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Deep Dive Delaware: Census 2020

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March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day parades, and music festivals: Cancelled. NBA, NHL, and MLB seasons: Delayed. Schools: Closed until at least May 15 (with the exception of online classes). Graduation ceremonies, proms, and the lifting of the State of Emergency. But one thing is continuing unabated: Census 2020.

Once every 10 years, the count is used to determine each state’s number of representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and how federal spending is allocated. The Delaware Business Times brought together six people leading Delaware’s Complete Count Commission for a discussion about the yearlong efforts to optimize the numbers across the state. The discussion took place before the onslaught of the coronavirus was fully felt in the state. As a result, some of this conversation has been updated. In fact, a big part of the Delaware effort centers on the use of “ambassadors” going into hard-to-count communities. At press time, hiring for “counters” has been halted nationwide and ambassadors will not begin their work until Delaware’s state of emergency is lifted.


 Sheila Bravo 

Sheila Bravo is the president and CEO of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement. She is the former executive director of the Rehoboth Art League and her professional experience spans nonprofit, for-profit, and academia.

 Dan Cruce

Dan Cruce is chief operating officer for the United Way of Delaware. Previous roles have included deputy secretary/chief of staff at the Delaware Department of Education and assistant superintendent/chief of staff for the Christina School District.

Joseph DiGiovanni 

Joe DiGiovanni is co-founder of the Tapp Network, a Wilmington-based nonprofit-focused digital marketing agency. He is co-chair of the Complete Count Commission’s communications team.

 Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long

Bethany Hall-Long is Delaware’s lieutenant governor. She has been a member of the UD Nursing Faculty for nearly 20 years and was the first member of the UD nursing faculty to receive the University-wide excellence in teaching award. She is currently a professor of Nursing and Joint Faculty in Urban Affairs. From 2002-2017, Bethany served as a member of Delaware’s legislature, first as a Representative and then as a Senator.

 Cynthia Pritchard

Cynthia Pritchard is president and CEO of Philanthropy Delaware. She has more than 30 year of experience in executive planning, administration, communications and programs in the nonprofit and private sectors.

Laura Wisniewski

Laura Wisniewski is communications and external affairs director for Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. She leads constituent relations for the office and its Board of Pardons work, among other duties.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, who chairs the Complete Count Commission, kicked off the conversation because she couldn’t be present in person.

Hall-Long: It’s going to be really important that we have all hands on deck, including our business community. It’s important in this census. In the last count we missed out on several million dollars, and we don’t want to do that this time. You don’t want to leave anyone undercounted, no special populations left out. In the past we’ve had around 78% participation; our aim this year is 80% or higher. Last time, we left behind many of our children and some of the special populations. Every person left behind represents $2,200 to $2,400 [in lost federal dollars to the state].

We want to make sure that special populations that are often undercounted, perhaps those who have English as a second language or different immigration status … We want people to feel safe, we want people to feel comfortable and confident, and we’re going to be able to be tracking when we have our wonderful census ambassadors out. We’ve put a lot of energy and effort this year. It’s the first time the Delaware General Assembly, under leadership of the governor and members of our General Assembly, have put out funds for additional boots on the ground to make sure that individuals are coming out.

Whether it be our homeless or our veterans, those in our university settings or those in our incarcerated population, we need to make sure they’re counted. Medicare, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), infrastructure, a lotof things are at risk here and we want to make sure Delaware gets every resource that it has allotted.

Many people have stepped up to the plate to make sure that we get those special populations. We’ve put a lot of resources in place with media and other outreach to explain that in Delaware when they get their identifier, their information in the mail, that they know how to use the app. This year it’s online. It’s not a hard copy, pen and paper unless you are really not able to do it online. This group will talk about the phone and other options as a backup paper form. But that is going to be a challenge at first, getting folks to understand it’s safe, it’s confidential, it’s not identifiable, it’s private. It’s only 10 questions, six minutes, so it shouldn’t take you long at all. But those are the challenges: Breaking down the fear and making sure people know how to do it online.

It takes a village. Gov. Carney recognized that when he put the commission together. It has been a tremendous amount of effort, but again, recognizing the value and the importance at all levels. I’ve been very pleased with local, county and [government] representatives who have stepped up. I just cannot say enough about the business community and others who have given a tremendous amount of match and resources, who have leveraged state dollars. We need employees and customers to complete the census because it does impact Delaware and our resources. Overall, I think we’ve come together with a unified message that everyone’s voice should be counted, and that’s what we want. The census does unify us, and we do want everyone counted.

