The PDI Campaign Center can generate many types of lists for your campaign. Each list type has a limited number of fields and is formatted specific to its intended usage. On this page, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about each type of list available. If you have further questions about list types, please contact your salesperson.
What is a walk list? A walk list is a targeted list of voters used for canvassing, also called door knocking, block walking, door-to-door, or turf walking. Canvassers visit each voter on the list and ask survey questions to gauge the support of the candidate or issue. The field organizer uses the PDI Campaign Center admin account to divide neighborhoods into walk-able chunks of voters for individual canvassers to visit. In the campaign world, this is called cutting turf. Those walk-able chunks of voters (along with maps and survey questions) can be printed or delivered to canvassers via the PDI Mobile App.
A walk list can either be pushed to canvassers in the PDI Mobile App or printed as a PDF document. The default walk list format may include the voter name, home address, phone number, party code, support flags, age, sex, permanent absentee voter status (PAV), response codes based on your survey, and voter ID / bar-code. It also includes street and district information and can be formatted as odd/even or numerical order. Walk lists are not available as a plain-text file. You can see examples of PDI walk lists here.
What is a phone file? A phone file is a list of voters used for phone banking. Phone bank volunteers call each voter on the list and ask survey questions to gauge the support of the candidate or issue. The field organizer uses the PDI Campaign Center admin account to create a targeted list of voters and divides them into smaller lists for individual phone banking volunteers to call. Phone bank volunteers then login to their volunteer accounts and call the voters assigned to them. A phone list can also be sent to a professional call center.
A phone file is a plain-text, CSV-formatted spreadsheet includes only the voter name and phone number. You can see examples of a phone file here.
What is a mail file? A mail file is a list of voters used for sending campaign flyers and mail pieces to voter’s physical addresses. The field organizer uses the PDI Campaign Center admin account to create a targeted list of voters and can export them for printing on mailing labels or sending to a mail house.
A mail file is a plain-text, CSV-formatted spreadsheet and includes only voter name and mailing address. You can see examples of a PDI mail file here.
What is an email list / email send? An email list is a list of voters used for sending emails to voter’s email address. The field organizer uses the PDI Campaign Center admin account to create a targeted list of voters to send campaign emails. The PDI Campaign Center includes a WYSIWIG editor to create and format your email. While the emails are sent from the PDI server, you can set the from and reply-to emails, so the emails look like they are coming from your campaign email address.
You can send emails to any email address in the system (unless the voter has explicitly opted out), both PDI-supplied email addresses and those you enter for your contacts. It is not possible to export PDI-supplied email addresses for use outside of the PDI Campaign Center. You can export the emails for your own contacts at any time.
Caution: You may only import email addresses that your campaign has collected. Examples of acceptable sources of imported email addresses include; sign-up sheets from campaign events, emails collected while canvassing, emails from a contact form on your website, or emails of your personal contacts. DO NOT import email addresses that you have purchased from another source into the system. Sending unsolicited emails to a purchased list can be flagged as spam and could result in the PDI mail server being blacklisted. PDI enforces this term without exception as it endangers every other campaign using PDI to send emails. If you import a purchased list, your account will be terminated immediately for violating the PDI Terms of Service (TOS). Accounts that are terminated for violating the TOS are not eligible for exports or refunds.
Each email sent through the PDI system incurs a one-cent fee.
Digital Media Ads
What are PDI digital media ads? Digital media ads are the ads you typically see online (i.e. web-pages, Facebook, Google searches, Twitter, and in apps on your smartphone). Like other PDI list types, you can create a universe of voters that meets a specific criterion and target those voters with digital ads.
All PDI accounts allow you to send a saved universe to approved third-party vendors. These vendors can facilitate your digital campaign – serving ads to cookies, IP addresses, or Facebook/twitter. Before creating a digital ad, you should contact a digital ad vendor directly to ask about their available services and pricing. You can find a list of currently approved vendors in the Create Lists & Files and selecting Digital Media Ads in step 2. The vendors will be listed in pull down menu under Step 3.
Files sent to vendors are charged $135 minimum to your account, which is good for up to 70,000 impressions. Additional impressions beyond the first 70,000 are charged to the vendor. The vendor will bill you for these additional impressions.
Outputs and Records
What is an output and a record? How do they different? You may encounter the term “outputs” when speaking to a PDI representative, in the Campaign Center, or on our support pages. Outputs are what we call the lists or files you create using our software system. We count, or calculate, these outputs based on the number of voters or household records included in each list or file you produce.
- Outputs are files or lists – Mail files, phone files, walk / phone canvassing lists, maps
- Records are individual voters or households, or data points associated with them, such as their phone numbers, addresses, or emails
For example, a mail list with 20,000 addresses would count as 20,000 records. A file of 5,000 voters with wireless phone numbers would be counted as 5,000 records. Lists and files are priced based the number of households. These prices are calculated using the same rates as found on our pricing page.
Emails and digital ads are not consider standard lists. Pricing for emails sent through the Campaign Center are not priced like other outputs, but are instead are priced at one-cent per email you send.
Before any billable outputs can be created, our system will require an authorization code. An invoice will automatically emailed to the account admin.
If you have a PDI Campaign Center account and don’t know your authorization code, please contact your PDI salesperson.
PDI files and lists are licensed for specific purposes and the number of uses. Each list or file type contains only the fields needed to do that activity. For example, a mail file is formatted to go directly to a printer, be put into a merge letter, or go right on to labels. A walk sheet is formatted to be printed with the layout and features that campaigns have come to expect. You can see descriptions and examples of each file and list type available on our products page.
Discounts for additional copies/uses of the exact same product are applied progressively. The more times you use a file the less expensive each additional use is. It is up to you and your campaign to determine if it makes more sense to pay for new updated data or pay for additional uses. We update our data routinely, adding in new voters and updated addresses. We also well as removing voters that have already voted by returning their mail ballot early. If you are planning to contact voters last few weeks or days before an election you will want to order new files. If you are old data for your activities, you will be wasting a lot more money on printing and postage to voters that can’t vote for you. You wouldn’t want to spend money on someone who is dead or doesn’t vote and the same is true for voters that have already voted.
A few examples:
- An example of one use – A campaign that purchases a mail file and sends out one piece of direct mail to all addresses on that list.
- An example of multiples uses – A campaign purchases a mail file and sends out three pieces of mail to all addresses on that list. This counts as three uses.
- A common misunderstanding of uses and file types – A campaign intends to send out one piece of direct mail and to canvass all voters in the district. The campaign manager purchases a mail file with two uses. This won’t work for canvassing because a mail file ONLY includes the voter name and address in a very basic format. Canvassing requires a very specific format that has voters divided by precinct and street and needs additional information such PAV status, party, gender, age, phone number, and a bar code.
Be sure to review the examples and descriptions of the product you intend to purchase before making your purchase. Make sure that it contains the data fields you need in the format you need them. You can see descriptions and examples of each file and list type available on our products page.
If you have any questions regarding file types or uses, please contact your salesperson or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not finding what you’re looking for? Check out the electoral glossary. It has some more obscure terms that are less frequently asked about, such as field definitions.