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pledge to

EXIS T Presented To:

The U.S. Census Bureau Created By:

Panthera Onca Chapman University Adviser:

Joan Gladstone

Census 2010

Travis Culver Maria Delano Alyssa Mihm Philia Pak Amanda Vo

Table of Contents Executive Summary.....................................................1 Situation Analysis.......................................................1 Research.................................................................2 Key Publics..............................................................3 Challenges & Opportunities...........................................4 Theme & Key Messages................................................5 Campaign Plan..........................................................6 Evaluation.............................................................10 Appendix................................................................11

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist

Introduction Executive Summary

The 2010 Chapman University PRSSA Bateman Team is proud to present our Pledge to Exist Campaign. The campaign was designed to inspire some of Orange County, California’s most difficult-to-count publics to participate in the 2010 U.S. Census. Our research verified our assumptions that, like us, most Chapman University students were confused about the importance and benefits of the Census. We discovered the value Orange County Asian Americans place on privacy and the reasons they believed the Census would encroach upon that privacy. We learned, through an inspirational focus group, that members of the Orange County homeless population doubted whether their participation in the Census would count. We searched for a unifying campaign theme that would resonate with each of these three key publics. One theme resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response. We discovered that each individual, no matter their age, ethnicity or living situation had one strong desire in common: to matter, or to exist. We combined this theme of “existence” with a call to action: pledge. Pledge to Exist was born. Our team sought creative avenues to reach each public in order to educate and encourage them to take the Pledge to Exist, or pledge to participate in the 2010 Census. We held a concert at Chapman University to kick-off the campaign and closed the campaign with a music and comedy night called PledgeStock. To reach our Asian American public, we participated in the Tet Festival, the annual Vietnamese New Year’s celebration, and a Census Festival in Long Beach that was arranged by the Cambodian Complete Count Committee. The festival featured free health services and a food drive, which attracted the surrounding homeless population. We created enthusiasm for the Pledge to Exist campaign through branded social media, high Google rankings for our press releases, and press coverage by local media. At each event, we conducted outreach, distributed campaign materials, and encouraged people to take the Pledge to Exist. Now it is your turn to take the pledge! Continue reading to find out how we transformed some “difficult-tocounts” into Pledges to Exist.

Situation Analysis

With deep roots in American history and a place in our Constitution, the Census’ mission is to obtain an accurate count of the U.S. population every 10 years. Our goal was to support the 2010 Census by stimulating interest and participation among key Orange County publics by emphasizing how vital the Census data is for their community. As the fifth most populous county in the U.S., Orange County stands to benefit by achieving its fair share of federal funding for community benefits and services. Local school districts, Title I funding and other programs such as special education and Head Start are based on Census data. Without an accurate count, these programs could be negatively affected. The population data collected from the Census also helps determine the planning of something that many Southern Californians have been anxiously waiting for--the relief of overcrowded road conditions on freeways. Organizations such as homeless shelters also rely on Census data to determine how much funding they will receive through Human Services grants from the Department of Health. It is clear that the future of many Orange County government-run programs, services and organizations are at stake.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist 1

Research Our secondary research taught us that a high percentage of the key publics we selected mistakenly believed that Census officials would invade their privacy and take confidential, personal, and financial information. We applied this knowledge to shape our primary research. We conducted online and door-to-door surveys, focus groups and interviews. We used each opportunity to copy test our preliminary campaign theme. We discovered that while most of our target audiences related to the theme “Exist,” they insisted that we make the theme more proactive, which is how we developed the final theme, “Pledge to Exist.”

