#Ready4OE2: Using Grassroots Organizing Tactics to Identify the Uninsured

By Andrerich Crombie

As we count down to the start of the second open enrollment period (OE2) on November 15, Enroll America’s #Ready4OE2 blog series will feature a new entry every weekday in October sharing lessons learned from OE1 and strategies for OE2. For more tips and tools, check out the #Ready4OE2 webinar series!

Strategy for OE2: Using two campaign-style grassroots organizing tactics, tabling and clipboarding, to identify and spread information to uninsured consumers. High-traffic canvassing is an outreach method that involves approaching consumers in a busy area or at an event with large numbers of people. Two forms of high-traffic canvassing are tabling — using a table as a central hub to approach and attract consumers — and clipboarding — carrying a clipboard and approaching consumers in a more mobile way.

Where and when it was used: In every state with a Get Covered America campaign presence. Tabling and clipboarding became increasingly critical tools throughout the first open enrollment period and have continued to be vital in the interim. Get Covered America initially focused on door-to-door canvassing but found that “high-traffic canvassing” (an all-encompassing phrase describing both tabling and clipboarding) could reach more consumers more efficiently.

Notable metrics from OE1: We have used tabling and clipboarding to identify tens of thousands of uninsured and underinsured Americans, collecting contact information so we could follow up with them with information about their new health insurance options. A typical tabling or clipboarding event might have two to four volunteers/organizers, and each individual might identify between six and ten consumers per shift.

How it worked: Finding uninsured Americans is one of the biggest challenges faced by the enrollment community, but using tabling and clipboarding to do outreach has allowed us to do just that.

Tabling can be done in a variety of settings. Many events — local health fairs or community festivals — allow organizations to set up a table and speak to attendees, but tabling can also be an effective tactic at crowded places that aren’t events — public libraries or county courthouses. Having a well-decorated and organized table enhances your credibility when speaking to consumers.

Clipboarding is more casual, but what it lacks in formality it makes up for in versatility. This tactic is a light lift and gives you lots of options. Want to have a presence at a health fair but can’t afford the tabling fee? Clipboard! Want to approach folks as they leave the county courthouse but can’t set up a table? Clipboard!

Best practices to replicate:

  • Be proactive: Don’t wait for consumers to come to you — go to them. Don’t just sit behind your table and pass out information! Be dynamic — politely relentless and relentlessly polite.
  • Be professional: Make sure your table is properly decorated, with a balance of homemade, “grassroots” posters and professional signage. If you’re clipboarding, identifying yourself with a button and a sign on your clipboard that reads “ask me about affordable health insurance” are musts! And regardless of which tactic you’re using, ALWAYS smile and be open and friendly.
  • Be prepared: Have a supply of relevant literature, extra pens, and spare commit cards. Bring plenty of water and always consider the weather when you’re prepping for an event.
  • Make the right ask:
    • “Are you uninsured?” is the question you might want to ask, but it’s a bit awkward and can lead to conversations ending quickly.
    • Instead, try asking, “Have you heard about new affordable health options under the ACA/Obamacare?”
    • This question is 1) more interesting, 2) a bit less forward, and 3) leads to stronger outcomes. Regardless of how a consumer answers it, you can pivot immediately into one of the strongest messages we have at our disposal: “Did you know that financial assistance is available?”
Enroll America Menu
Are you looking for affordable health insurance? GetCoveredAmerica.org