Canvassing Wins Political Races

Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk

It’s GO time for every candidate, three weeks out from election day and every voter contact can be a vote for you.  This week, we are going to focus on good old-fashioned canvassing.  That’s right, get your walking shoes on, your bottle of water and your walking list…it’s time to hit the streets!

handraiser iphoneCanvassing is as old as campaigning and is very effective.  Matter of fact, most candidates don’t do it enough.  Voters will remember the candidate more if they have personal contact with the campaign whether it’s the candidate or a volunteer. Your candidate or cause will have a higher probability of winning if you outwork your candidate.

There are some basic tactics to use when canvassing to improve your chances of talking with voters.

  1. A good walking list is imperative. This is where your voter file comes in handy. At Handraiser, we even load this into an app so it easier to track supporters, supports or opponents, not home, moved, etc. Maximize the time you spend canvassing by working smart. Written sheets or even spreadsheets are ineffective and archaic.
  2. Knock on EVERY door, even if it looks like they aren’t at home. Once you knock or ring the door bell, wait 45-60 seconds and take a big step back to give the resident personal space. The average for doors being answered is 30% so don’t get discouraged, just keep moving on to the next door.  Leave information in the door but never in their mailbox (that is illegal – only the postman can leave information in the mailbox.) Spend no more than five minutes per door.  You are trying to reach as many voters as possible and still provide great information.
  3. Three points! Be ready to talk about your three main campaign points. Be able to answer why they would vote for your candidate, what will they get if your candidate wins and be prepared to concisely review the three main campaign points.
  4. Pay attention to neighborhood demographics. People are more at ease if they are talking to their peers, similar age and gender. Go in pairs, ideally a man and a woman.
  5. Water, snacks and dog treats are all important to take with you. It’s important to stay hydrated, particularly since you’ll be talking a lot. If you wear sunglasses, be sure to remove them before knocking on the door.
  6. When someone does answer the door follow your script and deliver the three main points of the candidate or cause. Your goal is to get a verbal commitment from them and they will vote for the candidate or issue you are canvassing about.
  7. SMILE and be polite if they don’t agree with your candidate or cause.
  8. Record every stop. Did someone answer, did you talk with the voter? A different voter? Do they support your cause? Do they support the opponent? Can they get to the polls? Do they need a ride?

It’s important to know the outcome of each door canvassed, particularly for election day. Handraiser can track a lot of information when canvassing.  One of the most important things to track is if the voter supports the candidate or if they are indifferent.  This will give you the opportunity to canvass them on election day if you receive real-time voter updates from the polls (which Handraiser can track as well.)

Here’s a one-minute video on how to use technology to canvass.


Would you like to see a demo of how Handraiser’s canvassing app can help you win your election? Click here to schedule a time or send us a note.


Printed and Designed Materials

Running a campaign comprises more than just registering as a candidate and letting your friends and family know you are running for political office.  It involves putting up a website, social media pages, fundraising and canvassing.

Canvassing is a huge part of campaigning but what do you leave behind when you speak with your constituent?  There are a number of items you can handout.  Let’s take a look at effective political campaign materials.

  1. Postcard – multi-faceted in its use.  You can mail them and hand them out when you go door to door canvassing neighborhoods.  You can also use them at rallies or when you are talking with neighbors. Inexpensive and effective in getting the word out about your candidacy.

    Postcard from
  2. Posters – posters are an effective means of promotion of your candidacy and can be put up in libraries, local coffee shops, festivals, etc. Of course, you will want to get permission before hanging up your political poster but it’s a good way to get exposure and your message out at the same time.
  3. Brochures – like postcards they are inexpensive to print and can have a big impact.  These are items you should carry with you at all times so when you are talking with potential voters you can hand them information about you and your platform.

If you are on a tight budget, and most candidates are, how will you get your printed material (and logo for that fact) designed?  You actually have some inexpensive options.

  1. Most print companies have designers on staff.  Vistaprint will design material starting at $5 and if you order the design they apply the design fee to the purchase.

