Outreach Ideas

Update 3-23-20

2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19

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Census 2020 Outreach

Modifications in Response to COVID-19

Update 3-20-20


The following is a combination of resources provided by Washington Nonprofits, ideas produced at our March Complete Count meeting and concepts from other brainstorming sessions.

Note: please check with your funder before making modifications.


COVID-19 Basics


Timeline Considerations

  • Census Bureau suggested we stop going door to door by mid-May, but this recommendation may change

  • Consider strategies that will not confuse the public as to our role

    • We do not want the public to think we work for the Census Bureau ​

New Strategies

  • Be sure to keep the Census top of mind in other ways.

  • Ask your funder for timeline extension. 

    • Innovia Foundation has extended their deadline. Contact Alicia Heiser for more information aheiser@innovia.org

  • Submit Op-Eds/letters to editor as people will be home reading newspapers.

    • Spokane County Complete Count is coordinating this effort. See sign up sheet below.

      • Letter template provided by League of Women Voters: click here

  • Focus on those most vulnerable in this time.

    • Elderly, low-income, no internet access, non-English speakers.

  • Distribute flyers, posters.

  • In Census messaging, talk about how the census affects public health funding, including pandemics.

  • Engage more trusted messengers and encourage them to connect with their community via phone/text/email.

    • Offer stipends for connecting with a predetermined number of households ​

  • Text people, checking in to make sure healthy and let them know about the census.

  • Phone/text tree.

  • Implement Power of 5

    • Talk to 5 people who each commit to speaking with 5 people and so on.​

  • Ask partner organizations to share information via their mailing lists.

  • Get young people involved in sharing information via social media (not just Facebook and Instagram).

    • Example: there are custom stickers and filters for Snap Chat.

  • Deliver groceries with Census info in each bag or offer Census bags to hold groceries (use your funds to make custom bags)

  • Mail information (flyers, etc.).

  • Purchase swag that is easy to mail (stickers, for instance).

  • Pay to boost posts on social media.

  • Create ads for Facebook/Instagram.

  • Buy ad space in local media.

  • Consider other media options: Pandora Radio, Hulu, etc.

  • Provide raffle prizes and promote content with hashtag competition. Examples:

    • Ask people to share our Census video (https://youtu.be/nStT_c_c-Gw) with a personalized hashtag. Each person who responds during your predetermined timeframe is entered into winning a prize.

    • Selfie placard challenge. Have folks take selfies with a placard pledging to be counted or saying they completed the Census. Associate with a hashtag. Same concept as above.

    • Raffle prizes: consider gift cards to local business

  • Distribute door hangers/flyers.

    • Note: Census Bureau asks that we stop door to door outreach by mid-May.

  • Hold a Facebook live party with incentives. Model after techniques utilized by direct sales (e.g. Lip Sense, LuLaRoe, Usborne Books, etc.).

  • Create a friendly rivalry competition between Census tracts and follow real time response rates using this map https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html 

    • Coordinate with neighboring Census tract and create some kind of incentive. Hold virtual parties.   

  • Expand translated materials.

    • Be sure to coordinate with the group on this so that we don’t duplicate work.

  • Make sure college students know that they count where they live most of the time (even if they are temporarily displaced. Click here for social media post about that. 

Census Outreach During COVID-19 Webinar (March 20): Click here for slides and notes. 

Using Social Media in Census Outreach Webinar, was Monday, March 23 at 11:00am.

Utilize our messaging package.

It includes sample social media posts, blog content, and more.

Click Here to View

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Spokane County Complete Count website was inspired by the Washington Nonprofits 2020 Census Action Kit. View toolkit.