What does success look like?

Joe DiGiovanni: Success is contingent upon us taking a collective impact approach to communications and empowering these different organizations and committees to collaborate together online and off. One that has a unified multi-channel message to get counted and take an active role in shaping a healthy future for our communities. Success will involve active engagement at the government, corporate, nonprofits, public, county, city and community level. The challenge is messaging the wide range of special populations and hard-to-count communities. It’s formulating the message that resonates with each one so people understand that it’s safe, it’s easy, it’s confidential, why it’s important to them and their community, and what programs will be funded that they rely on. It’s getting all the right messaging out in the right channel, order and cadence. Now with the arrival of the coronavirus, it’s even more important to emphasize that people can safely fill out the census online or by phoneand get counted.

Dan Cruce: From United Way’s perspective, a real sign of success is going to be around the hard-to-count populations. We call that out from the United Way side because that’s really about trust. We can have all the communication plans in the world, we can have all the funding in the world, but what’s really going to bring people out that have not come out before is the trust factor. At the United Way what we do on a daily basis is work with community-based organizations that are on the ground, in the field, big, small. And either their programs, or their staff, or a combination of those two things are generally involved with folks from those hard-to-count populations, so the trust is already there, from the services and the friendships and the work that has been built before. Capitalizing on that, in coordination with the tools and the resources that we have around census, is a really big deal. And United Way thinks that that will build the trust factor that we really need to have folks come out and realize the value and the actual necessity for them to participate.

Sheila Bravo: We have an idea of how big the population is. But this is a chance to really understand what it actually is so that it helps support the funding formulas that create the opportunities. Another opportunity is that engaging in census is part of our civic duty, like voting and perhaps higher participation in census can translate into higher voter participation. The hard-to-count population, which is where DANA has spent a lot of its energies, working with our nonprofit partners and the United Way to help bring that awareness and then create access in a safe way. In 2010, there were about 26 different census tracks where we had less than 80% participation. We want to see those areas increase to the levels that we hope will really make a difference in the counts.

Laura Wisniewski: We do have to focus in on our hard-to-count. But I would put your call to action to your business community. I challenge everyone to make it a fun day. Have a census event with your workplace so that way your employees know that it’s happening. Put out the messaging with our email blasts in our communications plans. One of our hardest to count populations is our children under 5. I think that’s where our businesses and our workplaces can really capitalize because a lot of these are working families that don’t have the time to fill out the census. Actually, single moms are one of our highest populations. So, I think it’s the business community pushing it out through their workplaces.

Cynthia Pritchard: For me it’s getting a complete count. That’s the easy answer. But it’s that Delaware, beyond any other state, does the best job of getting this done. We have a small state, we should be able to do this. And we should be able to get an accurate count. We have great outreach going on through the nonprofit sector, but also in the business sector, having our businesses engaged … So many of them have computer systems that their employees can use online to use for signing up for their health benefits, for changing their status, anything they have through their employer. We would like the businesses to be able to use those systems and allow those systems to be available to their employees now to do the census. It’s using every tool they have. They have the ability to communicate internally, which we may not be able to get externally. There’s an assumption that individuals have access to all this, the media and the print and things that we’re putting out there, and we’re doing an incredible job with that. But that being said, the one place that they’re somewhat captured is their workplace. And so many of the lower paid individuals don’t have access to those materials. So, taking advantage of our very robust business sector and utilizing that would be great from my perspective.

Are you concerned about getting volunteers to go out into the community and having people answering the door if somebody knocks, due to the coronavirus?

Bravo: The good news is that this census offers mail, phone and online options. There are 12 different languages on the census website, and 59 languages if you call, so that’s a way in which people can complete census without necessarily having somebody knock on the door. In addition, the census will be mailing out forms for those households that haven’t yet responded online. So, there’s those three different ways in which we can help people complete those forms before somebody comes and knock on the door. I think the biggest challenges in this current situation is our census ambassadors who are out there, trying to provide that education and the nervousness that might occur especially as we start to talk about individuals not coming together. That’s something that we’ll need to strategize on how they could continue to help in those outreach efforts.

Wisniewski: The state has measures to be able to deal with the coronavirus. I know that there’s a lot of uncertainty of what we are doing, and what our next steps are. I’ve had a people ask if it’s going to be canceled because of the coronavirus. As we are out in the community, just making sure we’re taking those safe measures to make sure that you’re washing your hands doing all the proper measures. But as Sheila did note, we can fill it out online, which is an awesome motivator for you to start that first step with the change of the 2020 census. But then also encourage you to tap into those personal networks, because that one-to-one contact of informing people about the census is going to be critical with the note that many people are not wanting to come out to town halls right now and put themselves at risk.

Pritchard: We might need to change, as Sheila said, some of our strategy around how we communicate to the consumer and encourage the phone option really aggressively for individuals. We were originally heavily encouraging the tech option, with offering libraries and those congregate spaces which may be at risk as we move forward with the virus. So, I think that the more we talk about access to their own cellphone being the way they can do census is how we overcome that challenge. Office buildings, things like banks and things like doing a little more of the work-from-home option, but your manufacturing plants aren’t doing that because they have to still stay in business. But those individuals will still be captured and they’re probably the ones we’re the most concerned about.

Cruce: It’s an opportunity for us to capitalize on our partnerships with the Delaware Business Times and with our community-based partners. I think you make a really good point, Cynthia, about the phone option. It’s a little more front and center, given the virus issue now is with the 211 helpline. That’s not just a Delaware helpline, it’s across the country. 211 to under-explain it, is a financial stability and emergency crisis option. “My lights are getting ready to be turned off.” So, we’re going to answer those questions but we’re also plugging in messages about census as well. This is a critical time to push that as well, because we can zoom in on the phone option, while we have you on the phone for an emergency issue that you might have for us.

How are you talking about changes now that students aren’t in their schools?

DiGiovanni: We have virtual communication channels in place to collaborate and make and modify messaging quickly for students and all of our special populations. So as this conversation evolves, and we learn more information we can push it through immediately. Now, more than ever, the funding the census impacts is paramount. With COVID-19, the message is to do this online, and for those without internet access and with many community services such as libraries shutting down, the phone is a great option as well. We’re moving in real time as this evolves.

Is it easier to do the census in New Castle County? Or is it easier to do it in Kent and Sussex counties? Are there different approaches for different parts of the state?

Bravo: As Dan mentioned earlier, our approach has been, “What does the local community need? Who are the opinion leaders?” If we’re speaking with a small community that has a certain cultural background, how you message to them may be different than another community. We’ve really tapped the nonprofits to give advice. We also have this little workforce called the Census Ambassadors who were specifically hired to go out into those communities to better understand the needs and best approach. In some communities, the library may be a perfect gathering place to get assistance. In others, it may be a senior center. I think it’s going to depend, and that’s really why we geographically wanted to allow those strategies to emerge so that they can do what works best for them.

Pritchard: We would hope it’s equitably easy, if that makes any sense. I think we’ve worked really hard to build a plan to make sure that happens. Obviously, as we sit in an urban setting and one that has a very active county census group, I think the messaging was much more proactive in the northern part of the state. But that being said, the efforts that have been made in the nonprofit sector, and kudos to them, downstate have been absolutely significant in reaching out to those marginalized, and very distant populations. So, I think they’ve done a really good job of that. I look at the media list, and there has been clearly some targeting around Hispanic publications because we know that that’s a population that has a sense of fear, and also has some challenges and barriers as we move through our traditional environments.

Are there any specific bullet points you’re suggesting as it relates to ‘Don’t be afraid’?

Pritchard: A couple of things. We’re working through the HR departments. That’s a place to go and utilizing those individuals. We use a lot of strategies in, “Where do people congregate? Do they go to the bank? What different businesses do they go to?” We’ve really focused a lot on those varied businesses too. I think if I were to ask anything in the business community is make it as accessible is it is for employees to sign up for their health benefits. Take advantage of that model. You already have computers set up for employees to pick their benefits during open enrollment. Use that same technology for them to access other things, census being one of them. If they can allow their system to have a direct access to the census page so individuals could go on during their breaks, during lunch, at the workplace, where they have access to technology, and where they can do it. If you take a single mom with three kids, with the exception of that eight hours, the rest of it is a crapshoot. Because you’re picking kids up, dropping kids off, having to get food, having to do this. You’re going to bed when your kids go to bed. So that six minutes [to complete the census] is very valuable. Six minutes during your lunch break once is what’s going to get your family counted. And if you’re that individual, you’re probably accessing services. So, you really want to make sure you’re counted, because you want to make sure that those services match the number of kids in your family.

