Systematically talking with people face-to-face and asking for their support has been an engine of political change throughout history.
Here are a few specific reasons why we do it:
To Build Organizations
Canvassing builds lists of new members and supporters. These lists of supportive citizens are an invaluable resource for progressive groups. For citizens, signing up as a member with a nonprofit group is often the first step toward a longer-term relationship with the organization and with the issue.
To Build Resources and Raise Money with People-Power
We talk to hundreds of different community members in cities across the country every day. By gaining support from a wide swath of people we can fight back against powerful interests and build the strength of the progressive movement with people power.
To Raise Awareness and Increase Name Recognition
Canvassing makes organizations and campaigns more visible which allows them to have a louder voice. Instead of running expensive TV ads, these nonprofit groups can build public awareness of their work and the issues they address through person-to-person conversations.
To Deepen Democratic Participation
Canvassing creates an opportunity to get people plugged into the democratic process and taking action on issues that they care about. By providing a means for ordinary citizens to get more involved in the most pressing issues we face as a country, canvassing increases the level of participation in our political system.
To Win Elections
Canvassing systematically generates political activity in targeted areas. We can get more people out to the polls and get more progressive candidates in office by strategically canvassing voters before elections.
To Train Activists
Many leaders in the political and nonprofit world got their start by canvassing, and there’s a good reason for that: talking to people one-on-one and sharing something you care about with them is the heart of all organizing. Learning to do it well is, for many people, the first step in a successful organizing career.