What is #KnockEveryDoor?

#KnockEveryDoor is an organization created by and for volunteers. We recruit, connect and train volunteers to go out in communities across the country and start conversations about the progressive change our country needs. These canvasses can focus on a progressive candidate, policy, or organization, or may simply be about starting the hard work of listening to what our neighbors who don’t always vote with us have to say about politics.

We believe that it’s time we start talking with everybody. Many of us were surprised by the 2016 presidential election and have resolved to take action by talking with people who may not agree with us or just have a very different experience in their day to day lives that we’ve lost touch with. Others are die hard “field” volunteers who think that for too long the political establishment has favored spending resources on less effective broadcast television ads instead of investing in an infrastructure for going door to door and talking to voters at scale.

No matter what your motivation, the outcome of the election makes it pretty clear that people who care about economic and racial justice won’t be able to win elections unless we take the time to listen to voters who may not agree with us, and start the long hard work of persuading them to join our cause with civil conversations about what matters most in our lives.

#KnockEveryDoor is a volunteer-led organization created in the wake of the disastrous 2016 election. We help volunteers start door-to-door canvasses and get to work having the conversations necessary to build a majority of voters who will support economic and racial justice at election time. You can hold a #KnockEveryDoor canvass in your local community or travel to another district where your efforts can help flip or defend a key district. Sign up and invite your friends to get involved, too. We’ll follow up shortly with more details on how to host or join a canvass event in your community.

We were started by progressive populists who believe in racial justice who believe that the battle for our future will be won or lost on millions of doorsteps across the country. We also believe that the power of people talking to people in a fundamentally “little d” democratic way will pave the way to defeating Trumpism and electing people who will fight for our values. That’s why we’ve opened up the platform to anyone working for progressive change even if we may not agree with them on particular policies or candidates. We have faith that a majority of the country wants to elect people who will fight for economic and racial justice, but the corporate wing of the Democratic party has hindered our ability to organize the people to fight for these values.

#KnockEveryDoor’s mission is to create a nationwide community of activists to do exactly that. We aren’t waiting until the next election to get started doing the work that will win elections in 2018, 2020 and beyond. The work of taking back our democracy has to start now.

Our Team / Who We Are

Our core team came out of the Bernie Sanders campaign -- both volunteers and staffers. Some of us have been involved in politics for a long time, and some of us were brand new to this when we joined the Bernie campaign. The community quickly grew to include volunteers from the Clinton campaign, a host of local community groups, the volunteer team behind SwingLeft and a couple of excellent state Democratic parties.

What we have in common is our belief that grassroots organizing – thousands of volunteer organizers talking to their neighbors – is the best way to fix our country.

Launch organizers and advisors to #KnockEveryDoor include:

Frequently Asked Questions

So…what’s the plan?

In the 2016 election, Democrats failed to talk to enough voters to win (among other things). Since then, many of the post-mortem debates have revolved around whether Democrats should reach out to the white working-class voters who delivered the election to Trump or double down on the progressive base, particularly minority groups who have traditionally been disenfranchised.

Our answer to the question of which part of the American electorate we need to focus on talking to if we want to defeat Trump is simply: Yes! If we want to win, we need to talk to everyone, everywhere because we know that our values resonate with most people when we talk about what really matters in people’s lives.

We’re not the only ones talking about this. Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee and a candidate for governor of Florida in 2018, explains it best:

“What we have to do is convince them that voting for us will make a difference in our lives… Whether you are a working class white voter or a working class black voter or a working class Latino voter, if this economy isn’t working for you, you’re pissed off! We have to lean into that. This debate about whether we double down on our base or talk to working class white people is ridiculous. You have to go everywhere. We have to go everywhere and we have to talk to everybody.”1

We don’t just believe this is the way to go. Cutting-edge political science research has shown that face-to-face conversations are the most effective way to get voters to the polls. We also believe that face-to-face conversations are the key to rebuilding our democracy from the ground up.
How do we make this happen? We get our friends together and go out and knock every door! In order to start the work of talking to voters, we’re asking people everywhere to launch door-to-door canvasses in their communities.

We’ll support people who decide to lead #KnockEveryDoor canvasses by providing them with training, one-on-one support from other volunteers, sample scripts and canvassing materials, and more. We do this through a combination of mostly consumer technology (conference calls, Slack channels, Google apps) and the willingness of amazing volunteers to help each other get to work. Plus, we’ll help connect local #KnockEveryDoor volunteers with one another so that they can get to work.

  1. Perry, Mitch. "At gathering of progressives in Tampa, Andrew Gillum says Democrats won't win in 2018 by being 'Republican lite'" Florida Politics, March 18, 2017. http://floridapolitics.com/archives/234226-gathering-progressives-tampa-andrew-gillum-says-democrat-wont-win-2018-republican-lite

What candidates or causes are we canvassing for?

You know your community better than we do, so we’re leaving it up to you to decide which progressive candidate, cause, issue, or organization you want to canvass for.

