Base-Building to WIN

Campaign for New York Health

Healthcare for All of Us

August 2017

Training Agenda

  • Welcome! Introductions
  • PIISD video (3 min)
  • Base Building Slide Show
  • Review outreach script and Base-Building tool, the Health Access Survey
  • Practice - One-on-one conversations using the Base Building Survey Tool (20 minutes)
  • Hit the streets!
  • Debrief and Evaluation
  • Sign up for outreach canvassing shifts


“people who are directly impacted by injustice joining together to build power and develop leadership in order to collectively change our conditions.”


  • Policy driven by people who have personal understanding and stake
  • Campaigns change what is politically possible
  • Policy campaigns empower people and teach skills needed to be leaders
  • Campaigns bring people together for collective work and community.
  • Power comes from us!


the process we use to carry out base-building campaigns. Organizing means meeting people
and bringing them into
active participation in
our organizations & campaigns.

The key to organizing is


Strategy: OUTREACH

● Trying to initiate close (ideally one-on-one) contact with new people.

For example: Large group ≠ Close Contact

● Goal: get people involved in organizing activities.


Our theory of change means that we need to mobilize lots of

people in order to flex our movement muscle. But we don’t

just need numbers-- we need people who are trained as

leaders who can help do the work to grow our our

organization. This is where we gain real power.

Strategy: FOLLOW-UP

● Building the relationship

● Keeping people engaged

● Moving them into further participation.

● Deepening relationships by getting to know people--why they care, what they like to do, & what holds them back.


Our theory of change means that we need to mobilize lots of people in order to flex our movement muscle. But we don’t just need numbers-- we need leaders .


From LABOR NOTES: Secrets of a Successful Organizer

Some ways to understand what looks like apathy, and to respond to it.

“No one seems to care.” Everyone cares about something—but it might not be what you expect.

“No one’s willing to do anything.” Have you asked them personally to do something specific? Most of us aren’t natural-born organizers. Figure out some very small, specific requests, and personally approach each prospect campaign member. This might be as simple as answering a survey or making a phone call. Be respectful of people’s time constraints. Show appreciation for what they’re willing to do. Make it clear that victories are won by the whole team.

“No one comes to meetings.” Think about how people are notified about meetings. An email isn’t enough. Personal invitations are the best. Find other people to share the work of inviting people individually. Consider the practical things that could make meetings more accessible: scheduling, location, childcare, translation, transportation. When people do come to a meeting, it should be pleasant and productive—or they won’t be back! Convey respect for their participation by planning the meeting ahead of time. Prepare a clear agenda, a time limit, and a reason to attend, such as a hot issue. People will be more motivated to attend a meeting where they have a meaningful role to play—for instance, to help make an action plan. All that said, sometimes people simply can’t make it to meetings—for instance, because of parenting responsibilities. These people can still play crucial roles in organizing. Be flexible.


Core group: the people (maybe you?) who are always thinking about organizing and how to get others involved, even on their time off.

The activists: can be counted on to help when an issue heats up. Will take responsibility to get the word out. Will ask other people to take action, too.

Supporters: people who will wear a button or sign a petition, but don’t take responsibility for getting anyone else involved.

People who are disengaged: don’t see your campaign as a factor in their lives, don’t participate.

Hostile: Don’t waste your time arguing with haters. One day, something may open their eyes, but it’ll likely be an experience, not a debate, that does it.

CNYH Base Building Tool (

Our Organizing Tool:

The Health Care Access Questionnaire

  • encourages asking questions
  • listening to people’s lived experiences
  • affirming people’s stories
  • inviting them to become part of the movement
  • a first step in story-based organizing


Base Building Timeline *

Aug - Dec 2017 - Base Building Canvassing using Health Access Survey

Aug - Dec 2017 Monthly local meetings, invite new contacts from canvassing

Late September - Weekend Canvassing Blitz?????

October 2017 - Trainings at meetings - Public Speaking and Telling Your Story

Nov 2017 - Forums in Key Districts with impacted folks and business owners

Spring 2018 - Publish report with survey findings

Spring 2018 New York Health Rally and Lobby Day in Albany

How to be a Good Listener

Avoid distractions. Look the person in the eye, put your phone away.

Slow down. Our brains process thoughts four times faster than spoken words. It’s easy to skip ahead in a conversation, using your assumptions to fill in the gaps and plan your response. Resist this urge. Focus on what is actually being said.

Don’t interrupt. Take the time to hear the full story.

Keep an open mind. Don’t assume you know what someone cares about. People will surprise you.

Don’t fish. Avoid leading questions like “Don’t you agree that...”

How to be a Good Listener

Show that you hear what they’re saying. React, ask follow-up questions, and repeat back what you understood. If you don’t understand, ask.

Practice empathy. Sometimes people need to let off steam. Your immediate task is to hear what they have to say, not to judge.

Find common ground. You don’t have to agree with every point, but look for areas of agreement, and acknowledge where you differ.

Don’t feel you need to sell something. An organizer is not a salesperson. You’re genuinely looking to learn the other person’s point of view and create something new together.

When we organize,

we win!

1CNYH Basebuilding Training - August 2017 - Google Slides