Why Canvass for Petition Signatures
Petition gathering is an easy way to advocate for a specific issue. This method allows you to grow community support, gain momentum and pressure lawmakers to pass the legislation that you want. It is an easy way to involve your friends, family or organization, too!
Main Goals of Canvassing
- Identify people who are not aware of the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019, educate them, and ask them to sign the petition.
- Identify community members who already support Adoptees for Justice and ask them to take an action like calling their representatives or attending an upcoming event.
Organize a Petitioning Event: Step-by-Step
Step 1: Logistics
If you’re trying to influence your representatives’ stance on the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019, it’s a good idea to figure out where they live and petition in that neighborhood.
• Generally, you should pick a safe public area with a high rate of foot traffic.
• If your goal is to grow support in a specific district, be sure to double check that the area you are canvassing is within your target district.
Step 2: Recruit More People
Find a time that works best for the members who will be participating. You may not be able to accommodate everyone’s schedule, but find a time that works for most people.
• If you don’t have Adoptees For Justice members in your district, make a list of friends, family, or community members who may be interested in helping. Call them personally to invite them to canvass.
• It’s more fun and effective when a team of canvassers goes at a time. You’ll be able to interact with more people and have fun together. So ask supporters to commit to a 2- or 3-hour block of time to canvass.
• Let them know you’ll provide a quick training and all the materials they’ll need.
Step 3: Materials
Your script and map of addresses you will contact.
• Multiple Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 one-page summaries, and fact sheets to leave behind.
• Paper copies of the petition for people to review before they sign.
• Pens and clipboards
Step 4: Prepping for Canvassing
Check the weather and wear comfortable clothing. Make sure you wear shoes that you can stand and walk in for long periods of time. Don’t bring a lot of extra items that could get lost.
• Gather everyone at your meeting spot around 30 minutes before your canvass start time to do a quick training.
• Thank everyone for coming and explain how important face to face interaction is to winning on the issue. Then, go over the script, flyers and materials. (If it’s hot outside, be sure that folks bring plenty of water!)
• Then have people pair up and spend ten minutes practicing canvassing each other; this will get everyone energized and prepared to canvass.
• Set goals for how many people everyone should talk to and how many signatures they should strive to collect. This will keep canvassers motivated throughout their shift.
• Before leaving, make sure you have everyone’s contact information for emergency purposes.
Step 5: Canvass
Stay aware of your surroundings and be safe. Keep your phone charged.
• Plan to meet back at the starting spot at a set time
• Smile and make eye contact while you’re speaking. Be polite and friendly even if others aren’t.
• Introduce yourself and Adoptees For Justice at the beginning.
• If the person you’re speaking to is very busy or is strongly opposed to our mission, it’s best to move on quickly.
• Be proactive in engaging people! It’s up to you to begin the conversation!
• Canvassing can be intimidating for people who haven’t done it before. So if you’re leading a group, be sure to give everyone lots of encouragement and support. Make sure that brand new canvassers canvass with a “buddy” for at least the first 20-30 minutes so they get off on the right foot.
• Always end the conversation on a positive note.
• Prepare a 15-30 second spiel on the issue.
• Have a paper copy of the petition and a separate sign up sheet.
• If you have legal questions, review the ACLU FAQ in the Appendix.
Intro: Hi, my name is __ and I am with a nonprofit organization called Adoptees For Justice. We’re collecting signatures in support of a new law that would ensure all intercountry adoptees receive citizenship.
• (Pause here. Many people will agree to sign at this point- If so, you can give them one or two more facts if they seem interested. If not, continue using the rap)
• Follow Up: If Yes: Thanks! We are working to expand our group. If you are interested in becoming more involved, check the “volunteer” box. Here is some more literature about the issue. Have a great day!
• If No: Okay, thank you for your time, here is some literature about the issue. Have a great day!
Adoptees For Justice Sign-On Preview (see the petition here)
International adoptees legally adopted by U.S. citizen parents now face serious obstacles as adults living in the U.S. without citizenship, including the threat of deportation. Under current law, U.S. citizenship is not guaranteed for international adoptees born before 1983, or for those who entered the U.S. on a visa that did not provide automatic citizenship. More than 30 adoptees have already been deported to 21 different countries where they struggle with language and cultural barriers, finding employment, and being separated from loved ones. The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 will grant automatic citizenship to all qualifying international adoptees adopted by a U.S. citizen parent, regardless of the date the adoption was finalized. This legislation will also allow adult adoptees who have been deported the opportunity to return to the United States.
We call on Congress to SUPPORT the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019. Please show your support by signing this petition today!
Step 6: Debrief
Gather everyone up for a quick five-minute debrief. Go over how your team did and how many signatures you collected. Have people share one or two good stories about their experiences.
Enter signatures into Adoptees for Justice petition page.
If you are unable to enter signatures into petition page, mail signatures to:
NAKASEC, Attn: Michelle Liang,
4300 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60618
Pat yourselves on the back – you’ve just canvassed!