Your Must Have Accessories for Campaigning

A special blog post from Victory Guide’s CEO Julie Palakovich Carr.

As a three time candidate for office and local elected official, I've personally knocked on close to 20,000 doors in the past five years.  In that time, I've fine-tuned what I bring with me to go door knocking. Here’s my go to list of accessories that make door knocking easier.

  • A portable charger for recharging your phone on the go. If you haven’t used one of these devices before, it’s a game changer. You can go out canvassing all day and not worry about your phone battery dying. I have an Android phone and used this model, but similar devices exist for iPhones. The best portable battery will hold enough charge to fully recharge your phone and will be small enough to fit into your pocket.

  • A non-sweating water bottle. Everyone enjoys a cold drink of water while you’re out knocking doors, but no one appreciates their literature getting soggy from the water droplets on the outside of a water bottle. This water bottle has double insulation to keep your water cold and prevents condensation on the exterior of the bottle. Even in the hottest weather I was able to keep this bottle in the same bag as my lit without any problems.

  • A useful and stylish bag to hold your things while canvassing. I’m a fan of carrying a canvass bag to hold my literature, a water bottle, my car keys, and my phone while I knock doors. I’ve used a variety of styles of bags over the years, but my favorite bags have had a pocket on the outside where I can easily access my phone. (I like to put my phone in the pocket before I ring a door bell and then pull it back out while I’m walking away from the house to enter notes into Victory Guide and to see what the next house is to knock.) I’m still looking for the perfect bag: one that has an external pocket and a separate pen holder that isn’t in the pocket so that your phone screen won’t get scratched.

  • Clicker sharpies to write “sorry I missed you” on your campaign literature. This is a must for candidates. I even advise people to design their canvassing literature so that there is a small space to write “Sorry I missed you! [Your Name]” on the card. Depending on the finish of your lit (glossy vs. matte), different types of writing utensils work better. If a permanent marker is smearing, try a regular pen that opens/closes with a click rather than a cap. Not dealing with a marker or pen cap will save you time at the doors.

  • Comfortable shoes. I’ve worn through countless pairs of shoes during my three campaigns. Some shoes have held up better than others and some pairs were more comfortable than others. My go to shoes for my 2018 campaign are from a British comfort shoe company: Hotter. The name is pretty ironic, because it’s clear that the brand’s core demographic is senior citizens. But they do carry a few stylish options for younger customers. I wore these shoes a lot; they held up through miles and miles of knocking and plenty of rain and even some mud.

  • As the weather gets colder, I always felt that the most miserable part of knocking was how cold my hands would get. I’ve tried several pairs of gloves that are supposed to work on a smartphone, but didn’t have much success. So I settled on fingerless gloves; they don’t keep your hand completely warm, but it’s better than nothing. On especially cold days or when you are standing at the polls for 14 hours on Election Day, hand warmers are useful.

  • Victory Guide. I’ve won all three of my races using Victory Guide. It made it easy for me to know which voters to talk to and to track the progress of my campaign. I simply opened the Victory Guide app and could start knocking doors in whatever neighborhood I felt like—all without the need to cut turf or to create paper walk sheets.