At the meeting of the Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees on July 26, I presented a summary of the results received through our ONEplace ONEyear Survey, conducted in early March, 2010. It is a snapshot of the start-up and growth of Kalamazoo County’s new nonprofit management support organization (MSO) from the Grand Opening in March, 2009, through one full year in operation. While we continue to grow and improve programs and services, and increase service contacts, capturing the impact of the first year has proven valuable and informative.
Executive Summary of ONEplace ONEyear Survey
ONEplace is a management support organization, operated by the Kalamazoo Public Library and funded by the Irving S. Gilmore and Kalamazoo Community Foundations, that focuses on building personnel (staff and volunteers) skills and organizational capacities of nonprofits in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
First Year Activity Levels
In its first year of operation, ONEplace was operated by one full-time and two 10/hr/wk staff (approx 9 mos/each pt position). Over 200 requests per month (2400/yr) for technical assistance from nonprofit staff, board members, volunteers, or people seeking to start a nonprofit were addressed in-person, by phone, or email---surpassing its goal of 75/mo during the first year. Over 100 workshops and webinars were provided, with more than 1,400 people attending. Services and programs far outpaced original expectations.
As the first anniversary approached we took the opportunity to systematically gather data to better assess ONEplace’s efforts and local nonprofit needs for future planning.
Working with an evaluator from the WMU Evaluations Center, the ONEplace ONEyear Survey was sent to 1,100 people to gather feedback on the services ONEplace offers. In total, 229 people completed the short survey, for a response rate of 20.8 percent. Most respondents were from organizations more than 16 years old. They represented a wide range of roles, with the most common respondents holding paid staff positions.
Most Frequently Used Services: ONEplace’s website, workshops, and one-on-one, in-person technical assistance.
Least Frequently Used Services: webinars and ONEplace’s nonprofit collection.
Overall Rating: Satisfaction with ONEplace’s services, programs, resources, and staff was very high; the value to the community was repeatedly cited in question responses and comments.
Regardless of respondent’s personal participation in ONEplace offerings, their faith in its role in Kalamazoo was strong. Many of the comments read similarly to this one: “Really, I cannot think of anything [to improve]. This is such a wonderful resource for our community. I hope there is a plan to duplicate the model and spread it across the country. ONEplace is a true ally of the nonprofit. Thank you!”
Suggestions for the Future:
- Provide a more complete schedule further ahead of time for adequate planning
- Archive materials from webinars and workshops for digital access
- Respondents asked for specific additional training topics
- Advanced training for mature organizations
- Professional development or orientation for board members
- Offer services outside of normal business hours
The results mirrored the perceptions of ONEplace staff from feedback throughout the year. Even prior to this survey, advanced training, board development, enhanced calendar, and greater focus on the collection were folded into the plans for year two. Archiving presenter materials is currently done in hardcopy and under consideration for web access. Some possible actions, such as expanding service hours, are unlikely given the limited staffing of ONEplace. Thus, the focus will be on utilizing technology to more efficiently address client needs for access to information whenever they need it.
Summary of Statistics:
- Respondents included: paid staff (60.7%); volunteers (10.5%); board members (17%); consultants (8.3%); unaffiliated community members (3.5%)
- Organizational age: less than a year (2.6%); 1-5 yrs (17.5%); 6-10 yrs (11.8%); 11-15 yrs (6.1%); more than 16 yrs (58.5%)
- One-on-one assistance (in person): 1-5 times (35.7%); 6 or more (1%); never (63.3%)
- One-on-one assistance (phone/email): 1-5 times (33.2%); 6 or more (2.9%); never (61.1%)
- Role-specific network attendance: 1-5 times (27.3%); 6 or more (6.2%); never (63.6%)
- Workshop attendance: 1-5 times (66.2%); 6 or more (10.3%); never (23.5%)
- Webinar attendance: 1-5 (32.2%); never (64.4%)
- Website visits: 1-5 times (48.8%); 6 or more (40.8%); never (10.3%)
- Frequency of checking out a book from the collection: 1- 10 times (30%); never (66.7%)
- Referred colleagues to ONEplace: 1-5 (51.2%); 6 or more (27.4%); none (19.1%)
- Increase in professional skills because of participation in ONEplace programs/services: on a scale of 1-10 (10 high) 70% rated their skill increase at 5 or greater; 2 or greater (84.5%); none (15.5% [may not have participated])
- Increase in organizational capacity: on a scale of 1-10 (10 high) 57.5% rated their capacity increase at 5 or greater; 2 or greater (78%); none (22% [may not have participated])
A Few Comments and Specific Requests to the Question “What One Thing Would Make ONEplace More Useful to You?:
- I can’t think of a thing to change
- I just need to find time to pursue your many resources
- Don’t forget ‘all volunteer’ organizations
- More varied workshop times
- Archive workshop materials online
- Send out regular emails of upcoming events
- I think it’s fantastic and moving in the right direction. It has been very useful.
- Do MORE of what you are doing!
- Offer more grant seeking labs
- Start a blog
- More in-depth workshops; skill building tools
- Education about how to network with other organizations
If you have questions or comments about this information or ONEplace, in general, please contact us.
Bobbe A. Luce, director of ONEplace@kpl
ONEplace @ KPL