Our customer satisfaction report
In 2016 we began asking everyone who had applied for a grant from us in the last year to complete a short customer satisfaction survey. This year just over 100 people took the time to tell us what they think about our service. Below we share the results of the survey, what we think they mean, and what we plan to do in response.
A note on our survey
We used Microsoft Forms to capture our applicant’s responses. It’s a good (and free) way to collect people’s views online. We sent our survey to over 400 people who were asked to complete several questions and then add any comments they wanted at the end. The highlights of this are included below.
We decided to keep the survey anonymous, as we wanted respondents to tell us exactly what they thought. However, that does mean we can’t talk to anyone who raises a specific concern.
How did you find out about our funding?
Our ambition is to the first funder that someone thinks of when they are starting a new group or project in Somerset. This still isn’t the case, but we continue to work hard so that everyone who needs to know about our funding is aware of what is available.
How do you rate our service?
There are various stages in our service when a grant applicant can have a good or bad experience of our system or staff. We asked respondents to score six of these stages on a scale of 0 to 5 (with 0 being ‘unacceptable’ and 5 being ‘excellent’).
Once again, all six stages scored an average of 4 (‘good’) and above. Most respondents were clearly quite happy with the service we provided to them and we don’t think we need to change anything significant at this stage.
However, when reading through people’s comments a concern remained around the speed of decision making. We’ve made efforts to keep applicants informed of the progress of their application, but delays can still occur when we have to talk to individual donors (the Foundation currently manages over 80 different funds on behalf of individuals, families, business, and local government).
Did you feel able to apply for what you really needed?
It is important that groups can apply for what they actually need, and not what a funder is able or willing to offer. We manage over 80 different funds, many with their own restrictions, but we work hard to combine these resources to offer flexible grants to the community.
While we are therefore unable to have an entirely open grants programme for Somerset, it is encouraging that most respondents felt ‘quite a bit’ or ‘very much’ able to apply for what they really needed.
Overall, how fairly do you think the Foundation treated you?
We are your Community Foundation and it is essential that what we do is fair and open. We asked applicants whether they felt they were treated fairly and 85% responded that they felt treated either ‘fair’ or ‘extremely fairly’. This is slightly lower than previous years while, for the first time, more than one applicant felt we treated them ‘extremely unfairly’. From reading people’s comments, this appears to have been caused by applicant’s feeling that criteria were unclear and that time had been wasted on their part.
How will we respond to the survey?
Overall, the survey results suggest that most people are happy with the service we provide. However, we are concerned that a small number of people consider that we have treated them unfairly. We think the best way to remedy this is to continue to focus on building relationships between our grants team and those who apply for our funds, aiming to provide clear guidance on when we think you should apply and when we think you should consider an alternative funder.
Finally, we look forward to talking to you in the future about your projects and ideas, and would welcome any thoughts you might have about our service. You can contact the grants team on 01749 344949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org