WHAT IS DEEP CANVASSING?
Deep canvassing is talking with strangers – in person or over the phone – about hopes, fears and aspirations. We reach across differences to build connections and trust through conversation.
For over a decade, deep canvassers have been changing hearts and minds around race, immigration, public safety, marriage equality, the environment and more.
People’s Action Institute and the New Conversation Institute have partnered to hold conversations at scale, all across the country, around the very issues others use to divide us.
We offer an antidote to hatred: deep human connection.
WHAT IS DEEP CANVASSiNG?
Deep canvassing is talking to strangers – in person or over the phone – about hopes, fears and aspirations. We reach across differences to build connections and trust through conversation.
Deep canvassers have changed hearts and minds around race, immigration, healthcare, public safety, marriage equality, the environment and more over the past 13 years.
People’s Action and the New Conversation Initiative have partnered on these issues in North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, with a special focus on rural communities and small towns.
Building on this success, we now offer training and volunteer opportunities to help create lasting, transformational change in the United States.
Can we talk?
Conversations can change the world. Heather McGhee, New York Times-bestselling author of The Sum of Us, joined leaders from People’s Action Institute and the New Conversation Institute to talk about how deep canvass conversations can move hearts and minds around divisive issues to create the change we need right now.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Deep canvasses are candid, two-way conversations where you ask people to share their relevant, emotionally significant experiences and reflect on them aloud. These conversations typically involve:
- Non-judgmentally soliciting views around an issue and asking follow-up questions to go deeper
- Sharing narratives about personal experiences with the issue that reinforce values relevant to the issue.
In this excerpt from To See Each Other, a People’s Action podcast hosted by George Goehl, Caitlin Homrich-Kneileng reflects on her first deep canvass conversation in Michigan.
The reason deep canvassing is so effective is because we’re taking the time
to have meaningful human connection.
These conversations are grounded in radical empathy, being curious about what people are up against, and how they’re making meaning in the world.
How does it work?
In 2020, People’s Action and the New Conversation Initiative trained 37,000 volunteers, who held more than 290,000 phone conversations in swing states and Georgia. We moved voters by more than 48 percent. In November, our impact was larger than the 2016 margin of victory, and equal to 108 electoral votes. In Georgia, our persuasion rate was more than 58 percent.
Don’t take our word for it – an independent analysis of our work by political scientists Josh Kalla and David Broockman found our techniques more than 102 percent more effective than traditional persuasion.