When leaving for my usual canvasing effort on Saturday (a day I’ve found is the best for canvasing) I was talking to my couch host, Appleseed, about my experience with “cold calling” in Boston. Boston is cold. We talked about people who stand on the side walk talking to folks, something I had been trying out here in Boston instead of door-to-door. I would get a few receptive people per hour in Boston. Appleseed expressed his opposition to the occupation.
I typically don’t mind stopping to talk to people who are soliciting attention for their cause in public. Homeless people I at least respond to, maybe give them some change. Even drug dealers I typically thank after declining their services. And political and non-profit folk I usually engage in conversation.
As I was walking down to Boston Common, I passed a few Red Cross volunteers. I stopped to talk to one to ask him if he had heard of the Green Party and the Pirate Party. I gave him some information on both and told him what I was doing, traveling around the county, meeting with different political and non-political activists, learning to farm. I told him I was working on the Grassroots Campaign for Ron Paul and he said, “I like Ron Paul.” I gave him a Super Brochure.
I then had some shopping to do at a local Hemp Clothing store. I started thinking about just going to the vendors in the area that sell products relative to the cause and talking to them about the campaigns, perhaps drop off some material for their counter. I gave the guy at the counter at the Hemp Store a Green Party brochure and Ron Paul brochure, and told him about the four agreements between Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and Chuck Baldwin. I stopped by a local comic book and record store; bought and CBLDF (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) Presents: Liberty Annual 2011 comic and left a stack of Pirate Party brochures on the counter.
I took another look around the high traffic areas for street canvassers but saw none. I stopped by a local Gardening Supply store, talked to the vendor about urban gardening, shared the window farm concept, and left a Green Party brochure.
I started to think of canvassing in a different manner. Instead of hitting up 20 people to get a good response on the street, or spend 5-10 minutes at each house to get a higher rate, I was thinking about the “social precinct” tactic of calling your phone book and talking to your friends and family about your candidate or cause. I decided to approach it similar to how I attend various meeting to share ideas and my perspective on how to focus their energies. I’d go to different areas and hit up the local vendor in the industries relative to my political cause. I’d patronize their establishment, buy something I need, as these industries are of interest to me as well. They are more likely to be receptive and are already interactive with the local community, and as established experts, their opinion is heavily weighed.
In politics you get the leaders of relative causes on board to grow a movement.
My cause is community.
I need to talk to community leaders.