Changing the Face of Canvassing, NGP VAN, Pilots its Distributed Canvassing App

In 2010, technology met and married activism, when NGP Software and The Voter Activation Network became NGP VAN, a platform catering to the specific needs of progressive and democratic fund-raising and non-profit entities, with highly advanced technical solutions aimed at improving essential areas of campaign and money-raising.

NGP VAN is known for creating user-friendly tools that help campaign workers and fundraisers to monitor their support systems, canvass voters, handle online donations, ensure regulatory compliance,and much more. Their list of users encompasses a virtual who’s who of environmentally conscious and socially progressive causes and democratic bigwigs, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, President Barack Obama, The National Audubon Society, Comic Relief, Greenpeace and Girls Inc.

Politicians and advocates know that complacency is never an option. Restructuring, refining and reorganizing outreach programs and campaigns is an ongoing process. Refusing to rest on their laurels is an NGP VAN attribute as well. In 2017 NGP VAN collaborated with the DNC to create a campaign tool that became “Knock.” The downloadable app, designed to take some of the headache out of turf-cutting, allowed users to login and find the nearest ten voters, using a pre-allocated population.

Since its initial incarnation, Knock has evolved into “Distributed Canvassing,” now in a Beta pilot program. Distributed Canvassing streamlines the process from office to field by eliminating a number of time-consuming steps. Users can assign the parameters of a specific voter population, or universe, devise a script and then decide upon the number of contacts each field worker should make. Distributed Canvassing attaches numerals to lists that it creates. The field organizer provides workers with their list numeral. Based on where a canvas worker is stationed, the app cuts the turf.

Distributed Canvassing’s flexible universe parameters have enabled app-users to handle statewide and town-specific campaigns equally well. Larger and smaller teams have made use of the app, as have dedicated single users. While assuming the role of turf-cutter is a huge part of what makes Distributed Canvassing a new ace in the sleeve of campaigners and fund-raisers, it also assists with data entry and eliminates a lot of superfluous training.

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