The Clean Water Blog

Canvass_Long Branch_NewJersey_Photo by Katie McCarthy

The Difference Behind the Door

Forest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” This quote is particularly true in the world of canvassing. Every single door is a new opportunity for someone to get involved in the work we do. You never know who’s going to open up the door you just knocked on. Whether it be a young adult, someone who has lived in the neighborhood for fifty years, or a child who can’t hold their excitement to see who could possibly be ringing the doorbell, there’s an entire world of possibilities behind each door and that is truly one of the beautiful aspects of the job.

So, it’s 6:30pm on a frigid, somewhat drizzly night and you’re out in a suburban area excited to talk to neighbors in the new community about Clean Water Action's latest campaigns. You knock on the first few doors and nobody is home because it’s still pretty early in this metropolitan area so you continue to mosey along to the next house. The person that answers is nice and supportive, so they sign your clipboard, give you a small contribution and write a few letters to their legislators. Awesome! You continue to knock on doors, catching some folks home and some not, as well as meeting a few non-supporters along the way. You keep your spirits up and know that all you need to do is continue knocking on those doors with a smile because the supporters are out there - you just haven’t met them yet.

The evening continues along and you approach one house at the end of the street, ring the doorbell, and a man sees you standing on his doorstep smiling and waving. He asks himself, “Now what do we have here?” He opens the door, you tell him you’re out with Clean Water Action working to protect New Jersey’s water quality and he immediately lets you know he is a strong supporter of the work you do! He invites you into the living room to chat with his wife and seventeen year old son about the issues.

While talking to them about our work to protect clean water and the environment and current fundraising goals, you get to know the family - how long they’ve lived here, what they do for a living, and why they want to help make a difference. You talk about how these issues affect not only their family, but everyone around the globe. They discuss their fears of leaving this world one day while their children have to endure the scarcity of clean, accessible drinking water and the impacts of climate change. You talk politics, focusing on their local legislative district and ensure them that if everyone constituent would hold them accountable it will make a huge difference. They write several letters to their legislators and then grab their checkbook! They are not only super supportive, but they also offer you a drink and a slice of pizza! You could sit there all evening chatting with this nice family, but you need to make your way to the next home. On your way out, they stop you and say:

"Thank you so much for being out there, walking around and talking to people about what’s going on.”

You say, “Thank you for supporting what we do and giving me your time. We can’t do this work without folks like yourself who care about these issues.”

They say: “We wouldn’t know how to get involved if you didn’t come to our door. Sincerely, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for doing this.”

You say goodbye and walk down the steps with a slice of pizza in one hand and your clipboard in the other. You feel amazing that you’ve just met incredible people who also appreciate the work you do. So you smile, take a deep breath and move onto the next house for a whole new world of possibilities.