Precision Canvassing

3 mins read

Precision canvassing

Companies increase sales by picking store locations with demographic analysis. Use the same approach to decide where to canvas.

Center for Common Ground (CCG) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that educates and empowers under-represented voters to engage in elections and advocate for their right to vote. This is how they used Community Analyst to plan a canvassing campaign in Richmond, Virginia to reach low income, communities of color.

Community Analyst is an online app that includes data which is continuously refreshed on twenty demographic characteristics including age, income, race, education and gender. Use this data for planning by searching on it by block group, census tract, zip Code, county or congressional district.

This blog explains how Center for Common Ground was able to quickly zero in on the parts of Richmond with a very low median household income (under $29,000) with a high percentage (over 70%) of African American residents. They produced a detailed map down to the city block level of where to canvas and a summary of key facts for their volunteer canvassers.

Learn more about an annual license to Community Analyst which costs a nonprofits about $150 esri here and their nonprofit program here.

Choose the areas to canvas by applying demographic analysis

How to pick an area to canvas

The Center for Common Ground team chose race and income as their selection criteria in Community Analyst. They used sliding scales in the app to zero in on the areas with the highest concentration of people meeting that criteria. They also produced an Infographic with key facts and a map to assign areas to volunteers to canvas.

Choose the demographic criteria to select the area to canvas
Infographic provides details of the selected area.
Household income mapped to choose areas to canvas

How to analyze a community

Community Analyst is a cloud-based mapping solution so there is no software to instal. It provides simple and easy-to-use mapping and data analysis to users with different levels of technical skill.

– Focus your canvassing and outreach on areas with up to five customizable criteria
– Access thousands of demographic, Census, health, crime, and business variables to formulate better policy decisions
– Quickly find areas with greatest need by using customizable search criteria
– Get information for the exact area you need down to the Census block group level or with hand-drawn shapes
– Learn more about the types of people that live in at-risk communities and how to best to reach them
– Get a demographic report on an area without buying an annual license

TakeAway: Canvas better by focussing your efforts on the areas with the most potential using Community Analyst.


Photo credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
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Originally posted on DEMLABS BLOG

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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