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What makes your canvassing powerful? (Part 2)

Preparation is key to launch a powerful political canvass.

In our previous blog post, we covered the first phase of the canvassing process. Now, we’ll tackle the next stages.


In this phase, we want to really focus on our “people-powered” skills to set our canvassers up for success. We can accomplish this in a couple of key ways.

Firstly, make sure you have all of your ducks in a row. 24 hours prior to meeting up with your team, there are a couple of things you need to take care of first. Here’s a checklist to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success:


24 Hours Before Roll-Out Checklist

  1. Confirm canvassers for a second time.

  2. Have all turfs pre-cut and any list numbers needed completely generated.

  3. Check the weather.

  4. Have literature stacked and bundled. Prepare walk packets.

  5. Get plenty of rest yourself!


On the day of the event, make sure you’re at the meet-up point before anyone else. By showing up early, you can run through any last-minute items that you may have missed. Did you forget to pre-cut your turf? Checklists and being early will save you tenfold the time on the day of.

Secondly, make sure you have enough supplies! Ensure that there is plenty of water, pens, and masks available for canvassers that may need them. Today’s not the day to run to grab last-minute supplies, so come prepared and spend your time on the actual logistics of canvassing.

Make sure to keep these things in mind during the roll-out phase:

  1. Far too often, we feel that a good roll-out is done in the shortest time possible. While time is important, that is not always true.

  2. When canvassers take their time to plan their walks out, the time spent is actually an investment! Check-in with each individual.

  3. Ensure that all groups have been formed, lists have been assigned, and every worker has signed in.

During the Canvass: Supervision and Management

Supervision is vital to your canvass, your data, and your campaign. Any person on your team found not working, off-turf, or coming up short in their stats (either for lack of training or lack of effort) is a reflection of how your campaign is managed.

The most important role of your field captain is the one we have as a coach. Each canvass team or individual should hear from their captain at least once mid-shift. Use a quantifiable metric to track progress and daily outcomes. Track the number of attempts, contacts, or distance traveled.

Effective captains are thoughtful and empathetic to everyone they communicate with during the canvass. They make sure breaks are being taken, needs are being met, and metrics are being followed.


It’s very important that we don’t forget to debrief our team after every canvass. Go over anything and everything you saw today and recap the challenges of today’s field operations.


Here are a few questions you can ask to better understand your canvassers’ experience:

How were the reactions at the doors today compared to those in our previous turf?

What issues caused both positive and negative reactions when you brought them up? Is there anything we can do to prepare the canvass in a way that makes things easier for you?


Launching powerful field operations takes things a step further than traditional canvassing: it turns canvassers into informed ambassadors that can actually hold a conversation. Dynamic canvassers are able to contextualize the campaign platform with individual voters and recognize the importance of good data.

Do you want to make your political canvass more powerful? Let’s talk.


About Sole Strategies:

Sole Strategies is a woman and minority–owned organization built by a team of political experts who specialize in strengthening grassroots campaigns at the community level. Running a race is tough on a shoestring budget– but we’re here to make that possible. You shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for consultants who tell you how to do the work they themselves have never done. Here at sole strategies, we know that words of guidance are empty if they’re not backed by real support and tangible results


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