neighbors for neighbors 2011 network evaluation report march

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Results from the 2011 Neighbors for Neighbors Network Evaluation.


  • 1. March 23, 2011NFN SurveyResults and AnalysisPrepared by Anna B. Sandoval Girn1 This report is part of the formative evaluation prepared for Neighbors for Neighbors, Inc.Here I provide an analysis of the results of the survey conducted during February 2 7, 2011 aspart of the evaluation I was tasked to do for the organization. These results must be viewed asonly one portion of the evaluation and within the context of the goals that NFN has as a whole.The survey sought to gather information about current members of the NFN network in theBoston area. We sought to identify strengths and weakness of the current network, the issues orcurrent community problems that users are interested in addressing, and demographic data ofrespondents. The NFN network is comprised of nine neighborhood networks in the City of Bostonwith 3380 individual subscribers to the network. In order to recruit participants to the survey aninvitation for participation was sent to registered email addresses through the NFNcommunication network. In addition announcements about the survey were posted on theFacebook of Neighbors for Neighbors and on twitter for followers of the @Neighbortweet duringthe days of data collection to encourage subscriber participation. We had a 5.9% response ratewith two-hundred individuals filling out the survey.Who answered the Survey? Of those who answered the survey the majority of them (88%) are neighbors who live inthe communities of Boston where NFN has organized. An important group of respondents arethose who play multiple roles in the communities in which they live, of respondents 16.5% ofindicated that they identify with multiple roles in the community. This means that members ofNeighbors for Neighbors are not only people who live in the community but also volunteer theirtime for non-profits, work in the communities they live in, are business owners, etc.1 For questions, further information, details on the data or any other inquiries please contact Dr. Anna B. SandovalGirn at or anna.b.sandoval@gmail.com1

2. March 23, 2011Relationship to NFN (percentiles do not add to 100%) multiple roles16.50%business owner2.50%rep community org 11.50%work for city 2.50%work local non-profit 13% Neighbor88%More than half (57.4%) of respondents have lived in their neighborhood for over 10 years, while13.4% have lived in their respective neighborhoods for less than three years.Forty percent of respondents have been involved with the organization for less than oneyear; Thirty-nine percent have been involved between 1-3 years. Eleven percent have beeninvolved for more than three years. The challenge remains to sustain long-term membership andinvolvement with NFN. Below I detail some of the strategies that may be used to maintain longterm involvement. How long have you been a member of NFN?50%40% 39%40%30%20% 11% 10%10% 0% Less than one yearBetween one and More than three years Not a memberthree years 2 3. March 23, 2011Almost 40% of respondents are between the ages of 31-40, making this age group the mostrepresented amongst respondents. The majority of respondents were female (65.8% female as compared to 32.9% male and0.6% transgender). In terms of ethnic and racial identity the overwhelming majority ofrespondents identified as white (87.66%) as the graph below shows. A group that is worthmentioning is those who did not answer the race/ethnicity question, 23% of those who filled thesurvey chose not to answer this question. Regardless the differences in percentiles between thegroups is so wide, there is enough confidence in the data to suggest that the majority of membersof NFN identify as white. Unlike most surveys this survey allowed respondents to identify withmore than one race or ethnicity providing us with a nuanced picture of NFN, almost 4% ofindividuals identified as multiracial.3 4. March 23, 2011Network Features The main themes that emerge from the analysis of the question: What is most valuableto you about the NFN network? is members like to get updates on events; communicationand connecting (information on what is going on); and feel that NFN strengthens communityties. The answers to this question nicely fit into the usage of features. When analyzing thequestion: how often do you use the following features on the Neighbors for NeighborsNetwork? members primarily used the features designed to communicate. Members reportusing blogs (29.5%) and events (31.7%) at monthly rates; meanwhile making little use of otherfeatures such as groups, multimedia, neighbors and members. The groups feature was only usedmonthly by 20.8% of respondents, while it was never used by 46.7%. The feature of neighborsand members has a similar pattern; only 14.8% of members use the feature monthly while 49%of respondents have never used it. Meanwhile the multimedia feature monthly usage of 14.8%while 65.2% have never used the feature. Below is a table that illustrates the responses for all thequestions and the frequency responses. 4 5. March 23, 2011In terms of the things that users feel need to change there are a variety of important andinsightful observations made in the open-ended questions. The primary themes that respondentscommented on in the areas that need improvement in the network are: the blogs, groups,forums, the social network aspect of NFN, and the design of the website. Below I expand andexplain each of these areas. The website is one area that users commented on. The comments centered on the abilityto navigate the site, the confusion in terms of how to get to the information that users needed,and the number of items that appear at the home page. One respondent stated: I cant work thewebsite; its too busy, too complicated. There are several solutions to work around theseconcerns and re-design the site in a more user-friendly format that will allow those who visit thesite to easily navigate the features. This leads to the second of the areas that users feel needimprovement: features.5 6. March 23, 2011 The features that are used the most, based on the survey, are the blogs and the events. Thefeatures with the least utilization are the multimedia (65.2% of respondents have never used themultimedia feature), the neighbors and members (49.1% have never used the feature, while only12% use it weekly), the groups feature (46.7% have never used it, 20% use it once a year), andthe forums (50% have never used it while 21.6% use it once a year). There are severalexplanations to the low usage of these features. Even though users see the value in all thesefeatures they find the navigation to find the items in the website difficult. In addition, users havefound that they can get the same services and features in other more popular websites thereforethey rather use other venues. For example, the forum service is duplicated and very effectivelydone without registration by Craigs List. The groups feature is duplicated by andFacebook groups and to some extent twitter. Multimedia can be uploaded in other sites such astwitter (via links to external sites: Twitpic, Flickr, Plixi and others) and on Facebook making theuse of the NFN features duplicates to the features of what other more popular and easier tonavigate sites are already doing. The blog posts and the comments from the posts received a majority of the negativecomments. Users commented on the content of the blog posts, the way that comments are notmoderated, the usefulness (or not) of the comments, are all part of the many issues that wereraised in the areas that needed to be improved. For instance a respondent stated The peanutgallery comments on blogs. It seems to bring out the worst in people! The focus on thecomments on the blog posts tells us that there is a need to institute new ways to moderate andengage in conversation. A civil conversation does not necessarily mean a free-for allconversation, it means a respectful and engaged conversation, which is what members are askingfor. To finish on a positive note, the calendar section is something that users feel is underutilizedand they would like to see a more robust place to access information about local events andorganizations.6 7. March 23, 2011Appendix A: Technical informationSamplingNon-probability sample modelingThis online survey will target an open population using the N4N network and itwill be posted in the Networks website, in Twitter, Facebook, and sent as anemail to the members of the network. This means that the sample is a non-probability sample. This limits the external validity of the results but allows usto understand the situation of the users of the N4N network.Data GatheringThe data was gathered between February 2 and February 7, 2011 using theonline survey software SurveyMonkey. Invitations to participate in the surveywere sent to a total of 3380 members of one of the Boston area NFN networks: Jamaica Plain (Members 2387) Charlestown (Members 152) Dorchester (228 members) East Boston (Members 174) North end (Members 127) Roxbury (Members 45) Allston Brighton (Members 105) South end (Members 57) Roslindale (Members 104)The survey was officially open between February 2 and February 5, 2011 butremained accessible until February 7.We received a total of 200 respondents to the survey, response rate 5.9%Data AnalysisQualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze the data collected.The Quantitative data was analyzed through SPSS. All variables were analyzedfor frequencies, when appropriate variables were re-coded for clarity and ease ofanalysis. 7