Black Greek Life Engagement to #GetCovered and #StayCovered

Download the full toolkit as a PDF

By Min. David Street | Updated October 2015

Introduction

Enroll America’s mission is to maximize the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The multi-pronged approach to achieving this mission includes identifying and sharing outreach and enrollment best practices, providing technical assistance and support to coalitions across the country, working with stakeholders to coordinate enrollment efforts at the national level, and running a robust grassroots campaign (“Get Covered America”).

Enroll America’s “Black Greek Life Engagement” toolkit seeks to engage undergraduate and graduate black lettered fraternity and sorority chapters around giving communities information and resources on their health coverage options.

Most cities and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campuses have black fraternities and sororities, and there are many in the areas of national honor societies and community service. These chapters are often seen as respected organizations on campus, and within the community, because of their history of service, making them positioned to be trusted messengers and partners on ACA outreach and enrollment efforts.

This toolkit describes innovative campaign tactics black fraternities and sororities can use to connect consumers to new health coverage options. In addition, this toolkit provides talking points and action steps for individuals and organizations looking to engage and build partnerships with undergraduate and graduate chapters.

Black Greek Campaign on HBCU Campuses

Despite the fact that millions of African Americans have enrolled in health coverage options (many for the first time) since the ACA’s new coverage programs began in 2013, there is still a huge population that is uninsured. In fact, 1 out of every 10 people who identify as African American is still living without health coverage.

By reaching out to their members — and people they care about and interact with — who may fall in that uninsured population, black fraternities and sororities can use their resources and network to expand health coverage.

Below is an outline of potential activities and tips for engaging black fraternity and sorority members. These can be customized to meet different organizations’ scopes, resources, and needs.

Engaging and Working With Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities

With chapters and members in all 50 states, black Greek fraternities and sororities have a deep and diverse network that has allowed them to enjoy great respect and prestige within the African American community. Below are some best practices and ideas to consider for individuals and community groups looking to work with black lettered fraternities and sororities.

Engaging Chapters

  • See if anyone you know personally, work with, or are otherwise personally connected with is a member of a black fraternity or sorority. If so, meet with them to get a better understanding of their involvement within their organization.
    • Involvement and participation varies from member to member. If the person you interact with is not as involved, ask them if they can refer you to a member who is a bit more involved.
  • Research the organizations to get a better understanding of their core principles as well the types of events their chapter has previously been involved in.
    • When dealing with undergraduate chapters, visit the website of the college you are planning to work with and go to their office of Greek life’s page. A dedicated professional (normally this person is paid member of the faculty serving in an advisory role) can assist you further once you reach out via email or telephone.
    • When dealing with city-wide or graduate chapters, use the internet to research the chapter you are seeking to partner with and connect with any member on the executive board.

Enrollment Events (Meet the Greeks): Undergraduate Chapters

  • Members at the undergraduate level should seek to host or co-host an enrollment event during the week of their nationally mandated programs or some other occasion (community day, homecoming, etc.).
  • Be sure to clear all events through student affairs and seek to partner with the student government association to maximize turnout and exposure.
  • Connect with local health agencies on campus (student health center) and the local community (area hospitals, clinics, nonprofits with a health focus, etc.) for additional resources, incentives, and support.
  • Promote information about the ACA or healthy living on the chapter’s website and social media.
    • Fun hashtags such as #healthyselfie, #healthygreeks, or #GetCovered help encourage and organize outreach on social media.
  • For more information, see Enroll America outreach toolkits: EnrollAmerica.org/Research-Maps/Toolkits. Enroll America has produced several easy-to-read toolkits with tips on grassroots organizing, engaging local clergy, reaching ethnic media, and more.

Fact:
Most students on college campuses have health coverage. These events should be looked at as ways that students can come together and serve the community by providing information and resources.

