Career Development

What Does a Canvasser Do?

Find out what a canvasser does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a canvasser.

Canvassers are the foot soldiers of political campaigns. They’re responsible for going door-to-door or talking to people in public places to spread the gospel of their candidate, issue, or party. Their job is to convince voters that their candidate is worth supporting and persuade them to take action (such as casting a ballot or donating money).

Canvasser Job Duties

Canvassers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Talking with potential donors about the charity’s mission and requesting donations
  • Meeting with potential donors to learn more about their interests and identify new fundraising opportunities
  • Following up with donors who have made pledges but have not yet fulfilled them in order to ensure prompt payment
  • Identifying potential donors by researching lists of past donors and contacting them directly to encourage future support
  • Preparing reports about donor activity for use by fundraisers, managers, or other staff members
  • Coordinating special events such as concerts or auctions with other members of the organization’s fundraising team
  • Coordinating with other organizations to solicit donations or volunteer efforts from businesses and individuals outside of the local community
  • Maintaining donor records by entering new donations into a database and processing checks received by mail
  • Educating potential donors about a nonprofit’s mission, programs, and fundraising needs

Canvasser Salary & Outlook

Canvassers’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $44,500 ($21.39/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $100,000 ($48.08/hour)

The employment of canvassers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for fundraising services will depend on the health of the economy and the types of organizations that need these services. Organizations that rely heavily on donations, such as charities and social service providers, may hire canvassers if they are able to increase their revenue.

Related: In-Depth Canvasser Salary Guide

Canvasser Job Requirements

A canvasser typically needs the following qualifications:

Education: Many employers require canvassers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field. Relevant majors include social science, communication, business and nonprofit management.

Training & Experience: Most canvassers receive on-the-job training from their supervisors. This training may include how to use the organization’s canvassing app, how to approach potential donors and how to use the organization’s donation forms.

Certifications & Licenses: Some states require canvassers to obtain certification before beginning work. Canvassers typically earn canvassing certification to demonstrate their understanding of the industry and best practices.

Canvasser Skills

Canvassers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Canvassers use their communication skills to interact with potential donors. They also use their communication skills to explain the organization’s mission and encourage others to donate. Effective communication skills can help canvassers build strong relationships with their fellow volunteers and staff members.

Product knowledge: Canvassers often have a good understanding of the products or services their organization offers. They can use this knowledge to educate potential donors about the cause and the impact it has on the community. Knowing the ins and outs of the organization’s mission can help you to better engage with potential donors.

Time management: Canvassers often have multiple tasks to complete in a short period of time. It’s important for them to be able to prioritize their responsibilities and complete them in the order of importance. For example, if a canvasser is responsible for contacting 10 new donors, they should make sure to contact the first 10 donors before moving on to the next task.

Organization: Canvassers need to be organized to ensure they complete all their tasks for the day. They should be able to keep track of their call lists, volunteer shifts and other responsibilities. Being organized can also help them save time by knowing where to find information and allowing them to complete their tasks quickly.

Teamwork: Canvassers often work in teams to reach their goals. Teamwork skills can help you collaborate with other canvassers to develop strategies, motivate each other and share responsibilities. You can also use teamwork skills to help your team members feel valued and encourage them to continue their work.

Canvasser Work Environment

Canvassers typically work long hours, often more than 40 per week, and may work on weekends. They are often required to travel long distances and work in all types of weather conditions. The work can be physically demanding, and canvassers may have to carry heavy equipment or supplies. The job can be stressful because of the long hours and the need to meet quotas. Canvassers also may face rejection by the people they are trying to persuade.

Canvasser Trends

Here are three trends influencing how canvassers work. Canvassers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Digital and Mobile

As technology advances, businesses are increasingly turning to digital and mobile channels to reach their customers. This is creating a need for canvassers who can help them connect with potential customers in these new mediums.

Canvassers who are able to utilize digital and mobile channels will be in high demand as businesses look for ways to reach more customers in a cost-effective way. They will also need to be familiar with the latest trends in marketing and advertising in order to stay ahead of the competition.

More Use of Data Analytics

Data analytics is becoming an increasingly important tool for businesses looking to improve their operations. Canvassers can use data analytics to better understand their customers and how to best reach them.

This trend means that canvassers will need to be comfortable with using data analytics tools and understanding how to use them to their advantage. In addition, they will need to be able to communicate the results of data analytics to other members of their team in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

A Greater Emphasis on Personalization

The trend towards personalization is having a major impact on the sales industry. As customers become more accustomed to receiving personalized experiences online, they are also beginning to expect the same from offline interactions.

This is especially true when it comes to door-to-door sales, where customers are often turned off by generic pitches that do not reflect their individual needs. Canvassers who are able to provide a personalized experience will be much more successful in the long run.

How to Become a Canvasser

A canvasser career can be a great way to get started in the nonprofit sector. It’s a good way to learn about different organizations and causes, and it can also help you build your network.

Canvassing is often done on foot or by bike, so it’s a great way to stay active and meet people in your community. You may even make some lasting friendships with other canvassers.

Related: How to Write a Canvasser Resume

Advancement Prospects

Canvassers who demonstrate good people skills, a strong work ethic, and the ability to meet quotas may be promoted to team leader. In this position, they would oversee a group of canvassers, provide training and support, and be responsible for meeting fundraising goals. With experience, team leaders may be promoted to regional manager, responsible for coordinating the work of multiple teams of canvassers in a large geographic area.

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