Why Answer the Census? It Can Benefit your Favorite Nonprofit

The 24th United States Census will be observed on April 1, 2020, nationwide. By this date, every household will have received an invitation to participate, with three options for responding: online, by mail, or by phone.

Government, business, and community groups, as well as education and health organizations, all depend on census information for strategic planning, research, and economic development—and nonprofits are no different. However, the target populations that benefit the most from 501(c)3 organizations tend to be the ones that have been undercounted historically, which results in an inaccurate picture of the needs of the community, as well as less government funding. This group includes communities of color, immigrants, young children and low-income households.

Billions of dollars in federal funding for programs such as school nutrition, housing and health care will be determined by the outcome of the census, as will political representation and public infrastructure such as new schools or retail businesses.

Alison Joucovsky is the Executive Director of Sunshine Home Share Colorado, which promotes aging in place through a home-sharing model that generates income, assistance, and companionship for older adults by matching them with younger adults who need housing. 

She recently used Shift Research Lab's Neighborhood Summaries to reach more people in her target populations. "As a small nonprofit with limited resources in staffing, funding and time, we rely on the census data to help inform our work at many levels," she says. "It gives us accurate data on who we are serving, their income and demographics. That helps support our grant writing and helps guide where we need to put our time and energy to serve those who are most in need. Working with the resource librarians as well as the U.S. Census information center has helped us not only work more efficiently, but allocate our resources most effectively and drive the direction of our organization." 

Given what's at stake, many nonprofits are taking steps to promote an accurate and inclusive census. NonprofitVote.org offers several options to advocate for your community, including:

Questions? Ask Reference Services or call 720-865-1363 today!

Written by Lisa on December 4, 2019