The VPIRG 2021 Canvass is Underway!

At VPIRG, this time of year usually means ramping up our annual summer door-to-door canvass to renew and recruit thousands of VPIRG members and build support for one of our priority campaigns.

Unfortunately, if you looked around Vermont today, you wouldn’t see any VPIRG canvassers on bikes, heading up long driveways, knocking on doors and building grassroots support for our organization.

We are not running a door-to-door canvass … for now.

Recent developments have us hopeful that we’ll be able to do some in-person canvassing this year. But the health and well-being of our canvassers and our members comes first – and that means putting in the planning necessary to conduct a door-to-door canvass safely and responsibly.

We’re doing that planning now, but that doesn’t mean our outreach staff are sitting idly by in the meantime. For the next 8 weeks, our team of canvassers will be reaching out to thousands of VPIRG members using the methods we honed last year as part of our first-ever virtual canvass: emails, text messages, letters, social media, and a lot of phone calls.

And they’ll be reaching out to members to build support for one of VPIRG’s longest-running campaigns: modernizing Vermont’s Bottle Bill!

As I’m sure you know by now, the Bottle Bill is Vermont’s most effective recycling program. It’s our best chance to fight single-use plastic waste, reduce litter, and promote real recycling of glass, aluminum, and plastic containers. And just weeks ago, VPIRG, along with our members and allies, finally succeeded in passing a bill through the Vermont House to update the program to cover more beverage containers like water bottles, wine bottles and sports drinks.

The 99-46 vote in the House was an amazing achievement, but we’re only partway there. The bill still has to pass the Senate before it can head to the governor’s desk, and the Senate won’t be taking it up again until next January. That’s seven months during which the beverage and waste industry giants can and will use their considerable resources to sow misinformation and try to kill this bill.

Despite the industry opposition, we know we can win, but only with your support. If you get a call or text from a VPIRG canvasser in the next few weeks, please talk with them, learn how you can be a part of this campaign, and consider making a gift to support VPIRG.

Or, if you want to skip the call, consider renewing your VPIRG membership right now!

We are working incredibly hard to implement a door-to-door canvass safely later this summer. We’re still working out the details, but we do know one thing for sure: we won’t be able to visit nearly as many doors as we do in a normal year. That’s just one reason why it would be really impactful if you can renew your support for VPIRG with a gift online or over the phone if you get a call from a canvasser.

I do hope that later this summer you will perhaps see a VPIRG canvasser in your neighborhood, and that will be one more welcome sign that things are getting back to normal. Until then, please stay safe and healthy.