As we get closer to Census Day on April 1, 2020, we’ll be counting down the months with a timeline of outreach recommendations for governments, community-based organizations, and individuals. CCL staff attend many of the Complete Count Committee meetings and Census conferences that are happening all over the nation, and we thought it would be helpful to share some of the insights that we’ve collected to better help your outreach efforts. Here are some strategies that you can implement for the month of October:
Develop your media strategy
Last month we blogged about the importance of organizing and mobilizing your volunteers in Census outreach. This month, let’s focus on your media and campaign strategy. From your strategic plan, you should have an idea of how you plan to use media to amplify awareness around the Census. Here are some things to consider:
Create your social media pages. Unlike 2010, social media will play a major role in your Census outreach this time around and is a great way to increase visibility within your community. Designate a volunteer to set up and manage your social media accounts. Your accounts should be localized and easy to find: @ClevelandCounts or @BaltimoreCensus, for example Also come up with a similar hashtag to complement the handle such as #ClevelandCounts or #BaltimoreCensus. You can piggyback off of other Census campaigns like #CountMeIn and personalize it to become #CountMeInCleveland. Your social media manager should begin engagement now on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to start building followers.
Newspaper and Radio Ads
Contact your local newspapers to find out if any ad space can be available at no or low cost to you. The ads should run as close as possible to Census Day on April 1. Designate one of your volunteers to be the press/communications manager and have them create your campaign’s talking points.
Pitch to a local reporter and ask them to cover the work that your campaign is doing around the Census
Notify news outlets of community events where you’ll be promoting the Census to draw coverage
If funds are available, instruct your designated social media manager to buy a domain and use a free template to build a website. You can also create a Facebook page and use it as your website. The language on your website can be as simple as including:
Census Day is April 1, 2020
Boilerplate language/FAQ on why the Census is important nationally, and locally, how much funding your city gets from Census funding, who is counted, etc.
The social media information for your Census campaign (page, handle, and any hashtags)
Create a visual and engaging flyer to promote your Census outreach efforts. Check out some free templates on Canva to get you started. You can customize the graphics and language on the flyers based on the populations that you’re trying to reach. The great thing about Canva is that not only can they be printed for physical distribution, they can also be distributed digitally on your website and on social media.
CommunityConnect Labs tools
If you are using our Community Motivator tool, it’s now ready for launch in English and Spanish! Start by re-familiarizing yourself with the tool and retraining your volunteers on how to use it. Now is the time to get people to pledge to be counted, and it’s as easy as sending a text!
Stick to the plan!
Now that your outreach plan is coming together, stick to it and stay consistent. Now is the time to build awareness and momentum around the Census. Utilize any opportunity to get in front of people and engage them in one of your many Census tools.
Let us know what strategies you are using in your community and we will feature them here on our blog! See you in November!