There are times that in order to cross the 50% threshold to victory you have to expand the electorate. This can occur in partisan races where a district is skewed towards one party and you need to increase your share of independent voters, or in a down-ballot race with low voter turnout.
According to the American Journal of Political Science, “The effectiveness of door-to-door mobilization lies in its use of social psychology to motivate participation. Canvassers are better able to connect with the individuals they visit on a personal level than phone or mail GOTV strategies.”
So how do you go about organizing a grassroots campaign?
Start with voters who have little or no voting history. These people have a low propensity to vote and would probably not vote for you or your opponent. However, if the candidate or a volunteer were to stop at their home it would not only provide an introduction opportunity but it would be a way to find out what the voter’s views are. Would they be willing to support your candidate? If so, tag them as a supporter. If not, take them out of your targeted voter file. There is no use in driving out support for your opponent. Once tagged, you can continue courting the household until Election Day with direct mail, digital media, and phone calls.
Once rapport has been built and the voter is supportive of your candidate ask them for their e-mail address or if they would be willing to put a yard sign in their yard. Engagement only works when the target audience has buy-in to your candidate.
Odds are that on a good day you will only connect with 5% to 10% of the voters on your list. Always leave behind campaign materials for the household to let them know you stopped by their home. Customized door hangers allow your volunteers to write a personal message to convey the importance of their visit.
Door hangers must haves:
- Quality pictures of the candidate
- Contact information including the campaign website
- Brief description of who you are and why you are running
- Election Day Information
- Endorsements if applicable
Door hangers don’ts:
- Too Much text
- Unreadable text
- Low Resolution Images
As you get closer to Election Day your efforts should switch from tagging to Get Out the Vote. “GOTV” is useful for not only newly identified supporters but also high-propensity voters who simply need to be reminded when and where to vote.
The formula for victory is complicated with lots of shifting variables. Going door to door gives your campaign valuable data to make important decisions.
I have spent over a decade working with political campaigns and national fundraisers. At PrintPlace, I am responsible for all political marketing pieces and work hand in hand with candidates and their consultants.