Sample Get Out the Count Timeline for Libraries and Community Partners

The timeline laid out below should help organize your efforts to get the word out about the Census and prepare for and support people completing the Census.

In 2020, the ten question Census will be largely digital for the first time, and there are a lot of communities and populations that stand to be left out of the count, including traditionally hard-to-count populations like children, New Americans, and people with limited access to internet and limited experience with technology.

As trusted organizations in their community, libraries can help ensure a complete count by partnering with Community Based Organizations, local governments, and anyone interested in getting the word out about the Census to make sure people understand how important it is to complete the Census. Libraries can also provide support as tech hubs to help people complete their Census questionnaires.

There are a lot of very important things tied to the Census count, including the basic tenets of democracy and representation in our State and Federal government, and, what resonates more with people in studies, state and federal funds received locally; young families are more likely to participate in the Census when they find out it affects funding for their community. Federal funding for Medicaid, local schools, highway planning and construction, CHIP, WIC, SNAP, HEAP, and more are distributed using formulas based on the decennial Census. Similar formulas based on the Census or based on formulas based on the Census are used to allocate state funding for programs like the Community Development Block Grant Program, and Census data is used for planning purposes by businesses and nonprofits. An inaccurate count will result in lost funding, which helps offset state and local funds, and reduced representation at the state and federal levels.

Everyone stands to lose a lot from an undercount in the upcoming Census, and we all need to work together to make sure everyone is counted and we secure the representation and funding our communities are entitled to. Libraries are the Swiss army knives of our communities and we’re ready to help our communities face the many challenges we’ll face and get us to a complete count.

 

Get Out the Count Timeline

Awareness, Training, & Configuration
January 1, 2020 to March 12, 2020

This phase involves letting people know that the Census is coming and prepping for helping people complete the Census.

 

Organizing and Raising Awareness

  • Identify traditionally hard-to-count populations, and other populations that may need encouragement to complete the Census questionnaire.
  • Recruit and train trusted messengers from the community and hard-to-count populations to encourage people to participate in the census and encourage others to do the same.
  • Recruit bilingual volunteers that represent the languages spoken in your community to help people complete the Census.
  • Using communication outlets (email newsletters, print newsletters, social media, websites, newspapers, fliers and other print communications) publicize weekly or monthly messages to educate people in the community about the importance of the upcoming Census. You can use the graphics and messages and videos in the communication schedule below, or build your own schedule for posting information about the Census.
  • Hang posters advertising the Census like those provided by MHLS as part of the New York Community Trusty Census Equity Fund grant program.

 

Training:

  • Provide training opportunities for frontline staff and Census champions, either through the Mid-Hudson Library System Census Training workshops or other sources, so staff are comfortable answering questions or finding answers about the Census, and helping people complete the Census.
  • Ensure staff understand the digital security and accessibility options in place with computers and devices designed to support people completing the Census questionnaire.

 

Technology Assessment and Configuration:

  • Procure additional computers or devices necessary to support people completing the online Census questionnaire.
  • Ensure computers and devices designated for completing the Census have Windows 10 or another supported operating system installed (support for Windows 7 ends January 14, 2020)
  • Ensure computers and devices designated for completing the Census have up-to-date web browser software.
  • Ensure computers and devices designated for completing the Census are free of viruses and malware.
  • Ensure computers and devices designated for completing the Census have up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Ensure Deep Freeze software or other hardware locking software is up to date.
  • Ensure kiosk mode is enabled for computers and devices dedicated solely to completing the Census.
  • Ensure private mode is enabled by default for computers and devices dedicated solely to completing the Census.

 

 

Communication Schedule

 

Week

Graphic / Video

Suggested Captions

1/6/2020
  • Long Caption:
    For the first time, in 2020 the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online. The library is ready to help! Use our computers or wireless connection to respond to the census in less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee. You’ll still be able to respond by mail. To learn more about what to expect, visit 2020census.gov. #2020Census
  • Short Caption:
    Use the library’s computers or wireless connection to respond to the 2020 census online in less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee. Get more information: 2020census.gov. #2020Census
1/13/2020 School children with hands raised for questions Long Caption:

