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Connecting the Dots: Census, Elections, and Map My CBO

Missed our first post introducing Map My CBO? Read all about it here and click here to join our growing platform!

The decennial census and elections are vital components of our democratic framework interwoven to shape the future of our communities. The census, conducted every ten years, captures the essence of our population, guiding resource allocation and political representation. Elections, our opportunity to shape governance, hinge upon accurate census data to ensure fair representation and guard against gerrymandering.

Each of these processes are intrinsically linked and hold the power to amplify the voices of our communities. Participation in both the census and elections is not just a civic duty; it’s an act of empowerment. Being counted and voting is a powerful means to shape our collective future. Regardless of political affiliation, these processes are fundamental to maintaining integrity in our democracy.

Snapshot of Map My CBO’s 200 organizations

Translating this importance into meaningful participation demands targeted outreach and effective education for our communities.

Map My CBO was created to support organizing for both census and elections. As OCVotes efforts continue to ramp up in preparation for November 2024, we can look to Map My CBO as a real-time snapshot of who can do what kind of outreach activity in which city, in which languages, and to which populations.

If your organization does community-based outreach in Orange County, we invite you to fill out this brief form to be listed in the search directory. Joining is free and 501(c)3 status is not required.

Here is an overview of the five collective outreach capabilities of the 200 organizations listed so far on Map My CBO as of March 2024:

Planning outreach for 2024 and beyond

Through our work with the 2020 Census and now with OC Votes, we understand firsthand how hundreds of organizations can reach tens of thousands of community members as trusted messengers.

Here are some questions that nonprofits, foundations, and local government agencies can use to guide outreach planning for 2024 and beyond:

  1. Where do we see the most need for education and outreach? (Check Orange County Registrar of Voters for voter turnout information and the OC Census Atlas for decennial census response rates)
  2. What are the key demographic characteristics of these geographies? (Refer to the OC Census Atlas for a summary of characteristics by city)
  3. What are some effective ways in outreaching to these communities? (Refer to the OC Counts Playbook for effective outreach strategies utilized for the 2020 Census)
  4. Who specializes in conducting outreach to these geographies and demographic groups using the activities known to effectively reach these groups? (Run a search on Map My CBO)
  5. What are these organizations and how can we best work with them? (Look up organizations on OC Nonprofit Central and other sources)
  6. Who can support these organizations through funding and other resources in their outreach efforts? (Look up funders on OC Philanthropy Central)

Whether it’s educating community members about the importance of being counted in the census or encouraging voter turnout in elections, Map My CBO serves as a free and versatile tool for civic engagement planning. In this consequential election and in the years ahead, we encourage our partners to utilize it to coordinate strategies to engage with community members more efficiently, fostering dialogue, building trust, and strengthening civic participation.

Map My CBO Orange County is a collaboration between Charitable Ventures and Good Work Collaborative, with support from the Orange County Community Foundation and OC Grantmakers. Contact Raymond Lo ( with any questions.