By Rachel Burgin and Carlos Muhletaler
Get involved in grassroots activism and sooner or later you’ll have someone inviting you to join them on a Saturday morning as they head out to “hit the doors.” Door-to-door canvassing is almost a foregone conclusion in politics. For decades now, every campaign or grassroots organization has used door knocking to get the message out.
But door-to-door canvassing means hard work and facing lots of rejection, causing many activists to second-guess its usefulness. So is door-to-door canvassing actually effective? You bet it is!
Making Politics Personal in a Way Social Media Can’t
Between social media feeds, postcards, and television and radio ads, Americans spend our entire day getting bombarded by messages. At the same time, we have less personal interaction with others than ever before.
Showing up on someone’s doorstep, meeting them where they are and having a personal conversation about important issues helps you cut through the noise. You can address their specific questions or concerns about your cause in a way no television ad or social media post can.
Statistics show door-knocking works, too. When Yale looked at a number of experiments on messaging techniques, they discovered door knocking was “the most consistently effective and efficient method” of getting the word out.
Front-Porch Activism Is Worth the Effort
Another great example of the impact of personal interaction is Louisville pastor Mark Bishop. In a recent article published by Kentucky Today, Pastor Bishop said he has seen his church attendance triple to nearly 300 attendees because he spends some time each week knocking on the doors of folks in his community.
Pastor Bishop has knocked on about 200 doors a week since he arrived six months ago. “In this electronic age, people are shocked that I would take the time to stop by their house to talk to them in person,” said Bishop, a strong advocate for so-called “front-porch evangelism.”
Knocking on doors requires some sweat, but hard work is the reason going door-to-door has a higher probability for success. By reaching people at home and in their community with a direct appeal for engagement, you are telling them they matter and this issue is worth their time and their attention.
The next time you want to change the world, start by knocking on doors. Have conversations. Engage your neighbors to take action.
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