Putting on a Walk Mobilization

Volunteers participating in the walk should expect to put in about 3 hours, including about an hour of training and travel time, plus 2 hours going door to door.


Arrive at the meeting place at least an hour before your scheduled start time. That will give you time to set up the room, put out your food and drinks, and hang up your butcher paper and precinct map. Bring refreshments – preferably including coffee if you have a morning start time!

You’ll need the following materials:

  1. Sign-in sheets with space to record location that volunteers head out to. Get their cell phone numbers! (If you’re using a barcode scanner attached to a PDA to keep track of the volunteers, you’ll need to assign a barcode to each volunteer.)
  2. Large precinct map to hang on a wall, if available; otherwise, a large city map with the streets that volunteers will be walking clearly marked
  3. The day’s agenda written out on butcher paper
  4. Butcher paper blow-up of voter registration form (if you’re doing voter registration) – you’ll use this for training
  5. Butcher paper blow-up of the walk sheets that volunteers will carrying with them to record voters’ responses
  6. Blank butcher paper and markers
  7. Your cell phone number posted prominently
  8. Masking tape
  9. Extra pens
  10. Organization and/or campaign signs
  11. Precinct packets for each door-knocking team containing:



The training program is a balancing act between getting people out the door (and not boring the experienced volunteers with stuff they already know) and making sure all volunteers feel fully equipped to do their jobs. It’s not easy to get right, but worth working on.

           1.   Introduction (15 minutes)

Begin by introducing yourself. Briefly review the day’s schedule, which you have posted on butcher paper. If you have 30 or fewer volunteers, have everyone go around and say his or her name. With 20 or fewer, you can also ask for one sentence about why people care enough to work on the turnout project or initiative campaign.

           2.   Campaign update (5 minutes)

Share information with volunteers on how the campaign is working toward victory or tell them about last week’s canvassing success.

           3.   The training (20 minutes)

For the training, you will need:

First, go over the goals of the walk. These may include some combination of:

Then, talk to volunteers about what they’ll be saying at the doors. Do a role play using the voter ID script. Ask lively, experienced volunteers to participate – or, if need be, staff. Let the group critique the role play: for example, did the walker remember to see whether the person s/he talked to would post a sign?

Third, go over the voter registration form and/or voter ID walk-sheet, line by line. Explain any abbreviations. Indicate how volunteers should mark voters’ responses. Use the role play as an example.

Finally, take questions from volunteers, but try to keep it short. If individuals want really detailed explanations about something, don’t let them take over the training – offer to answer their questions after the send-off.


E. THE INTERIM           

Be sure that at least one organizer stays at the send-off site to catch stragglers and deal with volunteers who return early or are lost.


Click here to download a PDF version of the walk mobilization instructions

Click on the thumbnail to download a PDF of the walk mobilizations instructions. (44 KB)