Community Involvement Survey Analysis
Comparing involvement and opinions across different types of membership groups
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Cam’s Main Takeaways
- Service organizations (like Rotary Club) appear to be the most involved in their communities, with members reporting more donating, fundraising, and frequent activities than other groups.
- Members of neighborhood associations seem to be some of the least active and most jaded respondents.
- Members of religious institutions appear to be the least likely to have multiple memberships, fundraise, or attend government hearings.
Table of Contents
- How Analysis Posts Work
- Community Involvement Survey
- Sample Demographics
- Peoples’ memberships
- Frequency of community activities
- Importance of being involved
- Can volunteers make a significant impact?
- How involved are you?
- Want more personal connection?
- Most likely to donate often?
- Most likely to fundraise often?
- Most likely to attend a government hearing?
- Most likely to have multiple memberships?
- Most likely to participate often?
- Why are you involved (or not)?
- Don’t buy it? Make it better.
How Analysis Posts Work
In our analysis, we take a deeper look at our survey results and highlight the patterns and insights we see under the surface using segmentation across meaningful demographics (like age, gender, and location). These are the things we think are interesting, and we make them public so everyone can learn.
But the views and insights you find here aren’t the only ones available! You may see a chart or interpretation and realize you’re dying to see a different angle — one that might be more helpful for your purposes. Cool! We can help you with custom views or services. Send us an email!
Community Involvement Survey
We all live somewhere, and most of us want that place to be as good as it can possibly be. We wanted to know how people think about community involvement.
Here are our survey questions and results, and below’s what I found most interesting.
Whenever you look at survey results or findings, it’s a good idea to check the demographics of the respondents — that can have a lot to do with whether the results are likely to reflect a broad population, or just a niche group. This survey was distributed to our subscribers via email, through Facebook via targeted ads, and was shared by subscribers as well.
We heard from twice as many women as men, a greater proportion of young adults (30s-40s), and mostly residents from Ada County.
(One other thing to keep in mind — this is an opt-in survey, which means respondents decided whether or not they wanted to participate. I expect participants are more interested in this topic than others, so our results may not represent the views of an “average” Idahoan.)
A good place to start when analyzing people’s thoughts on community involvement is their degree of involvement currently. The question below asked if survey respondents are members of different kinds of groups, ranging from religious to political.
Overall, Regular nonprofit volunteers was the biggest category of respondents in our sample, and the next most popular was Religious institutions. But, we had a solid representation of people from every category.
The next thing I wondered was how many people have memberships in multiple categories. In theory, the really involved types would be in several of them.
When I add them all up, we can see that there’s actually a big group that aren’t involved in any of the group types. And, there are a bunch that are involved in several too. (At least one person is involved in 5! 🤯)
And, because I asked whether people “Used to be” members of group types, I can count lifetime membership as well. That definitely changed the number of people involved in multiple things. But there are still about 50 people (~17%) that have never been involved in any of them.
Frequency of community activities
Next up, instead of group membership, let’s look at activity frequency. In other words, how often do people do things like attend meetings, donate, etc.?
Overall, most of the these activities aren’t done more often than monthly. Donating to a local cause was the most frequent (60% either weekly or monthly), and Participating in a protest was the least (~25% doing so on a yearly basis or more).
Similarly to the above question, I compared activity levels across the categories to arrive at a “maximum activity frequency” measurement — across all these categories, what’s the most often people do any community-oriented activities?
From that view, almost 80% of our survey respondents are doing some sort of community activity on a weekly or monthly basis. That seems pretty great!
Next up, I’m curious about getting some more detail on the proportions of people that do any activity on a weekly or monthly basis.
This view shows us that not many are doing things on a weekly basis (about 35% do), but about 70% are doing at least one activity on a monthly basis.
Importance of being involved
We’ve covered some good contextual data now, so let’s get into opinion questions. The first is intended to qualify how important this topic is.
Overall, virtually everyone agrees that local involvement is important, with 85% saying it’s Very or Extremely important. Though I would wager that most Idahoans may agree with this in principle, I think we’re hearing from a very engaged subset of Idaho residents, so a broader sample would likely have a lower number answering this way.
Let’s segment this question by something else to see if anything jumps out at us.
