Tips for Recruiting the Best Canvassing Volunteers


A great walk book is completely useless if the team implementing it is not prepared, skilled, or the right fit. Previously, we highlighted the importance of the best data and technology when it comes to a door-to-door campaign. When combined with a great group of trained volunteers, you will have the perfect force for getting out the vote, learning about potential voters, or reaching another canvassing goal you might have.

There are several ways to ensure politically motivated individuals are aware of the opportunity to volunteer:

  • Social Media. Put a call out on social media with an incentive attached, such as “the first 10 volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and coupons to Chick-Fil-A.”
  • Happy Hour. Young people will come near and far for free ordiscounted food and drinks. By sponsoring a happy hour, it will give you the perfect opportunity to engage with them and convince them it’s their opportunity to make a difference by joining your team.
  • Campaign Connections. You already have a team of people dedicated to the campaign—use them to get more team members. Offer incentives to current team members so they will recruit friends and family to jump onboard as well.
  • Team Up. Team up with an author, speaker, or respected leader in the community for a sponsored event that will bring in a new audience of people. Give the event a catchy title and talk about things community members care about. Make your pitch for team members at the end.
  • Local Opportunity. There are tons of local events you can regularly participate in to ensure people know about what you are doing and how they can help. Distribute flyers and information at events or tack them on bulletin boards. Ask businesses and event planners if they would be willing to place your flyer out in the public eye at their locations.
  • Targeted Recruitment. Chances are there are a few specific people you would like to have on your team. In this case, make a tailored, personal invitation, preferably in person. It’s harder for someone to resist your request face-to-face, plus you are able to give him or her a heart felt sale on why he or she is the best person to join your team.

Educating Your Volunteers

Even as you are securing your team of canvassers, you can be educating them about how innovative the modern walk book has become. No longer will they be checking off names with a pencil on a crinkled piece of paper.

Most people these days are armed with a smart phone and can simply download the applications they will need to start canvassing. You can see an example of how these apps work in this video by i360. You can begin to match individuals with the neighborhoods they might get a good response with and demonstrate the effectiveness of different pitches.

Educate them on how effective door-to-door canvassing is and how their personal contribution could actually make a difference in who wins the upcoming election. A 2006 Yale University study, among others, found that canvassing actually increases voter turnout for the person who answers the door, as well as for other members of the household who aren’t present at the time.

Unfortunately, most campaigns still spend an exuberant amount on TV ads, which are a dying breed of effective campaigning compared to more personalized approaches. With so much evidence proving that face-to-face conversations are the key to achieving votes, campaigns should spend more time and money investing in their canvassing team.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to spend the necessary time and money to ensure you have the right team representing your candidate on the ground. Click here or call us at (855)329-4327 to talk to a canvassing specialist today.

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Ericka Andersen

Ericka Andersen

I'm Ericka -- runner, CrossFitter, social media lover -- living my life as balanced and joyfully as possible in Washington, DC. I'll never say no to a cupcake and I'm always up for an adventure :)


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