Bravo: Even putting up posters that help explain why census matters, getting the word out on the “why”. We have, especially in southern Delaware, employers that have that hard-to-count population. One manufacturer that we spoke to, they’re looking for three different languages, and then some other employees don’t even read. So how do we help get messaging across? The work that the communications team has done has developed a variety of different resources that we can then send to them so that they can share them directly with their population and they don’t have to try
to figure out what to say, we can help them with that messaging.

Cruce: This is not meant to rhyme but it is, for your business, for business owners, business leaders, “When in doubt, reach out.” We’ve got answers to your questions. If you read this article, that’s terrific but reach out and we can bring you the posters, we can come to the meeting. Again, to the size of our state and our ability to mobilize. The burden doesn’t fall on the business owner or
the leader in the business to process all of this, hit the number, send a message and then we can come out in some way.

A few of you have used the word “fear.” Can you be a little bit more specific about what they’re afraid of? And what the employer or the ambassador, or whoever, can say to alleviate that fear?

Bravo: One thing we learned about why there was such a large percentage of children under the age of 5 who were not counted in the last census was a concern about, “What happens if I tell the government about my children?” And the other one was, “I didn’t know I should even put my children on the list.” Some of it is even understanding what you should do to complete census. We held a couple of focus groups back in the fall and there’s a heightened fear if you are a population that might have individuals who are not citizens, who are not here legally. Sometimes there may be more people living in a space than is zoned.

An apartment for four people might have eight people, and four of the people may be citizens, three of them may be visiting indefinitely, and so that’s where the fear becomes of “What if I include my nephew and then the landlord finds out there’s more of us here?” Overcoming the concerns about, “Will somebody find this information” is really important. That there’s a heightened level of security and confidentiality. If you complete it online, it’s not like there’s somebody on the other side that sees what you actually wrote. In fact, those records will not be released for 75 years. And if a census worker is helping to complete the form, they’re required by law not to divulge it; they’ll actually go to prison. We have to help people understand that this truly is a secure and safe, and that’s where the trust comes in.

Cruce: The facts are the facts, but if they come from anybody like us around the table, they may not be believed. This goes back to the trust piece and how critical those ambassador roles are, and the community-based organization roles are as well. Because, again, facts are the facts. When they’re being shared with you by someone that you trust, that you have historically worked with, that have given you answers to questions that were scary before, those are the people that you’re going to believe and that’s going to help to dissuade your fear to fill it out.

DiGiovanni: It’s all about personalization, the social, digital and print materials are customizable and have been put in the hands of the county and community leaders. For example, New Castle County has taken the lead in repurposing the materials for “Route 9 residents” and “Kingswood residents,” and offering them the opportunity to list the organizations that will receive support when they fill out the census. Reinforcing what Sheila was saying, we need to build trust, and this is an important step in that process. The next step is education, People can visit census.delaware.gov to view videos, articles, and all the information about confidentiality. On @Delawarecounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we go through each question on the census. We talk about what the question means, how it relates to them. If people start the census and they don’t complete it, we failed. I think getting that information out about the website and social media. For corporations, we’ve created email templates and social media toolkits that can be distributed to employees, vendors and customers.

Bravo: I also think that because census also informs legislative districts, it doesn’t matter what party you’re in. There’s an impact. And so I think that having a complete count will benefit everyone in the state, no matter one’s political persuasion.

Are you doing anything to target the younger members of the family so that they go home and urge their parents to complete the form? 

Pritchard: There’s a whole curriculum that we know the charter schools adopted. It [wasn’t] consistent with some of the public schools, and that’s not being critical. We know with other programs sometimes what they learn in school actually can be really replicated at home. And there’s a whole bunch of messaging that’s going to go out through social media specifically geared toward that population. We were challenged here because we didn’t know what was going to happen with the schools, but we’ve gotten that out to children as best we possibly can in the materials that are available. The other piece that we did work on is that the Attorney General’s office is on board completely with census and has really given their Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on top of that. If anyone at any point in time thinks, after the fact, that their census data was used illegally, they’re more than willing to answer those questions.

Bravo: We also want to send the message that the census will not ask for Social Security numbers; nobody will ask for credit card numbers. There is a concern about individuals possibly taking advantage of the census and it’s really important that, as Joe said, we have the examples of what to expect, what to look for. We have pictures of what the envelope looks for, what the questionnaire looks like. We hope that there will not be an opportunity for somebody to be misinformed.

