Monday, December 8, 2014

What do survivors want, and how to find out

A few weeks have passed since my last post. It’s been a busy couple of weeks implementing the final stages of the needs assessment of the Holocaust survivor community. Since I last wrote, the first mailing of the survey reached a 56% response rate that is beyond our wildest dreams. With the success of the first mailing, I moved on to expand how many survivors we mailed the survey to. We had to compile lists from various programs, and then I had to build those into a mail merge so that I could actually send the surveys. The second set of mailings consisted of almost 200 more survivors that we had not yet heard from.  By doubling the amount of survivors we reach, I am hoping to not only reach a majority of our current clients, but also to get a full picture of the needs of the community. I am still getting quite a few surveys back every day, and the new combined response rate is  42% which is still high considering the fact I double the amount of people mailed.

In addition to the surveys and previous town halls, I built and deployed a survey for our Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) to see if they had any feedback on services they thought their survivor clients could use. By being able to survey this group of people that have a different perspective on the needs of survivors I’m hoping to both corroborate the direct survey results, and see if there are needs that survivors either don’t think of, or are reluctant to admit.
The final phase of the needs assessment will come with the town hall meetings I am working on planning for the children and grandchildren of survivors. My hope is that they too can corroborate, or possibly provide additional feedback as to the needs of the survivor community. Once I have finished collecting the data I will build an official report and begin acting to improve the services provided to the community.

Meanwhile, while I wait for surveys to come in and work on the plans for future town hall meetings, I have been researching issue related to building volunteer based programs, while also taking a course through AmeriCorps in Resource Development. The course has been very helpful overall because it has allowed me to learn not only about the ethical standards required for fundraising and best practices involved, but how to write letters asking for donations, as well as how to apply for grants from larger institutions. Hopefully this information will come in handy when I am at the stage of developing new programs at JFS and need to find financial support for these initiatives.

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