Canvassing Tips for the Campaign Field Beginner
Christie Rentschler, Campaign Intern
Although canvassing may feel outdated with the rise of social media, it is still one of the most valuable campaign tools. Canvassing gives your campaign a human face and allows people to personally interact with your message, increasing your campaign’s presence and prominence.
Map your walk. Whether you are using a mobile app or paper map, make sure to plan your route before you hit the streets. Look for paths that maximize your efficiency to reach as many doors as possible.
Know your goals. Is this a GOTV, awareness, voter identification or persuasion effort? Once you nail down what data you want out of this trip, you can plan your questions and conversations accordingly.
Plan your response. Know how you are going to respond to agreeing, disagreeing and on-the-fence publics. Prepare next steps that you can offer to inspire further action.
Pack your gear. While it is important to remember your clipboard and literature, do not forget to prepare for your personal needs as well. Pack water and snacks, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Keep moving. Quantity is just as important as quality. Although you do not want to rush, it is important to know when to leave an unanswered door or end a conversation with a chatty neighbor.
Wait no more than one minute at a door and strive to keep conversations to around five minutes. You will probably only have success on 30% of doors.
Be observant. Slow down enough to notice the common characteristics of supporters and opponents. What are popular concerns and questions? Get to know both sides of the issue—likes, interests and lifestyles.
Smile! Your attitude is everything. Make sure to introduce yourself and your platform in a friendly yet professional manner and ask open-ended questions to encourage a two-sided conversation. Remember, you are the face of the campaign, so make sure to smile!
Compile your data. After coming back, collect and compile all your data into one cohesive resource with a digital and print copy.
Lessons learned. What worked and what did not? Do you have a better idea of who your base is now? Make sure to sit down with your team and determine what this information means for the campaign.