Complete Count Tips
Darrell Moore with Valdosta State University was part of a very successful complete count effort 10 years ago in Colquitt County for Census 2010. Every county, city, and town is different, and what works in one community may or may not work in others.
Based on the success of Colquitt County, Darrell has compiled the following tips that might help your community improve its 2020 count.
- Make sure you have a comprehensive, diverse committee to make a plan for your community. Having 50 people with various backgrounds and connections working on the LCCC is better than a small group. You need the trusted voices to answer questions, address any concerns people might have, and explain why an accurate count is important for them, their family, and their community. Look at what other communities are doing and see how you can modify or implement that idea in your community.
- Keep it simple when you are asking someone to volunteer and when talking about the census. So much information is available from federal, state, and local sources that it can be overwhelming. Try to get your messages down to a one-page document and a five-minute pitch. (Some one-pagers are provided in the appendix to the toolkit.)
- Engage partners who interact with hard-to-count populations. Work with medical clinic staff, faith leaders, and community service organizations and nonprofits. Your local Family Connections representative is a great partner.
- Engage school teachers (K-12) and ask them to talk about the census with their classes. School systems can send home flyers and coloring pages with kids.
- Consider some of the following places for marketing and outreach in your community:
- Grocery stores and convenience stores
- YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, afterschool programs
- Housing authority/public housing
- Schools and child care centers
- School and community sporting events
- Churches: Sunday bulletin and Wednesday night suppers
- Public libraries (The census can be completed online, and libraries are an important access point.)
- Restaurants (Table tents can be very effective.)
- Local utilities (Place notices in monthly bills or newsletters)
- Hispanic outreach – Engage with organizations, volunteers, and clinics that serve the Hispanic community. Find trusted partners to communicate with this demographic. Trusted voices are important with every demographic, but more so here. Engage pastors (trust) and service providers. Outreach will have a significant impact on family and children.
- Speak at your local Lion’s Club, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, and similar groups. Talk about how census data influences economic development and funding.
- Work with your school system’s homeless coordinator. Also work with local soup kitchens or other shelters.
- Set up tables or displays at community and organization events. The more people you can find to volunteer for events, the better. Local festivals between now and April are key opportunities for education and outreach.
- Use Trusted voices – Provide community members with approved talking points and ask for them to give personal testimonies, make videos, write letters to the editor, go on radio morning shows and talk shows, etc. Community members should use the approved talking points as a guide when developing personal statements. (The toolkit has talking points.)
- Promote the census at all of your larger employers, in break rooms, in restrooms, near time clocks, etc. Set up an informational table in breakrooms or at shift change.
- Encourage local volunteers and stakeholders to apply for the US Census jobs. They are good paying, part time, temporary jobs, and will attract out of state applicants. Local candidates will be familiar with your community, neighborhoods, and residents. They will be more invested than an out of town worker if they understand the impact of the Census on their family and their community.
You can use or tailor the example lines below—some are educational, and some are motivational. Be creative!
- Invest in your health. Participate in the 2020 Census. Visit Census.Georgia.Gov to learn more.
- Have a say in your services. Participate in the 2020 Census. Visit Census.Georgia.Gov to learn more.
- Pay your bills. Complete your census form. A few minutes will pay off for the next 10 years.
Your LCCC can help educate the public about the 2020 Census through a variety of outreach activities. Below are some ideas for outreach activities:
- Develop activities to educate employees about the census.
- Encourage businesses to become official sponsors of census activities and to place census information such as table tents, postcards, flyers, and infographics in their businesses.
- Hold census rallies or parades.
- Set up a census booth at high school football or basketball games, as well as events held by your local recreation department.
- Sponsor a contest to design a sticker or poster promoting the 2020 Census.
- Sponsor a census booth at county fairs, carnivals, and festivals (especially cultural or ethnic celebrations).
- Direct people needing help filling out their census to libraries.
- Include the 2020 Census logo and message on brochures, newsletters, social media sites, local government websites, and bus schedules.
- Place census posters, banners, and other signage in highly visible public locations.
- Place census messages or flyers in utility and other government bills.
- Encourage local libraries to include census information at book drives, story time, and other library events.
- Have census information available during voter registration drives.
- Provide information on federally funded programs that have benefited the community.
- Place public service announcements in local media encouraging households to respond.
- Include census information as part of health fairs, blood drives, and other community events.