Phones vs. Doors

Phone Banks vs. Door-to-door Canvassing

As many seasoned campaigners already know, the most common ways of directly engaging voters are door-to-door canvassing and making phone calls. Canvassing and phone banking each have their pros and cons, and this Campaign Corner will highlight some considerations when determining how to spend your campaign’s time and volunteers’ time. See this VAN Pro Tip for the best way to set up a Phone Bank in VAN!

Door-to-door Canvassing:


  • You can knock on 16-20 doors an hour

  • Higher contact rate (more people answer their doors)

  • Higher persuadability (easier to have a meaningful conversation in-person)

  • Can reach most voters (as opposed to phone numbers, which are less available)


  • Accessibility: Not everyone can easily walk around a neighborhood

  • Difficult to mobilize volunteers to knock on doors

Phone Banking:


  • Great for rural areas or difficult-to-access communities

  • Accessibility: People who cannot go door-to-door can generally make phone calls. This might also be a good option for people who live further away from the district or have safety concerns with in-person conversations. 


  • Lower contact rate (10% at best) & persuadability (harder to reach people; harder to have meaningful conversations)

  • Many voters don’t have good phone numbers*

*note: RIDP will be augmenting phone number data for the statewide VAN voter file to improve availability and quality of phone numbers.

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