NPG VAN Uses Distributed Canvassing to Save Time Campaigning

Campaigning is difficult, time consuming work, especially the ground activities. Door-to-door campaigning is often the most time consuming, as NGP VAN points out, because it consists of plotting, planning and then the actual canvassing. Each step requires actual time devoted to the process of each mandatory element.


The canvassing process is referred to as cutting turf. To help reduce the time consumption of cutting turf, a new tool was devised called Distributed Canvassing. Distributed Canvassing is automates the turf cutting process. Distributed Canvassing cuts the number of steps involved in cutting turf.

Volunteers must take several steps just to aid in a campaign.

  1. The volunteer must contact a field organizer.
  2. The volunteer will then schedule a time to visit the campaign’s office.
  3. The volunteer’s field officer must plot the canvassing area that must be covered or cut turf.
  4. The volunteer must review the voter’s list.
  5. The volunteer canvasses and contacts the voter.
  6. The volunteer turns the list of people contacted in to the office.
  7. The office organizer must enter the new data in the system.

With Distributed Canvassing this process is reduced to two steps. First, each volunteer uses an app which cuts the turf based on the volunteers location. The volunteer is given a number that is generated after the app sets up a universe and gives the number of doors the volunteer is to visit.

This app is based on an app called Knock10, which was used by the DNC in the summer of 2017. With Knock 10, the user downloads the app, sign-in and then knock on the 10 closest doors. It’s been improved since then through the use of feedback and incorporated into MiniVan, which is software generated by NGP VAN.

Distributed Canvassing is now in its Beta Phase due to the hard work of NPG VAN’s employees. In 2016, Inc. Magazine named NPG VAN one of the best places to work with at least 500 employees. NPG VAN supports the progressive values of their Democratic clients. NPG VAN is privately owned, U.S. based and singularly focused on advancing the progressive democratic agenda.

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