Canvassers could be salespeople or interviewers who survey the public to gather or distribute information, collect data, solicit donations or sell merchandise. They work for political organizations, government agencies, charities, private companies, market research firms and nonprofit groups. Canvassing requires contact with the public, so a successful canvasser must enjoy relating to others and be skilled in human relations.
A canvasser initiates contact with the public, collecting information by phone or in person, going from door to door or stationed at a mall or street corner. He polls public opinion and reports the results. Depending on the employer, the canvasser surveys members of the public on political candidates, products or issues. The canvasser explains the purpose of the survey to his interviewee and asks questions according to his instructions in order to obtain specific information. Canvassers also may ask for donations or for signatures on petitions supporting a cause.
Political canvassers working for a campaign, specific political party, candidate, piece of legislation, or fundraiser survey the electorate in order to determine public opinion and to predict future outcomes. Canvassers are also hired to educate the public about issues and problems and to try to persuade voters to endorse a particular candidate. The canvasser may also enlist new members for the campaign or persuade people to donate to the campaign fund. When promoting products or services, the canvasser can explain and demonstrate those products, highlighting their benefits.
Skills and Qualifications
Some employers provide their canvassers with lists of contacts, while others expect canvassers to supply their own. In general, the job requires the ability to relate to people in a friendly, trustworthy and professional manner. Employers may have specific educational and background qualifications for their canvassers, such as a high school diploma. Some jobs may require previous experience in telephone or door-to-door canvassing or in other forms of sales. Interest in the issues is valuable in working for political parties or special causes. Interviewing requires active listening on the part of the canvasser, who must be attentive to the speaker. The interviewer must speak clearly to his interviewee and be thorough and accurate in recording the results. Social perceptiveness -- the ability to recognize others’ reactions -- is valuable in administering surveys.
A canvasser can be a volunteer or work full or part time. Political canvassing could be a one-time job directed to a specific candidate or issue, while market research canvassing jobs are often full time. No specific wage information is available for canvassers. However, a primary function of canvassers is interviewing the public. According to O*Net On Line, the description of "Interviewers" -- "interview persons by telephone, mail, in person or by other means" -- also applies to the work of canvassers, and the median wage for an interviewer in 2013 was $14.56 hourly and $30,270 annually.
- Photo Credit mariakraynova/iStock/Getty Images
Navy Recruiter Job Description
Today's Navy offers men and women several career of job options once basic training has been completed, with one such job being...
Key Political Campaign Job Descriptions
Political campaigns usually have several key salaried and volunteer jobs in common regardless of the size, level, budget and party affiliation of...
Job Description for a Political Director
Political directors, also known as campaign managers, work long and irregular hours to reach their goal -- passing a new law or...
Massage Therapy Job Description
Massage therapy utilizes the manipulation of soft tissue to treat a variety of physical ailments. These may include whiplash, back strain, athletic...
Door-to-Door Sales Job Description
Door-to-door sales is a viable career option for driven, enthusiastic people with sales skills. These jobs are prevalent, but also risky, as...
How to Succeed as a Phone Canvasser
Phone canvassing is defined as calling people to get them to do something, be it complete a survey, answer a poll, participate...
How to do Door to Door Canvassing
Door to door canvassing is one of the most difficult and uncomfortable jobs you will ever have to do. Here are some...
Many causes, companies, groups and organizations engage in canvassing to get their message out to the public. Personable, bright and enthusiastic workers...