Data, Big Decisions: How Feedback is Delivered Within the Boy Scouts of America

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Three years ago, technology development company M3 Planning was approached by the Boy Scouts of America with a request: Help us with measuring the experiences that Scouts, parents and volunteers are having with our program and make it a part of the way we do business. With insight obtained through providing existing strategic planning services to the organization, M3 Planning then structured and guided the system development for a “Voice of the Scout” program that would be robust enough to scale finding across the nation and filter into every council in America.

Three years ago, technology development company M3 Planning was approached by the Boy Scouts of America with a request: Help us with measuring the experiences that Scouts, parents and volunteers are having with our program and make it a part of the way we do business.

With insight obtained through providing existing strategic planning services to the organization, M3 Planning then structured and guided the system development for a “Voice of the Scout” program that would be robust enough to scale across the nation and functional enough to allow 286 councils to filter the feedback of their domains.

The initial launch of Voice of the Scout was kicked off in April 2012. The benchmarks established in the first two cycles would prove invaluable in the coming months. Without a crystal ball, no one could have foreseen the national spotlight that would be cast upon the Boy Scouts when in December 2012 the organization announced that its membership standards policy would be under review.

“Regardless of the final membership policy outcome, the organization has a channel created to stay close to the member experience. Perhaps now more than ever in its history, quantifiable data is needed to move the organization past what is a very poignant cultural decision,” states Howard Olsen, President of Reno, Nev. based M3 Planning and one of the lead analysts of VOS data.

This past March, 259,000 members contributed to the largest single-point of data collection the organization has ever experienced. The data was overwhelmingly clear from the national findings level: While the membership standards issue may be a polarizing topic, those currently involved in Scouting are highly unified about the value the organization provides to America’s youth. It’s a “more unites us than separates us” takeaway that provides a sliver of stability for the organization as it moves past this highly visible decision. This statement can be supported by the increase across all 49 questions about value of the experience people are having through Scouting.

Utilizing the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology, this approach provides BSA with key metric that essentially represents the levels of member loyalty. It has been used in the private sector for over 10 years, and is embraced by both B2B and B2C companies across multiple industries. The use of the Net Promoter Score to gauge membership loyalty is the first crossover into the non-profit sector at a robust national level. In this past survey cycle the NPS metric for loyalty increased across all parent and youth segments, and also with youth-facing volunteers.

For more about this survey cycle’s finding, the Voice of the Scout Spring 2013 Executive Summary and infographic can be viewed at http://m3planning.com/bsa-voice-of-the-scout-2.

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Cammy Elquist LoRe
M3 PLANNING
(775) 747-7407
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