Growing in Popularity as Movement Tool, Deep Canvassing is a Method Used to Defeat Trump, Pass LGBTQ Rights, and Win Big
Contact: Johanna Kichton, [email protected], 202.660.0605
WASHINGTON, D.C.—People’s Action and The New Conversation Initiative today announced the launch of the nation’s first Deep Canvass Institute. Deep canvassing is a groundbreaking conversation methodology that is proven to be 102-times more effective than traditional persuasion methods in presidential elections. Deep canvassing has been used to change worldview among conflicted voters on immigration, health care, abortion, policing, criminal justice reform, trans rights, and more. The Deep Canvass Institute will equip progressive movement allies with evidenced-based methodology to bridge differences, build power, and move forward together.
People’s Action and The New Conversation Initiative will host a town hall tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern with Heather McGhee, chair of the board of The Color of Change and New York Times bestselling author of The Sum of Us, to celebrate the launch and invite people to plug in.
“We are in a powerful moment of becoming an America that has reckoned with the contradictions between our founding words and the actions that have followed. We can engage folks who are not yet with us in conversations on tough topics, or give up on people,” People’s Action Director George Goehl said. “As the right doubles down on division, we are having hard conversations, doing it at scale with our Deep Canvass Institute, and bringing more people along in the project of building the next version of America.”
“We’re discovering that one of the most powerful tools we hold as progressives is a new iteration of our oldest technology: conversation. A growing body evidence–eight rigorous studies over the last six years–indicates that we can shift deep-seated attitudes, build trust across division, and inoculate people against fear and strategic racism,” Co-Founder of The New Conversation Initiative Ella Barrett said. “Our Deep Canvass Institute will equip people and organizations with the tools to have conversations to win lasting progressive change.”
In the next two years, the Deep Canvass Institute will:
- Offer four levels of curriculum, teaching participants how to deep canvass, how to run a deep canvass, how to train deep canvassers, and how to build and sustain a deep canvass program;
- Train 15,000 volunteers to have meaningful deep canvass conversations;
- Have 350,000 deep canvass conversations with voters to build multiracial solidarity and build support for a crucial set of issues;
- Recruit 25,000 people to become more deeply engaged in ongoing organizing efforts in their communities.
People’s Action and The New Conversation Initiative have used deep canvassing as a critical tool in the fight to advance progressive policies and build a multiracial democracy. In 2019, they led a successful deep canvass experiment focused on shifting worldview around immigrants. This study resulted in a 20% shift in support for the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in the expansion of universal health care.
Following that success, the next year People’s Action and The New Conversation Initiative conducted the first-ever deep canvass political persuasion study which demonstrated that deep canvassing was 102 times more effective than traditional efforts to influence vote choice in presidential elections. Recognizing this power, People’s Action scaled up a national volunteer and paid program that trained 400+ staff and tens of thousands of volunteers. Participants in People’s Action national deep canvassing program had hundreds of thousands of powerful deep canvassing conversations with voters in battleground areas in the 2020 election.
People’s Action is a national network of 40 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations in 30 states, united in fighting for justice. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. People’s Action and its member organizations coordinated one of the biggest distributed organizing programs in rural areas this past election season.
The New Conversation Initiative helps movements leverage the power of deep canvassing to create lasting progressive change. Our co-founders were part of the team that originally created deep canvassing in the LGBT movement over a decade ago. In 2012 we helped mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers to have 220,000 deep canvass conversations and win a referendum on marriage equality that had been thought hopeless. We have since partnered with teams across the progressive movement to adapt and test deep canvassing on issues from trans* equality and immigration to prison abolition, climate, and presidential vote choice.