“Just having trouble focusing on surveys right now-sorry! Too much to do.”
— bracingly honest 2021 survey respondent
Survey overload is a little-known, but very real pandemic side-effect. That’s why CNC held back on our annual feedback survey during the height of the crisis. Nevertheless, by June 2021, we knew it was time to take the Cambridge nonprofit sector’s temperature.
“CNC has grown tremendously the last few years. I hope that as we grow and formalize we can maintain the grassroots vibe and stay nimble. Always a tricky balance.”
— wise 2021 respondent on a big upcoming CNC challenge
In this article, we’ll look at the big trends from the survey data and comments, and how CNC will address respondents’ suggestions, hopes, and concerns:
Survey questions: We reached out for two broad purposes. First, to evaluate how we’re pursuing our mission. Second, to evaluate what resources and services are most valuable; and which would be most valuable to add.
Survey Respondents: Over 60 Cambridge nonprofits responded. We purposefully sent it beyond our membership, as CNC’s mission is to strengthen the entire Cambridge nonprofit sector. Almost 75% were members (13% were not members; 13% weren’t sure).
The majority of our respondents are deeply knowledgeable about their organizations’ needs: over 50% were EDs, and another 30% were management-level staff.
1. Evaluating CNC’s mission:
Our mission breaks down into 4 discrete parts:
We asked respondents to rate us on each prong on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The numbers below reflect the sum of “4”s and “5”s on that scale:
2. Evaluating CNC’s services & resources
Which of our current activities or resources has been the most helpful to your organization?
We allowed respondents to select all that applied. We also asked the same question for “potential future services.” Here are how the options ranked:
3. What CNC has done well
Our high marks for strengthening the sector (94%) and promoting collaboration (91%) come into relief when looking at some answers to our question: It's important to celebrate our collective wins! Please share an example.
Overall, these high marks reflect the role we stepped into during the crisis. A few big trends in our response stand out. (In all quotes, bolding added for emphasis.) But first, here’s one quote that perhaps best encapsulates what CNC (and the sector) were able to do in the last year and a half:
“[T]hat most(?) or all of us are still standing after 14+ months of COVID is a big win and CNC certainly had a part in helping us through the resources, etc. over the last year.”
[Note: While many Cambridge nonprofits had to temporarily close, none that we know of closed permanently, which is indeed a huge win for our community.]