Phonebank or Canvass? Our New Tool Helps Organizations Decide

By Meaghan Hardy and John Malloy

Enroll America has dedicated itself to data-driven tactics to help consumers find coverage. As we enter the second open enrollment period (OE2), we are rolling out new tools to help our partners use tested, data-driven tactics to conduct outreach.

Organizations who partner with Enroll America and use Get Covered Data (GCD), our nationwide consumer database, have access to Enroll America’s uninsured model. One of the newest features in GCD is our Initial Outreach Population tool, which helps our partners employ different types of outreach to maximize enrollment.

Different Types of Outreach

Two of the most effective outreach strategies for initial contact with consumers are canvassing (going door-to-door and speaking with them face-to-face) and phone calls (calling them to discuss their coverage options one-on-one). But different tactics work better depending on an organization’s resources and the area they serve. Our Initial Outreach Population tool equips partners to use one or both methods, whichever best suits their staffing structure and capacity needs.

How the Initial Outreach Population Tool Works

Each individual in GCD is assigned an uninsured score, which predicts how likely they are to be uninsured. The chart below shows the average uninsured score by individual and type of outreach in the Initial Outreach Population tool. In this example, if you call 100 consumers on the Initial Phone Outreach list, you can expect that around 24 of those consumers are uninsured and about 19 out of 100 consumers to be uninsured on the Initial Canvass Outreach list. Because density is such an important factor, the average uninsured score for consumers on our Initial Canvass Outreach list is slightly lower than the average score for our Initial Phone Outreach list. And, while 24 or 19 out of 100 may not seem like a very high proportion, context is everything: Since only about 11 of 100 Americans are uninsured, the ability to target a list where one can expect to reach 19 or 24 uninsured consumers is a huge increase in efficiency over contacting people at random.

Initial Phone Outreach List Initial Canvass Outreach List Overall Consumer Universe
Uninsured Score
24.68 19.27 11.3


Research has shown that face-to-face conversations with consumers are the most powerful way to motivate individuals to take action. However, finding uninsured individuals can be challenging, especially without a refined list of potentially eligible consumers. Walking door-to-door can be time consuming, so it’s important to take a smart approach so staff and volunteers can connect with the greatest number of eligible consumers given their available time and resources. It’s important to have enough doors to knock on any given street and clusters of areas to canvass.

Enroll America’s Initial Outreach Population tool allows our partners to take it a step further by taking density into account. We only direct partners to areas with enough uninsured consumers to support a canvassing operation. As long as there are enough consumers clustered in one area, canvassing is an efficient strategy to reach them — even if, on average, each of those consumers has a relatively low uninsured score. You can see a good example of which kinds of densities are best suited for canvassing vs. which aren’t below:


Phone Outreach

For most organizations, phone outreach is the most efficient outreach tactic. It is less labor-intensive, conserves resources, and is less dependent upon geography. Phonebanks can be held at a centralized location, or from home. Phone outreach allows staff or volunteers to call  consumers who live in a wider geographic area than a typical canvassing operation could reach. Our Initial Phone Outreach list includes all consumers nationwide who have a phone number and who are likely enough to be uninsured so that phonebanking is efficient, and users can view this information by ZIP code.

Learn More

This new tool is meant to assist partners and our own staff and volunteers conduct effective, efficient outreach to help consumers #GetCovered and #StayCovered. For more information on how your organization can use this and other data tools, check out our partner data program.

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