Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link reports back on changes we have made as a result of last year’s membership survey.
As you know, Homeless Link is led by our membership. Our 850 member organisations are our lifeblood and we couldn’t exist without you. Every year we ask you to spend a few minutes completing our feedback survey so we can continually improve our services and meet your needs. We had a fantastic response to our 2022 survey, with 94% of you saying that you are very likely to recommend Homeless Link membership and 91% of respondents saying that membership is good value for money.
This is great, but we want to be even better so here are some of the changes that we have made as a result of your feedback:-
Introduced free membership for the smallest organisations. Volunteer based organisations or those that are just starting out on their journey with an income of less than £50,000 are now eligible for free membership of Homeless Link (even better value for money!)
Campaigns. 93% of you told us that Homeless Link’s campaigning enables you to play an active role and lend weight of your experience and knowledge to make change possible both locally and nationally.
In particular you asked us to campaign for long term funding for the sector. Initially we worked to ensure that the 2021 Treasury three-year funding settlement was passed on to services. But then the cost-of-living crisis really started to bite and energy costs went through the roof. So in the last year we have redoubled our efforts, calling for an inflationary increase in commissioned contracts and extra support with energy bills. Through lobbying we gained an exemption for supported accommodation providers when social rents were frozen in the autumn statement. Charities were included in the business energy support scheme for the winter of 22-23 but now we have a new battle that we are fighting for ongoing support for summer 2023 and next winter. This one isn’t going away and will continue to be a priority. Do get involved.
Finding our resources. We were a bit disappointed last year to learn that only 42% of people have accessed the resources on our website. We know that in part this was because our website was not structured well. As a result it has now been completely rebuilt including a brand new knowledge hub where you can easily find, search and filter for all our publications. Early indicators are very positive with 71,000 documents being downloaded between May 2022 and December (an increase of 40% on the previous year).
Training and Conferences. You said that you really liked our conferences and online training. So we continued to deliver them with just under 700 training days, delivered to over 13,000 delegates. You also said that you really value networking and we were delighted to hold our full schedule of in person events this year and relaunch our leadership training programme.
Last year you reported that you weren’t aware of our coaching offer – so we have developed and improved that and have a new cohort of people taking part. A recent participant fed back that "My coach is amazing, I have shocked even myself that I have come so far."
Communication. You gave us some very useful feedback on the way that we communicate with you. As a result we have scrapped our old e-newsletter “MemberLink” and replaced it with a fortnightly “news and updates”. We have introduced a second fortnightly newsletter just for CEOs focussed on leadership. Our stats suggest that you like this more – but we are always open to more feedback.
Some people said they don’t receive our emails but would like to – so we have made it much easier to sign up on the home page of the website.
We are working to ensure that you get more information directly about the things that you are interested in (and we are not spamming you). On the new website we have introduced a preference centre so we can send you the most relevant information.
Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). When we asked you what you wanted us to develop in the future, and you asked us to prioritise Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We have now employed an EDI manager who has started to implement our EDI action plan. This is focussed not only on our internal ways of working but also about promoting efforts to improve inclusion across the sector and society. Watch this space for more.
Finally we asked you what would make membership more valuable. Overwhelmingly you said Accredited training. I am delighted to say that after extensive piloting we have now been able to launch a full accredited training programme, jointly with CiH.
I hope that you like the changes we have made? Of course we haven’t finished. The 2023 membership survey will be hitting your inboxes in the next few days – do please take some time to fill it out and continue to tell us where we need to make changes.