Online Program

Using alternative correspondence messages and modes to increase response rates
*HoaiNam N. Tran,  

Keywords: Autodial, Postcard, Multiple modes, Response rates

The 2010 Census of Agriculture Content Test experimented with different correspondence methods to encourage respondents to respond via mail or internet. Cover letters with alternative information were compared. Postcard reminders were also compared to automated pre-recorded telephone reminders. Two treatments in a 2x2 factorial design were tested with all sampled operations received the standard initial mail out package. In the follow up, half of the sample received a postcard and another half received an automated pre-recorded telephone reminder message. In addition, half of the sample received a message stating that if they did not reply they would be personally visited or receive a phone call, while the second half of the sample received the standard message. Results showed that response rates were significantly higher for the groups receiving the message stressing they may be personally visited or phone follow up if they did not return the form. Also, response rates were slightly higher for groups receiving a postcard rather than an automated reminder. How these results will be incorporated into the next Census of Agriculture and other surveys at NASS will be discussed.