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Nonprofit Buzz: Census important to all residents

The 2020 Census, as required by the U.S. Constitution, will have far reaching effects for states, communities, businesses, and organizations for the next 10 years. This is why it’s important that everyone participate to ensure a complete count of the population.
Census data is used to allocate funding for services such as Medicaid and maternal and child health programs (SNAP, WIC, and CHIP), transit programs, public housing assistance, Community Development Block Grants, Head Start and Early Head Start. It informs decisions about public infrastructure and private business investments and is used to determine political boundaries for federal congressional districts as well as state senate and house districts.
The Census is important to the nonprofit sector as well. Data are used to identify what services are needed and where services should be provided to best reach the target population. Many nonprofits receive government funding, which is allocated based on Census data, so an incomplete or incorrect count could negatively impact future funding.
Not only is the Census important to nonprofits, but nonprofits are also important to the Census. Nonprofits serve populations that are in danger of being undercounted, such as minority populations, low-income households, immigrants and young children. This means organizations have an opportunity to help ensure a complete count of their clients and community by encouraging the people they serve to complete the census survey.
Here are some ways nonprofits can help encourage census participation. Promote the census in print or electronic newsletters, websites, and social media. Talk to your clients about the Census and why it is important for them to participate. Incorporate the census into ongoing services and advocacy.
Organizations can also participate in the Muskogee Complete Count Committee that was organized by city officials and community leaders to promote the census and increase participation. The committee is working with tribes, schools, community organizations and the local census partnership specialist who provides resources to local communities to promote the census. To learn how to participate on the Muskogee Complete Count Committee, contact committee chair Tish Callahan at tcallahan@muskogeeonline.org.
Before April 1, Census Day, every household will receive an invitation to complete the census. This year, the census can be completed online or by mail or phone. When you respond to the Census, you will provide data for where you live and the people in your household as of April 1. In May, June and July, census takers will visit homes that haven’t responded to the census to help make sure everyone is counted.
The Census survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete and is legally private. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share individual answers with anyone, and compiled data that could potentially result in identification of an individual or household is suppressed in the census databases at www.census.gov.
For more information about the 2020 Census and resources to promote the census or to complete the survey online.
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