The keys to any successful outreach program are clear messages and materials, trusted messengers, and a variety of ways that make it easy for organizations and individuals to get the word out. This section offers suggestions on organizing community events to encourage participation and on setting up space to provide people with hands-on assistance in completing their census forms.
As you develop your outreach strategies, it is important to create materials, like flyers or brochures, which will resonate with your target community and link individuals to community assistance, such as local assistance centers and telephone hotlines
Like other civic engagement campaigns, a census outreach campaign should reach people through a variety of community events and outlets.
A great way to increase awareness about the upcoming census is to canvass specific neighborhoods, especially ones where you think families might be wary of completing their census forms or may not understand how important an accurate census count is to their family and community.
Community-Based Group Volunteers
Community-based organizations can make a huge and long-lasting contribution to the communities they serve by helping to make sure that everyone is counted in the 2010 census.
Educational events don't all have to be large productions - they can be as simple as inviting a few people to your office for a brown-bag lunch. Or you can raise awareness about the census and build some energy and enthusiasm for a participation campaign by organizing a larger-scale town meeting, or if you want a more festive atmosphere, a block party.
Helping People Complete Their Forms
The Census Bureau hopes that many people will be able to complete the 2010 form in 10 minutes. But many people will have questions about how to answer certain questions on the four-page form, such as: What is the difference between race and ethnicity? How do I list the relationships of all the people living in my home? My son or daughter lives with me part-time; how do I account for that?
There are a couple of options for community-based organizations to consider in helping people complete the forms that they should be receiving in the mail in mid-March 2010.