In order to drive strong census results and awareness, the city of Philadelphia chartered Philly Counts 2020, an organization formed from a team of innovative researchers, well-connected activists and civic leaders. Public Agenda helped Philly Counts tell the story of their work to engage Philadelphians in the 2020 Census in a report released by the City of Philadelphia in January 2021.
The Philly Counts 2020 team was brought together by the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office with a mission to not only count Philadelphians but also to emphasize to communities the importance of civic participation. Beginning in 2018, Philly Counts worked to develop a strategic plan to use data-driven techniques to coordinate public engagement in the Census, especially among historically undercounted communities. Philly Counts planned major events and gatherings to bring people together to get counted.
The Philly Counts 2020 report outlines the organization’s community engagement work, their data-driven approach to reaching historically undercounted neighborhoods, and their thorough, comprehensive and multifaceted field coalition-building and engagement with partner organizations, supporters, and leaders.
Public Agenda assisted Philly Counts with preparing the report, including:
- Supporting Philly Counts in developing moderator guides for focus groups with community partners about their experience with the Census and the community engagement process, as well as providing guidance for effectively conducting focus groups
- Supporting Philly Counts in developing a survey of community partners about their experience with the Census and the community engagement process
- Interviewing Philly Counts staff members and providing an internal memo about staff members’ views on the community engagement process, including how it worked, challenges that the process presented, how they were overcome, and lessons for how to improve the process in the future
- Reviewing qualitative and quantitative data analysis conducted by Philly Counts, to identify key findings and draw conclusions about the outcomes and implications for future community engagement
- Coordinating a media and communications plan to promote Philly Counts’ work and report, suggesting ways for effective dissemination and media communications
To learn more about our work with Philly Counts, see our blog post on the project.