Enrollment Events (Meet the Greeks): Graduate Chapters

  • Graduate chapters should seek to partner with undergraduate chapters, as well as other local grad chapters, to host or co-host an enrollment event.
  • Graduate chapters are uniquely positioned to share information regarding this year’s open enrollment period with their vast network of community partners and affiliates.
  • Utilize the Get Covered Connector tool so that you can easily give individuals information about how to find free in-person application help in their community. For more information on the Get Covered Connector, check out EnrollAmerica.org/Connector.
  • Chapters’ executive boards can draft resolutions and disseminate information on healthy living to its members at regional conferences, at chapter meetings, and on their website/social media page.

Programming Tips:
– Events should ideally take place in a venue that is accessible and with wifi so that participants can visit GetCoveredAmerica.org, HealthCare.gov
– Work closely with assisters and other organizations involved in the local enrollment coalition. These organizations may be able to provide additional expertise and resources that will make efforts and events run more smoothly.

Last Year

Last year, at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, several student and community organizations came together to host an enrollment event. Hundreds of people from the local neighborhoods flooded the campus to participate and receive information regarding their health coverage options.

Social Media Tips

  • Promote information/events via your social media networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  • You can use these hashtags to let others know about your efforts: #healthyselfie #GetCovered.
  • Host Twitter chats, competitions (what organization can get the most likes), or other social media campaigns that will amplify the “#GetCovered” message.
  • Request that other college clubs and organizations post information on the ACA or upcoming events on their own social media accounts.
  • Send series of tweets (“tweet storms”) with messaging such as “meet some hardworking people who are determined to do hard core #ACA outreach.”

This Year

This year, Enroll America is seeking to engage black lettered undergraduate and graduate fraternity and sorority chapters to ensure that last year’s successes are duplicated and taken to another level. Here is what is already being planned:

  • Enroll America will continue to partner with a diverse groups of stakeholders in an effort to plan and execute education and enrollment events. Our coalition has created a robust list of themes and activities that chapters can plug into host an event.
  • Enroll America staff seek to engage community groups and coalitions in an effort to host roundtables and education events on the ACA to get consumers the facts they need.
  • Enroll America has several regional managers that work to connect interested groups working on outreach and enrollment with organizations/coalitions in all 50 states.

Next Steps

Commit

Commit to hosting an event and sharing information with constituents.

Plan an event

Reach out to campus and community health organizations to plan an event. Since a majority of students on campus have health coverage, the outreach events should be focused on engaging the community and individuals without coverage.

Advertise

Advertise the event online via social media and campus outlets.

Host an event

Host an event (three hours should be long enough). This can be hosting a phonebank where students call residents informing them of an upcoming event, or passing out information on the ACA at the neighborhood grocery story.

Capture information

Organizations can capture information on attendees and consumers interested in enrolling by having the following items at events:

  • Sign-in sheets: This will allow organizations to see how many people attended the event.
  • Commit cards: These are a great way to follow up with a person interested in enrolling in health coverage.
  • Surveys (via a site such as SurveyMonkey): These are a great tool to keep people engaged and to get feedback for future outreach events and activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Affordable Care Act help young adults?

The Affordable Care Act makes financial help available to enroll in health coverage. In addition, it requires plans and issuers that offer dependent coverage to make the coverage available until the adult child reaches the age of 26. They are eligible to remain on their parents’ plans even if they are financially independent from their parents, married, no longer living with their parents, in school, or eligible for insurance through their employer.

After signing up, when does the new health coverage begin?

Open enrollment for 2016 health coverage starts on November 1, 2015, and ends on January 31, 2016. Coverage will begin on January 1, 2016 for people who have enrolled by December 15, 2015.

Is the Get Covered Connector free or is there a cost associated with it?

Yes, the Connector is free for general use, but there is a cost if an organization is looking to co-brand their logo onto the Connector or use the Connector as an internal scheduling tool.

What are some other ideas for black Greeks to consider when hosting an event?

Organizations can host health literacy nights, or even a community boot camp or fitness class, and incorporate literature and information on enrolling.

 

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