The Eleison Group

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The Eleison Group is a Democratic consulting firm specializing in connecting clients with the religious communities and people of faith across the nation. Based in Arlington, VA, Eleison works with businesses, political candidates, campaigns, non-profits, and government organizations.[1]


Eleison Group was founded in 2008 by Burns Strider and Eric Sapp.

Burns Strider has worked as Senior Advisor and Director of Faith Outreach to U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and her Presidential Campaign.[2] Strider has also been an advisor to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Director of Policy for the U. S. House Democratic Caucus, the Director of the U. S. House Democratic Faith Working Group and Rural Working Group, the regional Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Chief of Staff to U. S. Congressman Ronnie Shows.[3] Strider has been named by Religion News Service (RNS) as one of the 12 most influential Democrats in the nation on faith/values issues and politics. Strider has worked on over 100 campaigns, directed 20 of them, and developed a communications plan that was implemented in over 60 different races.[4]

Eric Sapp was a Senior Partner at Common Good Strategies (CGS), a democratic political consulting firm, prior to founding Eleison Group.[5] As a part of CGS in 2006, Sapp directed faith outreach and messaging work for the DSCC, Senator Casey, Senator Brown, Governor Strickland, Governor Granholm, Governor Sebelius, Rep. Shuler, and the Michigan, Kansas, and Oregon State Democratic Parties.[6] Every candidate that hired CGS won their race. Prior to CGS, Sapp worked for Representative David Price (D-NC) where he handled faith and politics, budget, tax, and homeland security issues and for Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.[7]

Rachel Johnson has worked on campaigns and was a field director for Common Good Strategies doing faith outreach. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School. She has been with the Eleison Group for five years.


Modeling and strategy


  • Training candidates, individuals, staff, organizations in interviews, Op-eds, letters-to-the-editor, and voter interaction
  • Microtargeting
  • Faith group database development
  • Message development

Framing a message that resonates with the masses

  • Grassroots direct contact
  • Message delivery
  • Clergy relations, opinion maker relations, public opinion relations, planning and implementing field operations including earned media, Christian Radio, denominational publications, email/text messaging, Christian College events, Christian recording artists and concerts
  • Issue management and campaign development to highlight values and avoid easy attacks
  • Pre-empting and countering opposition attacks using values language to focus on common ground
  • Third party validation
  • Relationship and partnership building between business, non-profit, political, government and Faith communities
  • Fundraising capacity in niche and specialty constituencies and communities

In the news

What does an out-of-work faith-flavored campaign staffer do? He starts a consulting company - Dallas Morning News, June 24, 2008

Hillary's Faith and Values "Guru" Speaks - Washington Post, June 23, 2008

Trying to Get Christian Music Fans to Tune To the Left - Washington Post, September 19, 2008

Democrats Try to Close 'God' Gap - Washington Post, June 24, 2008

Christian Democrats -, June 24, 2008

Democrats step out outreach to faith-based voters - USA Today, October 28, 2008


External links