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How The Enterprise Center uses feedback to improve community impact

How The Enterprise Center uses feedback to improve community impact

As a community-oriented, data-driven nonprofit, The Enterprise Center cares about doing right by the people it serves: minority entrepreneurs and under-resourced communities. To do that, it must understand the experiences, viewpoints, and needs of those people—which means prioritizing feedback at every level.

The West Philadelphia-based organization has more than three decades of experience supporting economic mobility in communities of color. It does this primarily through small business assistance, but also offers small business lending and concentrated development programs in the neighborhoods surrounding its headquarters.  

A longtime SurveyMonkey customer, The Enterprise Center uses surveys to boost the impact of its work. It recently upgraded to SurveyMonkey Enterprise to double-down on data security, ensure continuity with its longitudinal research, and take advantage of mobile collection features. According to Elizabeth McGinksy, The Enterprise Center’s senior director of data and evaluations, this move was exactly what the organization needed to improve its survey process, secure funding, and better support its community.

SurveyMonkey’s mobile-friendly solution was a big improvement over The Enterprise Center’s previous method of using paper surveys for street intercepts, which involve going out into communities to directly ask for feedback. The Enterprise Center collects and analyzes feedback about everything from service delivery and community perceptions to program effectiveness. 

Survey results are shared with funders and constituents, and they impact how the nonprofit operates and where it focuses its resources. “At least half of our funders require us to do client surveying,” said McGinksy. “Whether it's the government or private individuals and foundations, they want to see data that you're being effective.”

That in-depth data helps The Enterprise Center advocate for underrepresented communities. “The ability to reach underserved groups who are often not surveyed, such as minority entrepreneurs, and then communicate that data back to our funders, partners, and constituents has been absolutely crucial,” said McGinsky. 

With the insights gained, McGinsky can encourage her team to continuously push themselves. “It's very important to me that we're always doing the absolute best we can for our community,” she said. “Everyone should always be collecting client data to have some understanding of the quality of the service they're delivering, and how they can do better and improve.”

As the head of The Enterprise Center’s survey initiatives, McGinsky is committed to ethical data collection that is reflective of and responsive to the people the nonprofit serves. When The Enterprise Center conducted a survey about gentrification in its surrounding community, SurveyMonkey helped her ensure that these ideals were front and center.

The survey included questions like “what do you consider to be affordable?” and “how much are you rent burdened?” and was meant to dig into how gentrification had impacted the local economy and people’s quality of life. With SurveyMonkey, McGinsky was able to watch the survey data in real time—and she quickly saw a potential problem with the early results. Rather than reflecting the community, they signaled that 90% of respondents were white and from a more affluent zip code.  

To course-correct, she and her team asked community block leaders and captains to share the survey with neighbors and family to help make sure that it reached its target audience. In a few weeks, they were able to collect a more accurate respondent pool that was 90% Black. 

“If you're not making sure that underrepresented voices are included, then they're going to continue to be underrepresented,” McGinsky said. “You can use something like SurveyMonkey to ensure that the people who are going to be affected by your project, program, or service are actually being represented in your survey responses.” 

That focus on accuracy, inclusion, and results has also been extremely important as The Enterprise Center helped businesses and community members navigate the coronavirus crisis. With her SurveyMonkey Enterprise plan, McGinzky conducted a COVID-19 survey to better understand and document the needs of small, minority-owned businesses during the pandemic. Her research resulted in additional funding, a special forgivable loan fund, and other programs for businesses in need of assistance. 

“The ROI happened immediately after we administered our first survey and we were able to use that data to deliver higher quality services to the small businesses we serve.”

Elizabeth McGinksy, The Enterprise Center

SurveyMonkey has made it easier and faster for McGinsky and her colleagues to collect survey responses, which improved The Enterprise Center’s client engagement, community impact, and funding status. 

McGinsky was able to secure much-needed funding and pave the way for more meaningful data collection. “The integrated NPS question/analysis has helped us understand our clients better and address pain points and compare results over time,” McGinsky said. “That continuity allows us to look at data longitudinally, which is important to understanding impact as a nonprofit.”

For McGinsky, that impact—and SurveyMonkey’s return on investment—is best measured through The Enterprise Center’s work in the community. 

“From my point of view, the ROI happened immediately after we administered our first survey and we were able to use that data to deliver higher quality services to the small businesses we serve,” she said. “The dollars invested in our SurveyMonkey account have translated into at least a 100x return on investment.”

Whether The Enterprise Center is helping entrepreneurs through the pandemic or planning neighborhood revitalization initiatives, McGinsky knows she can count on SurveyMonkey to help make it happen. From its ease of use to its longitudinal research capabilities, “I don’t think there’s another tool that does what SurveyMonkey does as well as it does.”

Use feedback to make a bigger impact with your business. Learn more about SurveyMonkey Enterprise