International Treasurer Joshua Van der Ploeg - Democrats Abroad



Name:                  Joshua Van der Ploeg


Gender:                 Male


External Links:      Facebook:


Member since:         2010


Country/Countries:  United Kingdom



I have lived and breathed Democratic values for as long as I can remember. I volunteered on my first U.S. Senate campaign at age 17, founded a Young Democrats club in high school, and co-founded a College Democrats club at my university. My parents – both of whom were the first in their families to go to college – strongly valued my education and proudly supported my dream of going to law school. At the University of Michigan, I was an editor of the Law Review and graduated with honors. After a career in the private sector working in international finance law, I sought to apply my skills to pursuing social and economic justice around the world, which led me to my current career at a major multilateral development bank. In addition to my day job, I also serve as Chair of our Staff Council (i.e. our employee union).


Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment.

Having served in various financial and legal capacities across the organization – including DAUK Treasurer, Deputy International Counsel for the EMEA region, Chair of the Global Charter Committee, and a member of the 2020 Global Presidential Primary Committee – I have developed the experience and institutional knowledge to see Democrats Abroad’s strengths and areas for growth. 

After four years as Treasurer of DAUK, I am proud that our finances were in an even stronger position at the end of my term than when I first took office. I implemented a biennial budgeting process to always maintain visibility through the next election cycle — including adopting core vs. discretionary expenditures, as well as ambitious but achievable fundraising targets. We also established a “rainy day” fund only to be accessed in extraordinary circumstances, which helped us mitigate any risk of running out of money, particularly at the most important times of the cycle. 


Why are you running for this office?

As an international development finance lawyer, I know how to use my professional financial and legal skills to advance progressive values and positive change. This is my passion and reason for running for International Treasurer. In each of the roles in which I have served across the organization, I have sought to combine my passions with my skill set in law and finance — ultimately with the goals of improving the governance of the organization, making us more effective at our core mission of getting out the vote, and reflecting our own values by making us more small "d" democratic.

I am asking for your vote to serve as International Treasurer to find practical, pragmatic, workable solutions to improve the way we manage money and utilize our resources as efficiently as possible across the organization. The issues we face both at the global and country committee levels range from the seemingly minor (handling cash and small dollar donations) to the systemic (establishing clear procedures for the governance of country committee subaccounts, working together to raise adequate funds to cover both global and for country committee expenses, and above all developing mutual trust and cooperation).


How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA’s success?

By day, I am an international development finance lawyer for a major international organization. While my primary professional qualification is in law, I also have proficiency in accounting and finance – a combination of skills well-suited to meet the current challenges facing Democrats Abroad and the Office of International Treasurer in particular. The role of International Treasurer touches on every aspect of the organization’s finances: expenditures and fundraising, bookkeeping and strategy, and financial compliance/FEC reporting. While healthy financial resources are a crucial component of Democrats Abroad’s operations, we should always view money as a tool, not an end in itself. First and foremost, I will use my skill set to think strategically about how best to utilize our finite resources to carry out our core mission: mobilizing the overseas vote and electing Democratic candidates.


Should you be elected, are there any DA organizational or practical issues (not political goals) that you would like to address?

As International Treasurer, I will work with country committees, caucuses, and global committees to formulate a comprehensive budgeting strategy to take us all the way through the 2024 election cycle – including planning fundraising and foreseeable expenditures. On the fundraising/revenue side, we should establish a schedule for periodic fundraising drives throughout the cycle, including asking leaders across the organization to host fundraising activities to support both the global and country committee budgets. On the expenditure side, we should establish a “rainy day” fund to ensure that if we ever find ourselves facing financial difficulties, we will always maintain an adequate reserve to be able to handle any unforeseen costs. Finally, I would also support the creation of a finance committee to oversee Democrats Abroad’s financial practices, as is often used in other state parties. This function may include protections to provide a level of independence regarding the appointment and retention of committee members, while ensuring accountability with dual reporting responsibilities to the International ExCom and to the DPCA as a whole.


How can Democrats Abroad best raise our profile among American voters abroad and better work to elect Democrats?

As the Global ExCom works to empower leaders at all levels of the organization, we must also be more outward-looking and present the public face of Democrats Abroad. With the upcoming Global Presidential Primary, we should seize the opportunity to advertise widely to all American overseas voters. This would provide us with a huge potential for membership growth, while also boosting our profile with the Democratic Party as a whole. Once our finances are in a strong enough position, we should also maintain a continuous advertising budget to grow our membership at all times, not just in the run-up to a federal election. We should also maintain a discretionary budget for use when unique opportunities arise that may provide us with significant visibility and media attention around the world (for instance, when major news events may warrant a rapid response).


Endorsement from Art Schankler - International Vice Chair, former International Treasurer

I am endorsing Josh Van der Ploeg for the position of International Treasurer. As a lawyer working for a bank, Josh brings the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully carry out the necessary tasks of Treasurer. In addition, given our integration of Global and CC  fundraising and disbursements, his experience as DA United Kingdom Treasurer will give him the ability to understand the issues facing Country Committees under the new system. With this experience, I also know that he will be a valuable member of the Global fundraising team. I first met Josh at the 2016 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia where he served as delegation page. Since that time, I have found him to be a person of integrity who judges issues based on facts - and who is able to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders with equanimity and understanding.  As a former International Treasurer myself, I am confident that Josh will make an excellent International Treasurer for Democrats Abroad.


Endorsement from Aaron Kruse - Former DNC Member Asia-Pacific Region, Former Chair DA China

I strongly endorse Josh for the position of International Treasurer of Democrats Abroad. 

I have had the pleasure of working alongside Josh in various capacities since 2018, including on the Bylaws Committee, and I can attest to his ability to work well with diverse groups of stakeholders and pragmatism in finding solutions. Josh's previous experience in both financial and legal roles — including at the country committee level as Treasurer of DAUK and at the global level as Deputy International Counsel for the EMEA Region — make him a natural fit for this role. He is a leader who cares deeply about our organization and the people in it. Josh will be a fantastic Treasurer.


Endorsement from Quyen Nguyen - Former International Treasurer; Chair, Democrats Abroad Colombia; Co-Chair, DA Global Youth Caucus; Steering Committee Member, DA Global AAPI Caucus; Steering Committee Member, DA Diversity and Inclusion Caucus

It is my pleasure to endorse Josh Van der Ploeg for the position of International Treasurer. I met Josh in 2021, and got to know him well when I served as International Treasurer when he agreed to become a part of my team as a Deputy Treasurer. In this role, Josh was especially helpful addressing legal concerns as we were drastically transitioning the way the department was run to comply with government regulations.

Within Democrats Abroad, Josh has proven himself serving as Treasurer of Democrats Abroad UK for four years (2017-2021), managing DA’s largest single country committee budget. He has also served as Deputy International Counsel (for the EMEA Region) since 2021. 

Through his day-to-day work as an international development lawyer, Josh has developed the skills needed to understand the complex legal and financial nuances needed to govern Democrats Abroad. Personally, he works to maintain good relationships with colleagues and is always focused on improving governance to maintain fairness and transparency. I believe that Josh has the skills needed to build a stronger bridge between country committees and global leadership as the organization continues to mature and professionalize regarding financial compliance and practices. 

Having served in this position and seen the contributions Josh has made at the international level for this organization over the years, I have no doubt Josh will be an excellent fit for this role and an asset to Democrats Abroad.