Knocking on doors and speaking to voters is an essential part of any successful election campaign. At NationBuilder, we’ve developed tools to help you do that. These work with your people database, so that you can take what you find on the doorsteps directly into your digital campaign work.
Though talking to people on the doorstep is by no means the sole preserve of political campaigners, and can be helpful for all sorts of groups, from community campaigning to local businesses.
There are two main ways to go canvassing with your NationBuilder data - by printing walk sheets or using a mobile app.
In either case, the first step is to choose who you are going to speak to. You can use the turf cutter to select the people you are going to speak to.
Walk sheets can be printed from a set of standard templates, and you can also create your own.
Scannable sheets use a set of questions from a survey. You will need to create your survey first for these.
After you have been canvassing, scannable sheets don’t need to be added manually. Instead, you simply scan them and upload the scanned files to NationBuilder. This will save valuable time.
To enter the data from walk sheets, return to the saved list and select ‘data entry view’
Alternatively, you can use a mobile app connected to your NationBuilder account to enter data as you get it on the doorsteps. Apps available from eCanvasser, Organizer and FieldEdge all sync up with NationBuilder. (Separate pricing applies to these apps. See all NationBuilder Field apps here.)
Using an app means that you don’t need to print paper, and the data can be synced directly back to your database without needing to enter it manually on your computer.
Using canvassing data
For example, if a voter has said they are definitely going to vote for you, make sure your emails thank them for their support. You can also then ask them to do something further, like display a poster or ask a friend to support your candidate.
For people who are undecided, you can send emails where the message is tailored to persuade them to support you.
Surveying local residents
Whether you are running a political campaign, building a local community group, or running a campaign to save a local service, asking people what they think is a really powerful tool.
The information you gain can be used to shape your messages, and also used to enhance your communication going forward.
If you have the electoral register, or only wish to survey people you already have in your database, then you can use then survey using scannable sheets or one of the mobile apps - as above in the canvassing section.
If you don’t know have the details of who lives in your neighbourhood, then you can’t use walk sheets or a canvassing app. The best way to take survey data in this case is use a survey page on your website on a tablet or mobile phone. You can either enter the data yourself or allow the resident to select options on your device.
You will need a reliable mobile data signal to use this method. You will also need to log out between houses so as not to overwrite your data.
When you are running a local event, knocking on doors is a great way to boost attendances. When you do so, ask people to signup so you can keep in touch with them.
Use the live event page on your site to have people signup directly on the doorstep. You’ll only need to ask for their name and email address. You can see the number of people who signup increase as you go.
Again - you will need a good data signal and to make sure you log people out after every house.
As you are just using your NationBuilder website, this method requires no set up. All your volunteers can just turn up to your door knocking session with their phone or tablet and head to your website.
Anything else you can think of!
Ways to use NationBuilder are limited only by your imagination. If you’ve thought of another way to use NationBuilder when you are out and about, please tell us in the comments below.