Every year we survey the NetSquared organizers to take the temperature of the community and get a sense of how we can serve them better.
We want to identify what is working and what could be improved. This year 90 organizers completed the survey (vs. 75 last year). Last year's results will help put the current results in context.
The survey indicates that the organizer community is generally engaged and healthy, but continues to struggle in some areas. I dig into the results in the graphs and comments below, but if you love raw data you can see everything in the organizer's handbook survey section.
Recommendations and Next Steps
Orientation for new organizers needs to be improved - a high priority that continues from last year's survey.
Organizers want to get face-to-face and in virtual hangouts to learn from each other.
There's too many communications channels and too many tools!
Organizers want more physical NetSquared support including swag, brochures, and financial support.
Did We Make Process on Last Year's Suggested Actions?
Here's last year's suggested next steps and the progress we made (or didn't) in bold.
Revise the onboarding process for new organizers, including creating a new "playbook" and creating a drip email campaign with tips to help get organizers started.
Drip email campaigns are now live, but the "playbook" wasn't completed.
Revise the Regional Ambassadors so that all NetSquared organizers are paired with a local representative and make sure we have coverage in all major languages.
We increased the number of Ambassadors, but only half of the NetSquared organizer community is paired with an Ambassador.
Review our communications approach to ensure that we balance organizer's need to be informed with the fear of being drowned by message frequency.
We turned off public posting on the Google Group, which has reduced un-asked-for messages to all organizers.
Create NetSquared promotional brochure and event templates
Recruit an intern to help create turn-key event templates and an additional theme month.
I tried to recruit an intern, but our candidate fell through. I will make another attempt this year.
We will also continue to share community events, videos, photos and reports on the NetSquared blog and encourage organizers to read and contribute. Please subscribe to the blog's rss feed and follow NetSquared on Twitter and Facebook.
Please Rate Your Current Experience as an Organizer
General satisfaction levels are holding steady. This year 79% of organizers report being satisfied, versus last year's 80%. Now to get the other 20% deeply engaged…
Do You Expect to Be a NetSquared Organizer in Six Months?
97% responded "yes", which is a jump from last year's 84%. We've cleared out many inactive organizers over the last year.
How Many Hours Do You Spend Planning, Running, and Reporting on an Average Event?
We asked this question so that we can estimate the amount of time invested by the organizers.
The average organizer contributes 6.8 hours per event. During the previous year NetSquared groups held 825 events, which results in a rough estimate of 5,610 hours contributed by our volunteer network in the previous year. That's astounding!
The typical NetSquared organizer spends 5 hours per month creating and hosting their events.
Why Are You a NetSquared Organizer?
What are the motivations and incentives for NetSquared organizers? The most commons responses were:
Empower community groups to make better use of technology.
Connect with my peers/socializing & networking.
Improve my leadership skills.
These responses confirm our understanding of NetSquared organizers – they are primarily driven by an urge to build community and share their skills with civil society. What makes NetSquared sustainable for our organizers it that it satisfies both their philanthropic and practical career needs.
Please Rate the Following Tools and Supports by How Helpful They Are to You as an Organizer
We asked NetSquared leaders to assess the value they receive from NetSquared's tools and resources.
Organizer's Handbook Wiki
This is a core NetSquared resource but 14% of you don't know about it! This is where our event formats, marketing templates, and sample emails are stored. Just in case, here's a link to the handbook once again. :-)
An increasing percentage of organizers are finding the private Facebook group handy, but there's a strong contingent (20%) who aren't fans of the platform. That's why we also run the Slack group.
1/3 of organizers are active on Slack, so for those who don't love Facebook there's Slack. :-)
Your Meetup.com Group Page
Meetup is still the core tool of NetSquared and 70% of you find it useful. But this is a drop of the 79% in 2016. I suspect that Meetup's drop in popularity can be attributed to the global expansion of NetSquared. Meetup simply isn't as well-used in Africa or Latin America.
NetSquared.org Event and Group Search
Organizers aren't in love with http://www.NetSquared.org, complaining that it isn't mobile friendly and has an "outdated" look. Discussions will begin this year about the future of the website.
Blog on NetSquared.org
44% reported that the NetSquared blog, where we collect event reports and case studies is useful (vs. 56% last year). Many NetSquared groups maintain their own blogs and social media accounts, which they use for event reporting and promotion. Ideally our events platform and the event reports share a common platform.
TechSoup Events Roundups and Calendar
We continue to work on integrating NetSquared events into TechSoup USA's communications. There's a monthly roundup of events posted to the blog (plus social media support) and events are added to the calendar. Groups outside the USA are also often receiving support from TechSoup network partners, especially in Australia, Canada, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
Personal Outreach by the NetSquared Community Manager
NetSquared's high-touch approach of one-on-one support is popular with organizers. Over the last three years we have expanded our support with the addition of our Regional Ambassadors, who allow us to provide event more direct mentorship.
Social Media Promotion of Events
Social media support for events is valued by organizers and we'll continue to give you twitter love.
Theme Months and Event Templates
53% of organizers were satisfied with theme months (vs. 59% in 2015). Theme months have been successful at demonstrating the global reach of the NetSquared community when we all work together. The theme months also offer a good way for less active organizers (especially new organizers) to get involved and hold an event.
Event Grants and Honorariums
The theme months are often paired with micro-grants and honorariums to assist organizers in hosting events or attending regional trainings. These opportunities don't come consistently, but we continue to pursue grant and partnership opportunities.
88% of NetSquared organizers report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the support their receive from their Ambassador mentors, which is a HUGE endorsement of the contributions from these super-volunteers.
Barriers to Being an Active NetSquared Organizer
Being a NetSquared organizer isn't easy – we ask for a big, ongoing commitment. Many organizers thrive, but they also run into roadblocks. The top issues are:
Finding a venue.
Not enough time to dedicate to running their group!
The solutions of many of these issues involves deep local knowledge that TechSoup can't help with, but we can do a better job of connecting organizers to local presenters. TechSoup has lots of relationships, like our donor partners, webinar presenters, and bloggers, who would be perfect candidates for NetSquared experts.
What's Working Well When It Comes to Communications and Support?
Selected and edited responses from the survey:
"All communications are clear and work very well."
"Fast response to any questions/calls for help. Reading on facebook/slack etc other's issues gives perspective, and answers some questions before I have to ask."
"Great group of passionate folks, and Eli does an amazing job of keeping us informed. I feel like the addition of Slack has been helpful. "
"I think more organizers are participating and helping each other. Also, I think the sessions at the NTC keep getting better -- more participation, good agenda. "
What Could Be Improved When It Comes to Communications and Support?
Selected and edited responses from the survey:
"Having an calendar of when comms will be sent out across the month and over the next few months so we can plan ahead. Advance notice of theme months."
"Support in other languages like Spanish and French"
"More face to face meetings"
"Expense recovery and honorariums would help us hold events more regularly"
"Onboarding materials need to be improved for new organizers"
"There is a lot of information coming from many directions. I often get confused in the little amount of time I have to do this volunteer work. "