NGP VAN Eliminates “Cutting Turf”

In the world of political campaigning, “cutting turf” is not an esoteric term. Even though the average voter has never heard that term, most people have had a political campaign volunteer knock on their door to provide information about a political candidate. Going door-to-door by a volunteer or by the politician himself or herself is known as canvassing. Cutting turf is the development of walklists and maps volunteers use when they go door-to-door. What most people do not know, however, is the number of hours the canvass organizer spends before and after that volunteer raps on your door.

The first step in launching an effective canvassing campaign is to solicit volunteers and to develop lists of voters in a specific geographic area. Then walk lists and maps must be developed as an organizing strategy so a wide area can be canvassed without duplication of effort. A script is then prepared so when volunteers knock on a constituent’s door they have an important message to convey. After the canvassing is completed, the canvass organizer must compile and analyze the data. This process as outlined was all done by hand…until NGP VAN entered the picture.

NGP VAN is a software company that has developed an app known as MiniVAN. This free app that can be used on all iOS and Android devices processes all of the data the canvass organizer needs to run an effective and efficient ground game. MiniVAN eliminates hours of paperwork, and it eliminates “cutting turf.” “How NGP VAN’s Software Fixed Canvassing,” is an article that appears in the April 16, 2018, issue of an online, independent news blog, Chronicle of the Week.” This article details how NGP VAN and their app known as MiniVAN can provide support to Democratic campaigns in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

According to Haley Thompson, the author of the article, NGP VAN facilitates a “data-driven campaign strategy (that) results in strategic door-knocking.” NGP VAN makes voter-specific data available so canvassers can individualize their message. It is the personalization of the message to voters and taking that message to their front door, that will generate votes.

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NGP VAN and Their Voter Data Management Platform Can Be Vital to a Successful Political Campaign

An important tool for an election campaign is the campaign rally and NGP VAN, Inc. offers advice on how to pull off a successful rally that can bring in the votes.


Timing is important. A rally introducing your campaign to the public can be valuable and rallies can also energize your supporters and even encourage them to volunteer for your campaign. Rallies can also get you media coverage that gets your message out to a wider audience. But mostly rallies are reserved for the final couple of weeks before an election when the enthusiasm generated can translate directly into votes.


You will need to determine when and where to hold your rally. NGP VAN says that timing and location can be crucial. Important logistics have to be considered including adequate parking, accessible venue and the number of supporters you expect to attend so you can know the size of the location necessary.


NGP VAN has developed an integrated data management platform that is available to national as well as smaller regional Democratic campaigns. These tools can assist campaigns in determining the persuadable voters and the die-hard supporters and have canvassing or phone calls directed based on that information. It can also help determine the size of the base of your support and where that base is located.

Once you’ve determined where to hold your rally things like the sound system and visuals are very important. NGP VAN suggests you want to be heard clearly throughout the location and you’ll want campaign signs handed out to attendees as well as having a row of enthusiastic supporters behind the candidate holding those signs that give the press plenty of photo opportunities.


The candidate’s speech should be concise and brief conveying the top issues of the candidate. Additionally, an emcee may be desirable and/or a prominent local citizen who can endorse the candidate can be helpful in bringing in the votes.


Finally, advertising is critical. Print flyers to hang around the local area. Utilize social media to spread the word and contact local radio stations. Be sure to send out a press release a few days beforehand.