Early in 2010 Blythe Morrow and I set out to get a better understanding of the makeup and needs of the PASS community as represented by our Chapters. To connect better with Chapters we initiated quarterly surveys. For the initial Q1 survey 49% of Chapters responded and I published the results a March blog: http://www.sqlpass.org/Community/PASSBlog/entryid/91/Survey-Results-Show-Top-Chapter-Needs.aspx . The survey participation and feedback was great; at that point I set goals for future surveys: 60% Chapter participation per survey and 80% participation from Chapters overall across all 2010 surveys.
In July Nancy Nasso and I closed-out the Q2 Chapter Survey, and I am finally getting around to summarizing the results for you. Of PASS’s 207 Chapters, 127 Chapter Leaders (61%) responded to the Q2 Survey. We beat my 60% participation goal – these results are a very good representation of our current Chapters. A personal “thank you” to all the leaders that participated.
Here’s what Chapter Leaders told us about their Chapters:
· 76% of Chapters that responded have a membership of 500 or less
· 81% of Chapters that responded have regular attendance of between 10-50
· 33% of Chapters that responded have 6-10 meetings per year, 44% have 11-16, and 20% have fewer than 6
To better understand the technical focus/interests of PASS members we asked Chapters the percentage of coverage (at meetings) they provide to general topic areas, a combined metric I call “topic mix.”
· 27% Application Development
· 25% Business Intelligence
· 38% Database Administration
· 10% Professional Development or other topics
There are always open issues surrounding our premium annual benefit to our Chapters: one complimentary registration to either the North American Summit or the European Conference each fiscal year (July-June). For simplicity I will just call this benefit a “Summit comp.” There is always some misunderstanding that this is not an easy or free benefit for PASS to offer, the actual cost for a Summit comp is high since all the event facilities and food and beverage are all charged per-attendee plus incremental consumption – it adds up quick and requires a lot of allocated budget. The “issues” come in because PASS is not in the business of applying strict policies to our Chapters, so every year Chapters that are doing a TON for PASS and Chapters that are doing NOTHING for PASS are equally awarded a Summit comp. Having provided that context, we included this question on the survey: “PASS offers each Chapter [a Chapter comp]. We are reviewing the requirements Chapters must meet to qualify for a registration and want your candid input regarding what those requirements should be. As a dedicated volunteer, what do you think?”
Honestly (and as one might expect) we got a lot of quick answers; perhaps I did not choose the wording well or respondents did not consider the depth of the question. Some thought we were not doing enough while others thought we needed to be much stricter, the most common response was that the status quo was okay. (If you are intrigued and would have preferred that I classify, categorize and objectify all the rambling free text responses, just send an email to email@example.com and I can send you the detailed almost-raw-but-still-anonymous responses.)
The Regional Mentor (RM) program is critical to Chapter success moving forward and this is a focus area for the second half of 2010, so we wanted to know about RM interaction and asked about that:
· 50% of Chapters that responded have been contacted by their Regional Mentor this year
· 51% of Chapters that responded knew the name of their Regional Mentor
We also asked for any recent Chapter news as well as feedback on the new Chapter Leader Only Pages (CLO Pages), internal sub-site on sqlpass.org used to post resources and communicate with Chapter Leaders. Adoption of the CLO Pages is still cranking up so responses were spotty but overall positive.
Before I wrap up, I want to unscientifically model something for you… just to give you a ballpark feel of the current “reach” of PASS Chapters, their impact on the community. “Reach” is calculated by multiplying the number of attendees by the number of educational hours. To use our survey data we can get a ballpark feel for our “reach” by multiplying the average number of attendees by number of meetings in the past 12 months by the number of educational hours.
I prepped the Q2 survey responses the best I could by making all the ranges discrete for Average Attendance and Meetings in Last 12 Months; and I assumed each meeting delivered one (1) education hour. That calculation yielded a “reach” of 41,656 educational hours in the last 12 months for the 61% of Chapters that responded; a simple extrapolation to 100% would yield a “reach” of 68,289 educational hours! Using the topic mix hours reported by each Chapter (I used category averages for Chapters that didn’t provide data) that would break out to:
· Application Development
10,785 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 17,681 hours)
· Business Intelligence
11,090 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 18,180 hours)
· Database Administration
16,138 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 26,455 hours)
· Professional Development or other topics
3,643 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 5,972 hours)
· Total “Reach” - again
41,656 hours (extrapolated to 100% = 68,289 hours)
Wow, wasn’t that fun?!
Again, I want to thank all the Chapter Leaders who took the time to respond to the Q2 survey, please be on the lookout for the Q3 survey. I trust the Q2 survey feedback has been a helpful and interesting look at our Chapters; with each survey we hope to better understand the needs of our Chapters, Chapter Leaders, and members. Please send me your feedback on these surveys—what items should we be asking about next?
PASS Director of Chapters