How to Host a Community Canvass

Thank you so much for joining this fight. Elizabeth is proud to count you among her best supporters. Grassroots teams — made up of people like you — are the backbone of this campaign and at the heart of why Elizabeth is running for president.

On our campaign, we often talk about meeting people where they are at. Many of the approaches we use —door knocking, phonebanking, texting —don’t do that for everyone. There are a set of voters we’ll never reach through those methods. That’s where community canvassing comes in. Bring volunteers together, get out in your community, and talk to voters — at a bus stop or the DMV, at the local park or farmers’ market, at a block party or festival, and beyond. Community canvasses allow volunteers to engage and recruit more people to the campaign. Running a community canvass is easy, and this toolkit makes it even easier! First, submit the host agreement form, join our All in for Elizabeth Warren for President Community Group, and register your event on our website. Then follow the steps below.

Step 1

Invite people to your community canvass

All you need to do is think about people you know you can count on to attend – and then make sure everyone who RSVPs actually shows up. This is the moment to put on your organizer hat.

  1. Make a list of who you want to invite to your community canvass. Think about your friends, family, and fellow Elizabeth supporters you know to create your list.
    • Use the Your Network Worksheet. Create a list of everyone you could invite to your canvass and then start reaching out to everyone.
    • Use your Friends and Family Contact Sheet. Use this worksheet to track the friends, family, and personal acquaintances you invite to your community canvass.
  2. Remind your friends to come. We recommend talking to your list of friends and family three different ways (that’s what it takes for someone to really commit to something):
    • The invitation, which you’ll send over email.
    • The second invitation, to re-invite folks who haven’t responded to your invite.
    • The confirmation, a text or phone call to confirm they’re able to come.
    • We’ve written sample emails and sample social media to make this easy!
  3. Tips for promoting your event to the public. If your event is Public and you’d like to do even more to bring supporters to your event, here are some tips:
    • Post in your regional All in for Warren Community Group.
    • Reach out to your local Democratic Party chapter to invite them, and see if they’ll help promote your community canvass.
    • Contact local organizations and ask for their help. Local chapters of progressive organizations may be willing to send an email to their members about your phone bank.
    • Let your local community know:
      • Submit your community canvass as an item to the local newspaper calendar.
      • Post it in your community’s local forums, or any relevant local Facebook groups.
      • Invite your local Democratic elected officials.

Step 2

Plan your community canvass

Use this checklist to track your progress.

  1. Recruit

  2. Prep

  3. Day-of

    • Set out your materials
    • Clearly post signage around your site for volunteers and supporters to see
    • Make sure that everyone has a smartphone or can pair up with someone with a smartphone
    • Set the sign up sheets
    • Set up a laptop with the Win with Warren donation page (optional)
  4. During the Canvass

    • Make sure everyone signs in by texting ORGANIZE to 24477 (If they can’t, have them fill out the sign up sheets)
    • Follow your agenda to have a successful event!
  5. Final Steps

    • Fill out a host feedback form
    • Submit any paper sign ups on Mobilize America
    • Call any no-show canvassers
    • Send your attendees a follow-up email

Step 3

Make an agenda

0:00 - Canvassers Arrive and Check In

  • Set up your materials and signage
  • Have volunteers sign in by texting ORGANIZE to 24477 and showing you Bailey
  • Make sure they have a smartphone

0:10 - Introductions

  • Have everyone introduce themselves: What’s your name? Why do you support Elizabeth? Have you ever tabled or clipboarded before?
  • Take a group picture!

0:15 - Train volunteers

  • Use How to Use Reach to guide volunteers through using Reach
  • Practice greeting voters:
    • “Hi there, do you think we need big, structural change?”
    • “Hi there, are you interested in supporting Elizabeth Warren?”
    • “Hey! Are you ready for a progressive president?”
  • Pick two people to play the canvasser and the voter, run through the script, and highlight the data they need to enter into Reach

0:30 - Launch Your Community Canvass

  • Group people in pairs
    • If two people came together, have them stand together
    • Pair experienced canvassers with new canvassers
  • Give your contact information to each volunteer in case there’s an issue or if they have questions during the community canvass

2:00 - Close Out Your Community Canvass

  • Lead a discussion: What went well? What didn’t? Who was your favorite person that you talked to? Why?
  • Make sure everyone leaves with a copy of the Next Steps

Step 4

Follow up with your canvassers

After the community canvass, remember to:

  • Submit your host feedback form: please fill this out so we know how it went and how we can improve things on our end in the future.
  • Submit your sign in sheets: enter any paper sign ins you received in Mobilize America.
  • Call people who missed the event: let them know they were missed, update them on the meeting, and encourage them to sign up to volunteer.
  • Send a follow up email: Thank your volunteers for coming with the follow-up email to keep them looped in on next steps. Include the group picture that you took.

Questions about spending money on your canvass? Read our financial guidelines FAQ.