My work with a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit association for performance enhancement to their workshop program has settled into place and is running smoothly on their end. They are handing out workshop surveys and have 90% of their attendees completing the survey. I have begun gathering national statistics for comparison and the results are very interesting.
I found the information I wanted for comparison in the United States Census Bureau’s archives from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration. They conduct a Survey of Business Owners (SBO) every 5 years, with the last two surveys taking place in 2012 and 2007. The SBO pays very close attention to minorities (women, ethnicities, veteran status, and disability status) in their reports, but the surveys cover a great deal of other information which is less glamorous to the media. I downloaded several spreadsheets covering statistics on age, gender, and education level for my first comparison. The association has a bad reputation for being an organization of “old, white men” which has not been my experience and I wanted to first see if their field was primarily older, white men which would create the bias. The results of the SBO showed that this, in fact, the case.
While minority groups have increased their rankings as small business owners between 2007 and 2012, the majority of small business owners are male (54%) compared to female (35%), with the missing percentage falling into joint ownership businesses. The majority of small business owners are also between 45 and 65 years of age and Caucasian, meaning “old, white men” is correct for their industry.
Education level was something I am very interested in as well from personal experiences with small business owners and their relative success levels. In 2012, the median shows that small business owners have a college degree. The majority of small business owners have a bachelor’s degree (29%) followed closely by those who have a master’s degree (23%).
Knowing that the target audience for this association was now more educated, older, and male, I have started making comparisons to the workshop surveys being distributed to workshop attendees. The participants of this survey are mostly already interacting with the association, so the results tell me who is already in their net as opposed to who they should be targeting.
The comparison has proven interesting so far. The education level has been all across the board when viewed as a whole, but when examined by individual workshop, the workshop for starting a new business has mostly high school graduates with no higher education completed. The workshop for business financials and funding contains mostly students with a master’s degree. The workshops for marketing and websites appear to be following the national average at a lower level. There are more high school graduates followed by those with a master’s degree, then those with a bachelor’s degree. The final results for the marketing and website workshops may fit the national trend more closely after more surveys have been collected.
I have also started collected survey results from small business owners not currently aware of the association. Gathering this data has proven more difficult than previously anticipated. My advanced marketing experience has allowed me to effectively drive people to the survey based on the SBO statistics (educated, older men with a proven interest in small business administration), but the drop-out rate for survey completion is very high. I have restructured the survey without modifying any questions to see if the presentation of the questions has been the issue. I will not know for a few more days if this will prove effective or not.
At this time, no changes have been requested or negotiated with the association. I am concerned there will not be as much feedback from people not currently aware of the existence of the association, but a specific number of participants was not specified. I have uncovered better ways to ensure participation while maintaining advanced targeting, but the cost would be significant – around $12 per survey completed with a minimum order of 50. I may shorten the survey to only the items requiring further examination in an attempt to negotiate a lower cost. First, I will be attempting to increase motivation to complete the survey through other avenues. The survey for people not aware of the existence of the association is taking place virtually, which Block suggests may be a hurdle in and of itself (2011). I may need to find a better way to bring the survey to the public, although getting permission from networking groups and chambers of commerce may prove difficult.
|2/24/2016||client phone call||0.25|
|2/24/2016||client phone call||0.25|
|3/2/2016||request logins, research national stats||1.75|
|3/3/2016||draft online survey||1|
|3/6/2016||finalize online survey for new prospects||2.5|
|3/11/2016||examine online survey, add ads||0.5|
|3/14/2016||examine online survey and reorder q’s||0.75|
|3/15/2016||distribute survey to non-SCORE contacts||0.75|
|3/16/2016||discuss surveys with client||0.25|
|3/16/2016||analyze workshop survey data||2|