    Template from
  2. is a free tool that allows you to easily design postcards, brochures, posters, etc.  You can download print quality files and have a printing company print them for you.
  3. and are sites with freelancers that will do anything from design a website to graphic designers. Look for freelancers with 5-star ratings and 90%+ re-hire for the best talent.

What should go on your printed material is of utmost importance when designing your printed material.  Make sure your message is clear and concise, it is uncluttered and it is easy to read what you stand for and why.  You won’t have a lot of time to grab someone’s attention, you will want to make sure that your message stands out.

Want to know how Handraiser can help you win your election? Schedule a live demo here!

Show Me The Money!

Show Me The Money!

Running for office is not only a decision of time but certainly of money. Regardless if you are running for local office like the school board or national office like senate or congress you need to raise money to run your campaign.  Typical places to raise money for your campaign are by asking your family, friends and voters who support your platform.  But, what happens when you’ve tapped all of those resources?

You need to expand your area of ask, if you will.  You will have to ask people to donate to your campaign that you don’t personally know.  The good news, it’s easier than it used to be with the advent of social media and digital marketing.

When running a local race, time is money.  A lot of people announce their candidacy 30 days out and typically, don’t spend time on fund raising. Which, is unfortunate because if they had just $5,000 it would make a big difference in the amount of votes they could connect with about their platform.

One of the problems candidates run across is how do they raise money.  You can go to online payment processors like Stripe but the problem is they usually ask for an EIN or corporation documents.  But, you’re not raising money for your business, you’re raising money for your candidacy, so now what?

Paypal! You can certainly use Paypal, you will want to make sure you keep track of all of your donations.  Who donated, how much they donated, when they donated, etc.  You will need this information for the election office, particularly if you get audited.

Another option is to use Raise The Money,, to help you with your fund raising efforts.  Raise The Money has a number of benefits to help you in your fund raising efforts.  First and foremost, you can be up in two days, not two weeks as with other payment processors and they offer marketing tools to help you raise more money.  Matter of fact, candidates who use them have found they raise 17% more money from previous platforms they’ve used.

Given that Raise The Money started in 2014 and they have put over 5,000 campaigns on their platform they help a significant amount of candidates raise money for their election.

One of the ways they do this is by optimizing your fundraising ability at the local level.  They accomplish this by helping you put a “Donate” button on your social media and your website.  It is very important to give your supporters an easy way to donate to your campaign. Raise the Money is the only fund raising company that has the ability to put a “Donate” button on your Facebook page.

$5,000 may not seem like a lot of money for a campaign but that could go toward sending out post cards, running Facebook ads or using software to help you manage your campaign all in an effort to reach, engage and activate voters.

Another factor to consider is to test your fundraising options.  Create different forms that have different colors, different amounts, etc. and track them.  You will see marked results. Take a look at the fundraising example with notorious politician “Frank Underwood” (played by Kevin Spacey in Netflix’s House of Cards.) You can see how easy it is to donate to a campaign and to test different elements.

Adam Burris, Chief Technology Officer for Raise The Money, says the top three tips for raising money are:

  1. Have an easy platform to raise money – find a platform that is more than a payment processor. Find a company that specializes in campaigns.
  2. Use your data – know the name of your donors, you are required to collect data on your donors. Chances are everyone who donates has a circle of friends that think like them. (Handraiser actually has a feature in our software that lets you easily identify and reach out to your family and friends.)
  3. Put a call to action in every single post you make, give an easy way to donate to your campaign. Keep it simple.

Raise The Money isn’t just for local campaigns.  Gov. Hutchinson of Arkansas uses this platform to raise money for his campaign.

I asked Adam what is his top tip for winning a campaign and he said, “Take time to prepare the right way, if more local races took time to prepare their race before the race it would work out better for them.”

Adam Burris is currently the Chief Technology Officer for Raise The Money.  Check out their blog to get even more tips on running your campaign.