Are you feeling a greater sense of urgency or pushing a greater sense of urgency on the nonprofits out there in terms of really getting behind this effort so that over time they’ll have more money coming into them?

Bravo: We certainly have seen from the very beginning nonprofits step up saying, “How can we help?” I think that they see that this is going to be such a value-add of resources for the people they serve. In a situation like what we’re facing right now with the coronavirus, that’s an extra burden, but I think we’ve been working on messaging for months now with the nonprofit sector directly.

Wisniewski: When we created the Governor’s Complete Count Commission, we made sure all of our department agencies were represented so we could push out the message to the people who were receiving our services, particularly in that hard-to-count population. We’ve had Department of Health and Social Services, our prisons, Department of Labor, and every other department agency on that list. That’s important because these are pocketbook issues. We’re telling them that if you don’t fill this out, it’s going to affect your TANF, it’s going to affect your Medicaid and your Medicare at the end of the day. When we bring it down to that level a lot of people understand the importance of the dollars that are coming to Delaware.

Many of you say that you’re hoping that Delaware is a national model. What makes what we’re doing different/better than some of the surrounding states.

Pritchard: I think we combined the best practices across the various states. Some launched sooner, and some with a lot more money. But at the same time, we took advantage of the materials that they designed, some of the communications they did, and some of their strategies and then asked, “What else can we do?” “What more can we do?” I think the advantage of Delaware is that if Laura or Bethany have a question, they can text or call me. What Delaware does bring to the table is that we are all very accessible to one another. The advantage we have over those states is that we’re trying to work smarter, not harder, we’re trying to work leaner, and at the same time really putting who we’re trying to serve at the center of it. Sheila reminds us regularly, “What about that person in Western Sussex County? How do we make sure we get to that person?” I think what we’ve done differently is we put people at the center, instead of processes at the center and we built our processes around the people we’re trying to serve.

Cruce: There’s trust around the table. It’s familiar, we know each other, and there’s trust. From the beginning, lanes have been clear, leadership has been clear. We’ve been able to bring our best assets forward, let people realize, “Yeah, you’ve got that because you do that best. Go, run, get that done.” And then this really played out, I think, down in Kent and Sussex as well, the geography is a little different, doesn’t mean that the challenges are harder or easier. But the intentionality behind the folks on the ground, the pre-existing talent on the ground, particularly with the community-based organizations, it’s been respected, it’s been exploited in the right way. And I think that makes us a little bit different, because that trust is already there.

Pritchard: And we’ve been bipartisan from the beginning and really thoughtful about that. This is not a political issue. This is an economic issue, and it’s a human issue.

Bravo: There are some states that chose not to invest at all in their local census efforts. To not form Complete Count Commissions. And that’s been hard for the those nonprofits. We have organizations like ours in about 40 other states and that’s been difficult, where they’re serving as a lone champion of the census by themselves. I think we did a really good job of bringing folks who would truly be involved in implementing those strategies. We had the faith community at the table, governments, business, nonprofits, local municipality leaders, as well as the state and I think that that’s one of the wonderful things about census, is that we can all agree and it’s been a great collaborative that we’ve been able to build.

Wisniewski: We are a unique state. We can do a lot of pilot programs here because we are so small and people are able to work together in a unique way where you see other states get competitive. And they look at it as “I have to do better, I have to be able to show that I’m bringing the dollars to the state.” We really saw this as a collaborative effort.

Pritchard: There hasn’t been a business that I’ve asked to do something that wasn’t willing to try the best they could. I shot an email off to some CEOs and said, “Hey, do you have a high-capacity printer?” They’d say “No, but we got this.” I sent an email out to 150 business leaders yesterday and said, “Need you to like our Facebook page, I need you to like our Twitter, this is what I need you to do right now.” And they all came back and said, “Sure. Absolutely. Great. OK.” There was no, “What’s in it for me?” It’s, “OK, I get it. No problem.”

What’s the coolest initiative that you’ve seen somebody come up with?

DiGiovanni: The mapping technology on the website that Laura’s team initiated where we can look at different hard-to-count populations, special populations, understand the impact that we’re making from an outreach standpoint and know where to send these census ambassadors. That is going to really help make sure that the communications that we’re doing is really targeted. And from a technology standpoint, I think that’s above what a lot of states are doing.