  • Every 10 years, the @uscensusbureau undertakes a mammoth task: counting all the people residing in the United States. This count affects the allocation of funding for our community’s public resources (e.g., roads, hospitals, schools), how we plan for the future, and our voice in government. The library is ready to help. Learn more about the importance of the #2020Census and how to participate: 2020census.gov.
  • Short Caption:
    Did you know that the next census will take place in 2020? It will determine future funding, how we plan for the future, and our voice in government. The library is ready to help you respond. To learn more, visit 2020census.gov. 
1/20/2020
  • Long Caption:
    Every 10 years, the @uscensusbureau undertakes a mammoth task: counting all the people residing in the United States. This count affects the allocation of funding for our community’s public resources (e.g., roads, hospitals, schools), how we plan for the future, and our voice in government. The library is ready to help. Learn more about the importance of the #2020Census and how to participate: 2020census.gov.
  • Short Caption:
    Did you know that the next census will take place in 2020? It will determine future funding, how we plan for the future, and our voice in government. The library is ready to help you respond. To learn more, visit 2020census.gov.
1/27/2020 People on a bus
  • What matters to you? Schools? Transportation? Hospitals? Data from the @uscensusbureau help inform planning efforts for all these important community resources. To learn more, about how census data will impact you and our community, visit the library, or check out 2020census.gov. #2020Census
2/3/2020 government building with US Flag and text, "it's about fair representation"

 

  • Sample Newsletter Article:
    The 2020 Census is Coming
    Did you know funding for our local schools, Head Start programs, roads, Medicaid, community development grants, roads, and more are all based on how many people are counted in the Census? Your response to the 2020 Census will affect not only the funding we receive for these important resources in our community, but also our representation in the federal and state governments. The Census asks 10 basic questions about each person in your household, including name, date of birth, sex, and race. With a lot at stake, we’re gearing up at the library to make sure everyone knows about the Census and has the opportunity to be counted. For the first time the Census will be available digitally nationwide using your phone, tablet, or computer. Everyone will have the option to respond online or by phone, and some people will also have the option to respond using a paper questionnaire. The library will be here to help answer questions, and provide a secure environment for people to complete the Census online if they need one. If you are bilingual, and would like to support your neighbors completing the Census, please let us know.
    Fore more information, visit www.2020Census.gov.
2/3/2020

 

  • The 2020 census is coming! Make sure you’re counted. An accurate census count means that our community will receive the funding, services, and business support we deserve and need. The library is ready to help you complete the census online. To learn more, visit [LIBRARY WEBSITE]. #2020Census
2/10/2020 People working at a table
  • We are excited to announce that we’ve partnered with the [COUNTY or TOWN] to support the #2020Census! To learn about the census, how the data collected will be used, and what to expect next, contact us at the library.
2/17/2020
  • Find out how your response to the Census affects our representation in our state and federal governments.
2/24/2020 A person working on a laptop
  • Long Caption:
    For the first time, in 2020 the U.S. Census Bureau will accept responses online. The library is ready to help! Use our computers or wireless connection to respond to the census in less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee. You’ll still be able to respond by mail. To learn more about what to expect, visit 2020census.gov. #2020Census
  • Short Caption:
    Use the library’s computers or wireless connection to respond to the 2020 census online in less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee. Get more information: 2020census.gov. #2020Census
3/3/2020 School children sitting on floor listening
  • Long Caption:
    Every 10 years, the @uscensusbureau undertakes a mammoth task: counting all the people residing in the United States. This count affects the allocation of funding for our community’s public resources (e.g., roads, hospitals, schools), how we plan for the future, and our voice in government. The library is ready to help. Learn more about the importance of the #2020Census and how to participate: 2020census.gov.
  • Short Caption:
    Did you know that the next census will take place in 2020? It will determine future funding, how we plan for the future, and our voice in government. The library is ready to help you respond. To learn more, visit 2020census.gov. 
3/3/2020 Images and text describing the importance of the Census
  • Sample Newsletter Article:
    The Census is Almost Here!
    It’s important that everyone be counted in the upcoming Census. The federal and state governments use the results of the Census to allocate billions in funding for schools, Head Start programs, roads, Medicaid, community development grants, roads, and more. Go to www.2020Census.gov to complete your Census questionnaire now, and secure funding for these important resources for our community. Your answers to these 10 basic questions will also protect our representation in federal and state governments. When you receive your invitation to respond to the Census, you will be asked to respond online or by phone, and a small percentage of people will have the option to respond using a paper questionnaire. To respond online, you can use your Census ID number which will come in the mail or, if you don’t have that, your home address and cross street. The library is here to help answer your questions about the Census and provide a secure environment for you and your neighbors to complete the questionnaire online if needed. So help yourself, help your neighbors, complete the Census and let your friends know they should do it to!
    Fore more information, visit www.2020Census.gov.
3/10/2020

 

  • Learn how the Census Protects Your Data and Privacy. Visit 2020census.gov for more info.

