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Comparing Reach to other canvassing apps

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Reach as a canvassing app

Reach is built to enable a whole new mode of canvassing and data collection and it is not designed to be a direct replacement or alternative to the turf-based door knocking/walk list tools you may be familiar with.

Campaigns love Reach because it opens the door to more flexible canvassing work where walk lists and turfs are too limiting (everything from street corner tabling to farmers markets to canvassing your Uber driver who you get into a conversation with). Learn more about where to use Reach here.

Many campaigns use Reach alongside traditional door-knocking apps because it excels in catching voters who would otherwise fall through the cracks during door-knocking shifts. If you’ve ever volunteered to know doors, you know how common it is to knock a door and say, “Hi, is Sasha there?” and the person who answers the door says, “My name is Jessica. I don’t know who Sasha is.” At that point, instead of walking away and saying “Thanks anyway”, a canvasser with Reach can just app-switch from their walk-list app (like MiniVAN or Polis or Ecanvasser or PDI) over to Reach, search for Jessica, find her at her old address, and ID her!

Reach as a Relational Tool

Beyond the core canvassing features that are a foundational part of Reach and allow your volunteers to canvass new folks around their communities, the tool also offers a fantastic relational organizing feature set. This is not something that is traditionally a part of canvassing apps at all.

We allow your volunteers to import their contacts and match them to your voter file, we don’t need to draw a hard line between people your volunteers have known for a long time and people they’re just met in the context of the campaign. Instead, we go back to the basics of what relational organizing is all about and integrate relational organizing seamlessly with field work. For a deep-dive on how Reach handles relational organizing, check out this post.

Feature-by-feature comparison

Feature Reach Logo Other Apps
Search Everyone
Add new people on the fly
Real-time data
My History View
In-App Stats and Leaderboard
Grassroots-friendly on-boarding
Relational Organizing “Network” creation
One-on-one Follow-up with Contact Scripts
Push Notifications
Map View
Pre-cut targeted walk lists/turfs
Offline Access

What if I really want to knock doors using only Reach?

We do work with some campaigns who don’t have access to a traditional targeted walk-list tool and therefore use Reach that way. by just searching a given address that they’re standing in front of (or a whole street they’re standing on) and knocking every door with a registered voter behind it and recording the results. If you do want to use Reach to knock doors like this, make sure you use our Custom Survey Questions features to give your canvassers the tools they need and make search results and history screens as useful as possible. Some ideas of how this could work:

  1. Create a “Canvass Results” single choice question with answers like “Not Home”, “Hostile”, “Other Language”, etc.
  2. Create a “My Universe” Yes/No question and make sure you include a “in my universe” column in the data you send us when setting up your campaign. Then, we can load that data along with your initial voter file so voters in Reach will be marked with a “Yes” response to that question if they’re in your targeted universe. Then, if you set this as your primary question, it will determine the colored bars on the left side of the search results screen and history screen so you can easily glance through your search results and see which folks are in your targeted universe by looking for voters with a blue bar next to their name. Since you won’t actually be adding new responses to this question very often, your users can collapse the whole “Primary Question” section on the Person Profile screen while using the app to more quickly skip to the other questions in your question set that matter more.
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