Like in any organization, you need certain things working to succeed. For many political organizations, people find it hard to pinpoint what exactly aides success. At Ecanvasser, we work with hundreds of campaigns per month. I have noticed that the users who succeed are usually very focused and switch onto technology very early in their election cycle. It’s the same in any operation, early buy-in yields positive results, so, how do we box this advice and share it with others?
Push the benefits of face to face interaction
Political organizations who comes to Ecanvasser and other similar tech providers often want 2 things:
- To win an election
- To connect better with community members
To accomplish either of these goals means having decent conversations with members of your community or voters. Talking and having conversations are things we do every day, many of us have an innate ability to hold conversations on a variety of subjects, and, without knowing any different, we never encounter a problem in doing so. Insert an 'agenda' and we suddenly can tighten up and get flustered having a simple conversation. That is why we often see political organizations reaching out to us to see if we can help canvassers by providing canvassing scripts or talking points.
The benefits of canvassing scripts is no secret, it’s a guide for people who find themselves having many interactions in a short period of time that may not feel very organic. You may be under time constraints and having a template to follow will ensure you push across your political agenda without forgetting any key pieces of data.
Canvassing scripts should be like roadmaps, very clear, concise, mention your candidate, party and message but also allow for a 2 way form of communication. You are not pontificating when your get a chance to talk to someone, you are looking for a meaningful engagement. Always look to record some opinion from your interaction.
A sample script may look like the following:
2. Statement of Identity
Ask for a moment of their time to discuss your reasoning for calling. Tell them your race, candidate, issue etc. Tell them of their role and why you're talking to them.
3. Statement of Purpose
Are you there to earn votes? Find out do people know about the upcoming election? Do people know the work you currently do?
4. Question 1
Have you heard about my candidate? What do you look for in a candidate?
6. Question 2
Election day is approaching, are you ready to vote? Are you registered? Have you been following the election?
8. Anything else?
Get feedback, ask what issues are bothering them. Ask if they will join your political campaign or organization.
9. Identity, Message and Contact Information
For follow up correspondence, gain signature for consent.
Benefits to the canvassers
Having talking points can keep you on message as a canvasser and that’s all very well and good, but what else will it do?
Feedback from the foot soldiers on many Ecanvasser enabled campaigns is that canvassing scripts can help instil a sense of confidence, especially for new canvassers. When you begin a new job, a certain level of training is expected and this is the same with joining an organization who do face to face outreach. Training days may not be possible for many political operations on tight budgets so a canvassing document where various talking points are included can cover many areas for a newbie.
Like a political manifesto, a canvassing script can also cover the main headline on various topics that your candidate will be addressing during their term if elected. A well versed canvasser is a confident canvasser. The Head of Field Operations should be looking within their own team at people who are worthy of moving up the ranks after demonstrating such know-how on the campaign trail.
Building a strong a team doesn’t mean you need to rely on a a canvassing script but it certainly helps. Getting out on the streets early in a campaign cycle means that if many oversights occur, you have time to fix them.
So before your next evening of canvassing:
Have all your volunteers take some time before you begin to think of a one-minute explanation of why they are volunteering for Campaign X?
Practice what you are going to say when you knock on the door.
Let people know that it's alright to share their story in order to personalize the message, but that they should try to answer all the questions on the script
If you want to make sure your Campaigns ready for a full roll-out this year, check out this piece on Political Campaign Strategies below: