2020 Census Toolkit for 211s, Local United Ways, & Partners

This page will be continually updated as materials become available.

The 2020 United States Census will be the twenty-fourth United States Census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, will be April 1, 2020. This is the first U.S. census to offer options to respond online or by phone, in addition to the option to respond on a paper form as with previous censuses. 

Why Is the Census Important? 

Participating in the census is in everyone's best interest, because the it helps cities plan for school class sizes, health facilities, public transit, and the placement of grocery stores. 

Census data directs  more than $800 billion in federal government resources to states, localities and families every year. The 2010 Census missed over 1 million children and youth and if all kids were counted, these programs would have received $550 million more per year for health, education and financial stability programs benefiting children and families. 

A more accurate count makes certain that there is stronger representation for federal, state, county and school Board districts. It also helps businesses project and make decisions about things like new locations and hiring. It also helps cities plan for school class sizes. 

Census 2020 Quick Start Guide for United Ways 

The 2020 Census is a critical, nonpartisan issue that impacts everyone. There are many ways for United Ways to play a role in ensuring a fair and accurate 2020 Census. This guide is intended to help you get started in your community Use this document to find taking points, learn how to reach under-counted communities, and how to get involved by integrating Census 2020 outreach into your impact work. Download the Census 2020 Quick Start Guide for United Ways here.

United Way Text to Pledge Campaign (Text PLEDGE to 211-211)





To increase participation in the 2020 Census, United Way launched a new text to pledge campaign. The campaign will educate and gather pledges to be counted from more than 1 million individuals, particularly in hard-to-count communities, during the 2020 Census and will also send reminders to those who opt-in. This effort aims to bolster communities’ efforts around the 2020 Census by distributing information, gathering pledges, tracking engagement, supporting local 211s with central resources and information, and building capacity of local United Ways to engage with local Complete Count efforts and their business community.  Learn more about this campaign here.

Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Reply HELP or contact 211@uww.unitedway.org. Reply STOP to opt out.

Terms of Service can be found here.

Link to Privacy Policy: https://www.unitedway.org/privacy-policy

At the conclusion of this 2020 Census text to pledge campaign, users will be invited to opt-in to receive information about Get out the Vote and other civic engagement efforts.

Social Media Plan

  • Find visual assets, suggested social posts, and handles here.

Business Engagement Toolkit 

Business can play a key role by encouraging customers, employees and the general public to complete their census questionnaires. Using these resources, conduct outreach to local businesses to help Get Out the Count:

 Incorporating Census into 211 Operations

  • Use your IVR to provide a reminder to complete the Census 
  • Have Census.gov/completion centers listed on your 211 website
  • Ensure 211 specialists are inviting people to participate in census 
  • Update your resource listing of free internet sites
  • Provide census information when you do community outreach events
  • Promote Census Jobs

Census Hotlines

Census hotlines have been established for historically hard-to-count communities to offer real-time resources and support. Callers can request information about the Census, ask questions, and report any legal incidents.

  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: (888)-COUNT20 or (888)-268-6820
  • Arab American Institute: (833) 333-6864; (833)-3DDOUNI ("Count me" in Arabic)   
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC: (844) 2020-API or (844) 202-0274
    • This hotline will be available in English, Mandarin (普通話), Cantonese (廣東話), Korean (한국어), Vietnamese (tiếng Việt), Tagalog, Urdu  (اردو), Hindi (हिंदी), and Bengali/Bangla (বাংলা).
  • NALEO Educational Fund: (877)-EL-CENSO or (877)-352-3676

Please note: 211s are not census completion or census assistance hotlines; however, they may be able to connect individuals to locations where they may be able to complete the census as well as to other hotlines.

Mobile Questionnaire Assistance

During the 2020 Census, more than 4,000 U.S. Census Bureau staff, called Census Response Representatives, will be in communities around the country that have low response rates to help people respond to the census. (These staff are separate from the census takers who will visit households that do not respond.) Census Response Representatives will visit events and key locations such as grocery stores and markets, houses of worship, community festivals, public transit hubs, libraries, community centers, and other locations where people naturally gather. There, the representatives will help people submit their census response either on a Census Bureau tablet or on the person’s own device. Learn more via this fact sheet.

Disinformation & the 2020 Census

Here are two guides on how to assess threat levels and respond to reporter inquiries about mis-/dis- information. In addition, mis-/dis- information can be reported to flags@censuscounts.org as well as rumors@census.gov.

Other Helpful Resources