Caffeine for Conservatives #014
How to Host
A Blockwalking/Scavenger Hunt Event
By David Whitehead Jr. and Michael Morris
Why don’t more of our people blockwalk their Precincts?
The answer is actually very simple: Blockwalking isn’t much fun!
That is…if you don’t know how to do it.
As we always say, you should always have a partner to blockwalk with to make it more enjoyable and to make sure you have obligated yourself to actually get it done, but it can be much more fun and fruitful if you schedule a couple of blockwalking events rather than do all the leg work yourself.
The problem in sponsoring blockwalking events though, is in getting people to show up to do it. Most people know instinctively that blockwalking can be dull, hard work, and don’t want to spend their free time doing it.
But if you can make it attractive by turning it into a day of fun, by adding a contest and prizes aspect, and follow it up with a party at the end, you can get a much better turn out, especially if you advertise it far in advance several times.
One way to attract many more blockwalkers would be to host a “Blockwalking/Scavenger Hunt” event. It can be a little pricey, but simply ask those who cannot attend to donate a few dollars to pay for the prizes and food. You might also ask one of the Republican Clubs in your area to help sponsor the event.
As with all events that require good attendance, you must advertise the event well in advance, and many times, and in many ways. Schedule it for a Saturday and begin two months in advance of the event and ask your Republican County office to put it on their website calendar, and to email the details to their entire county mailing list. Ask every Republican Club in your area to do the same. Require RSVPs on all correspondence, and email, mail, call, and text every Republican you know personally about the event. Do it several times. It is also a good idea to have an alternate Saturday, in case of bad weather.
Remember that you cannot pull off such an event all by yourself. You will need volunteers. Get at least three of your best friends and family members to put it together with you. You will need someone to coordinate the blockwalking, and someone to coordinate the Scavenger Hunt aspect of the blockwalking. You will also need someone in charge of the staging, and you must have a good place to stage the event from, like a neighborhood park. Don’t forget to make sure there are bathrooms where you stage your event.
You will need to equip all your blockwalkers with pens and clipboards, signup sheets, voter lists, street maps, scripts, campaign brochures, and breath mints. You will also need to know how to incorporate the Scavenger Hunt into the blockwalking itself:
1.) Each blockwalker should be equipped with his own Scavenger Hunt List, that is, a list of all the things he should be on the lookout for, and how many points each item is worth.
2.) The items on the list must be obtained from the people the blockwalkers meet at the door. This is important, or the purpose of the blockwalk will be lost. You do not want your blockwalkers spending their time looking other places for their items. Your goal is to get voter information and mobilize Republican voters, the Scavenger Hunt is merely an inducement to recruit blockwalkers, it is not the point of the event.
3.) When your blockwalkers speak to the voters at the door, after and ONLY AFTER they have fulfilled their activist part of the visit, should they pull out their Scavenger Hunt list, explain the Scavenger Hunt, and ask the voter if they have any of the items. (Believe it or not, this can actually break the ice with some Republican Voters who have been standoffish when approached before, and might even attract them to volunteer in future events themselves. It can also give you a lead in when contacting them later: “Hello I wanted to call and thank you for donating your baseball card to our Scavenger Hunt last month, did you get a chance to read our platform points this campaign season…)
4.) The items on the list must be things that the voter would not mind parting with. (Though, if you are reticent to have your blockwalkers ask for the items, you can have your blockwalkers take a selfie picture holding the item, rather than keeping it, and then they simply present their selfies as proof of their finds.) They cannot obtain more than one item from any voter.
5.) The items on the list should also be fairly difficult to obtain, and the list should be fairly short, otherwise the game coordinator will have a huge job on their hands collecting and sorting and adding up the points for the items. The rules of the game should also state that all items must be obtained from voters; they are not free to find them elsewhere.
6.) There should be three cash prizes given, first, second, and third place, and should be of a sufficient amount to attract volunteers to the event. The prize amounts should be advertised along with the event itself, so as to attract the volunteers in the first place. I recommend a hundred dollars for first, fifty dollars for second, and twenty five dollars for third. You may also wish to have a drawing prize. In the case of a tie, the prize should be split. (Many states have their own laws on how big your prizes can be and you should check into this before advertising your event, but most states we are aware of do not require you to file any forms on contests with prizes that total less than two hundred dollars.)
7.) Having food and drink at the end of the event is highly recommended. Remember again, get others who cannot attend to donate, and get a sponsor to help with the costs. Make it clear when advertising the event that the party afterward is only for those who participated in the event, or helped to underwrite it.
Here is a sample of Scavenger Hunt items:
10 point items
Yellow tennis ball
Anything with the official Olympics logo on it
Christmas candy cane
Set of chopsticks
An orange button
Anything with the name "Sarah Palin" on it
A used pool cue chalk
One Flintstones vitamin
Blue rubber band
An unused Popsicle stick or Tongue Depressor
Sock with a hole in it
A spool with or without thread
Any US penny dated between 1960 and 1970
Empty Mountain Dew soda can
Burger King Ketchup packet unopened
Coupon expired before 2005
A licorice jelly bean
Yellow golf ball
Chiquita banana sticker
A pink pistachio
One clothes pin
One RayOvac “D” sized battery
One Pez candy any flavor
Set of ear plugs
Any kind of spring
One incense stick
25 point items
Blue tennis ball
A Mexican penny “Centavos”
A Canadian nickel
One completed crossword puzzle
A Cracker Jack Prize – unopened
50 point items
Selfie with a Jar of Grey Poupon
One Croquet Ring
Only one of each item should be allowed, no duplication, and only one item per prospect voter.
This might seem rather involved, but the fun factor cannot be denied; and the fun factor has proven to be effective every time. People don’t like to show up for work days, but they will show up for a game and party in a minute!
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