Where are your parks and recreation services going and where should they be headed?
It’s a whole new world out there. So walking a straight line from the present to the future will soon get you marooned on a path with out of date services and old school financing. As parks and recreation customers age, the community grows or contracts and as district finances shrink, there is less room for error in identifying the right mission, funding mechanisms and service mix for the critical services that make for a healthy community. Important parks, recreation, open space, cultural and educational services cannot be delivered with anything less than passionate enthusiasm and critical attention to quality. And you cannot sit alone or in a managers group to divine whether your customers and potential customers view the local parks and recreation world the way you do.
If your parks and recreation services are to help create a healthy, active, informed and fulfilled community, it is imperative that you know the status and concerns of the community you serve.
Think how useful it would be to have the answer to key strategic questions for your community.
- What roles do residents want parks and recreation to serve?
- How desirable a community has been created so far in all the areas designated for parks and recreation?
- How good a job do residents feel has been done in delivering department services?
- Which community groups feel they are being served best by parks and recreation? Worst?
- How widely are facilities and programs used by different resident groups?
- What services need the most improvement and are most important to residents?
- What improvements being considered do residents support the most?
- Where is it safest to cut? Where needs to be added?
- How healthy is the adult population here?
There is only one way that these key questions can be answered responsibly – a scientific public opinion survey of residents being served or eligible for service. As times change – and the fact that times change, itself, never changes – savvy parks and recreation managers need to keep a finger on the pulse of the community they serve. Like a doctor diagnosing a patient, the right medical assessment helps a broad range of people with a stake in the patient’s health. With the kind of parks and recreation strategic reconnaissance that comes from asking residents themselves about the direction and quality of services, the community at large is served as are elected officials, appointed boards, commissions, the media and your own staff.
How are we Doing, Where are we Going
The Parks and Recreation Community Survey (PARCS™) is a rigorously tested, affordable, turnkey survey that is administered by National Research Center, Inc. (NRC). PARCS was designed for parks and recreation managers by some of the country’s most well-respected survey research practitioners in conjunction with America’s premier parks and recreation membership organization. You are the parks and recreation experts. Rely on respected survey researchers to bring you the planning information you need.
Parks and recreation managers use PARCS™ results to provide support for:
- Performance measurement
- Evaluation of program, facility, policy and even personnel changes
- Budgeting among competing agencies and overall resource allocation within the department
- Priority setting for policy and program changes
- Service enhancements
- Communication to residents, taxpayers, clients, potential clients and other stakeholders
PARCS™ is a quality scientific survey service that offers six central features:
- A survey tested across the U.S. to capture community opinion about parks and recreation
- Low cost due to efficiency
- Top quality customer service and research consultation from America’s best social science survey researchers
- Comparison results from other places to provide interpretive richness and context to your own findings
- Results that help drive planning, evaluation and performance tracking
- Trustworthy results from the use of state of the art survey research methods
The PARCS Basic Service Package consists of:
- Customized survey form to reference your facilities and programs
- Customized cover letter
- Customized mailing materials with your logo
- Targeted questionnaire developed and tested by renowned survey researchers
- Maximized response rate with three mailings to 1,600 households selected at random: a pre-survey notification postcard followed by two mailings of the survey
- A margin of error of five to six percent
- Data cleaning and input
- Data weighting to reflect the demographic profile of your population
- Customer service and survey research consultation from NRC research professionals
Additional features that can be added to the basic PARCS service include:
- Larger mailing (3,000 households)(more)
Mail out 3,000 surveys (instead of 1,200) to a random sample. Responses will likely number between 600 and 1,500. Larger sample sizes also permit more segmenting of the results – by area, respondent characteristic, etc. Cost: $6,300
- Survey also available in Spanish (more)
A paragraph in Spanish appears in the cover letter, explaining the survey and inviting the respondent to contact a member of your organization’s staff by phone to request a translated survey. Cost: $1,100
- Web data collection (more)
The mailed survey will also be available online. It will be available only to those households selected as part of the random, scientific sample. Results will be included along with the mailed survey results in the reports. Cost: $900
- Demographic subgroup comparisons (more)
Subgroup comparisons will be provided in a separate report for up to four demographic questions by most questions on the survey. You will receive an additional worksheet to complete if you select this option. Cost: $800
- Geographic subgroup comparisons (more)
Subgroup comparisons will be provided in a separate report for one set of geographic identifying data by most questions on the survey. NRC staff will work with you to define the geographic areas; this will need to be determined before the mailings begin. Cost: $1,000
- On-site presentation of results (more)
NRC staff will present survey results with staff, Council, Boards or other appropriate groups. Cost includes travel expenses for sites within the 48 contiguous United States and within 50 minutes by car of an international airport. Contact us to discuss additional pricing if these parameters do not apply to your location. Cost: $2,700
- Next Steps Workshop (more)
In a half day workshop, an NRC staff member will work with up to 20 key staff, elected officials and/or resident decision-leaders to describe survey results and to plan for next steps that your organization should take. The workshop will result in identification of key action items and a process for moving forward. Cost: $3,500
- Focus Group (more)
To further explore one topic or issue that arose from the survey results, NRC will conduct one follow-on focus group with 8-10 residents. Includes cost for incentives. Assumes your organization will provide the facility and refreshments for the focus group. Does not include travel costs. Those costs will be passed through directly to your organization. Cost: $3,900
- Additional Focus Group (more)
Additional focus groups on the same topic as the first focus group with similar participants (8-10 residents). Includes cost for incentives. Assumes your organization will provide the facility and refreshments for the focus group. Does not include travel costs. Those costs will be passed through directly to your organization. Cost: $2,200
It’s easy to have PARCS conducted in your area. Send an email to email@example.com and NRC professionals will contact you via email or phone, whichever you prefer. We’ll answer your questions and send you a simple starter kit with a few pieces of information to complete. We’ll give you references and costs (starting at $11,500) and a timeline that will work for your specific use. An example timeline appears below.