Groups and Technology Survey Results
In order to understand how
useful information technology tools are for local
community groups, the Department of Information Technology
and the Department of Neighborhoods created and
distributed a survey to community and neighborhood groups.
The goal of this survey was to learn about the ways that
technology is currently being used in neighborhoods and to
find out what sort of assistance is needed to help
neighborhoods use technology more effectively. The survey
was distributed to a list maintained by the Department of
Neighborhoods, including representatives from Neighborhood
Associations, District Councils, and local Business
Associations. Surveys were sent by U.S. mail with
postage-paid return envelopes, and via e-mail using the
online survey tool "Zoomerang.com."
Three hundred and sixteen
surveys were distributed, and a total of 91 organizations
responded. Of those who responded, 75 percent were
Neighborhood Associations, 24 percent were business
associations, and 1 percent were District Councils.
groups are starting to move towards providing electronic
versions of their newsletters.
(67%) of the groups surveyed produce a newsletter. Of
those who do produce a newsletter, 31% say that it is
available electronically, either through e-mail or the
web. Of those whose newsletter is not available
electronically, 53 percent say that it will be available
electronically in a year and 47 percent say it will not.
Is your newsletter available
electronically, either through e-mail or the web?
(Base: Those groups that produce a newsletter)
E-mail is the most common way that group leaders are
contacting other group members.
Respondents were asked to think
about the last contact that they made with members of
their group. Almost half (48%) of those surveyed say that
their last contact with other group members was through
e-mail. Eighteen percent say that their last contact was
through a phone call.
Last Communication with Group
(Base: All Respondents)
The majority of groups are using e-mail to communicate
and find e-mail to be an effective communication tool.
percent of respondents to the survey say that they
personally have an email address.
More than 4 out of 5 (85%) groups
use e-mail to communicate with members. Those respondents
who say no are evenly split between those who think their
group will use e-mail to communicate in a year, and those
who think their group will not in a year. Of those who do
use email, 63 percent say it is very effective, 31 percent
say it is somewhat effective, and five percent say it is
not very effective. Only one percent of respondents feel
that e-mail is not at all effective.
Effectiveness of E-mail for
Communicating with Group
(Base: Those groups
that use e-mail to communicate)
e-mail for a variety of purposes including sending out
meeting agendas (77%), sending out notices of events
(74%), discussing issues (77%), and planning with
officers/committees (75%). Forty-four percent of
responding groups indicate that they use email for at all
of the tasks listed above, 71 percent use e-mail for at
least three of the four tasks, and almost nine out of ten
(88%) use e-mail for at least two of the four tasks.
Members without access and trouble compiling e-mail
addresses are keeping some groups from using e-mail.
Of those groups that do not
use e-mail to communicate, three out of four (75%) state
that it is because not enough members have access to
e-mail. An additional one out of four (25%) say that other
methods of communication work better for their group.
Additionally, some groups commented that they do not have
a good source for obtaining e-mail addresses from group
members, and a number of those who do use e-mail to
communicate with their group state that members without
email access keep them from using e-mail all the time.
Although few groups are
currently using listservs, there is high interest in
seeing the City provide listserv services.
Of the group contacts
who responded, only about one in ten (11%) indicate that
their group uses a listserv to communicate. Of those who
do not use a listserv, only 26 percent thought they would
use a listserv one year from now. The largest barriers
reported to using a listserv were not enough members with
access (36%) and not knowing how to use a listserv (26%).
When asked if they would use a listserv if the city
provided the service, three out of four groups (76%) said
community groups currently have or are planning to have
web sites and see these sites as a way to raise awareness
about their group and recruit new members.
two out of five (42%) of the groups that responded have a
web site. Of the groups that donít currently have a web
site, 45 percent say that they will have one in a year
while 55 percent say they wonít.
Does your group have a web page?
(Base: All Respondents)
Those groups that have a
web site were asked about the main purpose of their web
site. Thirty-two percent responded that the main purpose
is to raise awareness about their group and recruit new
members, 21 percent said that it is to inform members
about upcoming events, and 11 percent said to state their
groupís position on issues that impact the community. An
additional 11 percent indicated that their web siteís
main purpose is all of the above. Twenty-five percent of
respondents answered "other."
What do you consider to be the main
purpose of your web site?
(Base: Those groups with a web site)
groups with web sites have mixed feelings about the
effectiveness of their sites.
Respondents were mixed
about how effective their web page has been at
accomplishing its purpose. Twenty-four percent say their
web page has been very effective, while 41percent say it
has been only somewhat effective and 30 percent say not
How effective do you feel your web page
has been at accomplishing this purpose?
(Base: Those groups with a
feel that they do not have the resources necessary to
maintain a web site.
Those groups that do not
have web pages were asked about the barriers to having a
web page. The majority (57%) responded that their group
does not have the resources necessary to maintain a web
page. An additional 31percent stated that they do not have
the skills to create and maintain a page, and 22 percent
say their group cannot afford a web page.
What are the barriers to having a web
(Base: Those groups
without web sites)
groups would like assistance in developing web pages and
learning how to use technology more effectively for
community development activities.
Respondents were asked what
sort of training and assistance the City could provide to
help their group use technology more effectively. This was
an open-ended question and responses were post-coded by
the most frequent responses. Fifty-eight of the
respondents requested some sort of training or assistance.
The other thirty-three either left the question blank, or
responded that they did not need any specific technology
training or assistance from the City.
Of those who responded, the largest number of requests
(28%) were for training in developing and maintaining web
pages. An additional 23 percent of requests were for
general technology training and/or training in using
technology for community development. Other notable
requests included financial assistance (14%), web page
hosting assistance (14%), and help with using email and
listservs effectively (11%).
Requested Training and Assistance
(Base: Those who
requested some training or assistance)
project is part of the City
of Seattle Citizens Technology Literacy and Access
initiative in cooperation with the volunteer
Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory
Seattle. Additional assistance for the
forum is being provided by Progress
Project of the Evans School of Public Affairs and the Glaser Progress Foundation
and Seattle Community