Every District I work with, without exception, consistently receives advice from me that I truly hope they heed, “Survey your community!” Surveying your community can only help, never hurt, your planning process for referendum, community engagement, or strategic planning.
Is surveying cost prohibitive? It does not need to be; and besides, what is the cost of failure? Is surveying time intensive? It does not need to be; there are great consultants out there that specialize in efficiently developing surveys and analyzing survey results.
If your District is considering going to referendum, engage you survey consultant the same time you bring aboard your construction manager and architect. Too often, Districts engage a survey consultant too early in the planning process, before they have the ability to accurately identify potential facility solutions and costs, or too late in the planning process, after they have already established priorities and solutions.
As I ask School District Administrators and Boards for information that I need to inform strategy and craft tactics, too often I get answers like “my gut tells me…” or shrugged shoulders. That just won’t cut it. Having the right information, in a timely manner, can mean the difference between success and failure when engaging your stakeholders.