Chapman University

According to, Chapman University, a private four-year institution, has approximately 4,500 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students. The student body is 51% Caucasian, 9% Asian/ Pacific Islander, 7% Hispanic, and 2% African American. Thirty-seven percent of students live on campus. To cover the annual tuition of approximately $33,000, many students receive some level of financial aid in addition to parental support. We decided the most powerful way to get honest and accurate student opinions would be to talk with students directly. We did this by going to campus dormitories and engaging in one-on-one conversations with students after they completed our survey to gauge their understanding and opinions of the Census. We researched 32 students living in three of the six on-campus residences and gained insightful feedback that helped shape our campaign. We also reached out to the most involved area of the campus: Greek Life. We sent online surveys to two Greek houses, Delta Tau Delta and Phi Sigma Sigma, and received 80 responses. Finally, we organized a focus group of seven Chapman students. We facilitated a very candid conversation about the 2010 Census. We discovered that the students only knew the basic facts of the Census and did not know specific details or benefits. They also expressed that if they wanted to learn more information they would look on the Internet and “Google it”. We asked for recommendations on how to reach out to the student demographic at Chapman University. They suggested focusing on events and incentive-based activities. Out of all the facts that we gave to the group, those they valued as most important and relevant were: an accurate allocation of government funding, the possibility of more seats in the House of Representatives and that it is only 10 questions long and easy to fill out.

Orange County Asian Americans

Orange County is home to a growing number of Asian Americans, including those of Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and other Asian heritage. The typical income for Asian American families is moderate to high. Our target community, Fullerton, was ranked number 21 on the list of “Top 101 cities with the most Other Asian residents” and number 34 on the list of “Top 101 cities with the most Asian Indian residents,” according to This public highly values their personal space and is very traditional and conservative. Janice Pak, an Asian American community member who helped gather campaign research for us at her church, noted that Asian Americans can be skeptical of the government, are very family-oriented, and place a high value on education. To further research this audience, two of our team members went door-to-door in a Fullerton neighborhood near the Chapman campus that was predominately Asian American. Out of the 50-home neighborhood, only three people opened the door and willingly took our survey. We believe this revealed a critical finding related to protection of privacy that may make it difficult for the Census to receive completed forms by mail or conduct surveys door-to-door.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Research Orange County Homeless Community

In the wake of the recession, Orange County has witnessed an increase in the homeless population due to job loss. Living situations vary, as people frequently change from low-income housing to halfway homes to homeless shelters, or in extreme cases, living on the streets. According to the 2006 Needs Assessment conducted by the city of Santa Ana, Calif., approximately 35,065 people have experienced homelessness in Orange County. Of those 35,065, 24,545 are people in families and with children, and 10,520 are individuals. In 2006, the hourly wage needed to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Orange County was approximately $25, which is over three times the minimum wage ($7.50/hour at the time) that many Orange County workers earn. Our most rewarding and informative research session came from a focus group held at the Illumination Foundation, a homeless shelter in Costa Mesa, Calif. We began the discussion by asking seven participants a series of open-ended questions. The focus group sparked an open conversation and debate and enabled us to gain insights into their fears, needs, and questions. A defining characteristic was their skepticism of the government, as they believed many promises were made, yet few are kept. They are desperate to be heard. They are often overcome by hardships and focus on short-term rather than long-term results. It became clear that this representative sample of Orange County’s homeless population felt strongly that everyone in the nation should be counted and understood how an accurate Census would benefit the nation’s homeless population.

Key Publics Chapman University Students Undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 22.

Orange County Asian Americans Asian Americans between the ages of 15 and 65.

Orange County Homeless Homeless men and women between the ages of 18 and 65.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Challenges & opportunities Though many barriers stood in our way during this process, we knew that many opportunities existed as well. We pledged to find those opportunities and use them to the best of our abilities in our campaign. Chapman University Students: The majority of campaign research took place in December and January, when students were not on campus due to Chapman’s six-week winter interterm. This challenged us to find creative ways to gather essential campaign information. We developed public relations strategies including social media and Internet communications to achieve a high number of responses, while also fostering intimate communication through personal interviews, informational sessions, and focus groups.

Asian Americans: We faced major obstacles in communication due to cultural and language barriers. We knew from our research that the Asian American population greatly values their culture and traditions and treasures their privacy. This made it difficult at first to break through to give or receive useful information. To counteract this obstacle, we researched upcoming events and partnered with Census spokespeople to help us communicate our messages in a way that was culturally accepted by Asian American publics. Our initiatives included partnering with a prominent Orange County Asian American church leader, who helped us translate all of our materials into Korean and Vietnamese. We also participated in Asian festivals such as the Tet Festival, held to celebrate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, and the Long Beach Census Festival, sponsored by the Cambodian Complete Count Committee (CCCC).

