Originally posted on CompleteCampaigns.com and written by Alex Gorman
Picture your volunteer walking through a neighborhood in your district. He’s going door-to-door for you, telling people about your campaign, trying to turn them into supporters. Are you preparing that volunteer to get the job done? Does he know anything about the people who live in that next house or is he just knocking on the door and hoping for the best?
Now picture him with a simple clip board, on it are only the addresses of registered voters you want to target. He’s coming to 24 Maple Street and knows that Janet Smith lives here. He knows she’s 53 and isn’t registered to a particular party. But you also know she always votes.
Your supporter is prepared for the face that answers the door, he can give her targeted information about your campaign. Maybe he’ll talk about health care or pension reform instead of what you’re planning to do for the schools. You’re increasing the chances that your volunteer will come out of that conversation with another voter on your side.
Once your volunteers have collected that information, you need to make sure your campaign is making use of it. Back at your campaign headquarters, you can have another volunteer go through the walk sheets and enter the data. If you planned ahead, you can have a barcode next to every name. She can scan the code next to Janet’s name, then scan the codes noting she’s now a supporter. With that information securely in your database, you can follow up with her and make sure she gets out to vote on election day.
There are high tech solutions out there as well, things like phone apps that help you collect data. But a lot of campaigning still comes down to pen and paper. They require no extra equipment or training and they almost never run out of batteries.