Door-to-door Canvassing Guide - Dry Training

A canvassing campaign is a complicated matter and a work of art. Conversely, individuals who believe they know everything about political canvassing without experiencing it in practice are undeniably wrong. Often, individuals underestimate the complexity of canvassing events. Moreover, political canvassing attempts require one to follow a certain sequence of events that must be organized before, during, and after the campaign, which is extremely important for the campaign’s success.

First, a good canvassing campaign must always begin with dry training. Different individuals find different ways to organize training, but normally it incorporates canvassing team meetings together in a spacious enough to-walk room where noise cannot reach from the outside. In case of good weather, the training can be arranged outdoors. As a rule, the meeting is led by a canvassing captain and/or campaign manager. In addition, the training normally takes no more than two hours.

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Campaign Owner Involvement

Ordinarily, the first and one of the most important questions that arises before dry training is whether to invite the campaign owner to the occasion. In the case of a small-scale campaign, a campaign owner can join the team meeting at the beginning to give a short introductory speech, around 10 minutes or so. Consequently, in the case of a large campaign, it might be a good idea to record a video greeting from the campaign owner and then demonstrate it to the team members before the meeting.

Engagement of the campaign owner at the first step of the canvassing campaign, such as dry training, helps to lift the team spirit of the canvassing team. In his or her speech, the campaign owner should deliver a simple message focusing on certain aspects of the campaign, such as its importance, goals, and step-by-step approach to what will be happening during the campaign.

After the brief introductory announcement from the campaign owner, the team meeting must be led by the campaign manager, captain, or staff. Ordinarily, some team members will know each other from their participation in previous campaigns. Moreover, there will be many volunteers who join the team to support a candidate or a cause and do not know anything about political canvassing campaigns. The goal of the meeting leader is to ensure that everyone in the room is treated with equal respect. Otherwise, the newcomers or experienced canvassers might leave before the training is over and miss important details or, in the worst case, leave the canvassing team for good. As the leader of the meeting, the campaign manager, captain, or staff should pay close attention to their team members, listen to what they say, answer their questions, and engage them by giving detailed explanations of every step in a canvassing campaign and making sure they understand the information.  


It will be a good idea for the leader of the meeting to draft the agenda ahead of time and follow it during the training session. While for experienced canvassers who are used to similar sessions, it will be easy to follow the discussion, new canvassers will find it helpful to be introduced to it step-by-step.

As a meeting leader, the campaign manager, captain, or staff should draft the topics to be covered at the meeting. These topics might include: