The goal of the survey was to take a snapshot of our population and find out which aspects of our quality of life are having the most impact and where is there room for improvement. As an added bonus, we asked about some potential amenities to find out if any have enough traction to pursue. Full results are below.
The first set of questions asked about the basic demographics of our population:
Our pet population is often a matter of speculation. How many dogs live here? And how many more would live here if the coop’s pet policy were changed? Most cooperators do not — and would not — own a dog.
The second set of questions was about coop amenities — the ones we have and the ones we might want.
Amenities were ranked in a 5-point scale from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. To get a relative measure, we looked for the difference between very/somewhat satisfied and very/somewhat dissatisfied, then weighted that calculation by how many people actually use each amenity. (For example, a good response for the men’s club, used by almost no one, means less than the same good response for the laundry rooms, used by almost everyone.)
New amenities were ranked similarly, though without any weighting. You can see that all these options were relatively popular, of course with no counter-argument made about costs. This is just a wish-list, a jumping-off point.
The third set of questions asked cooperators to rank the departments in charge of running this place.
As you can see, the maintenance staff and security staff are generally appreciated for the work they do. There are mixed feelings about the management office. But the board of directors gets the brunt of cooperators’ dissatisfaction.
What specifically don’t cooperators like? Since the chart below cuts off the aspects of coop life we asked about, here they are in order from best to worst:
- Economic development of Grand Street
- Relationship of the coop to our community
- Quality of communication from management and directors
- Financial health of the coop
- Transparency of decision-making by management and directors
- Opportunity for shareholder input on policy changes
Finally, questions about two recent decisions by the board of directors.
And that’s it. Ideally, a survey like this would run every year to give us a measurement over time of cooperators’ satisfaction. That trend could be very useful in evaluating, for example, whether our new general manager is meeting expectations.
One last word.
This survey wasn’t hard to put together, distribute, or summarize. This sort of survey is conducted by management companies and coop boards all over the city. Most boards would welcome input that could help shape their decision-making. Instead, ours chose to react with fear and insults, even though the questions are not controversial and the results are not binding. I think this effort and the response from cooperators and from the board perfectly encapsulates why Cooperatively Yours is working hard to bring positive change to East River and run new candidates for the board.
We received 234 responses to our survey online and on paper. That’s good for a margin of error of about 6% if the sample were random. But even though the results weren’t stuffed (there were no duplicate submissions), it probably cannot be called truly random. Still, it’s worth calling this the start of a conversation, not the end. And — isn’t it better than not asking shareholders their opinion?