Homeless: The homeless population was difficult to target. In addition to taking special care to be sensitive and understanding towards each individual’s situation, we also had to work around the fact that there was not a central or easy way to communicate with this group.

To meet this challenge, we partnered with an Orange County homeless shelter, Illumination Foundation, and worked directly with the program director. She allowed us to come to a meeting for research and implementation purposes. We also researched and attended events that helped the homeless by sponsoring health care initiatives and food drives, such as the Long Beach Census Festival.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Theme & Key messages Theme

Our theme is simple and powerful: Pledge to Exist. The Census presents a decentennial opportunity to prove that each American counts and can make a difference in his or her community. We discovered that each individual, no matter his or her age, ethnicity or living situation, had one strong desire in common: to matter, or to exist. We took on the responsibility of ensuring that our key publics not only recognized this importance, but pledged to take action by completing the 2010 Census. We integrated the color scheme featured in the U.S. Census logo and mirrored the imagery of the hand. The Pledge to Exist campaign served as a mantra that we spread throughout Chapman’s campus and the local communities. The theme encouraged our target audiences to make a commitment NOW to take action later.

Messages Our key publics were mostly aware of the Census but not of its rewards or that it is easy and safe to complete. Educational messages were our first form of messaging. It was our duty to dispel common myths and rumors about the Census and supply accurate and reassuring facts. We then followed with motivational yet informative messages that were meant to stir students and members of the community to want to take action. We honed in on what was important to our publics and made sure they realized what benefits they and their families, friends and neighbors would gain by completing the Census.

Census Campaign Messages The census is only 10 questions long and takes less than 10 minutes to fill out. $400 billion in federal funds can be allocated to distribute to local communities, if an accurate count is taken. A correct count of California guarantees that we are represented with the appropriate amount of House Representatives.

Pledge to Exist Messages You’ve always pledged your allegiance to your country, now you need to pledge to exist. No personal or financial information is required on the census so you do not need to worry about identity theft. You are encouraged to vote on the issues every four years, so why wouldn’t you help shape those issues by participating in the Census every 10 years? The Census is the shortest it has ever been and takes only a few minutes to complete, but its results can affect you for a lifetime.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Campaign Plan Objective 1: To educate Chapman students about the purpose of the 2010 Census, and achieve pledges to participate from 500 students by February 28, 2010.



Rationale: According to our primary research, 62% of Chapman students surveyed did not know the Census would be taking place this year, and 52% did not have an adequate understanding of why the Census is taken every 10 years. Therefore, our goal was to educate Chapman students about the Census and ultimately inspire them to be more willing to participate in the Census when it is distributed in March.

STRATEGY 1: Inform Chapman University students about the benefits of taking the 2010 Census. Tactic 1: Create the campaign theme “Pledge to Exist” Copy testing proved that the “Pledge to Exist” theme resonated with the student demographic. We branded all our materials with Pledge to Exist, Census 2010, and used a color scheme and hand logo that was consistent with the Census’ own campaign. Tactic 2: Facilitate Census conversations We went door-to-door to three student dormitories to conduct surveys and engage in dialogue with 32 students. This allowed us to enhance our campaign strategy and promote a general awareness of the 2010 Census. Tactic 3: Create and hang 150 informational flyers around campus We created flyers that explained when the Census would be distributed and provided facts that appeased the Census-related concerns of the college demographic identified by our primary research in order to de-mystify the Census and promote awareness. We estimate that over 1,500 students saw our flyers in February. Tactic 4: Develop social media sites We created Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites along with a blog for students to visit for more information about the Census. Our research taught us that social media is one of the first places Chapman students consult for news and information, second only to Google. We included links to these Web sites on all of our posters and collateral in order to drive traffic to our sites, where more Census information was provided. We updated Twitter and Facebook four times a day, YouTube three times a month and our blog twice a week. We achieved over 400 followers for all of our social media outlets. Tactic 5: Make informational presentations to on-campus clubs We made 10-minute informational presentations to PRSSA, the Black Student Union, Mortar Board, Alpha Kappa Psi, and the Young Democrats—five influential clubs on campus—to inform them about the Census and encourage them to achieve pledges through word-of-mouth. We reached more than 160 students.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Campaign Plan Tactic 6: Ensure the Pledge to Exist press releases rank high on Google According to our student focus group, Google is the first place Chapman students turn to for information. We wrote eight informative and interesting press releases and used Search Engine Optimization techniques to ensure our release ranked number one for the last three weeks of implementation on the Google search for “2010 Census in Orange, CA.” Tactic 7: Gain recognition for our campaign on credible, well-known blogs We pitched press releases to many credible bloggers, since blogs are a popular information source for the college demographic, according to our primary research. The online newspaper Orange County Examiner published an article praising our campaign and our influence in the local community.

