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Calling all content creators, the Census needs you.

How making a video about the 2020 Census could win you up to $30,000

Census Accelerate, an initiative within the innovation arm of the U.S. Census Bureau, has launched its first-ever video prize competition to reward the most engaging, impactful and informative videos about the 2020 Census - with a total of $50,000 in cash prizes.

Submissions are due on April 17th at 11:59pm EDT

What is Census Accelerate?

Census Accelerate, a program of the Census Open Innovation Labs, brings together designers, content creators, filmmakers, and community representatives to generate compelling digital content focusing on helping communities most at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.

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Census Accelerate has partnered with national and local advocacy groups, the entertainment industry, federal agencies, civic engagement groups and more to leverage outreach efforts of cross-sector organizations dedicated to ensuring a complete and accurate count.

And now we’re challenging civically engaged content creators, ranging from students to pros, in supporting a complete count of everyone living in the United States.

Why is it important?

The results of the 2020 Census will determine how congressional representation and billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed to states and cities for schools, roads, hospitals and more.

Some hard-to-count communities such as racial and ethnic minorities, young and mobile populations, and families with young children could miss out on their fair share, but we can help change that.

What is the ‘Get Out The Count’ Video Challenge?

This is a nationwide call for the most impactful, accurate, inspiring, funny, creative, and culturally relevant videos to educate the masses about the 2020 Census and mobilize communities to respond, reminding them that it’s not too late to self-respond online, by phone or by mail.

The format

The challenge will focus on short-format video content—30 seconds to 3 minutes in length— for social platforms like YouTube, with the goal of informing the public about the importance of the census, and activating them to self-respond.

The U.S. Census Bureau will be awarding a total of $50,000 for video submissions that can encourage hard to count communities to fill out the Census.

  • $30,000 — Grand Prize
  • $10,000 — Runner Up Prize
  • $10,000 — Student Prize

Submissions close on April 17 at 11:59pm EDT with winners announced in May.

View brief, timeline & details here.

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What’s Next?

Take a look at helpful messaging, guidance and specific talking points to increase the accuracy of the video content.

Rules & Guidelines

Creative Examples:

Everybody Counts

Sesame Street

Rock the Vote

Count All Kids

Hagase Contar (Spanish)

Census National Campaign PSA

Submissions will be reviewed by government, media & tech industry, and non-profit leaders on categories including potential for impact, virality, technical quality, and creativity.

Questions?

Contact us at census.accelerate@census.gov

FAQ’s

1. How has the COVID-19 affected the Census or this Prize Challenge?

Most people have already received a mailer from the U.S. Census Bureau with information about how to complete the Census online at 2020census.gov.  Encourage those who have received their invitation to respond online as soon as they receive it.

Key message to incorporate into videos: It has never been easier to respond on your own, either online, by phone, or by mail, without having to meet a census taker.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released statements on its response to COVID-19, and announced modifications to Group Quarters operations, which counts people in nursing homes, college dorms, prisons and other institutional living facilities. Please check back here for additional news and details on the 2020 Census and COVID-19.

By March 20th, most households will receive the first of several mailed invitations to respond. Everyone is encouraged to respond online, via phone or by mail, as soon as they receive their invitation with the provided instructions and web address for the online questionnaire (my2020census.gov). Filling out the census now will reduce the chances of an enumerator knocking on your door in the future.

2. Which hashtag or URL should I direct people to? 

Please direct viewers to 2020census.gov, or to call 1-844-330-2020 (English) or 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish).

Some optional hashtags are: #ShapeOurFuture  #standupbecounted #2020Census #countmein #icount #wecount #cuentaconmigo #cometoyourcensus

3. When are the submissions due?

Submissions are due April 17th at 11:59pm EST.

4. In what format should the videos be submitted?

Videos must be 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length, and must be in a compatible YouTube format with the proper codecs: WebM files, MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, AVI, MPEGPS, WMV, FLV with suggested aspect of 16:9.

5. Do I need to be a pro filmmaker to submit a video?

No! As long as videos are accurate, engaging, and meet the requirements on challenge.gov, we encourage both professional and amateur content creators to submit videos. That includes high school and college students, too!

6. I’m a student. Can I submit work for the grand prize and student prize opportunity?

Yes, you are eligible for both. We will ask you for proof of student status if you win the student prize.

7. How old do I need to be to participate? 

You must be at least 13 years of age to apply; minors under the age of 18 may apply but must submit a consent form signed by a parent or guardian. You can obtain one by emailing census.accelerate@census.gov.

8. Can I share the video publicly during the submission period? 

Yes, as long as it’s accurate and follows our messaging guidance, we encourage you to share your video as widely as possible.

9. How can I make sure my video is accurate? 

Please take a look at key facts and resources here. You can also visit 2020census.gov for additional factsheets and information. We encourage you to direct any questions or clarifications to census.accelerate@census.gov. We will also offer a webinar where you can learn more and ask questions. Stay tuned to this webpage for details, or email us to make sure you get the invite!

10. Do I need to upload my video to YouTube?

YouTube is the preferred platform for sharing, but you may use a different platform that is compliant with standards listed on challenge.gov, and wherever you believe your video will be most visible. You MUST submit a complete application, including answers to the required questions and a link to your video. Please see the “How to Enter” section on challenge.gov.

11. Can I submit more than one video?

Yes.

12. When will the winners be announced?

Winners will be announced in May.

13. Can I apply with my company or creative group?

Yes. In the case of a private entity, it must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or U.S. territories.

Applicants may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment or an employee of the U.S. Census Bureau. View the full eligibility rules on challenge.gov.