MiniVAN is easily one of the most efficient tools in Connect, and it is a lot of fun! Trade in your paper lists and late night data entry for your smartphone with an app that syncs data directly into your database.
You simply download the MiniVAN app onto your phone and download your canvass lists onto the app to see the list of doors you need to knock on. Your list will include a map to help canvassers navigate unfamiliar neighbourhoods.
Other great news - When you are canvassing you do not need to be connected to wifi or data in order to enter data into the app, however, you will need a wifi or data connection in order to download your canvass lists and to sync the data into the system.
Please note that MiniVAN is designed to hold lists for canvassing sessions of a few hours. If you choose to download a large list (for example a whole ward) and your device does not have enough internal memory to cope with it then the app may crash. To avoid this, just download the data that you really need.
1. Download the App
- From an Apple device (iPhone or iPad) go to: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/minivan-touch/id352087547?mt=8
- From an Android device go to: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.voteractivationnetwork.minivan&hl=en
2. Logging In
You have the option to log in with your database account using your username and password or your ActionID.
To login with your database username and password, select the option Log In without ActionID.The URL is the same web address that you use to log into your database. (e.g. https://connect.libdems.org.uk). Log into MiniVan using your database username and password.
If you have an ActionID, you can Log In with ActionID. Log in with the email address and password you used to set it up.
To set up your ActionID, click on Create Your ActionID and follow the instructions on this page: https://accounts.ngpvan.com/Account/Register Log in with the email address and password you used to set it up.
3. Enable location services
The first time you use MiniVAN you will have to enable location services for Minivan within the privacy settings of your device.
4. Accessing you Canvass List
There are two ways to get lists of voters on to your device:
- Type in a list number given to you by another activist or that you have generated yourself in Connect (often these can be found on the bottom of paper canvass cards too, if that is what you've been given)
- A Connect user can choose your name when they generate their list and send it directly to your device. For this you will need to have a full Connect account (not just an Action ID) and you will need to have logged into MiniVAN at least once
Choose the list that has been assigned to you or enter the list number provided by your organiser.
5. Download your list
Click the ‘Download’ button to get your list on your phone. If you have a list number, click on the “Enter List Number” button to access your list.
Note: You will only need to use Wifi or data when downloading the list.
After completing this step, you will be able to canvass door-to-door without requiring access to WiFi or your mobile data. However, if using the same list number as the rest of your team, syncing your data while out canvassing will show you where the rest of your team has been.
If you have a Wifi-only tablet you can sync your results to the database once you have finished your canvass and returned to an area with Wifi or use a personal hotspot on a mobile phone to sync while outdoors.
6. Your canvass list
Your list will be displayed and sorted by address initially. You will see various elements on this screen including:
- The apartment icon: Shows you how many flats there are at that address. The people figures: Will show you how many people live in the household if there are over 5.
- Circle icon: Indicates how many people live in that household.
- If there are more than 6 people in one household the total number of residents will appear in an oval shape
7. Begin canvassing!
- Go from door-to-door to every address on your list.
- Once at a door, click on that address.
- This will give you a full listing of all the individuals at that household.
8. Entering data
- Ensure when speaking to an individual at the door that you enter the data collected under their name and not another member of the household or someone that may have lived at that household in the past but no longer does.
- As a best practice, do not enter the data while you are at the doorstep but rather keep in mind the responses you got from that individual and enter it as your walk to the next household.
- You can choose to Show the Script (in which case the entire script will display on your phone such as appears in the first image) or you can Hide the Script (in which case you will see only the data point that you need to collect, as seen on the second image).
9. GDPR Compliance
When asking for personal information like a phone number or email at the door or on the phone, you must get consent from the voters to collect the information. We have included a survey question to indicate that the voters have given their consent.
10. Other Features
- The details tab: Here, you will be able to see additional information on any individual.
- Try as best as you can to collect phone numbers, email addresses etc using this tab.
- You can view your list using the map view. Just click on the three lines at the top left-hand corner and select Map.
- You can view a list of the people on your list by selecting the People tab. Just click on the three lines on the top left-hand corner and click on People.
- You can add Notes on the Notes tab by clicking the button.
- Notes are best used to record things like casework issues that you need to refer back to later. Do not use it to record highly personal matters that the voter has not given consent for other local activists to see, and do not use it to record things that should be recorded as question responses - like voting intentions or past voting record, because the data will not be easily searchable in Connect and therefore will most likely be ignored.
- View Historic Data in the History tab. This will include Questions and Tags that were collected in the past.
11. Marking Voters that aren't home
Marking voters as Not Home helps to track how many attempts have been made by your team. It also means you can see how many times you have knocked at a door and which neighbourhoods you have canvassed the most.
You can do this on the Script tab by clicking the button that says “I Couldn’t Reach This Person” or you can use a shortcut to mark everyone in the household as not home. To do this either tab and hold the household (Android devices) or swipe the household (Apple devices) before going through to the list of individual voters.
Other options are also available to indicate that someone has refused to answer any questions, that they need a canvasser who speaks another language, or that they do not want to be contacted again (Do Not Doorstep)
12. Finishing your canvass
- Once you have completed your canvass you MUST upload your results to Connect
- Click on the two arrows going in a circle to sync your list!
You should always manually sync regularly throughout the canvassing session to ensure all the data is uploaded. If you try to log out of the app or download a new list and there is unsynced data on your device, then MiniVAN will warn you that the data will be lost. MiniVAN only holds one list on your device at any one time. Lists will remain available for 30 days after which they will automatically be removed.
MiniVAN - Compliance
The Compliance and Data Protection Unit advises on canvassing and data collection.
Our advice when entering data in MiniVAN is as follows:
- When canvassing and gathering data, we must offer the canvassing leaflet containing the FPN to anyone we collect data from but they do not need to take it for us to be able to record data.
- If someone indicates they do not want us to record anything they say, we must not do so.
- If someone makes it clear that they oppose us and don’t want to talk to us, we can record that as ‘Not Lib Dem’ and ‘Do Not Call’ without them taking the leaflet.
Inevitably, data protection rules evolve and so it’s always worth checking the latest advice on the party website. Fair processing notices will also be updated from time to time.
Quick Tips and Tricks
- Make sure your device is fully charged before you head out on the doors. You don’t need your data connection active while canvassing, so consider turning off your WiFi or data connection to save battery power. You can also go on airplane mode to save as much energy as possible.
- Ensure that when you speak to an individual at the door that you enter the data collected under their name and not another member of the household or someone that may have lived at that household in the past but no longer does.
- It is not a good look to have your phone out and entering data while you are at someone’s door speaking to them! As a best practice, do not enter the data while you are at the doorstep but rather keep in mind the responses you get from an individual while talking to them and enter it as you walk to the next household.
- You can also choose to Show the Script (in which case the entire script will display on your phone such as appears in the first image) or you can Hide the Script (in which case you will see only the data point that you need to collect, as seen on the second image).