Medicare-for-All Weekend of Action:

Crowd Canvass Event Host Guide

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Welcome! This guide has everything you’ll need to host a successful crowd canvass event with us during the Medicare-for-All Weekend of Action on October 14th & 15th. Thanks for stepping up to take action in your community. We can’t wait to work with you!

Table of Contents:

I. Background                                                                                1        

II. Event Prep                                                                                2

III. Event Day                                                                                4

IV. Event Follow Up                                                                        8

I. Background

In June, the California State Senate passed SB 562, a bill that would establish Medicare for All in our state. That means – no insurance company premiums, no deductibles, no co-pays and a guarantee of your choice of doctor or hospital.

We made a lot of advances with the Affordable Care Act, but 3 million Californians -- mostly people of color or low income -- are still uninsured. And millions more are underinsured and have deductibles so high that they can't afford to go to the doctor when they are sick even though they have insurance. Passing SB 562 would mean guaranteed access of quality care for all Californians.

A few weeks ago, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a national Medicare-for-All bill to the US Senate. We know that the road to a national single payer system will be long. And, as with so many things, progressive states will play an important role in paving the way for national reform. Here in California, we have a concrete opportunity to take on leadership in the fight for universal health care.

With SB 562 having passed in the California State Senate, we are well on our way to making equitable, affordable, and comprehensive health care a reality. However, the progress of this life-saving legislation is being obstructed by a handful of Democrats in the State Assembly -- most notably Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. The longer the bill is stalled, the more time insurance and pharmaceutical companies have to kill it.  So, it’s critical that our representatives return in January motivated and ready to move forward on SB 562.

This is where we come in. Over the course of this Weekend of Action, and the months that follow, we are turning up the heat on our state Assemblymembers. On the weekend of October

14th & 15th, volunteers (like you!) will organize door-to-door canvasses or crowd canvass events in every single Assembly District in the state. By mobilizing our own communities, we will make it abundantly clear that Californians support Medicare-for-All and that we expect our representatives to do the same.

The weekend of action is only the beginning. We will continue to keep this pressure up throughout the fall and into 2018 until this bill is passed. We know that Medicare-for-All won’t happen unless we fight for it, and that starts here.

II. Event Prep

Step 1: Choose a time and location

  • Decide whether you’d prefer to hold your event on Saturday, Oct. 14th or Sunday, Oct. 15th.
  • Know which Assembly District you will be representing. If you aren’t sure which AD you live in, check by typing in your home address here: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
  • Brainstorm locations to hold your event. You’ll want to choose a public area in your district with a lot of foot traffic. A downtown area, a public park, college campus, or a part of town with a few busy intersections are all great options.
  • Be sure to choose a place that’s large enough for up to 10 volunteers to collect supporter information. So long as there is sufficient foot traffic at your location, individual sites can be fairly close to one another- on opposite sides of the street, for instance.
  • Double check to make sure your location is well within your AD. You can do that by by typing in the address here: http://advocacy.ucla.edu/impact/ca-assembly-districts/
  • Choose what time you’d like the event to start. All events should be 4 hours, but you can pick a start time that works best for you. When doing so, consider the busiest times at the canvass location you’ve selected.
  • Come up with a meeting spot that is near your canvassing location. This should be easy for your volunteers to find, have a table or bench where you can set up materials, have plenty of parking, and, if possible, be accessible by public transportation. A public park or coffee shop make for great meet-up places, but feel free to get creative.

Step 2: Submit your event

  • Once you’ve decided your time and location, complete this form to submit your event.
  • We’ll review your event details and add it to the Weekend of Action Map.
  • Within 24-48 hours, we’ll email you with the live RSVP link to your event so that you can invite your own friends and networks.

Step 3: Promote your event

  • We will do almost all of the recruitment for your event by reaching out to nearby supporters of SB 562. However, if you want to help recruit for your event there are a few things you can do:
  • If you’d like, you can create a Facebook event using this sample description and cover photos. If you do create one, send us the link at team@knockeverydoor.org.
  • You can use your RSVP link to invite your friends and networks via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.

Step 4: Review Materials

  • Take a few minutes to review the materials you’ll be using on the day of your event:

Step 5: Sign up for a Check in Call

  • During the week before the Weekend of Action, we’ll be organizing 20 minute check in calls. You’ll get to talk one-on-one with an organizer on our team to talk through your event and go over any last questions you might have.
  • Sign up for a time here!

