Grass-roots efforts are an essential part of every campaign. Canvassing can seem awkward, intimidating, exhausting, and scary, but don’t let that stop you from supporting a candidate or cause you are passionate about! Here are some tips to maximize your experience.
Memorize the main points of your script.
Memorize so you don’t have to look down. It’ll make things much more conversational and less awkward, and will make the voter more willing to engage in civil discourse. If you forget something, don’t worry! The voter won’t notice and you can always add whatever you missed at the end.
Jump into your script immediately after introducing yourself — with discretion.
If you ask for a minute to talk or pause too much, the voter will be more likely to decline to listen to what you have to say. Of course this is on a case-by-case basis, and courtesy comes first. For example, if a young mom surrounded by toddlers comes to the doors, definitely make sure that she is okay with talking for a few moments before you start your presentation.
Bring a large lightweight refillable water bottle
Stay hydrated! Snacks are good to have, too.
Take time to talk to the voter.
Whether you encounter someone who will be one of your biggest supporters, or one of your biggest dissenters, engaging in a civil discussion can help mobilize your supporter to action, or plant a seed in the heart of the dissenter for your cause.
Go with a friend.
This enables you to hit more houses in a neighborhood in less time, and makes the experience much more fun as you can share stories and encourage one another to go on. Plus, if you’re nervous about talking to strangers, going to the door with a friend can take off the edge and add an extra layer of comfort.
Know your stuff.
The voter may ask you questions about the candidate or cause you’re campaigning for that diverge from your script, so be prepared to answer anything. However, if you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t worry. You haven’t single-handedly ruined your cause. Just tell them they have raised an interesting question and you will look into it, and follow up with something positive about your candidate or cause that you do know.
Wear good shoes and comfortable work-out friendly clothes.
You will do a lot of walking so you want to make sure you’re comfortable.
Always be respectful and follow the guidelines given to you.
It’s very important not to offend the voter in any way as that can sour them to your cause. So, carry/wear a mask, stay 6+ feet back from the voter, and respect the voter’s availability and time constraints.
Remember, just because you are young does not mean you’re not worth listening to.
When I started canvassing, I often felt like nothing more than a bother as most of the voters were much older than I am and have much more life experience, making me feel like they would not want to listen to what I had to say. However, as I gained more experience canvassing, I became shocked by how many people wanted to have civil conversations with me, even though I am young. Do not lose heart. A lot of people on the field will thank you for what you are doing and you will get to hear a lot of inspiring stories of people who identify with your cause. Remember 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Thank you for your bravery, resilience, can-do attitude, and desire to make a change. You are learning valuable skills of persuasion, endurance, listening, speaking, and dealing politely with people who hold different views than yourself. You are an extremely important part of politics, and your candidate or cause relies on people like you. Keep up the good work.
Elizabeth is a freshman at Hillsdale College studying politics and journalism. She loves Jesus, reading, writing, baking, the Ben Shapiro show, Parks and Rec, and the color pink.
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