CommunityConnect Labs

In-person Canvassing to Reach the Vaccine Hesitant

Vaccination engagement tactics are shifting across the US to in-person, door-to-door canvassing.

The pros? Meeting people where they’re at.The ability to have a face-to-face conversation. Efficiently targeting specific geographic neighborhoods, a tactic that mimics how disease is spread. 

The cons? Canvassing is extremely expensive and timely, and may unwittingly expose canvassing staff to homes more likely to have active cases of COVID-19. Not to mention: canvassers are headed right into increasingly hostile conversations as immunizations have become extremely polarizing along political lines. 

The Washington Post recently declared: 

“What began as “vaccine hesitancy” has morphed into outright vaccine hostility, as conservatives increasingly attack the White House’s coronavirus message, mischaracterize its vaccination campaign and, more and more, vow to skip the shots altogether.”

So, what kind of support is best for canvassers during their efforts? 

  1. Ensure reliable, easy access to accurate information via tools like the Vaccine HelpDesk chatbot (configured for mobile or web usage)
  2. Update digital contact records using mobile devices once contacts are reached so they do not receive duplicated outreach messages
  3. Consider how to rapidly scale up your efforts using models honed during US census (or other political) outreach campaigns.
  4. Train employees in “deep canvassing” so they have the skills and attitudes necessary to maintain empathy during longer, emotionally-driven conversations with strangers about their concerns.

Many of our current partners are shifting focus to include door-to-door efforts. If you want to learn more about how SMS-based tools can complement your strategy and amplify your efforts, talk to us.


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