Census Legacies Toolkit

Annual Milestones for 2030 Census

Preparation for Census 2020 outreach revealed the need to have better data preservation from prior census outreach efforts, including toolkits, organization and individual contact information, and locally relevant institutional knowledge. With the benefit of hindsight, and with stronger relationships and greater nonprofit capacity and engagement by government agencies and philanthropy in 2020 than in 2010, the roadmap for 2030 preparedness can proceed on a much stronger footing than before. 

2021: Focus on document preservation and contact preservation

Despite the ease and affordability of digital document storage, there is great risk of important documents being lost as personnel and organizations move on to other projects and priorities. We recommend creating a shared Cloud-based storage solution (like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) that includes at least 3 individuals from different organizations, that preserves documents that pertain to planning, proposal writing, implementation, learning, communication, and evaluation. We also strongly recommend capturing contact information (name, email address, phone, organization, title, and role) for individuals in government agencies, philanthropies, nonprofit organizations, research entities, businesses, faith-based organizations, and others who were moderately to frequently involved in Census outreach. In capturing this contact information, we recommend including an alternative email for the individual involved, as well as an alternative email contact at the organization. We recommend including personal email addresses, which tend to be more permanent than professional email addresses.

2021-2022: Focus on learning and evaluation, ACS awareness and advocacy

Starting at the completion of the Census, the following two years should be used to evaluate Census accomplishments, best practices, and challenges. Additionally, during this time it is important to focus on the  implantation of new Census tools, ensuring they are user-friendly and community-friendly. Communities should also inform themselves about ways to advocate on American Community Survey products and tools, including annual population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

2023-2025: Ongoing awareness building & community engagement

Continue ongoing awareness building, community utilization, and advocacy around Census Bureau products and tools, including testing and advocacy on Census 2030 questions and procedures. During this time community engagement is key. How are community organizations utilizing and interfacing with Census products and tools? How can they be improved for 2030? Additionally, community buy-in and participation are essential for understanding community specific outreach efforts, including Census questions and procedures. 

2026-2027: Partner planning

Throughout the entire roadmap, the coalitions built during the 2020 Census need to be kept engaged in this process. Starting in 2026, this engagement should be significantly ramped up. At this stage, all Census stakeholders should start coming together for quarterly meetings and information sessions. Stakeholders can include funders, government, community organizations, and other Census partners. 

Importantly, 2027 will be the year that the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) takes place. Local governments and community partners should be prepared to work in collaboration to ensure accuracy in the residential address list for their jurisdictions.

2028: Identifying specific communities & building coalitions 

One of the specific goals of these planning sessions should be to begin to identify specific communities (e.g. regions; cities; neighborhoods; rural communities; Tribal areas) at greatest risk of undercounting, to inform funding strategies and grantmaking decisions. By 2028, these specific communities should be identified and the Census coalition should be solidly in place. 

Additionally, the group can explore networking opportunities from funders and field partners interested in redistricting (continue into 2031, when the Census Bureau releases data for redistricting). The flow of information between funders, government, community organizations, and other partners regarding 2030 Census preparations and implementation milestones, including webinars and briefings for nonprofits, is essential at this stage. 

At this time funders should:

  • Finalize plans for funder cooperatives (in various forms): develop institutional knowledge, establish funder alliances, finalize RFPs, make funding commitments 
  • Start awarding grants (individually or through funding pools) for 2030 Census outreach and promotion campaigns
  • Host briefings/webinars to educate grantees on 2030 Census plans and operations

 

2029: Messaging, materials, and campaigns

At this stage, 2030 Census messaging and materials should be finalized including fact sheets, webinars, and other information sessions. Census officials/offices, funders, and grantees, should work together to facilitate “Get Out the Count” efforts. Additionally, monthly meetings/calls with partners to monitor census preparations and address concerns/questions will continue. 

It is also important to implement coordinated messaging research and database tools (such as “hard to count” mapping systems) to support funder and grantee efforts at this stage. 

At this time funders should:

  • Complete grantmaking for census outreach and promotion campaigns by early 2029
  • Offer expertise — through briefings, webinars, fact sheets, news updates, for example — to help grantees implement census campaigns

 

2030: Shift emphasis to media, operations, map updating, and trouble-shooting

Starting in 2030, closely monitor 2030 Census implementation in real-time to identify communities that might require additional assistance to ensure an accurate count, as well as unanticipated implementation challenges (such as cyber-security scares) that might require additional policy and communications efforts.

We also recommend holding at least one webinar during the height of Census operations on implementation progress and any issues that may arise. As the actual count comes to a close, begin drafting reports to document best practices and lessons learned, scope of grantmaking.

At this time funders should:

  • Monitor census implementation to identify communities that might require additional resources to ensure an accurate count, especially during Nonresponse Follow-Up phase
  • Finish grantmaking; begin evaluations of 2030 Census projects

 

2031-2032: Focus on learning and evaluation, ACS awareness and advocacy (Cycle complete – start again for 2040 Census)

Starting at the completion of the Census, the following two years should be used to evaluate Census accomplishments, best practices, and challenges. Additionally, during this time it is important to focus on the  implantation of new Census tools, ensuring they are user-friendly and community-friendly. Communities should also inform themselves about ways to advocate on American Community Survey products and tools, including annual population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau

At this time funders should:

  • Complete evaluations of census campaigns and grantee activities
  • Leverage 2030 Census (and ACS) data for work on redistricting, voting rights reform, other democracy issues, and social and economic justice campaigns