Canvass smarter with door hangers

4 mins read

Door hangers are cost-effective for campaigns and they are a must during COVID.

How does a grassroots campaign deliver its door hangers to thousands of houses quickly with just a few volunteers? How can volunteers reach more houses in less time? Avoid duplicating efforts? A little technology goes a long way in streamlining the distribution of door hangers.

Jamal Khan is running for California State Senate District 10 in the heart of Silicon Valley. The district has over 250,000 voter households and spans several square miles with a mesh of freeways and residential areas. This blog describes how Jamal’s campaign is using esri mapping technology to streamline the distribution of campaign flyers and survey voters.

Campaign door hanger distribution

Designing the distribution system

  • Jamal’s team first obtained the voter file for his district and filtered it for the most likely voters.
  • Over 250,000 records were mapped using esri software.
  • Volunteers get a web app through a link so they do not have to instal any software.
  • The app shows volunteers exactly which houses have not been delivered a flyer.
  • Volunteers mark houses that they have left a flyer at in the app.
  • The color of the house changes immediately on the map so other volunteers know that house has been covered.
  • The campaign team monitors progress on a central dashboard and decide where to assign volunteers.

Door hangers are cheap to print but time consuming to distribute. Distributing 100 door hangers takes about an hour. At this rate, putting out 250,000 flyers in Jamal’s district would take about 2,500 (wo)man hours. That’s why having a streamlined approach is so important. Learn more about the campaign literature distribution system here.

Do door hangers work?

Door hangers have been known to work much better than regular flyers. Generally, regular flyers have a 1% conversion rate, which means for every 100 that we pass out, we should theoretically get 1 new customer. On the other hand, door hangers have up to 5% conversion rates. This jump in conversion definitely justifies the increase in price for printing. Door hanger advertising works because you get exclusivity when it comes to awareness. because you don’t have to compete with your competitors for people to view your ad. – Think Flyers

  • No Competition – Door hanger advertising works because there’s no struggle to grab attention. People see your flyer and your flyer ONLY attached to their front door.
  • Tangible Advertising – The door hanger is a tangible piece of advertising since you can save it for later. It has more value than digital ads that cost more to produce and broadcast.
  • Locally Targeted – Door hanger advertising targets the homes of the people that matter to your campaign.

TakeAway: Accomplish more with your volunteers with a little technology.


Image credit: PrimoPrint

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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.

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