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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