“With door-to-door canvassing, on average, you win one vote for every 14 doors. And, I think it’s easy to understand, door-to-door canvassing involves personal and direct interaction with someone.”—Vincent Pons
Doorstep canvassing is the backbone of any political campaign. It is not as straightforward as knocking on doors and involves much more. It consists of planning, training volunteers, and finding the technology to make the whole process seamless.
Template for doorstep political canvassing
A knock at the door is not enough to motivate people to vote for your candidate. What’s important is to have an enjoyable, persuasive conversation with them. You can ask questions and get them interested in your campaign. That’s where this template will help you; it will act as a blueprint for your conversations.
Step 1: Introduction
Here you can introduce yourself and tell them why you’re there. Then you can start a normal conversation. But, before that, you should measure their response and see if it’s positive, and if it’s leaning towards no, clarify that you want just a minute of their time.
If you still feel it’s a firm no after that, thank them for their time and move on.
Step 2: Key points
Discuss the key talking points of your campaign with voters to try and gain their support. These points may have been provided to you in training or might be a part of your political canvassing script. You can use your mobile or notes to look at the key points before knocking on a door. Having these points on hand will come in handy for canvassers who are canvassing door to door for the first time.
Step 3: Questions
Letting the voter ask questions is essential, and this invites their engagement and interaction. As a voter, it will help them discuss any concerns about your candidate’s policies.
The more you let them talk, the more it seems like a conversation rather than a forced interaction.
Step 4: Focus
Don’t let people think that you are rushing. You’ve knocked on their door and asked for their time; It’s important to keep that in mind. Make sure that you entirely focus on them throughout your conversation.
Step 5: Respectful discussion
There will always be people who are not strong supporters of your candidate’s policies and beliefs. But, here, a respectful discussion will do more good and win far more votes than an argument.
Finally, thank them for their time and note their concerns or issues, and it will let them know that you will take action on these concerns. You can also give them the details of a point of contact for them to get in touch with for campaign information.
>>Check out our Script for doorstep interactions in political canvassing
Using data and software for doorstep political canvassing
Using walk sheets and collecting data from the people on a piece of paper and going back to the office to drop off the completed forms.
Using google maps to get to the location, and once you reach the door, being able to see all the details of the person on your mobile. Capturing the data securely and updating it to the central database in real-time.
Which one of the two would you use for your political canvassing?
I would choose the second one. You can see how combining data with specialized tools can help you be more productive.
This will help you:
Have good conversations with voters.
Since the data of each voter is updated in your app, you have all of that information on hand. Therefore you will be able to have more personalized conversations with voters, and this might get you another vote.
Have an exact idea of the location you need to go
Using google maps or even the built-in maps in your canvassing app to reach the exact location and plan your canvassing routes will save a lot of time. If any of the voters is not available, the canvasser can mark it on the software, and later they can try to reach out to them again.
Update data in real-time
This is useful in saving time and also having secure data storage. Updating data captured from voters in real-time and storing this data in a uniform format eases the process of data entry. Later this data can be used for other voter contact activities.
It will also save your time as you don’t have to go back to the office every day to submit your collected data.
Canvassing in politics: tips
Finally, here are a few tips that political canvassers can follow to make the whole door-to-door canvassing process easier.
- Always smile when the voter answers the door! Remember, 90% of communication is non-verbal.
- Memorize your campaign talking points, so you don’t go blank when a voter opens the door.
- Take a step back to allow the person to open the door and come outside.
- Be brief and to the point when speaking.
- Hand out your campaign literature to the voter after your conversation. This gives them a physical reminder.
- Be a good listener. A conversation is just as much listening as it is talking.
- Know about the voter before having a conversation with them. Check if there is information about the voter in the database you are using.
- Never guess their answers.
- Note down the questions that you could not answer, and follow up with them later.
- Avoid getting into an argument with the voter.
- Spend more time with people who are open to your campaign instead of opponents.
- Try to keep your conversation to less than 5 minutes. The goal is to reach as many people as possible.
- Never leave campaign literature in voters’ mailboxes. It’s against federal law. Check out these political canvassing laws to know more.
You can see how using perfect tools for doorstep political canvassing can be the deciding factor for your canvassing campaign.