Every year, The Center for Community Solutions surveys our audience to find out what they think are the most pressing issues facing Ohio, and to get a sense of areas of strength and opportunities for improvement in our work. The 2016 online survey was conducted over the course of three weeks in September and October. In total, 410 people responded, representing nonprofit organizations, government agencies, private and public companies, philanthropy, and higher education. While respondents were concentrated in Northeast Ohio and around Columbus, we received feedback from all corners of the state.
According to the survey, the list of the top health, social, and economic issues confronting Ohio remained largely consistent from previous years. As shown in the chart below, three of the top five issues identified by respondents related to economic opportunity, with “helping low-income Ohioans move out of poverty” landing in the first spot yet again. Behavioral health also stood out as an important issue, with mental health in the third slot and substance abuse and addiction rounding out the top five issues.
If you came to this blog via a link in the weekly Five Things You Need to Know email, you are not alone! In fact, Five Things was identified by respondents as the most often used and the most useful of Community Solutions’ resources. Given that the target list for promoting the survey largely mirrors the distribution list for the Five Things emails, this was not a surprise. Other resources identified as useful were our reports, county profiles, and State Budgeting Matters series. Those happen to be resources where Community Solutions’ staff spend quite a bit of time and energy, and which we will continue to produce. While only 103 respondents said they had consulted with Community Solutions’ staff, 91 percent of those who had done so said this resource was useful or extremely useful. So feel free to connect with us if you have a question about a health, social, or economic topic. Check out our Staff page for contact information and a listing of our areas of expertise.
One change from the results of the 2015 survey was an adjustment of the order of the most used and most useful topics on which Community Solutions provides information. Demographic data/trends jumped two spots to become the most useful and used topical area for our work, replacing state budget, which moved to number two. Since 2016 was not a state budget year, we won’t be surprised if it moves back up in 2017. Although remaining in the number four slot in the rankings, Medicaid saw the largest jump in number of respondents who said Community Solutions’ information was extremely useful, rising from 95 respondents in 2015 to 123 in 2016. We think this is in large part thanks to the establishment of Community Solutions’ Center on Medicaid Policy.
For the first time, our 2016 survey asked direct questions about the effectiveness of our efforts. These questions align with the strategic plan adopted earlier in 2016. We were particularly pleased that 83 percent of respondents agreed that Community Solutions provides thought leadership and 73 percent agreed that we encourage collaboration. We have some work to do to continue to identify sustainable solutions, because only 57 percent agreed with that statement.
The results of our 2016 audience survey are impacting Community Solutions’ planning for 2017 and beyond. Between the prospect of federal policy change coming out of Washington, the development of the next biennial state budget during the first six months of 2017, and an ongoing focus in Northeast Ohio on helping people move from poverty to prosperity, we will certainly have our work cut out for us.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey!