"Shaping Our Future" Membership Questionnaire
In November 2001, at the previous Ebytown annual general meeting, the
membership gave me approval to create and distribute a membership survey for
Ebytown. I created the survey by working together with a group of committed
Ebytown members who contributed many suggestions for questions. The survey
was distributed in March 2002.
The purpose of the
membership survey was two-fold:
To determine the ways in which membership and member participation could
be increased at Ebytown.
To determine a picture of what members would like Ebytown to look like and
how they would like Ebytown to function in the future.
The following recommendations are suggestions that stem from the frequency of
responses to certain survey questions (e.g., 86.7% of members replied "yes"
when asked if they would purchase local, organic produce from Ebytown) as well
as the common themes that emerged from the responses member gave to open-ended
questions (e.g., Describe your ideal vision for the future of Ebytown). I
presented a summary report of the findings in July 2002 to the membership at
an Ebytown community potluck.
Copies of both reports are available to all members at the Ebytown Food
Co-operative by the front cash at the door.
With the goals of the membership survey in mind, I have prepared some general
recommendations for the co-op to consider while generating plans for the
- Increase the number of member
events or opportunities to be involved with other members at
Ebytown. This can be accomplished through:
- Holding more work days, potlucks
and field trips (the top 3 items Ebytown members were most
interested in based on the survey findings)
- Having consistent store hours with
2 people always working a shift
- Continuing to have the Community
Feast events sponsored by Ebytown
- Participating in more community
based events to provide members an opportunity to be involved - such
as information stands at other events (e.g. Dandelion Festival,
- Increase and improve
communication at Ebytown between members and between the Board and
the membership. This can be accomplished through:
- Increased frequency of email
updates to members.
- Increased frequency of paper &
pen updates to members (perhaps through a weekly handout that lists
upcoming events, etc.) This does not need to be large; a half size
sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper would suffice.
- Increased frequency of the
- Increase our community profile.
This can be accomplished through:
- Hosting more / continuing to host
community based events (such as the Community Feast) for members to
be involved and to attract new members.
- Continuing and strengthening our
work with other likeminded organisations in the community such as
the Working Centre, the BarterWorks network, WPIRG, and FoodLink.
- Advertising through pamphlets or
flyers at organisations in the community where potential members may
frequent such as the Princess Theatre, Muses Café, the
Organic Juice Bar Café, the Jane Bond, the People's Car
Co-op, the Waterloo Region Co-op Council office and in their
mailouts, the Credit Unions, the Waterloo Region Community Health
Department outreach activities, WPIRG, etc…
- Plan and implement steps to
facilitate the relocation of Ebytown to a more visible, accessible,
and central location. This can be accomplished through:
- The creation of an active working
committee with at least 5 members to complete and submit a grant
proposal for funding to accommodate the move. The committee should
also have the ability to identify tasks that need to be accomplished
by groups of members as determined by the proposal guidelines (such
as writing a business plan, etc.).
- The solicitation of the advice and
support of a co-op 'consultant' from the Waterloo Region
Co-operative Council or the People's Car Co-op with respect to
the grant proposal and our future plans.
- The commitment of the membership
to actively support this decision (to apply for a grant and
hire co-op developers to facilitate moving the store) through their
increased spending at Ebytown and the completion of any tasks deemed
necessary by the working committee.
- The commitment of the membership
to collectively work together to ensure that Ebytown survives into
the future by acknowledging both our collective ownership and
responsibility to Ebytown. We should not expect two or three
people to carry the responsibility of ensuring that Ebytown remains
a viable organisation in the future.