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Building the Perfect Walk List

When you think door-to-door campaigning, you think walking, maybe even mapping out routes, right? Well, you need a walk list!

Walk lists are a fixed piece of your campaign architecture but when they are not treated as important by campaign organizers it can result in a dysfunctional campaign effort. Here we look at the best way to approach building your walk lists.

A well-crafted walk list should be well researched and segmented for the canvasser. It should also be laid out in a way that is understandable for the canvasser. This is easier said than done of course. The ultimate goal is to produce a walk list that is easily navigable and leads the canvasser to the doors of a coherent segment of your voter file, thereby making the canvassers job of being convincing all the easier.

  • The first thing to take into consideration is Walk List Size. How many houses is realistic for a canvasser to walk in a given canvass and should the list reflect that or should it be big enough for them to work on over a number of canvasses?

  • Now you have to consider what Filtering and Segmenting criteria you are building your lists on. Are you creating a list based on geography (streets, precincts and so on) or are you basing it on whether they are supporters, whether they have a declared interest in a specific issue or on their voting history?

  • Navigation around a walk list demands that the organizer knows the area reasonably well. You do not want to have a route that requires the canvasser to have to cross some geographic boundary or send them down dead ends. If possible indicate to the canvasser a natural start point or preferred route to make their life a bit easier.

  • It would be ideal to match walk lists to volunteers who are also familiar with the area. Failing that can you include tips for the canvasser or canvass team in your briefing or in the Talking Points.

  • Now that you have considered the layout and navigation of the walk list you now arrive at the Doorstep Interaction itself. If you keep this interaction in mind when assembling the data collection points you will be doing a great favor for your canvassers.

Walk lists are usually concerned with two things, being convincing about your candidate/cause and collecting data. The data collected needs to be considered in advance so you don’t end up with jotted notes in illegible writing or, worse yet, a mountain of data entry. Think about the most efficient way of capturing information and transferring that to your data analysis system in advance. If you are interested in learning more, why not contact me here.

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