A clipboard is all you need!

A clipboard is all you need!

By Ian Hunter (Richmond NSW).

Want to do grassroots outreach but normal methods aren’t available?  Try
‘clipboarding’ – it’s simple, productive and effective.

Background

By March this year I had come to the end of my rope.  For almost two
years, in Richmond NSW electorate, our attempts to do tabling at farmers
markets and other local events had been frustrated by COVID restrictions.
Then, in the last month, two unprecedented floods, two weeks apart,
devastated many of our local communities.  Just when we were most
motivated to canvas support for building political will to address climate
change, normal methods of reaching out to our community seemed
closed. The following will run you through how we readjusted our approach.

Resources needed:

  • One Clipboard
  • Multiple copies of the CCL Voter Comment Form with poster of ACD
    on the back of each sheet
  • One copy of local CCL Group’s identification, i.e., your group logo

Directions:

During business hours on a Tuesday morning I took my clipboard and
spent a few hours visiting 33 businesses in the Tweed Heads area on foot.
At each business, I engaged with local staff or manager and left a copy of
the CCL Voter Comment Form and Australian Climate Dividend (ACD) poster for collection next week.

Sample Script:

‘Hi, my name is Ian.  I live locally on Piggabeen Rd.  Last week during the floods
we were cut off for a few days with Kennedy Drive closed and the internet
also down for 8 days.  We know a lot of people were affected much more
than us.  How did you and your firm go?’

  • Listen and respond quickly leading into explanation of why you are visiting

‘I belong to a group called CCL Richmond. We are a group of local
volunteers.’

  • Show identification.

‘We are not supporting any political party; however, we are interested in
not only helping with the recovery but also in looking at what is causing
the extreme flooding, bushfires and heat waves that we are having.  Is
that something you’re interested in?’

  • Listen and respond briefly identifying with any values identified.

‘What we do is talk with local politicians asking for greater climate action.
They understand what we are asking for, but they also keep asking what
local people and businesses think.  What would be your message to them?

 

  • Listen and respond appropriately.

‘Can I leave this form with you to consider?  You could share it with
other staff, family or friends. Is it okay if I come back next Tuesday morning to
collect the form and answer any questions you may have? My contact
details are also on the back of the form if needed.’

  • Listen and respond appropriately. Show thanks and appreciation for their
    time, even if they decline to complete the form.
  • Don’t be phased by any response when you return next week. People may not have time to get the form completed, leave it at home, forget about it altogether or simply change their mind about partaking. Always find something to be grateful for and appreciative of.

Results and comments:

  • thirty-one of 33 businesses engaged and accepted forms. Two businesses
    politely declined
  • ten completed forms were collected on the following Tuesday.  Most others
    wanted more time or indicated they would email the completed
    form to me later. Two others declined to follow up
  • a further seven completed forms were collected when I returned the next Tuesday
  • all 17 businesses indicated either “Very concerned about climate
    change” or “alarmed about climate change”
  • all 17 businesses indicated concern about 4 or 5 climate impacts
  • all 17 businesses included the “Flooding or Drought” option in their
    list of concerns
  • nine businesses wanted elected representatives to have the political
    will to “Introduce a Price on Carbon”
  • all 17 businesses also wanted two or more of the following:
    “Promote transition to Renewables”; “Fund Climate Solutions
    Research”; “Work cooperatively across Parties”; or “Take the Long-
    Term View”
  • individual messages to MPs ranged from “Let common sense
    prevail!” to concerns about the future of children and the planet
  • most indicated that they did not want to be contacted by MPs. A
    few did
  • before the 2019 bushfires 60% of Australians believed that climate
    change was a serious problem. After the fires the figure moved to
    64%.  Will the floods this year have a similar effect on Australian
    attitudes? (Australia Talks National Survey 2021), and
  • In 2021 Richmond NSW was the electorate with the highest climate
    risk in the State of NSW and yet 14% of Richmond NSW voters
    believed that “about the same or less action” on climate change is
    Will that % change after the floods? (Australia Talks
    National Survey 2021).

Overall, this was a very helpful strategy, I hope this guide propels your Grassroots Outreach to new heights!