Step 6: Prep Materials

You’ll want to get your materials together the day before your event.  Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Print out the foot canvass materials. Plan to print enough for 10 volunteers, although we’ll let you know if your RSVP numbers are higher than that. We’ll email you a version of the materials in a “packet” form so that you can easily print 1 per canvasser you expect.
  • Gather 10 clipboards
  • Collect 20 pens (2 per person)
  • Put foot can materials and pens together on each clipboard

III. Event Day

Be sure to arrive at your crowd canvass meeting location 15-30 minutes before the start time. Set up your materials and make yourself as visible to volunteers arriving as you are able. Follow the sample agenda below for your event:

  1. Sign In (10 minutes)

Welcome people as they arrive. Make sure everyone fills out the sign in sheet. Suggest that people find someone they don’t know and introduce themselves. Have your volunteers each grab one clipboard.

(IMPORTANT: Don’t hand out crowd canvass site assignments until the end of your training)

  1. Introductions (10 minutes)

Begin about 10 minutes after the official start time of your crowd canvass event. Spend no more than 10 minutes on introductions. Introductions are an important and meaningful part of the agenda, but you don’t want to spend too long on it so everyone can get to crowd canvassing!

Organize folks where everyone can easily hear you and each other. Spend a few minutes talking about why you are here today, and what healthcare means to you. The more personal your story is, the more powerful the day will be for your volunteers. At the same time, it’s not a monologue. Try to strike a balance between talking and listening. 

Example: Hello everyone! My name is <Name> and I am from <City>. I am so happy to see ya’ll here to fight for universal health care in California. This issue is particularly personal to me because my husband is one of the millions of Americans who has had to choose between paying for healthcare and affording groceries for our family. And I think in the United States, the wealthiest country in the world, we can do so much better than that. And if we can pass this in CA, we can show the rest of the country that it’s possible!

After your personal story, move to the audience. Give 4-5 people the option to talk about why this fight is so important for them, and why they are excited to be canvassing today.

 

  1. Political Context & Why We Gather Supporter Signups (10 minutes)

Here you’ll want to talk about why collecting grassroots support is important to give context for the work happening today. It’s always good to mention the impact your volunteers will have by engaging in face-to-face interactions with people in their own community. Not only does crowd canvassing increase public awareness of about Medicare-for-All, but it also provides us with tangible evidence that people support SB 562. This is invaluable, as it proves to our Assembly Members that their constituents support this legislation and are paying attention to what stance they will take on the issue.

Provide some context for where SB 562 stands today, and how this canvass ties into the big picture of passing this bill.  

Example: SB 562 or the Healthy CA act is a bill currently stuck in the California State Assembly which, if passed, would establish a medicare-for-all healthcare system in the state of California. While the Affordable Care Act expanded healthcare to millions of Californians, it did not sufficiently address cost controls and nearly 3 million Californians remain uninsured. With the GOP on the precipice of taking healthcare away from tens of millions of Americans, it is not only an opportune moment to push our alternative vision for the future but our moral imperative to take action to create a just system that works for everyone.

SB 562 has already successfully passed through the State Senate and was blocked from moving forward in the 2017 session by Democratic Speaker Anthony Rendon. While the Speaker maintains he supports single payer in theory and that he wants more time for SB 562 to be discussed. By doing so he is merely allowing more time for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies to mobilize and ultimately kill the bill. Our job is to activate the grassroots movement that has been building behind medicare-for-all and translate that into pressure on as many Assembly members as possible. With Democratic supermajorities in the State Senate and Assembly, there is no excuse to not move this bill forward in the process. We must ramp up the pressure until we reach the point that it is politically untenable to be an elected Democrat who opposes universal health insurance in California.

By signing up supporters in assemblyperson <Name>’s district, we will be educating their constituents about the bill, and garnering support behind it. We will deliver the signatures we gather directly to the representative, as well as going to the press so representative <Name> is sure to hear that we won’t take no for an answer! We will also follow up with all the supporters you identify and work to bring them into our movement including to canvasses, townhalls, and more!

  4.  Go over Crowd Canvassing Best Practices (2 minutes)

Read this list of do’s and don’ts to prepare your canvassers:

DOs

  • Decide who you want to talk to: When crowd canvassing in a busy area, identify one person or group you’re going to approach at a time. This is much more effective than speaking to the crowd as a whole!

  • Smile, make eye contact, and wave: Once you’ve decided who you’ll ask, smile, make eye contact, and wave at them. This way, they’ll know you’re talking directly to them and be more inclined to stop.

  • Know your intro line: Do your best to memorize your intro line. That way you can get their attention and get right to the point.

  • Hand over your clipboard: Get the clipboard into the person’s hands as soon as they say yes. This way they’ll start filling it out while you talk.

  • Collect complete contact information: Supporter signups bearing people’s full contact info are taken more seriously by representatives and allow for folks to get more involved in the campaign. So be sure to ask for their full name, phone number, email address and address.

  • Always be friendly and smile: Even with people who do not want to stop and talk, be friendly and tell them to have a nice day.

