Simplify yard sign management with easily available online tools. Share a form link with supporters to collect names and addresses. Campaign staff then can track which signs have been delivered via a spreadsheet and optionally, a map.
This step-by-step tutorial explains how supporters can request yard signs and how campaign staff can process those requests via a combined Google form / spreadsheet. With additional help from the Mapping Sheets Chrome extension, campaign staff can visually see where signs have been or need to be dropped off. When it is time to dispatch signs, use the map to plan drop-off routes. As an added bonus, a private Google map makes it easy for campaign staff to see which areas have high concentrations of campaign signs and which do not.
- Google Account with access to Google Sheets: Before creating a Google account, check to ensure it will not violate the campaign’s privacy / data policies or any local / state / federal laws
- Mapping Sheets (freemium Chrome extension add-on)
- Chrome Browser
If yard sign requests are handled elsewhere, consider importing the external data manually or automatically using a service like IFTTT or Zapier and then following steps 6 – 10. Remember to verify that the information transfer does not violate any stated or implied data usage policies, etc. before moving data between different systems.
Step 1: Create a New Google Sheet
Log out of all Google accounts except for the main campaign account that is to have access to the information. From drive.google.com, go to “New > More > Google Forms > Blank Form.”
A Google form should now be created.
Step 2: Configure Settings
Click “Responses” > 3 vertical dots > “Get email notifications for new response” to be alerted when new entries are submitted. This minimizes the chance of yard sign requests being overlooked during the busyness of the campaign.
Click the “gears” icon in the upper right hand corner to open form settings.
A pop-up will appear.
Suggested settings under “General” include:
- Collect form submitter’s email address
- Allow form submitter to receive a confirmation
- Limit number of entries submitted
- Limit form submitter’s ability to make changes
Take time to personalize the “confirmation” message and set appropriate expectations on what will happen next. Will the sign magically appear at the requested address? If so, when approximately will that happen? A sample confirmation message could be “Thank you for requesting one of our campaign signs. Signs are typically delivered on weekends. Expect to see one this week or next.”
After configuring the “General” and “Presentation” settings, click the “three dots” in the upper right hand corner to open the form’s default settings.
A new pop-up will appear.
Make questions required. This can be toggled off for individual questions.
Step 3: Write Google Form Questions
At a minimum, the yard sign request form should ask for an address so the sign can be delivered. Additional questions to potentially ask include:
- Contact info (Phone and / or email)
- Sign size
- Best days / times to deliver
- Other requested campaign schwag
- Add to mailing list
Tip: If this form is separate from other campaign databases / contact lists, avoid asking too many questions. Asking previously asked questions may irritate the individual completing the form. Additionally, asking for information that is being stored elsewhere creates unnecessary data synchronization challenges.
Step 4: Create Google Spreadsheet
Connect the yard sign request form to a Google spreadsheet by going to “Responses.” Then, click the 3 vertical dots and choose “Select Response Destination.” Be sure to assign the Google spreadsheet a descriptive, meaningful name.
Step 5: Add Additional Fields to the Google Spreadsheet
This example includes an additional column labeled “Status” for indicating if signs have been delivered or not to a particular campaign supporter’s address. The Mapping Sheets plugin then color-codes the pins on the map based on the information contained in this column. Depending on the campaign’s needs, a different column can be used for color-coding map points.
Additional columns to potentially add:
- Who will be delivering a campaign sign
- Delivery date
- Sign size
- Full Address: If “Address” was broken into multiple fields (example: Address line 1, address line 2, city, zip), insert a new column labeled “Full Address”. (The Mapping Sheets plugin requires that the complete address be in one field. Either ask for it on the form as one field or use the concatenate function to combine a broken out address into one field. )
Step 6: Install Mapping Sheets Add-On
To access, start by going to “Add-Ons > Get Add-ons” and then follow the pop-up wizard.
Step 7: Map Spreadsheet Headings to Mapping Sheets Plug-in
Step 8: Populate Spreadsheet with Form Data
Test the form and spreadsheet by entering fictitious info on the form. This allows end-to-end testing and can easily be removed from the spreadsheet.
Step 9: View Sample Yard Sign Requests on Google Spreadsheet
As new yard sign requests arrive or as signs are delivered, make sure to update the appropriate columns, like “Status.”
Step 10: View Yard Sign Requests on a Google Map
Go to “Add-Ons > Mapping Sheets > Start Mapping.” A dialog will pop-up. Click “Build” so that plugin can process the latest data. Once that is complete, press “View” to see the map.
Map showing plotted locations. Hover over a point for more info.
After configuring the map, double check to make sure that account permissions are set to keep supporter names and addresses confidential.