You can also simply go door-to-door having open-ended conversations with your neighbors where the goal is to understand how they’re thinking about politics in this moment.

We have several sample scripts to help you get started. You can use them as-is, customize them, or write your own. That said, if you participate in our data entry program, we require you to use one of our approved templates.

Are there candidates or causes #KnockEveryDoor won’t support?

Absolutely. Politics is about picking sides, and we know which one we’re on.

In general, here are our guidelines:

We will not support volunteers who want to canvass for Republicans..

We may pick sides in Democratic primaries. That would mean only helping volunteers who are canvassing for a particular candidate who runs on a platform of economic and racial justice or refusing to help volunteers who are canvassing for a candidate who doesn’t stand up for those same values.

In any case, when we’re forced to make decisions about blocking a candidate, group or issue on our platform, we’ll be transparent about what actions we decide to take.

That sounds like a lot of work. You must have a whole bunch of money and staff, right?

No, we have very little of either, but you don’t get a political revolution if you don’t ask for one! You might have canvassed for a campaign or candidate before, but this is going to be really different. We aren’t hiring a bunch of staff or opening offices – we’re counting on volunteers to take time out of their busy lives and dedicate their time and energy to making this happen.

That might sound crazy, but to those of us with recent memories of millions of people in every corner of the country getting to work as volunteers for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and planning 700 women’s marches in 60 countries or starting up thousands of Indivisible chapters, we actually think it’s pretty grounded in reality.

This is a terrifying political moment, and we’ve been hearing from lots of people who have never been involved in politics before who want to get to work now. What we’ve been hearing from those people is that there aren’t enough meaningful opportunities to get involved locally in their communities. We’re trying to fill that gap.

Ok, so we’re going to talk to a bunch of people at their doors. What are we going to talk about?

Groundbreaking political science research suggests that long, open-ended conversations like these can actually change people’s minds. They’re also the best way we can think of to get a better understanding of why some Obama voters didn’t vote this year or flipped to Trump.

We want to understand people’s lived experience of elections and the consequences of policies on people’s lives. We also want to understand what motivates people to vote (or not vote). This will take longer, open-ended conversations where the people we’re canvassing do most of the talking.

That means asking a lot of questions, listening carefully to what we hear, recording as much information as we can in a survey form that we’ll provide, and being grateful to the people we talk to for their time – even if we disagree with what they say.

Our scripts are based on “deep canvassing” methodology piloted by the Leadership Lab of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. You can read more about our canvassing philosophy here.

What are you going to do with all the information volunteers collect?

Three things.

  1. We’ll give it back to you! If you’re a local activist or group working on an important issue that aligns with our progressive values, or a candidate fighting for racial and economic justice we will be happy to send you the data you collect after we digitize it so that you can use it to build local power. There are some restrictions on this – for example we need you to use one of our template scripts if we are to efficiently provide volunteer data entry services to your local canvass.

  2. When we talk to people at their doors we’re going to learn some things that Democratic leadership needs to hear about. Some of it is about why people voted the way they did, or why they didn’t vote at all in the 2016 presidential election. Some of it will be about issues. Some of it is about candidates running for office. Some of it is about issues. It all depends on what you canvass on. We plan to compile some of the “verbatims” that show what voters care about and the language they use to express what matters to them and publicize in the media. We also want to share these verbatims with party leaders who are too often out of touch with the concerns of most people.

  3. We’re going to build a list of people in our communities. We’ll update our lists with people who vote, people who don’t vote and people who can’t vote. We’ll note whether they are with us, need to be persuaded, or are dead set against us. We’re especially interested in knowing who wants to volunteer! We will compile this information and we’ll be open to sharing it with campaigns and groups that share our values. It will be on a campaign by campaign basis that this information is shared. We won’t automatically be giving it to a party unless it’s a local or state party running the canvass.

Awesome. I’m in. What do I do now?

Sign up to host a canvass! This can be in your neighborhood or a neighborhood in a nearby community that where you believe these conversations need to happen. We’ll follow up with you very shortly (days not weeks) to invite you to an training call, and give you instructions on how to choose a location for your canvass, how to recruit people to join you, and everything else you need to know.

If you’re representing a local group, only the canvass hosts need to be on our intro call– they will receive all the information necessary to hold a canvass with your group. If you represent a national group and want to partner with us, email us at [email protected].

Great. I’m signed up to canvass. But I want to do MORE! What else can I do to help?

Lots! We’re counting on lots of volunteers to take on key roles and do the kind of work that normal organizations only let staff to. To learn more about joining a special volunteer team and sign up, click here.

We’re also accepting donations to help us pay for technology costs and a few staffers to help scale this project up. Click here if you want to donate ($27, perhaps).

I have other questions that aren’t answered here. How do I get in touch with you?

You can email us at [email protected].

Contact Us

Want to get in touch with us? Email us at [email protected].