Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Assisting Clients with their Census Questionnaire

Many nonprofits have asked us over the last few months what they can do to help their clients fill out and return their 2010 Census Questionnaire. Can they offer language assistance to non-English speakers? Can they help explain the meaning of a question to a client?

The Census Funders' Initiative has heard their call and with the help of the Census Bureau’s Partnership Office staff has developed a set of guidelines for nonprofits seeking to assist their clients. You download the 2 page PDF from The Census Project website. Some main points are summarized below:

DO …
  • Do refer people to official Questionnaire Assistance Centers whenever possible.
  • Do make sure you are familiar with the 2010 Census materials and concepts. For more information and helpful documents, consult our website at NonprofitsCount.org or the official 2010census.gov website.
  • Do use official Language Assistance Guides available at 2010census.gov for people with limited English proficiency.
  • Do answer questions about the census in a private area.
  • Do ask the respondent to seal the envelope and mail the form right away via the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Do not pretend to be an official Questionnaire Assistance Center or use the official census logo if you are offering assistance.
  • Do not help people complete forms or volunteer to staff the Questionnaire Assistance Center if your organization is hosting an official center that is staffed by a sworn census employee.
  • Do not gather completed forms for mailing at a later time. Ask respondents to place their completed forms in mail receptacles that are emptied daily by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Do not offer to collect or “bundle” the 2010 Census Forms. It is important to avoid any suggestion of impropriety. Respondents should return their own census form by mail through the U.S. Postal Service.

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