Sunday, October 29, 2006

Canvasing and Literature Drops for Maffei

Last weekend, myself and many others canvassed in the rain for Dan Maffei. In so doing, we met some great people. I find volunteering to be rewarding. What follows is a description of what volunteering is, for those who haven't done that and are thinking of doing it.


Go to Dan Maffei's campaign headquarters, right off of route 11 (get off 81 on the airport exit and take route 11 north). The building is easy to find, there are many Maffei signs in front of it.

Go down the stairs, see lots of 20-somethings talking on the phone, 30-somethings on cell phones, 40-50-somethings studying maps used for canvasing. A beehive of activity. Chat with some of the volunteers about this or that (e.g. the recent retracted poll). Everyone is in the know about the twists and turns of the campaign. Everyone is motivated, just like you.

Go to the nearest 20-something. Get their attention, offer to volunteer You are offerred to clip articles out of a newspaper or go canvasing; choose the later. You are handed a map of a neighborhood. A highlighter is provided. Mark which streets to canvas. You do not want to canvas the same neighborhood that someone else already did. They track what streets need to be done. For those streets, you are given a list of names, addresses, and political afiliations.Take that list, and some Maffei lawn signs (to give to people), and take a big stack of campaign flyers to hand out. Also take a template canvasing "speech", which is what you should say when you knock on the door.

Drive to the neighborhood. Got out of the car, put flyers and paperwork in a plastic bag (rain). Start walking. Find first house. Consult list. It's a Democrat (or Republican, or independant). Find doorbell. Ring it. Wait. Person comes.

"Hello. Are you Mr/Mrs. So-and-s?" If yes: continue.

If no, ask: "is he/she available?" When you use their real names, you are identifying them in a more personal way then a travelling salesman would.

After you have the right person, say: "My name is so-and-so. I am a volunteer for Dan Maffei, the Democrat running for Congress against Jim Walsh. Have you decided if you are going to vote for Dan Maffei or for Jim Walsh?" Give your name and say who you are. Be as humble and friendly as you can muster. Smile. Get right to the point, so if they are too busy to talk or if they are Walsh people, you can move on without wasting either your or their time.

If the person responds they will vote for Maffei, say: "Great! Would you like to volunteer or put up a lawn sign?" These people are wonderful. It's like finding a brother or sister. Aproximately 1/5 of such respondends I ran into did indeed agree to volunteer or put up signs. They sometimes invited me in to get warm, or started a conversation about Syracuse politics.

If person responds "not sure who I am voting for yet", say: "Would you like to take this campaign literature ? Can I answer any questions?" They may be Walsh people who just don't want to admit it. I did not press these people unless they asked questions.

If person responds "I am voting for Jim Walsh", say: "Thank you! Have a nice day!" Keep it as friendly as possible. You are representing a cause and want to leave no ill feelings.

Record in your list how the person responded.And so on. Keep visiting houses until you are too cold to continue, or run out of time.

Literature ("lit") drops.

I did that one morning in a Syracuse suburb. Was told not to put the literature in mailboxes. The town was more Republican then the Democratic neighborhood I canvased. Went through the entire two inch stack of Maffei literature, covered a chunk of the town's streets, and got some exercise. Had no interaction with anyone.

My understanding is this was the last weekend Maffei will be canvasing, and next weekend they want people to do lit drops. They may want volunteers to do some more canvasing durring the week.

Call them, or just drive over there. Offer yourself as a helper for whatever they want. If you are interested enough in politics to read this blog, I promise you it will be a rewarding experience and you will be very happy to have done so.


At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Post!!! Everything you said hold true and the fact of just doing a canvass is rewarding. I too did this past weekend for maffei and the people in the area are mostly great. I also hope people get out and help Maffei.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous kml said...

Oh I wish I had that kind of courage. Talking with people face to face, if it isn't spontaneous, turns me into someone running for the hills.

I AM making calls though! I can do phones. I could probably do lit drops too. Sounds easy enough.

I always wish someone would come to my door, but then I remember I've got one of Dan's signs in the yard. As well as bumper stickers on both cars. LOL, not much chance of seeing a friendly face.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger TLB said...

KML- there seems to be two techniques for dealing with people while canvasing.

1. Use their names (you get it off the list), and state your name. State that you are a volunteer for Dan Maffei.

2. Do (1) quickly. So immediately, they know who you are. If they are Walsh guys or are too busy to talk, don't waste their time.


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