STRATEGY 2: Inspire Chapman students to “Pledge to Exist” by pledging to take the 2010 Census. Tactic 1: Co-sponsor the Super Mash Bros Concert We created the positive association between the Census and entertainment by partnering with Chapman Radio to bring a popular DJ to Chapman for a three-hour concert and dance party. This event attracted over 1,200 students, proving to be Chapman’s largest student-run on-campus event this semester, according to the Associated Students of Chapman. We greeted guests with free CDs containing informational inserts about the Census. We manned an information table at the entrance of the concert along with a step-and-repeat (a background featuring our logo) and a photographer to give students an opportunity to have their pictures taken as they took their Pledge to Exist. We ultimately photographed approximately 500 people pledging to take the Census at the concert. Our participation in the event, plus Pledge to Exist signage, increased our blog viewership by 68 people immediately following the concert. Tactic 2: Host PledgeStock We created a new on-campus entertainment-oriented event named PledgeStock. We recruited a Chapman student team to write and perform an original 10-minute comedy sketch about the Census that encouraged the audience to take the Pledge to Exist. PledgeStock also featured two live bands to further appeal to the college demographic. We set up a designated area where students could be filmed making their unique Pledges to Exist, resulting in 25 videotaped pledges. Our outreach resulted in over 65 confirmed guests. Tactic 3: Social media pledges We encouraged students to take the Pledge to Exist by writing their pledge on our Twitter or Facebook wall, which led to a total of 54 social media pledges. Tactic 4: Photograph Pledges at Club Presentations After our presentations to five clubs on campus, we asked them if they now felt more informed and willing to participate in the 2010 Census. If so, we asked them to take the Pledge to Exist in a photograph.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Campaign Plan Objective 2: To extend the Pledge to Exist Campaign to the Asian American community in Orange County in order to inform and inspire them to participate in the 2010 Census.


Rationale: According to our secondary research of the Asian American community’s views towards the Census, we found that they are traditionally much less likely to take the Census and are under-counted every 10 years. Our primary research surveys and attitude analysis taught us that the Asian American community in Orange County values their privacy and have a misunderstanding that the Census is a violation of their privacy. Therefore, our goal became to educate this target audience about the fact that the Census does not need to invade their privacy and inspire them to take the Census in order to reap the benefits for their close-knit community.


STRATEGY 1: Inform the Asian American community that the Census does not ask personal questions and that Census workers will not come door-to-door if they mail the form back right away. Tactic 1: Door-to-door surveying and informing in a residential Asian community in Fullerton We went to an Asian American community in Fullerton, Calif. to gain a better understanding of their opinions towards the Census and started Census-oriented conversations to promote awareness of the 2010 Census. Tactic 2: Use a trusted opinion leader to convey our message Our primary research taught us that the Asian American community in Fullerton only accepts information from trusted sources within their own community. Therefore, we partnered with a board member at an established Korean church to translate our materials and distribute them to the church community. Tactic 3: Partner with the U.S. Census Bureau at events for Orange County Asian Americans We partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau employees at the Mobile Census booth at Thu Phat Market, a Vietnamese supermarket in Garden Grove, Calif. and the Tet Festival, a major Lunar New Year celebration attended by thousands of Vietnamese every year. We distributed translated materials to a broader Asian community with the help of the credible Census employees. Tactic 4: Host a booth at the Cambodian Complete Count Committee Census Festival We reserved and manned a booth next to the official 2010 Census at this Census Festival in Long Beach to distribute our informational materials to over 100 guests and reach a broader Asian American audience. Tactic 5: Gain recognition on established Asian American blogs We pitched press releases to many credible bloggers based in the Orange County area. The Asian Pacific Islander Counts blog published our press release verbatim and linked to our social media Web sites.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Campaign Plan Tactic 6: Gain publicity on local news broadcasts We were interviewed at the Long Beach Census Festival by local station Long Beach Channel 8 and discussed our campaign and initiatives for reaching the Asian American community in Orange County.

