Many campaigns are fueled by the enthusiasm of passionate volunteers, but as the scale increases, it becomes difficult to sustain a mass mobilization effort on volunteer time alone. For campaigns with the resources to hire a team, paid canvassing has proved an effective supplement to existing efforts. But while paid canvassing is a great way to give your field team the boost they need to run a great outreach program, but it can also be costly and open campaigns up to a huge financial drain. To prevent this, campaigns need to recognize the issues that cause low return on investment for these outreach efforts.
Even the most trusting companies like to check in with their employees, so why shouldn’t your campaign? Not knowing what your canvassers are doing or where they are when you send them out makes it difficult to run a well-oiled, efficient campaign, and puts your political outreach effort at risk of being derailed by workers who are unproductive, dishonest, or confused about the expectations of field work.
The possibility of having an ineffective canvasser is always present during any volunteer campaign, but paid canvassing raises the stakes of getting the most out of every hour of work. Traditional data gathering makes it difficult to track the productivity of each member of the team and identify issues early on, especially on an individual basis. This makes it nearly impossible to identify which canvassers aren’t performing up to standard and creates financial leakage in the campaign where money could be more efficiently spent.
Confusing Efficient with Effective
Paid canvassing presents a great incentive for getting work finished promptly, but the speed with which a team member knocks doors isn’t the only indicator of success. Contact rate and the impact a canvasser leaves on voters are equally, if not more important. But these statistics are difficult and time consuming to track. Campaigns are turning to big data as a means of better understanding their voters, but a lack of data on their own employees can cause field programs to leak funding through ineffective canvassing that isn’t recognized.
Now that you know where you’re losing money, find out how to run a tighter campaign with our article on canvasser accountability.