Motivation & Support
March 13, 2020 to May 12, 2020

Motivation & Raising Awareness

This phase includes letting people know the Census is open, directing them to sites where they can complete the questionnaire, and supporting anyone who needs help to complete the questionnaire. The Census will be open and people will receive invitations to complete the questionnaires in mid-March.

Raising Awareness

  • Configure all browsers on public PC’s to load the Census website (https://2020census.gov/) at startup to remind and encourage people to complete the Census.
  • Provide Library Programming around the Census.
  • Using communication outlets (email newsletters, print newsletters, social media, websites, newspapers, and other print communications) to publicize weekly or monthly messages to encourage people to respond-to-the-census.

 

Support

  • Ensure staff are trained and comfortable with answering questions about the Census and helping people complete the Census.
  • Ensure staff are aware of the Census language options available by phone for non-native English speaking people.
  • Ensure staff are aware of the official Census URL’s (web addresses).
  • Ensure staff are aware of the digital privacy features equipped on library computer software including browser settings, and Deep Freeze.
  • Identify any problems people run into completing the Census, and work to address them.
  • Regularly check in with community groups to find out what they’re hearing in the community about the Census.
  • Depending on staff availability and funding, visit community gathering places and groups to talk about the importance of completing the Census.
  • Depending on staff availability and funding, visit community gathering places and groups to provide in-person support for completing the Census, including bringing laptops or other devices dedicated to filling out the online questionnaire.
  • Regularly check in with community groups to find out what they’re hearing in the community about the Census.
  • Identify populations and areas of the community that are not responding, using the Census Response Outreach Area Mapper online tools, and focus outreach energy in those communities.

Communication Schedule

 

Week

Graphic / Video

Suggested Captions

3/17/2020 People on a bus
  • What matters to you? Schools? Transportation? Hospitals? Data from the @uscensusbureau help inform planning efforts for all these important community resources. Visit 2020census.gov to make sure you and your neighbors get the funding you’re entitled to. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census. #2020Census
3/24/2020
  • Visit 2020census.gov to get counted #2020Census. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census.
3/31/2020 Hands raised and text "taking part is your civic duty"
  • Sample Newsletter Article
    The Census is Here!
    Have you complete your Census yet??? Did you do it online or by phone, or did you get one of the rare paper questionnaires? Your response to the Census secures our community’s right to fair representation in the federal  and state governments, and our share of billions in federal and state funding including money for schools, community development grants, roads, Medicaid, and more. The Census asks some basic questions about everyone in your household, including children born on our before April 1, 2020, but this short quiz, which is less invasive than google, Facebook, or even completing your taxes, can have a big impact for you and your neighbors. That’s why the library is here to answer questions about the Census and provide secure access to www.2020Census.gov. On behalf of the library and your community, we want to say, “thank you,” if you already completed the Census, and if you haven’t yet, it’s not too late! Responding is your civic duty, and also required by law, so head over to www.2020Census.gov to fill out your questionnaire!
    Fore more information, visit www.2020Census.gov.
3/31/2020
  • Your response means funding for services for schools, roads, hospitals, healthcare and more for you and your neighbors Visit 2020census.gov to be counted now. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census.

 

4/7/2020
  • Your data is safe with the Census. Visit 2020census.gov to be counted now. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census in a secure environment.
4/14/2020
  • What matters to you? Schools? Transportation? Hospitals? Data from the @uscensusbureau help inform planning efforts for all these important community resources. Visit 2020census.gov to make sure you and your neighbors get the funding you’re entitled to. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census. #2020Census
4/21/2020
  • Visit 2020census.gov to get counted #2020Census. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census.
4/28/2020
  • Your response means funding for services for schools, roads, hospitals, healthcare and more for you and your neighbors. Visit 2020census.gov to be counted now. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census.

 

5/5/2020
  • Visit 2020census.gov to be counted now. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census in a secure environment.
5/12/2020 People on a bus
  • The Census is important for funding for schools, roads, hospitals, healthcare and more for you and your neighbors. Visit 2020census.gov to be counted now. Visit your library if you need help completing your Census in a secure environment.

 

You can use the above communication schedule and messaging, or make up your own. Click here for more graphics and videos and info about the Census.

 

 

For more info contact Casey Conlin at cconlin@midhudson.org.

 

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