Every couple of years or so, we put operations in place that deliver messages straight to your homes. It isn’t necessarily through your TV screens, laptops or radios but you will nearly always have a politically driven conversation at your property at some point. Face to face canvassing has long been heralded as communication that goes above and beyond. There really is nothing that tops a direct approach to yielding votes from the electorate, but often we see campaign managers stressing over a lack of canvassers who are equipped to do the job properly.
We never question our volunteer's enthusiasm for the job, they believe in your candidate and the message that she or he represents but… there is always a but isn’t there? What if the message isn’t translating at the door and all that effort canvassing is for nothing. It is a labor intensive way of campaigning so we must make sure that our canvassers are up to scratch. Follow the steps below to ensure your canvasser hits the trail hot!
How Do We Define A Good Canvasser?
Good canvassers go the extra mile, whether they are working on political campaigns or doing public consultation work. But before you give them a walk list, you need to go the extra mile too. Training is essential, even if it is only a 10-minute pep talk, it’s better than sending your volunteers in cold.
Canvassing can be done in 3 simple steps:
Intro - Knock on the door and introduce yourself. Simple. Establish yourself, ask for whichever resident is on your list and just begin a normal conversation. If the initial reaction isn’t overly positive (which we can’t blame most for), clarify quickly that you just want a minute of their time, the “I’ll be quick” trick.
Purpose - So ask yourself, why are you at some random person's door? It could be relatively simple, you believe in the candidate or appreciate them fighting for a cause that you have an interest in. Now it is your job to convey this quickly to the person at the door. Remember you only have a few minutes.
Action - What do you want them to do? Vote, first and foremost. Ask them are they registered if this isn’t already on your walk list. Ask them if they plan on voting and if they have picked a candidate. Ask them if they need help going to the polling station on election day. Little things like this may be the thing your candidate is remembered for.
Finally, ask for the vote! It would surprise you how many canvassers forget this important question!
Think we are done here? Sorry, we are not, come back.
One door canvassed once isn’t good enough anymore, follow-up is necessary, actually, it’s expected. If you are lucky to get an email address or phone number on your first visit then you damn sure better contact these people.
You’ve bought yourself more time, and as a canvasser that’s really all you can do. Follow up gives you another opportunity to sell your candidate and lock down a vote. We get lots of feedback from users who have trouble using the information they get from an initial canvass. Here is what we advise:
Secure contact info: People gave you an email address which means they are now actively interested in the campaign. There is now the potential for more than just a vote. Ask them to get involved, invite them to rallies, ask them if they would like to join the canvass.
Promised you a vote: People who promised you a vote can allow you to draw up internal polls and give you a rough estimate of where you stand closer to polling day.
Undecided: People who were on the fence on the initial canvass need a follow-up visit.
Poll striking: Keeping data on people who promised you a vote allows you to tick them off the register on election day and also allows you to put a really strong GOTV plan in process on the day. More on poll striking here.
If you are still struggling to get your canvassers to perform up to par, why not get in touch below.