How To Clipboard At An Event

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Want to do outreach at an event but you don't have a table? Try Clipboarding! Clipboarding is really tabling without a table, though it requires a few variations in approach explored in the training below.

TOC and Guide Section
When to clipboard

You might choose to clipboard because you’re not allowed to set up a table or it’s inconvenient. Clipboards have the advantage of flexibility, and you can combine clipboarding with tabling, allowing you to respond to foot traffic patterns and catching people in multiple locations. Clipboarding is also a great way to generate a high volume of constituent contacts for focused campaign handouts or CCL's Constituent Letter Forms.

Planning a clipboarding event
  • Decide when and where you want to clipboard. How many locations do you want to cover and how many volunteers will you need?
  • Research the applicable laws and rules and get permission, if necessary.
  • Make copies of flyers like the Senate/House Carbon Price Action Campaign or the Constituent Letter Form.
  • Make sure you have enough clipboards. Each volunteer should have at least three. This allows you to have extra clipboards for other passersby while someone is using one clipboard. Also, people often approach in groups.
  • Get creative in taping an eye-catching sign to the backs of some or all the clipboards. You can hold them up to get people’s attention when the clipboards are not in use.
  • Don’t forget pens!
  • Tell people to wear CCL T-shirts or buttons if they have them.
  • Make a plan for getting the completed forms and other supplies back from each group after the event. You want to make sure it’s clear who is responsible at each location.
Going to an event

This is the fun part! Here are some tips on making it a success:

  • Consider beginning to go paperless with your chapters' calls to actions for engaging people at your event. See the Paper Grassroots Outreach training for recommendations on how to get started and the actions to feature. 
  • Follow the rules and be polite.
  • Come up with your own engaging phrase to get people’s attention. “Are you concerned about climate change?” “Would you like to write a message about climate change? We’ll hand-deliver it to your member of Congress!”
  • As people walk toward you, show them your sign, smile, make eye contact, and give them your pitch.
Tips for conversation considerations

Start with a good hook:

Hey, would you like to express your opinion about the environment?

Hi, would you like to tell Congress you’re concerned about climate change?

Go for groups. When one member of a group or family bites, hold up another clipboard and others will likely follow.

Families with young children are an important demographic and likely to agree if you hook them fast:

Hi, we’re especially asking parents (and grandparents) to tell our Congressperson you’re concerned about climate change, for the sake of our kids…

Read the crowd (t-shirts, hats, etc.). When you single out people and make them smile, they find it harder to blow you off.

Hi, we’re asking IU fans to share your opinion about the environment…

Hi, we’re asking everyone who’s been to Marengo Cave to share your concern about climate change… 

When they keep walking, let them go:

Thanks anyway, have a good day.

When they pause, follow up quickly and make it sound easy:

It only takes a minute, just a few check-boxes and your name and address…

I can fill it out for you and just get your signature, if you like. (especially if their hands are full)

We’ll contact you by e-mail only if you want—that’s optional.

When they take clipboards, bring signers into our area, so they don’t block traffic or other groups’ tables:

Great! We have some nice shade for you over here…

Lee will be happy to help you over here…

  • Hover only as much as needed to keep signers going. Thank them for their time after they sign, invite them to your next chapter meeting, pass them a quarter-sheet flyer, and see if they have any additional questions.
  • Get two more clipboards and face out for your next attempt. Aim to have all clipboards in use.
2021 Case Study in Arizona and New Mexico

CCL Mountain West Regional Coordinator Bill Barron and volunteers in both Arizona and New Mexico had great success in leveraging clipboarding to boost the total number of callers for the big Senate and House Reconciliation Campaign in the summer of 2021. Here's some of their advice based on their experience and for more information, see Bill's full post here.

  • Greater success comes from standing in front of your table (if you have one) and reaching out to people as they walk by-rather than sitting behind the table.
  • You have very little time to get the message across. A quick pitch is the best. Try for 30 seconds. We didn't talk about CCL or the Energy Innovation Act,  but rather the specifics of our ask for the Senate and House. 

-Hi, my name is xxx xxx and I am with Citizens Climate Lobby, are you concerned about climate change?

-If they say no: "Ok thanks, have a good day" and move on to another person.

-If they say yes:" Excellent! Would you be willing to help us by reaching out to your Members of Congress and let them know that you would like to see a carbon price as part of the reconciliation package? It is a quick action that only takes a couple minutes of your time. (or familiarize yourself with the House R ask and use that ask for R's.)

-If they show any interest: "Can I ask you to do it right now? This way I can walk you through the process" (around one third of those we engaged jumped into action at this point).

-"Thanks for taking the time to do this, we really appreciate it."

If they are in any way supportive, offer them a flyer to take with them, and ask them to share this action with their friends, family or anyone else they think would be willing to help.

In some cases you may be asked to explain more. Either bring your own phone or carry a clipboard with the flyer with you so that they can scan the QR code. If they don't have their phone or don't want to do the action right then, pass out a flyer and ask them to commit to doing it when they get home. As they fill out the action, you can walk them through the process so that it expedites their experience while answering any questions they have. If they ask questions about why this campaign, feel free to reference the FAQs on the House or Senate action pages. For example, we shared: "We see this time as a critical time for action on climate and want to be sure a carbon price is included in the reconciliation process-knowing that a carbon price is the most powerful tool that could be used to reduce carbon emissions."

Following up after an event

After the event, there are a few things left to do, ideally best in the first 24-48 hours.

  • Post photos taken to your social media accounts
  • Make sure to contact new prospects, ideally via someone in your group giving a personal phone call to each. Thank them for taking the time to write their insightful comments to their Congressmember, and invite them to your next CCL meeting or to join our informational session.
  • Add new volunteers to your chapter roster and CCL's database.
    • Note: Be sure to upload the names from your event as soon as possible after the event takes place, ideally within the first 24 hours as that is when your contacts are most likely to respond and engage with your local chapter's work. 
  • Process constituent letter forms and log your action(s) to finish up. 
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Grassroots Outreach
Training Resources

Constituent Letter Form

Wear CCL T-shirts or buttons

The resources above are specific to this training, see all resources associated with Grassroots Outreach.