Written by: Adil Darvesh, Communications Coordinator
The communication feedback survey was conducted between February 8th and February 17th, 2019. Our goal for the survey was to answer the simple question “Is our work being well received by our supporters?” We felt it was important to ensure that in our efforts to reach new audiences, we weren’t alienating our core supporters who have helped propel us to being one of the many conservation leaders in the Yukon.
Prior to this survey, there were no records of a formalized survey for supporters to provide feedback. In-person conversations and/or emails sent to email@example.com were the main ways that supporters got in touch with CPAWS staff.
CPAWS Yukon is also undergoing some campaign-related changes. For many years, we focused on protecting as much of the Peel Watershed as possible. ‘Protect the Peel’ and ‘CPAWS’ has even become synonymous to some supporters. As we shift to different campaigns, specifically protecting the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd and the Dawson Regional Land Use Plan, it’s crucial that we take what worked from our successful Peel Watershed campaign and improve on what didn’t.
Some points to keep in mind:
- There was a random draw for a prize from CPAWS Yukon. The winner would get to choose from some of our merchandise
- Survey was sent to CPAWS supporters and people who regularly engage with us and our work
There is an assumption that everyone who filled out the survey is a CPAWS supporter. The questionnaire link was shared via the CPAWS Yukon Facebook page and our internal e-newsletter. While it’s safe to assume our mailing list and Facebook page is comprised of environmentally conscious people, the survey URL could have been shared beyond that to non-supporters as well. From the results, however, it’s abundantly clear that survey respondents are happy with the communication methods that are currently in place.
One of the most liked aspects of our communications are timely updates and visibility on social media. This is an important part of our advocacy work highlighted by the 2600+ submissions during final consultations on the Peel Watershed Final Recommended Plan. Ensuring that this continues is crucial for successful conservation throughout the Yukon.
Note: Our average e-mail open rate is 25.9% and click rate is 2.69%. Average open rate for non-profits is 24.11% and click rate is 2.57% according to MailChimp. (https://mailchimp.com/resources/email-marketing-benchmarks/)
There’s often a fine line between keeping supporters updated, and sending too many messages and becoming a nuisance. There were a few respondents who felt our frequency of messaging was too high, but the majority were happy. With 39 total respondents, however, another iteration of this survey should be done with a larger sample size. Of those 39 respondents, 51.3% wanted monthly newsletters with breaking news as it occurs. This falls in line with what we at CPAWS Yukon think is an appropriate amount.
The type of content is also important in how well received our messaging is. The Peel Watershed and the Porcupine caribou herd were the top ranked issues for respondents, followed closely by Climate Change. It’s a safe bet that ensuring our messaging relates to one of those topics will result in some form of action being taken. The affinity towards the Peel and the Porcupine caribou is most likely a result of the time put into sharing the importance of these issues. Future campaigns will need effort to share the stories and importance of the land and wildlife that we are campaigning for. Few people chose “Conservation at large” as an issue that mattered most to them. While this doesn’t mean that the majority of people aren’t interested in conservation at a high level, it could mean that they’re more likely to be engaged in topics that affect them or people they are close to directly (i.e. people affected by land use planning in the Peel, or people who are affected by changes in the Porcupine caribou herd.)
Based on the responses from this survey, it can be determined that supporters are generally happy with the communication we’ve done thus far. Keeping people engaged and providing an opportunity for action should continue to be a key aspect to our communication and campaign strategies overall. Ensuring we continue to find a way to communicate how specific issues will relate to people directly will also play a large role in ensuring conservation success in the Yukon.
Some supporters also don’t live in Whitehorse, where many of our events generally take place. Finding a way to include people in communities to participate to some degree in an event may be of interest in future event planning.
Going forward, it’s recommended to stay the course and continue engaging supporters as best we can. Whether it’s sharing on social media or through e-mails, supporters are interested in staying updated. It would be worthwhile to continue a trend of getting feedback from supporters after campaigns. This would give us an opportunity to continue improving, and allowing supporters an opportunity to express what works for them.
- Keep supporters updated on campaign status, especially if it’s already a hot topic
- Include opportunities for taking action as much as possible
- Share the successes and let supporters see the results of their efforts
- Use social media, emails and various other forms of communication to spread your message
- Positive messaging works better than aggressive or negative comments
- Create an option to opt-out of direct mail if desired, or create an option for opt-in digital only
- Provide ability for more options in questions, or use questions that prompt more feedback in future surveys
- If using a giveaway as incentive to complete a survey, a gift card or voucher for a local business that aligns with our values might be more of a draw than our CPAWS merchandise, especially if supporters already own CPAWS merchandise