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Digital Canvassing Tips

Let's chat the grassroots digital canvass.

By Joe McCauleyPublished 7 years ago 2 min read

It’s an early Saturday morning, and you’re still cosy in bed just considering the day ahead. Just as you are starting your morning coffee, you hear a knock at the door.

Who could that be on a Saturday morning?

You open it to find a nice (I hope so) person on the other side with a clipboard and campaign leaflets, ready to sell a local candidate for whatever they are going for.

Sound familiar?

I thought so and so it should.

Most campaigners still agree that a face-to-face conversation is the single most effective way to engage another voter in their community.

In the wake of so much political turmoil, internationally and nationally, it’s more critical than ever to have both knowledgeable and active community members out in the field. Of course, the canvassing work can be the most intimidating one.

The primary aim of canvassing is to identify your supporters and prepare them for the get out to vote operations. The art of the canvass should always be personal and involve storytelling.

How about the art of the digital canvass though?

How can we capture the story of the canvasser and turn it from doorstep to digital?

Every organisation or campaign should be incorporating social media into their broader outreach strategy, but that’s common sense. Let’s chat Tweet Banks for example and, far from a gimmicky name, it is a strategy that allows campaigns to activate prospects in their social media and make personal impressions.

So, imagine you’re following a candidate or political campaign on Twitter. You happen to really like the kind of campaign or candidate that was developing, but the only thing you do is the occasional retweet and friendly online discussion.

You needed a nudge. That nudge came in the form of a tweet.

Hey @Example - My name is Joe and I help with XXXXX and noticed you retweeted our Tweet. Why not take the next step? DM me and find out how

It’s a nudging tweet but with others contacting hundreds of prospects, it could be a very relevant call to action.

It’s time to think outside the box.

Soul searching your organisation will allow you to closely align your values with your prospects and will also facilitate genuine interactions.

Identify people on the social media platform that care about the same issues that links in to your messaging. The NationBuilder system is a great example for easing this process.

NationBuilder is just one of the many systems that allows for you to segment your social media audience. You can do this from prospects Twitter bio searches and organise into lists. You could then delegate these lists to volunteers based on their interests.

Any campaign or organisation should always identify their top issues, narrow their outreach base, empower their volunteers, and put them in front of the right prospects.

What’s to lose with trying something new?

The basics for a digital canvass:

  • Figure out what you want to talk to people about and why.
  • Identify prospects in your social media base that care about the same issues.
  • Get to know your volunteers. Figure out their strengths, weaknesses, and if they are a match for the task ahead.
  • Organise and filter your prospects.
  • Create pre-scripted tweets but allow creativity from volunteers.
  • Rally around a short term goal and create a enjoyable, collaborative but open environment.
  • Digital canvassing is worth a try for any campaign-minded people.

For comments or if you’d like to learn more about digital organising in your campaign, please feel free to contact me.

Tweet me of course - @MrJoeMccauley

Thanks for taking the time to read.

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    Joe McCauleyWritten by Joe McCauley

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