Starting with activity level, we can see that the people that are doing activities on a weekly basis are quite a bit more likely to say local involvement is Extremely important. On the other hand, people that Never do civic activities answered “Somewhat important” WAY more often than anyone else.
Next, let’s try the membership count view. I’d guess the people with the most memberships will say it’s the most important.
This looks sort of true. Besides the one person that’s a member in 5 categories of groups, it looks like you’re more likely to say local involvement is Extremely important if you’re in 2 or more membership categories than if you’re in 0 or 1. But it doesn’t necessarily increase as your number go up beyond 2.
Lastly, I was curious to see if different membership category types answered this question differently. For instance, do members of Religious institutions feel differently than members of political campaigns?
I found this view pretty interesting. Service organization members (like Rotary Club) answered Extremely important the most often, and Neighborhood associations answered that way the least.
Do people feel like their neighborhood associations don’t make much of a difference? Let’s look at impact next; maybe that will help.
Can volunteers make a significant impact?
This question kind of asks about importance a different way — can volunteers can make a significant impact?
Overall, almost everyone said Yes or Yes, absolutely (~93%). That’s nice to see.
We’re going to need to break this down by another question if we’re going to be able to learn much about it.
Let’s try that “organization category” view that we were just looking at.
On this question, Regular nonprofit volunteers answered Yes, absolutely at the highest rate (~70%). Again, Neighborhood association people were the least (~55%). (Sounds like neighborhood associations don’t do get much done?)
How involved are you?
The intention of this question was to make it personal. Independent of what you think about community involvement in principle, I wanted to know how involved people think they are.
Overall, we had a wide spread on this question, with the biggest proportion of respondents saying Somewhat involved (~45%). That’s a little surprising to me, given how many membership many of our respondents have.
Let’s do our membership category slice again.
Political activism groups (like Reclaim Idaho) answered Extremely involved the most often (35%), and Neighborhood associations were the least (15%).
But, on the “Extremely involved” answer, Religious institutions were close to last place as well, and if you look at their proportions of “Very involved” and “Somewhat involved,” it seems clear to me that they’re the least involved overall.
Want more personal connection?
This question was intended to ask about what I believe is the root motivation for community involvement. I think people generally do it because they want to connect with people personally and build relationships. So, I wanted to see if people validate my assumption.
Overall, we had a big spread. There were more people saying a version of Yes (40%) than No (25%), but the single biggest group was those saying Maybe (35%).
This was a bit surprising to me, because I thought even involved people would almost all say yes. Maybe they’re getting their fill of personal connection if they’re already a member of a lot of organizations?
Breaking this down by the number of membership categories, it looks like my hunch might be true. The proportion of people saying they don’t need more personal connection seems to go up if they’re a member of more groups.
Let’s try that organization view.
Again, Service organizations said “Yes, absolutely” at the highest rate and Neighborhood associations did the least. But, there doesn’t appear to be a big difference between the groups on this question, for the most part.
Most likely to donate often?
Next, I was curious to see which types of groups do certain activities most often. Let’s start with donating.
Service organizations do this the most often — 30% do it weekly. And the political groups (campaigns and activism) appear to do it the least.
Most likely to fundraise often?
Religious institutions appear to fundraise the least, with 40% doing it Less than yearly. Service organizations and political campaigns do it the most. That makes sense to me, since this is a big part of what they’re all about.
Most likely to attend a government hearing?
Now, what about direct interaction with government?
Political campaigns are going to hearings the most often — no surprise there. Members of religious institutions are doing this the least — 30% of this sample have Never done it.
Most likely to have multiple memberships?
Now, I’m curious to see which groups have the most connected people.
Members of religious institutions appear to be the least connected, with >40% being a member of only 1 type of group. And members of political campaigns seem to be the most connected — 70% of them said they’re members in 3 or more categories.
Most likely to participate often?
And I’m curious which groups are doing involvement activities most often.
Once again, Service organizations take the cake. And the political groups seem like the least frequently involved. Maybe that’s because political group activities aren’t as regimented or regular as some of the other groups that might meet weekly.
Why are you involved (or not)?
Lastly, there was an open form field asking people why they’re involved or not.
You can read all the answers in the overall results here, and on the right is a word cloud showing what was mentioned most often.
That’s all folks! If you want more analysis goodness, check out our other posts here.
Don’t buy it? Make it better.
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