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Feb 7, 2020
Posted Under: 2020 Census

An invitation from the Alaska Census Working Group

Recognizing both the importance of the census for our state and the many risks of an undercount in 2020, the working group has launched a statewide education and outreach initiative called Alaska Counts, which has four areas of focus:

  1. Mobilize a statewide nonpartisan multi-sector effort
  2. Create a statewide education effort
  3. Help recruit people for census jobs to support the census and build trust in communities
  4. Conduct localized outreach with partners like YOU

Those who engage in promoting the census are our Census Champions.

Central to our initiative is the website, which serves as an information hub with a wide variety of excellent – and free – resources. You’ll find many Alaska-made products, material for social media, and messages from trusted Alaska voices. We hope that everyone who recognizes the value of the census and wants to promote it will visit the website and use the material there.

In all our outreach we have one goal – to ensure that every Alaskan participates. We are sharing three basic messages we hope will get us to that goal. Please feel free to incorporate any of these messages into your outreach efforts.

  1. The census is confidential. While we understand the fears some Alaskans have, we emphasize that the census will ask for less information than the PFD, and the penalties for any census worker who shares data includes five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Personal census data is used only for statistical purposes and cannot be shared outside the U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. The census is critical for our communities. Every Alaskan and every community in our state benefits by being counted. $3.2 billion in annual funding is on the line for Alaska. The census can seem big and bureaucratic, but really, the census is about people and communities, and what resources our communities will have for the next 10 years.
  3. The census is easy to complete. The census is 10 questions, should only take about 10 minutes, and has impacts that last for 10 years.

What resources are available?

In order to share our key messages, we are focusing on specific activities. We started by launching a landing page of information on the Alaska Counts website. This page will serve as a resource repository for all things about the census – such as fact sheets and social media graphics. We recently added a section on materials that have been translated in four Alaska Native languages. Check it out today. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to update the website.

We also are working on additional materials and activities to supplement what the census bureau is not able to do. That includes informational mail pieces to 88,000 Alaskans with post office boxes, more translation of key materials, mini-grants to local communities, and public radio and digital ads. You will find links to everything below:

  • Visit Alaska Counts You can stay up-to-date with our collective efforts and become a Census Champion.
  • Apply for a mini-grant through your organization. The mini-grant program provides up to $250 for organizations to conduct their own local census outreach. We know that the best way to build trust in the census is peer-to-peer – one community talking to their community. Consider how your voice can help people know about the census. You can make it fun like our colleagues at Tanana Chiefs Conference, or you can host a potluck or a census filing party, or so much more – whatever you think will motivate people to be counted.
  • Download and complete the Census Checklist. This checklist has easy steps to get you started in your census outreach.
  • Download the Census Nonprofit Champion Toolkit or the Census Champion Toolkit to learn more about engaging your stakeholders in getting out the count.
  • Download and share widely the Know Your Rights Cards which will help answer some key questions and address common fears about the census.
  • Take time to talk with your friends, family, colleagues, and clients about the importance of the census and being counted in 2020. The U.S. Census Bureau uses different methods for counting Alaskans in different parts of the state. Knowing how and when you, your neighbors, and your colleagues will be counted will build more trust and engagement in the process.

Now is the time – become a Census Champion today!