Who may apply for the SNAP Organizing Fellowship?
College and graduate students, recent graduates, and young people 25 and under may apply for the SNAP Organizing Fellowship. Graduating high school students who will be 18 or older at the start of the fellowship are also eligible to apply.
What do SNAP Organizing Fellows do?
Fellows work as field organizers on progressive political campaigns. Their work involves significant amounts of voter contact and volunteer recruitment – managing volunteers and interacting with voters on a day-to-day basis, building the grassroots support that powers progressive campaigns across the country to victory on election day. Fellows also organize and attend events in their communities, and participate in fundraising or communications activities.
Do I need prior campaign experience to be a SNAP Organizing Fellow?
No! Prior campaign experience is not required for the SNAP Organizing Fellowship, and many successful Fellows actually do not have prior campaign experience. If you are passionate about progressive causes, and learning about politics through hands-on experience in grassroots organizing, you should apply. We are committed to supporting you all summer long — all Fellows gather for a three-day intensive training before arriving on their campaigns. Throughout the summer, we keep in touch with each Fellow to make sure they have the resources they need, and have all the tools they need to be successful.
Do SNAP Organizing Fellows work on their own?
Teams of two fellows are placed on every campaign. Fellows often live together and work closely with one another. They also work with campaign staff, many of whom are young people and recent college graduates. Many fellows tell us that the relationships they build with campaign staff and other fellows are the most meaningful part of their summer.
Can summer Fellows choose to work on their campaign through the election in November?
A number of past fellows grow deeply invested in their campaigns during their fellowship, and wish to continue working on the campaign through Election Day. Some fellows choose to take a leave of absence from school in the Fall in order to continue working on their campaign. In general, SNAP cannot extend fellowships, but many campaigns have hired fellows who wish to continue working on the campaign at the end of their fellowship.
Endorsements and Campaign Placement
What campaigns do SNAP Organizing Fellows work on?
SNAP’s principal focus is on increasing progressive power in Congress. To this end, we place our fellows on competitive campaigns for the U.S. House and Senate, in which we have endorsed a progressive candidate. Occasionally, fellows work on state ballot initiatives on marriage equality or other issues.
How does SNAP make endorsements?
SNAP’s endorsements are based on a number of factors. We ask candidates to submit a questionnaire describing their positions on a variety of crucial progressive issues and their priorities in Congress. We strive to find candidates who will be progressive leaders in Congress. We are sensitive to the diverse issue positions and values of communities around the country, and look holistically at candidates’ issue positions and values in the context of their constituencies. SNAP believes in the power of grassroots community organizing, and thus we also consider campaigns’ focus on their field programs. To this end, we endorse in competitive elections where our fellows can make a difference.
Do Fellows have input on which campaign they are assigned to?
Yes! SNAP considers a variety of factors in assigning fellows to campaigns. We ask fellows for their preferences regarding which of our endorsed campaigns they would like to work on, and we work hard to make sure all fellows are placed on a campaign they are excited about. Due to campaign finance laws, we can only place two fellows on each campaign, and thus we cannot guarantee all fellows their first choice of campaign.
Finances and Stipends
Is the SNAP Organizing Fellowship paid?
Yes. SNAP believes that a diverse progressive movement is a strong one, and thus we work to ensure that the Fellowship is accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic background.
What does SNAP pay for?
We ensure that all fellows living arrangements are met by collaborating with campaigns. We pay fellows a stipend for food and personal expenses, and require campaigns to provide housing. If fellows incur additional expenses, such as car insurance, health insurance, or prescription medication, we work to cover these costs as well. SNAP also considers any student’s summer financial obligation for their university educational expenses and works to cover that through the stipend.
Does SNAP pay for transportation?
Yes. We pay for fellows’ transportation to training in the New York metropolitan area, from training to their assigned campaign, and from their assigned campaign to school or home at the end of the fellowship. If a fellow is driving to his/her campaign, we will pay for gas; SNAP or the campaign will pay for gas during the fellowship.
Does SNAP pay for educational expenses?
Most SNAP Organizing Fellows are students, and we work to make sure that the SNAP Organizing Fellowship is accessible to those who are contributing towards their education. We pay an additional education savings amount to those who need to save money for tuition or related expenses. This amount is determined by examining a fellow’s financial aid package and expected student contribution, as well as how much a fellow has saved toward his/her education in prior summers. We typically contribute a maximum of $500 for educational savings, though this amount may be increased in cases of exceptional need.
Does SNAP pay student loans?
If a fellow is paying off student loans at the time of their Fellowship, we will work to increase the fellow’s stipend to cover his/her loan payments.
How much are the stipends Fellows receive?
The average stipend in 2012 was about $1,450 for a 12-week summer fellowship. This amount does not include housing and transportation expenses, all of which are paid for by SNAP or provided by campaigns.