Any organization worth its salt, periodically and proactively surveys its membership to identify emerging issues, challenges, and opportunities with an eye to improving services for members as well as overall organizational effectiveness.
The key guiding questions for such efforts tend to revolve around: Are we on track? What’s working? What’s not working or could be working better? What can we do about any deficiencies? What can we do to grow or expand things that are working well? What else should we doing? Given we are largely a volunteer-based organization, and cannot undertake every desirable project, initiative, or activity at once, what should our main priorities be?
Over 700 IAP2 Canada members and non-members were invited to take part: about 16% — and approximately 120 – responded.
But what will we do with the survey data? Have we used it for anything yet? First, all Board members – current and those starting their terms in September – have been asked to review the results. Knowing generally how the membership sees the organization and its activities can only help to ensure good decision-making in the future.
Next, our internal Board committee tasked with developing a first draft of our new organizational strategic plan for 2018-2020 carefully reviewed the results. Then the Strategic Plan Task Force held a retreat in Ottawa in May, where they ensured this data would guide their discussions.
Thirdly, at the first face-to-face meeting of the new Board (being held just after the North American Conference in Denver in September), we’ll review and consider the survey together.
Among the questions: have we thoughtfully and thoroughly considered (and used appropriately) the input received? How? What do we want to say to members about any action ideas the survey showed that we can’t act on at this time? Regarding the latter question, we fully intend to live up to the spirit of our own IAP2 principle that states public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision. We will tell the members how their survey responses will affect the way the organization runs and the way decisions are made.
A couple of high-level points stand out from the survey:
- More than three-quarters of members are “satisfied” (58%) or “very satisfied” (20%) with their experience as IAP2 members. But 20% are not sure, mainly because they were either unaware of what membership resources or services were available, or because they were unconvinced that the organization was adequately advocating for or demonstrating high-quality P2. Clearly, we have some work to do (together).
- Respondents also want more opportunities for skills development and to learn more about new techniques and best practices.
- They believe that the organization’s communications efforts are generally on track.
- When asked to name three hot topics, or top learning priorities for the future, members noted Indigenous participation, P2 techniques, and how to effectively use social media and other digital P2 tools.
In closing, I would like to thank all members who found the time to complete this latest IAP2 member survey. Your insights and ideas will help us to improve the functioning of IAP2 Canada.