How to Canvass in ‘Peacetime’

In the last article and video, ‘Why canvass’, I explained the need and the urgency to get your peacetime canvassing under way.

In this one I deal with how to canvass – what you need, and a suggested ‘script’ on what to say to break the ice and open the conversation. The golden rule is to keep it simple, short and sweet, and then shut up and gauge the reaction. Remember the principal aim is to identify potential supporters.

The tools are fairly obvious. A pen, clipboard, badge or rosette, the electoral register, and in the darker months a torch, UKIP umbrella as appropriate, smart casual dress, and your wallet or purse for the meet up in the pub after – to compile your notes.

You will also need literature to hand out for those who would like more information on what we are about. The “What We Stand For” leaflet or the Chain booklet are both ideal, but there may be more coming out as we get closer to the election. I also strongly recommend you produce a calling card, especially to leave when no one is in (that can be typically a third of households at any given time).

UKIP Calling Card Front
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Example UKIP Calling Card (Front)

Rather than ‘Sorry You Were Out’ I prefer ‘We Called to See You Today’ as it gives a more positive message, and you can leave it with your branch contact details and website information for those you speak to as well. Clear the text with your branch agent/chairman or regional director as you will need the usual imprint.

UKIP Calling Card Back
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Example UKIP Calling Card (Back)

Now the canvassing. Remember to smile & flash the UKIP logo so they know you are not from the Jehovah’s Witnesses or selling double glazing.

Suggested script:

“Hello, I am here on behalf of the local branch of UKIP – the UK Independence Party – and I am calling to see if you are likely to be a local supporter?”

As I said, keep it simple, short and sweet, and then listen to the reaction.

You are likely to get one of three general reactions:

1. For those who are clearly against, either are pro EU, or more likely ‘tribal’ voters who always vote for one of the Lib/Lab/Con parties, thank them politely, and move on. There is no need to attempt to establish which one they support – it is a waste of time, just classify them as ‘Against.’

2. If someone is a Don’t Know or says something vague like ‘I’m thinking about it’, this can sometimes be a polite ‘no’ so, to tease out a little more, ask something along the lines of: “Did you vote for us last time, or was it one of the others?” and see the reaction.

Deal with specific issues if you can, but in general offer the “What We Stand For” leaflet, thank them and move on.

In the next video, I will deal with Number Three – the more interesting group – our supporters. Some supporters can be converted into deliverers, poster sites or even members and activists.

Related Articles in this Series:

Why Canvass: The Importance of Canvassing.

Canvassing: How to Build the ‘Peoples’ Army.

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