Let's collaborate to prove our impact!
If you are one of the hundreds of organizations across the country working to close the many digital divides (access, affordability,skills,etc.) and promote equity in technology access and use, you know how hard it is to affordably measure the impact of your programs, gain support from the funding community, and generally raise funds to do your important work. On the other hand, if you are a funder, you may be struggling to understand how digital equity efforts make a real difference in areas more clearly defined in your funding priorities.
We all have anecdotes demonstrating our programs' impact. But we're seldom able to go beyond the anecdotes to gather systematic, statistically significant data from the people we serve. Good survey research is expensive, and funding for program evaluation is hard to come by.
But here's an idea:
What if digital inclusion programs across the country collaborated to share the cost of one big, ongoing phone survey of our clients -- producing systematic program impact data for each participating program as well as for the digital inclusion "field" as a whole, and limiting the cost to a few thousand dollars per program? That's the idea of the National Digital Inclusion Program Survey.
We believe that creating a shared dataset that represents the ongoing national digital inclusion effort would be a powerful advocacy tool for illustrating and promoting the value of our shared work at both the local and national levels. What could it mean at a policy level for the digital inclusion community if we were able to draw national correlations between digital training and a reduction in unemployment, an increase in educational attainment, or an improvment in health outcomes? We want to find out! And, while we are at it, we will learn some other great things; like how outcomes differ between programs in different places, or between those that focus on different target audiences. We will be able to see if there are common usage trends across age or income cohorts independent of location, parents or singles. This information could shape the conversations we have around designing programs, conducting outreach efforts, or measuring our success. It could also serve as a useful foundation on which we produce insights into best practices. But to make this happen we need you! Are you interested? Read on.
Making it affordable.
Connected Insights knows that large phone survey projects are cost prohibitive for most small nonprofits. This is why we partnered with the Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center (ASC3) in Cleveland, Ohio to develop the Seniors Empowered Through Technology (SETT) program; a workforce empowerment program that provides specialized training to participants who gain valuable employment experience through working on phone surveys and other data collection efforts. This program enables Connected Insights to provide CATI lab services at a fraction of the cost of most firms. As an added bonus, the income produced by this program goes directly to pay low-income residents participating in the program and keep the lab running. Win-win.
You provide us the names and phone numbers of your participants from the past year. Connected Insights will agree (in writing) to not share this information outside of our project team. We call your participants and request their participation in a short, less than 10 minute phone survey that will collect information on their connectivity status as well as describe their meaningful use of the internet. We will also ask respondents to assess the impact that your program has had on them personally. If they refuse, we will not contact them again. If we do not reach them, 3 attempts will be made before we remove them from the list. We will call your list untill we reach the number of completed surveys required by your project. Once all surveys are collected, your responses will be analyzed and a short report will be written for you. At the end of the project, you get a individualized report for your project, and are also given access to the cumulative survey results of all organizations that participated.
About the shared survey data:
The shared survey results will not show names or numbers of those who provided the survey though each survey will contain general demographic and location (state) information so that you can select to compare your data to similar participant profiles.
The bottom line:
We have developed a flat-rate pricing model. $20 per completed survey. That's it. No other fees or costs to estimate or add to the cost. We are doing this project at our absolute base cost to ensure we make it affordable for everyone. If you choose to participate in the survey, you will have two options for your level of participation.
Option #1: You can choose to contribute 100 completed phone surveys (our minimum) to the national survey. This option will contribute to nationally representative numbers but may not produce a large enough sample for a strong statistical representation of your total program.
Option #2: You contribute a statistically significant sample representative of your entire program. Depending on the size of your program, you will need somewhere between 100-400 completed surveys in order to be statistically significant. The sweet spot we would shoot for is a 95% confidence interval and a 5% or less margin of error - which is standard in the field. Not sure what that means? No problem. We do! Just reach out and let us know how many participants you trained in the past year, and we will give you your ideal target sample size.
Let's do this!