Wisniewski: We worked on that with the Delaware Department of Technology and Information. It lets us live time track these ambassadors. They’re doing surveys on whether people are likely to fill out the census, if they need help with the census, what type of hard-to-count population. And then we overlay that with where our maps are on our previous hard-to-count populations in 2010. And then what we’re going to be able to do when we get the data back, hopefully next year, is go see where our census ambassadors did make contact with people in our state and if it had an impact on that response rate that we’re trying to increase.

Cruce: We actually intentionally valued young people. And that may sound like something that’s just understood, but we not only valued it, we capitalized on it. To the conversation earlier, the real trust around some of it’s actually going to be from one of the children because parents may be uncomfortable from a language perspective, or from a school or government interaction perspective. If you think about it, kids that age aren’t around this table right now, and they’re not around our decision-making table. But we invested in that door to try to reach the families through social media.

DiGiovanni: We’re also targeting them on Spotify, Pandora, and social media. 

Pritchard: Some of the school districts have been pushing coloring books to bring home and work sheets that they’ll be doing for March and April. I think the coolest thing Delaware did is we did it for only about $650,000 in cash. I think that’s super cool when there are states that [spent] millions of dollars while we were able to leverage relationships to make stuff happen. The largest advertising firm in the state gave its time in kind, when you get multiple companies printing things, when you get state associations putting stuff out there and companies printing the materials that they need with the templates. The math changes on what the in-kind relationships are but we probably had about over $2 million in impact through the work that people have done for the greater good. I know that Joe’s company is doing a ton in kind for us. I think the humanity around the table and the people willing to help gave us the ability to leverage state investment is super cool. ABC gave their staff time and kind to do all the Delaware specific marketing and the ad buys. They took every penny that they were given to buy advertisements, not for their staff. Joe’s given all his
time in kind to create the social media models and set up a model using the best technology we can have to message out. We are a state built on relationships and shared purpose.

Wisniewski: I have to emphasize the business NERDiT NOW, which has offered to go out with their mobile ambulance into our low-income communities with tablets and laptops so that people can just go up to their ambulance and fill out the census right there. And they’re going to be going throughout the state in April, specifically on April 1 and 2 to places like Southbridge or East Side, to target those populations that might not have access to a computer.

Bravo: I guess I’ll do something a little different. I think it’s been really cool to understand the unique strategies that we have to use in certain areas. For example, in the focus groups we held in the fall, we learned that not all Latinx cultures are the same. Some are very big soccer players and others are big baseball players. So if you want to go reach the families on a Saturday morning, depending on what culture it is, you go to the baseball game or the soccer game. I’ll use southern Delaware as another example: There’s a large Guatemalan population who do not read or write English or Spanish. They speak a dialect of Mayan, which meant we had to ask how to get that message out. Philanthropy Delaware and DANA are part of a national network. I just sent a note out and said, “Does anybody have any material in Mayan?” And lo and behold, Georgia has a large population. And they actually did message testing and developed a video specifically to reach that population in that language and shared it with us. We have no trouble sharing what we’ve developed, and our partners across the country have been willing to share with us. And I think that’s also amplifying our ability to be able to do the outreach that we do.

What it one piece of advice that you would give to readers so they can help with the effort?

Bravo: You don’t have to create it yourself. Contact us at census2020@delawarenonprofit.org and use all the resources that the Communications Group has put together. And that’s Census.delaware.gov and #DelawareCounts.

Wisniewski: Have something on April 1. Make your employees aware that it’s happening on that day, they can still fill out the census. You can still fill that census out as a self-responder until May or June. So even if you miss on April 1, don’t fear. You can still go on April 2 and fill it out. We definitely want you to get the word out to your employees that day.

Pritchard: Everybody needs to remember that our roads, our schools, our cost of health care, everything that we have is based on the census data. So even though you may always fill it out, encourage everybody to fill it out. Because we want to have those resources as robust as they can be in Delaware. 

Cruce: When in doubt, reach out. We can help you. If you say a message over and over something will stick.

DiGiovanni: As business leaders we need to step up and distribute this message throughout our organizations, boards and the communities we serve.

Bravo: Population drives investment. When we think about wanting to encourage business to invest in Delaware, that complete count matters when they make decisions. So, getting everybody to count makes us a bigger state, it makes us a more attractive state for employers and businesses to want to do business with us.

DBT Editor Peter Osborne moderatedthe discussion.

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