What Organizations Can Do
The Census Bureau is actively recruiting local governments and community-based organizations to become census partners and help form Complete Count Committees. The Census Bureau, LCCREF, and other national partner organizations can provide strategies and materials like this toolkit, which will help you create and run an effective campaign.
Why Your Help Is Essential
The 2000 census was more complete than previous censuses, partly because state and local governments invested in public education campaigns. But the recession means those budgets are tight. For example, California spent $25 million to encourage census participation in 2000; it looks as if the state will be spending only $2 million in 2010.
Thanks to a major investment in targeted outreach, the hardest to count communities showed the biggest improvement between 1990 and 2000. But there's still a big gap in returns to overcome. If community-based organizations don't help fill the gap, millions of people will go uncounted, which will make things worse in affected areas for another 10 years.
In addition, leaders with local credibility can make a big difference. Some people will have doubts and fears about filling out their census form. They might not trust the government, or they might fear that information will be used against them by immigration officials, landlords, or creditors. We need trusted voices to explain that individual census information is protected by the strongest privacy laws we have – and that no government agency, law enforcement official, landlord, or employer can get access to that information.
How Your Organization Can Benefit
Getting involved in making the census a success is a concrete way for organizations to develop leadership, build relationships among activists, and give individuals an easy way to invest in the health of the community. A successful census campaign can also raise the visibility and influence of your organization with elected officials and other community leaders.
And some of your constituents may be able to get one of the thousands of temporary jobs that will be created by the census count and follow-up.
Census Bureau Partnership Program and Communications Campaign
A key part of the Census Bureau’s outreach efforts involves partnering with educators, businesses, the media, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, elected officials, and tribal governments.
The partners help ensure accurate census data and spread the word about census job opportunities by reaching out to segments of the population that might not be persuaded by traditional advertising. They are trusted and effective advocates who can allay fears, communicate benefits, and mobilize participation.
The Census Bureau provides the partners with materials, information, messages, and tools to support public education campaigns.
- Learn more about the Census Bureau Partnership Program and Communications Campaign
- Video highlights from We We Are Census Partners (7:06) - a Census Bureau panel discussion with LCCR's Wade Henderson and members of other national organization.
- Census Bureau Partnership Materials
What Direct Service Organizations Can Do
Community-based organizations that provide direct services to people in harder-to-count communities have a special role to play in increasing census participation.