The Clean Water Blog

It Only Takes One Stop

By Dave Gerraughty - Rhode Island Program Organizer

Field canvassing can be a lonely task, especially when you are working in a remote area on a night when folks are more into family time than talking with a stranger about social issues.

On Good Friday, I knocked on 33 doors in the first two hours of my shift and only talked to seven people. It was the start of a weekend, a holy day and the beginning of Sabbath. Many people were probably at religious observances or family gatherings.

As I slogged along through a steady drizzle, I was beginning to wonder if it was possible to have a good conversation with anyone. But on my last street, I came to a large, well-lit house. As I knocked on the door, a minivan pulled up and several children and adults poured out.

I realized I was in the middle of a large family gathering, the kind of situation that generally spells doom for a canvasser. But the matriarch who answered the door invited me to step inside, and when she learned that I was an environmental advocate, she said: “Let me get Caitlyn for you, she’s our expert.”

Caitlyn, it turned out, works for the Narragansett Bay Commission and was a neighbor of our former state director. We had a pleasant chat about fighting Climate Change, and while she passed my clipboard around to the whole clan, I made friends with a huge Burmese mountain dog named Molly.

By the time I left, I had doubled the number of members on my clipboard, and received both a cash and an online donation.

Canvassers have a saying: “It only takes one person to turn your night around.” In this case a whole family was involved, but the principle is the same: You never know when what you’ve been looking for all night is right around the corner.