  • Ask everyone: Don’t make assumptions about people or only ask folks you think will be interested. Crowd canvassing is a wonderful opportunity to break down stereotypes. Afterall, Medicare-for-All would impact everyone’s lives and it is critical that everyone is given equal opportunities to get involved.

DONT’s

  • Avoid Pitfalls: Do not ask folks if they “have a minute to talk” or provide any means for them to refuse you. People will generally say no to talking to you if you offer them an out. So, just ask for what you want right off the bat and do so as confidently and succinctly as possible.

  • Don’t let refusals bog you down: There will be plenty of times someone does not choose to talk with you and that is okay! Keep on asking for supporter signups until you find someone to engage with. Once you find someone who is passionate, it will all be worthwhile. Just remember, it’s a numbers game. You will meet plenty of people who care a lot about SB 562.

  • Never debate or argue: Our job is not to argue facts or opinions, it is to get support for SB 562. Not everyone will believe in Medicare-for-All and that’s okay. Instead of arguing, move on from unproductive conversations and spend your time talking with people who support our efforts.

  • Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something: Sometimes we’ll get questions that we don’t know the answer to/ that are not on the provided FAQ sheet. Don’t sweat it. There is nothing wrong with saying that you are a volunteer and you don’t know the answer. You can also always  recommend that they check out healthycaliforniaact.org for more info.

 5.  Walkthrough Script and Materials (2 minutes)

Lead your canvassers through all of the materials on their clipboard. Go over each page to be sure that everyone understands how to use each form.

  1. SB 562 Crowd Canvassing Script: Tell them that there is a script, which includes a few responses depending on the replies they get.
  2. SB 562 Supporter Signup Sheet: Go through each column on the supporter signup sheet and reiterate that it is important to have folks fill out all of the fields.
  3. Talking Points/ FAQs: Let them know that they have a sheet of talking points/ FAQs that they can refer to if they get questions. No need to read over this for them, though.

 6.  Role Play (10 minutes)

After you have gone over the materials, it’s time to give people the opportunity to practice! Have everyone split into pairs and take a few minutes to each practice canvassing the other person/ getting comfortable with the script. It’s always good to practice canvassing someone while they are walking towards you. This allows you to get more comfortable with what it’ll be like to actually canvass the public.

7. Answer Questions (5 minutes)

After 10 minutes, wrap up the role play and ask folks to gather back up.

Then, ask if anyone has general questions. It’s okay if you don’t know how to answer every question- just do your best. Keep questions brief, as they’ll also have the FAQ sheet to refer to when they’re out crowd canvassing.

Assure that everyone is feeling comfortable and confident before they get ready to head out.

8. Wrap Up and Logistics (5 minutes):

  1. Meet-Up Plan: Establish what time everyone should meet back up at your launch point.
  2. Exchange Phone Numbers: For the safety of your team and for the success of the canvass, it is critically important that you exchange numbers with every volunteer.
  3. Distribute Crowd Canvass Site Assignments: Make sure everyone knows what area they’ll be crowd canvassing in and how to get there. This may look different depending on the volunteer. Some may already be familiar with the area you’d like them to go, some may want to put it into their smartphones, and others may actually need you to walk them over to the area.

9. Group Photo and Social Media (3 minutes)

Organize a quick group photo (either take it with your phone or get it sent to you right after). Make sure to announce that it may be posted on social media by the California Nurses Association, and folks should feel free to opt out of the picture if they’re not comfortable with that.

Encourage everyone to take photos throughout the day and post them to social media using #SB562 and by tagging their Assembly Member directly.  

10. Walk to Crowd Canvass Sites/ Get Started!

Good work getting everyone trained and ready to go! Now, go out and crowd canvass with your team for a few hours!

You should crowd canvass as close to the meeting point as possible so that you’re there when volunteers return.

11. End of the Day Wrap-Up

Be ready to meet back up with your team at the established time. As folks start to trickle in, ask them about their days and take a mental note of any highlights or challenges that they share. If de-briefing with several people at once, ask everyone to share a highlight from their day! It’s always great to hear about what went well from your fellow volunteers.

        

        Remember to collect all materials from every volunteer before they leave!

IV. Event Follow Up

Step 1: Upload All Supporter Signup Sheets

Step 2: Share Your Photos!

  • If you use social media, post lots of pictures and make sure to use #SB562 and tag your Assembly Member so we can find them. Please also send any pictures you or your canvassers take during the day to data@knockeverydoor.org. We’d love to see and share them!

Step 3: Sign Up for a Debrief Call

  • We want to hear how your event went! What went well, what went okay, what we can improve on next time. We also love to hear about highlights and anecdotes from conversations you had. We want to hear it all! Please remember to sign up for one of our debrief calls here.