Door to door works

The Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns were rightly lauded for being innovative. "Inside the Cave"  is a report from Engaged that analyzes how the Obama team's digital efforts aided the 2012 campaign. From the report, which is worth checking out [pdf]: 

Obama 2012 didn't have the magic of hope and change. What it did have was a relentless focus on operational excellence and massive scale. 

What is often left out of the accolades is the purpose of the Obama campaign's digital capabilities -- they were aimed at doing door to door GOTV more efficiently. They were not primarily aimed at turning out voters by using social media. 

The Obama campaign didn't invent a new way to reach undecided voters. Face to face contact with voters is still the gold standard in campaigns. Obama's team simply found ways to do that much more efficiently. 

The focus of your GOTV program should be to identify as many supporters as possible from the day you announce your candidacy to Election Day. Then get them to cast their ballots. 

Here are a few tips on how to do it: 

  • Use a voter database to track voters who commit to support you. There are many options here - feel free to contact me for recommendations. 
  • Ask your supporters to take Election Day off work. You'll need folks to walk door to door turning out your supporters. 
  • Don't wait until the day before the election to remind supporters who commit to take Election Day that they volunteered. Host a pizza party with the candidate a few days before and send out invites. Use the event to let volunteers know how important Election Day GOTV is. 
  • Make sure your GOTV volunteers are well-coached and well-supported. Show them numbers -- how many doors you want to hit, and how each volunteer fits into the overall goal. 

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