Nonprofits make a difference in ensuring that everyone is counted during the 2010 Census. This is a re-post from the Michigan Nonprofit Association’s (MNA) January/February 2010 newsletter:
Nonprofits are uniquely poised to provide education and motivation around Census participation. Nonprofits maintain ongoing, trusting relationships with the people they serve. As such, nonprofits can be powerful vehicles for encouraging their communities to return the Census questionnaire or respond to Census enumerators.
Location: Nonprofits are densely located in hard to count areas.
Access: Nonprofits have everyday contact with communities most at risk of being undercounted. Without investing a new program, nonprofits can provide basic information to the thousands who pass through their doors on how and why they participate in the Census.
Trust: Nonprofits have trusting relationships with the communities they serve and can act as powerful vehicles for education about the importance of Census participation. When the message to be counted comes from a trusted entity, people are more likely to participate.
Multilingual: Nonprofits connect to a range of constituencies and cultures. Most nonprofits serving communities who speak languages other than English, can provide access to Census education materials in the communities languages.
Visibility: Nonprofits are out in the community at events, meetings and everywhere people live, work and play
A Vested Interest: Nonprofits driven by social missions have an inherent interest in ensuring that their communities have access to the funds, services, representations and physical and social infrastructure impacted by the census count.
The MNA also provides important resources to help nonprofits with their efforts in the 2010 Census as a part of their Nonprofits Count! campaign. This project is directed at mobilizing nonprofits to ensure that every person is counted. These resources include:
- Free training webinars on counting opportunities, how nonprofits can help people get counted, methods for helping people fill out the Census forms, and next steps to ensure a successful final Census count.
- Downloadable materials including talking points, sample media releases, flyers, posters, and articles.
- Information on becoming a Be Counted Center or Questionnaire Assistance Center to increase community participation.
- Guidelines on effective letter writing and mobilization strategies.
- Distribution of Census materials including t-shirts, posters and other memorabilia.
- Link to the Michigan 2010 Census Planning website which assists Michigan organizations with outreach efforts where mail non-response is expected.
- Up-to-date Census information through MNA’s MI Nonprofit News and Public Policy Action Alert.