Woman knocking on door with flyers

Canvassing

  • Canvassing is considered the gold standard for mobilizing voters because face-to-face interactions are the most effective way to connect with people.
  • Canvassing in the final days and weeks before Election Day usually means knocking on the doors of voters who support your candidate or ballot question, and making a plan with them to actually go vote! Earlier in a campaign it might be knocking on doors of undecided voters and persuading them to support your candidate or ballot question.
  • It builds community and makes your group stronger.
  • It can be fun!

How It Works​

Most campaigns depend on volunteers knocking on doors to mobilize voter turnout. Typically there are regular meeting points for volunteers to connect with campaign staff or leaders of independent groups that organize canvasses. For example, every Saturday at 10am volunteers might meet at the campaign’s headquarters or the home of a volunteer. Volunteers will go through a brief orientation process and training so they’re prepared to knock on doors. You’ll get a “turf” packet with names and addresses of target voters, a map to help you determine the best route, a script that guides what you say, and a place to track the responses you get. Organize a carpool with friends and volunteers to go canvass!

What’s your goal for how many volunteers – or how many carpools – you can organize to canvass each week until Election Day?

Organize volunteers to go canvass

  • From the  www.indivisible-ma.org website, Choose a campaign.
  • Check the information about canvassing for that campaign. When and where are the canvassing meetups? Determine the date and time that you want to go canvassing.
  • Figure out how long it will take you to drive from your town to the canvassing meetup location so you know what time you need to leave. If you have a car then you’re ready to invite others to join you. Otherwise reach out to your friends with cars to find someone who is willing to drive.
  • Visit the “Create an Event” page to organize your carpool “event”. Name your event “Carpool to canvass for [Name of campaign] with [Name of your group]. Copy the RSVP link provided to you by Action Network through our site.
  • Send an e-mail to your networks inviting people to join your carpool to go canvass! Include the RSVP link and remind people to click the link to RSVP.
  • Check your RSVPs the day before you canvass. Email the “captain” for that campaign (you’ll find their info on our site) with the specific date/time/location that you’ll be canvassing, and the number of volunteers that you expect to join you.
  • Send individual emails, text messages, and facebook messages to the people who RSVP’d (and anyone else you are still trying to recruit) to confirm that they will join you.

Canvassing tips

  • Wear comfortable clothes, especially shoes.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged in case the campaign has you use an app.
  • LISTEN! Listen to voters to find out what they care about in order to connect with them. Don’t just talk AT them. Ask questions. Be curious!
  • Don’t let rejection bring you down. If you come across someone who doesn’t support your campaign, track it in your packet. This is valuable information for the campaign to update its database.
  • Coordinate with others in your town to organize a weekly carpool. Set goals for how to grow the number of volunteers each week!

When you are done

  • Gather with your group to debrief.
  • Go around and offer everyone a few minutes to share their experiences.
  • What worked well? What could be done better next time?
  • Thank everyone for participating in building the blue wave – call by call, door by door! 
  • Plan for another carpool next week.
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