by Claire Larrabee
Surveys are always full of interesting information. However, the real value of any survey is an organization’s ability to turn the data into meaningful action. At ESC, we are using the ESC survey results in several ways to improve our organization.
Guiding Our Consulting Services
The NH Nonprofit Needs Assessment has confirmed to our organization that many of the trends we were seeing on an anecdotal, project basis are indeed broader trends. As a consulting organization, ESC is always looking for ways to better meet the needs of the nonprofits it serves by creating and delivering more targeted solution offerings. The survey will help us do this. As part of our recently updated strategic plan, we have included a goal to review our solution line, determine if we should continue to offer all current solutions, and ensure that our solutions align with the key needs as identified in the survey.
One of the needs/interests identified in the Needs Assessment survey is collaboration between nonprofit organizations. ESC itself has experienced the value of collaboration. The surveys are excellent examples of how collaboration can pay off. We conducted both the Needs Assessment and the Skilled Volunteer surveys in conjunction with NH Center for Nonprofits, Volunteer New Hampshire, Granite United Way, Monadnock United Way and the United Way of the Greater Seacoast. It was the combined efforts of all these organizations that enabled such a complex project to be completed. We see collaboration as an important tool for the future and will be putting more emphasis on its use in our consulting activities.
Improving Techniques for Attracting and Retaining ESC Volunteer Consultants
The NH Skilled Volunteer Report is helping us recognize how volunteer expectations and time commitments to nonprofits are changing. As ESC depends entirely on volunteers with high-level business and consulting skills, it is especially important to create an environment that both attracts and retains these individuals. We are using the survey information to shape a current effort to more formally document how to recruit and use skilled volunteers. It is helping us set realistic expectations of what skilled volunteers are likely to want from the organization and how they are willing to participate.
Engage in a Little Navel Gazing
The surveys can help any nonprofit engage in a little more “navel gazing” to consider how the organization is alike and different from the trends identified in the data. This can be very helpful for moving your organization forward. As you read the survey reports, think about how the trends identified are reflected in your own organization, and how you can use this data to improve success in all aspects of your operations.