The Partnership for America’s Children held a convening in December for nearly 50 state and national advocacy organizations working to increase the count of young children in the 2020 Census. Many of the state advocates are undertaking innovative strategies that are free or inexpensive and that can be executed in your states and communities in the next few months. Below is a summary of these strategies.
During the meeting, advocates also had the opportunity to strategize with colleagues on ways to reach as many families with young children as possible. These ideas are also summarized below. The suggestions that are listed as brainstorming ideas have yet to be implemented, but these ideas can be helpful as you strategize census efforts within your state. If you would like to learn more about any of the initiatives mentioned, please email Jasmine Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Virginia – Advocates are collaborating with hospital systems since they are trusted messengers to patients and employees. They are giving content to the hospital system’s mission team to distribute to employees through newsletters and emails. They are also distributing materials, such as flyers, to pediatricians within the hospital system to display in their offices.
• Virginia – Advocates are sending census materials in the “Go-and-Grow” bags that are given to families when they have a baby. Another state advocate also worked with their state to put information in packets that are given to parents with newborn babies, so this can be achieved in multiple states.
• Brainstorming Idea – Put messages about counting children on newborn baby blankets that go home with newborns.
Early Childhood Field
• New Jersey – Advocates created toolkits for early childhood providers. They also created a monthly census action and activity timeline for child care providers.
• Several states are distributing WE COUNT books during home visiting meetings.
• NAEYC – NAEYC is supporting its network of affiliates and advocates to prioritize joining local and state coalition efforts in addition to developing tools and resources for advocates to communicate on the census.
• Brainstorming Idea – Play census messages while on hold for child care services or similar programs.
Nonprofit Organizations and Coalitions
• Oklahoma – Oklahoma has a Complete Count Committee specifically for nonprofit organizations across the state with subcommittees representing different demographics. Advocates from Oklahoma are also encouraging nonprofit organizations to reach out to their volunteer base to apply for census jobs. If the volunteers do not need the compensation for the census work, they can donate the funds to a nonprofit organization.
• California – Advocates are working with an existing network, All In, to establish liaisons with teachers and parents. They are planning to host presentations and trainings for parent leaders to instruct them on how to encourage other parents to participate in the census. The child-focused organizations within All In formed its own Complete Count Committee to share resources and expand impact.
• South Carolina – As a Prevent Child Abuse America grantee, advocates will send census information in the prevent child abuse boxes that go out in the beginning of March.
• Ohio – Advocates are leading a statewide group of nonprofit organizations. The advocates are planning to raise the resources to fund the census work through state organizations matching funds.
• Texas – Advocates created a Texas Counts campaign to function as a resource hub within Texas. The campaign also creates census-specific materials and templates to engage communities.
• New Jersey – Advocates worked with the local Girl Scouts council to increase their engagement in census outreach. They created a patch specific to census work – now that it has been established, any girl scout across the country can earn the patch. The advocates also hosted a webinar for girl scouts and troop leaders to inform them about the census.
• Brainstorming Ideas – Conduct trainings on how to engage others with effective messaging, especially for individuals who interact with families. This can be done through brownbag lunches with staff or partnering with coalitions to provide information at meetings or on webinars.
• Brainstorming Idea – Host census parties and child-focused events through April 1st.
• Brainstorming Idea – Distribute commitment cards and “I completed the Census” stickers.
• Oregon – Advocates are training youth in its statewide youth-led foster program to reach and educate peers within their network about the census.
• Brainstorming Idea – Send a template letter with census information to foster care agencies for them to distribute to foster care families.
State and Business Partnerships
• Indiana – Advocates collaborated with the Public Transportation Department to pay for tail wraps on the back of public buses. They were able to purchase detail wraps on 6 buses in service 12 hours a day for 4 weeks – the total cost was $1000.
• Arkansas – Advocates have created a sign-on letter for business representatives and elected officials to show solidarity in supporting census outreach – this list will be sent to the media. Advocates will also be collecting quotes from the business community to capture the importance of filling out the census form from a business perspective.
• Brainstorming Idea – Include census information on energy bills.
• Brainstorming Idea – Place large ads at store entries.
• Brainstorming Idea – Place ads in the baby/newborn section of Walmart and other big box stores.
• Brainstorming Idea – Companies can send census information with donated goods or put census reminders on coupons/receipts.