Ensuring that you set about gathering data in the correct manner should be a key part of the strategizing from the beginning. Without doing so, you may well end up with reams of fantastic data, that is simply not in an accessible format. For example, traditional direct mail campaigns often face the problem of containing information which is too general - this problem is only extenuated as scale grows. Ecanvasser provides a solution to this, allowing you to ensure that the letters that your Contacts receive are tailored to topics, and policies, that particularly appeal to them.

Having immediate access to clean data will allow you to segment your database rapidly and efficiently:

  • examine your database

  • notice key trends

  • identify highly targeted segments

  • ensure your contacts contain individualized information pertinent to that contact

For demographic information, and a number of other data points, you will be able to rely on Ecanvasser's standard fields. However, to tailor the system to record the data points you require, you will want to set up appropriate Custom Fields.

For general directions on their use or set up, visit Custom Fields.

Creating your Custom Fields

When designing a data gathering plan, you will want to consider:

Answer Type: You will want to refrain from using the Text option as a potential answer - while this answering format has it's own strengths, freely written answers prove hard to analyze, segment, or cross-reference. As such, choose one of the other styles of answer.

Number of Possible Answers: While greater specificity in your data may seem useful; this is not always the case. If you allow too broad a scope for answers in a multiple choice context, this may result in sprawling data, that you later have condense into smaller bundles.

Multiple Allowable Answers: If you select Multiple Choice as the answer style, you can allow users to select multiple options regarding a field. This can be quite useful; however it may also result in sprawling data, as mentioned above.

Purpose: The potential application of data is also an important part of you how record it. You could have a mass amount of data available to you, but be unable to use it the manner you require due to the format in which it is saved.

Below, we will run through some examples, and outline how you might set about recording data for a particular purpose. It's worth bearing in mind that it may well be advisable to record data in both styles outlined concurrently.


Topical Targeting

In this case, we wish to record topics/issues of interest to individual contacts. The purpose of this, is that should any particular issue become topical, we want to be able to reach those specific contacts while an issue has traction. As such, it isn't critical that we can cross-reference this information, or if these contacts have other specific interests. We simply want to be able to tell, at any given time, which contacts care about this individual topic.

The most efficient way to set up the field would be:

  • Create 1 Custom Field

  • Title it Interests

  • Required: Yes

  • Select Multiple Choice as the Answer Type

  • Allow Multiple Answers

  • Provide a reasonably broad selection of answers, for example:

  • N/A

  • Health

  • Welfare

  • Education

  • Cost of College

  • Local Property Tax

  • Sales Tax

  • Income Tax

  • Justice

  • Environment

In the months and years following the above, if one of the referenced issues becomes topical, you will be in a position to reach out to those specific contacts (who may well be thought leaders on those topics locally), to ensure that you can put your stance on the issue directly too them. Notice how we have 10 issues, and that having such broad options would have no effect on our efficiency to take advantage of the data.

Direct Mail

Consider how many individualized topics your Direct Mail will touch upon; three would seem to be an appropriate amount.

  1. Create that number of Custom Fields minus one, titled DM1, DM2, etc, using the answer format Multiple Choice

  2. Input potential answers (3-4)  as the different topics that you would include a paragraph on in your Direct Mail that you believe to be major issues, e.g.

  3. N/A

  4. Education

  5. Health

  6. Tax

The DM2 Custom Field should omit the second potential answer from DM1, and contain the rest; in the example above, Education would be excluded from DM2 Create an additional Custom Field titled DM3, with what you may think are issues less likely to be as broadly appealing, but have a niche you may want to appeal to, e.g.

  1. New Bypass (for)

  2. New Bypass (against)

  3. Environment

  4. Transport

  5. Not applicable

The purpose of DM3 is that it allows you to have a great level of flexibility as to potential individual topics, while limiting the permutations.

As you create more Custom Fields, and potential answers, the permutations of possible answers increase exponentially. As such, in order to keep the workload manageable, the number of fields, and number of potential answers above should be strenuously considered.

Compiling Data

Your Organizers will now collect the required data whilst out on the doors and engaging with your contacts via the mobile app.

Instruct your organizers that they are to complete these Custom Fields with regard to topics that have been brought up by contacts themselves primarily, and then topics that they engaged in discussion on raised by the organizer - this will ensure that your Direct Mail will speak directly to your contacts concerns.

Your data will now be collected in a format that will allow you the maximum versatility for it's application!


It would be possible to Export your entire Database to excel, and this may allow for more time efficient segmenting of your Database; and potentially allow you to at ease segment much more in depth information.

For example, we may decide the for the segment that contains only Education and Not Applicable, that we will include the paragraph on our Tax policy for contacts in one geographic area, and New Bypass in another.

If you have any questions reach out to us in app, or contact support@ecanvasser.com

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