STRATEGY 2: Inspire the Asian American community to “Pledge to Exist� by pledging to participate in the 2010 Census. Tactic 1: Promote our Pledge to Exist booth with a t-shirt contest We challenged attendees to bring at least five new people to our booth and in return gave away our Pledge to Exist t-shirts as prizes in order to bring more traffic to our table. Tactic 2: Photograph pledges at the Long Beach Census Festival We photographed 28 people taking the Pledge to Exist. Tactic 3: Photograph pledges at the Tet Festival We photographed seven people Pledging to Exist.

Objective 3: To extend the Pledge to Exist campaign to a representative group of homeless people in Orange County.



Rationale: Our secondary research taught us that the homeless population is the most difficult to accurately count in the Census for the obvious reason that they have no homes to mail the form to or visit. Therefore we made a goal to reach out to the homeless community in Orange County for primary research purposes and to better understand how this audience can successfully take the Census.

STRATEGY 1: Inform the homeless community about the relevant benefits of an accurate Census count. Tactic 1: Host a focus group at the Illumination Foundation Homeless Shelter in Costa Mesa We arranged a focus group with seven homeless people through the Illumination Foundation in order to understand their opinions and concerns about the 2010 Census. Tactic 2: Motivate the homeless at the Illumination Foundation to Pledge to Exist After speaking with the homeless at our focus group, all seven said that they were now more inspired to take the Census. Tactic 3: Distribute materials to homeless attendees at the Census Festival in Long Beach The Census festival offered free medical service and food giveaways to attract a homeless audience. We were able to distribute our collateral to these attendees, many of whom were inspired to Pledge to Exist.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Evaluation Objective 1: Results Over the course of the February campaign, 679 Chapman students took the Pledge to Exist. The breakdown is as follows: 500 took their photo pledge at the Super Mash Bros. concert, 54 pledged on our Facebook and Twitter pages, 25 pledged by video at the PledgeStock event, and we recorded 100 verbal pledges during dorm visits. According to an exit survey conducted on February 28, 97% of the students responded that the Pledge to Exist campaign increased their understanding of the Census and its importance. Furthermore, an outstanding 100% of the students pledged that they would participate in this year’s Census. Our online survey results revealed similar findings, with a 35% increase in willingness to participate in the Census, 80% of whom accredit the Pledge to Exist campaign with convincing them to do so. By using a campaign theme and design that resonated with the college demographic, emphasizing the brevity and positive benefits of the Census, and connecting the Census with a variety of entertainment-style events, we were able to promote a positive image of the Census on -campus. By encouraging 679 students to complete the Census, we exceeded our goal by nearly 25%.

Objective 2: Results Throughout the month of February, we encouraged 48 members of the Asian American community in Orange County to take the Pledge to Exist. The breakdown: three pledged during door-to-door surveys, 25 pledged at a populated Korean church, seven at the Tet Festival in Garden Grove, and 13 at the Long Beach Census Festival. We distributed more than 200 flyers with information about our campaign at the events we attended, and spoke with over 100 people about our campaign. We met this objective through all of our outreach initiatives that were positively received by the Asian American community, as proven in our exit surveys and pledges received.

Objective 3: Results We made a presentation about the Census to the Illumination Foundation in Costa Mesa and conducted a focus group with seven homeless people. We informed them of the ways the Census can benefit them and listened to their advice and concerns. By the end of our presentation, all seven pledged to take the Census and spread the word. We met this objective through our personal outreach to the Illumination Foundation and our presence at the Long Beach Census Festival, which combined provided 22 pledges and positive feedback.

Census 2010 . Pledge to Exist


Pledge to Exist  

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