- Very affordable
- Easy to use
- Dedicated to support
- No CRM, thus dependent on API’s/imports
- Limited walk list customization
- Possible data loss without network connection
In 2015, Polis set out to create an app which automates most of the process of managing doorknockers, including training, creating walk lists, and updating datasets. One of the more unique features we discovered when reviewing Polis was the ability to alternate surveys based on a household’s demographics, which increases targeting capabilities and conversion rates.
Easy to Use
Polis is set up in such a way that anyone with the will can become a door knocker for a campaign or cause by simply applying to organizations within the Polis app. This capability proves beneficial for “underpowered” campaigns which may look to organic and grassroots support to hit targets. Thisis one of the main differentiators of Polis compared to the competition.
Once a potential canvasser has been given permission to access the desired walk list, they can begin canvassing. A canvasser needs to be within one eighth of a mile of a targeted voter’s household to access voter surveys and record his or her interactions; this distance restriction feature is helpful in keeping paid canvassers accountable and on-target, eliminating the need to pull live activity reports. It works like a reverse kill switch – if the door knocker is not near their designated walk list, they cannot access the survey or input data.
Polis creates predefined walking routes of 20 homes. A new list is created after the completion of the current active walk list. This feature helps ensure there is no crossover between door knockers who are out canvassing and creating new lists. Campaigns will be able to customize the number of homes per walk list with a future software update; as of right now, the walk routes are fixed at 20 homes per list.
Polis is a native application, so if the need arises to hit airplane mode to save data or battery power, you will need to return to a place with Internet access to upload the data by tapping “Finish This List.” One warning – if your phone dies in the field, and you haven’t clicked “Finish This List,” that data will be lost.
In the upper left-hand corner, the canvasser will be able to monitor his or her own stats, including how many homes they’ve canvassed and how many voters they’ve engaged. Neither the app nor the dashboard allow for printouts of walk lists or surveys. This means your entire canvassing team needs to download the app for it to be useful, and door knockers cannot choose to go without Polis (by printing a walklist, for example). A canvassing team cannot go outside the Polis environment.
When it comes to CRM features, Polis doesn’t focus on managing contacts. It works closely with organizations like NationBuilder to manage contacts, allowing you to create lists in NationBuilder and push them out to Polis, internally or through exporting and importing files.
Each person who creates an account will be able to tell specifically how much work they have done on their own localized device in the app. If they have staff or manager logins, they’ll be able to view contact interaction history, doors knocked, and whether or not someone is a supporter of your campaign by region of precinct, all on Polis’s Dashboard. The Dashboard can also drill down further by micro-category and give additional information based demographics including ethnicity and gender.
The app allows the option of categorizing targets with certain scripts, which is really useful for already identified voters in your system, versus those yet unidentified. Polis generally handles the initial data import in order to ensure compatibility with the client’s formatting of files, and you’ll have full access from there to export your data at will.
Polis features a robust support system, giving each account a dedicated account manager who is even available during “off hours.” Support staff are not limited to answering questions about the in-app experience but are considered “partners” for your overall strategy, which we think could prove very useful for campaigns.
Gets the ground job done
For State House or City Council campaigns where the number of active targeted voters is 30,000-35,000 the cost is $350 per month. The cost scales with the number of potential voters being targeted. Not limited just to civic engagement, Polis additionally has enterprise pricing for sales teams who door knock.
While Polis lacks some CRM and data analytics we see from other door knocking apps (likely because Polis is not specific to the civic campaigning space, but is a sales tool as well), it excels in functionality during the actual door knocking process. Polis gives users the ability to canvass on the fly by dropping a pin on the in-app map, which will self populate a route of 20 homes. This is a unique feature which will save managers, canvassers and most importantly the candidates, time, money and headaches.
If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – firstname.lastname@example.org