CommunityConnect Labs

Get Out the Count: Outreach Strategies for March

With fewer than 20 days until Census Day on April 1, we are counting down with a timeline of outreach recommendations for governments, community-based organizations, and individuals. Our goal is to help you maximize the time we have left for planning and outreach, which we’re doing by sharing some of the insights that we’ve collected through our work across the country. Here are some strategies that you can implement for the month of March:

Get Ready: Census Letters Hit Mailboxes Nationwide Starting March 12 

Ready or not, the first round of Census mailings are coming. We have been preparing for the 2020 Census for months (maybe even years), and now it’s go-time. 

Make sure your community knows what to expect: 

  • The first wave of mailings will go out March 12–20.
  • The majority of people will receive a letter inviting online self-response. A small portion of people will also receive a paper form in the first mailing.
  • The Census can be completed online or by phone in 13 languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese). 
  • Language guides are available in an additional 59 languages on the Census Bureau website. Access them here.
  • The form is designed to take 10–12 minutes and must be completed in one sitting. The form may take longer to complete for households with large numbers of residents. 

Prepare for an influx of questions by equipping your staff members with the knowledge they need to answer basic Census questions and identifying key resources that you can direct your community members to. Our HelpDesk is designed to help reduce the expected burden on your staff to support constituents’ inquiries. There’s still time to install our 2020 Census HelpDesk web chat on your organization’s website. 


Spice Up Your Outreach: Use the Videos from the 2020 Census Awareness Campaign

Short videos are one of the best ways to catch people’s attention and communicate important information. The Census Bureau has poured time and resources into creating a video campaign promoting Census awareness in more than 10 languages, and the result is quite remarkable. Check out the videos posted on the Census Bureau YouTube page and spread them throughout your communications channels. 

With Census day nearly upon us, it is more crucial now than ever that Census advocates rely on one another. Don’t be afraid to use and share Census resources and materials created by other organizations (so long as they’ve made those resources available for public use). At this point, what matters more than creating your own materials is getting the word out and making sure your community gets counted. We all share a common goal — achieving a fair and accurate 2020 Census. 

Here’s a list of 10 great Census outreach campaigns we’ve compiled from across the country. 

Source: The New York Times

Remind Your Constituents: No Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census

In July 2019, the debate over the citizenship question came to a close. The clear answer: There will be no citizenship question on the 2020 Census. So why is this still an issue? Rumors about the inclusion of a citizenship question continue to circulate through word of mouth as well as misleading online sources. As a result, though the debate over inclusion of the citizenship question came to a close months ago, many people are still unsure. That uncertainty could ultimately mean a loss of representation and funding for your community if community members don’t participate in the Census out of fear. 

Direct your constituents to the Fighting 2020 Census Rumors page for more information about the kind of information the Census Bureau will collect. Especially if you work with noncitizens or minority groups, make sure the message is clear: No Citizenship Question. Everyone Counts.

Let us know what strategies you’re using in your community, and we will feature them here on our blog!


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