The Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) is in a constant process of trying to better understand the needs of it constituency: lake managers & their associated groups, the lake-stakeholder decision making process, watershed group function, and ILMA’s role in an advisory capacity. Although this is a role ILMA has provided since inception of the association, the course of these surveys is to drill down deeper into the overall cross section of lake & surface water users and dissect the results top to bottom. This can help ILMA better understand and serve both individuals and groups with educational content from presentations, seminars and workshops.
Soliciting information is tough for any group. Response rate for typical surveys is often less than 25% and can often be as low as 10% depending on the target audience. At any rate, the information is necessary for ILMA to continually provide valuable information and determine who is receiving the information and how it is being used.
In 2014, the ILMA Board of Directors (Directors) attempted an open forum for discussion at their annual conference in DeKalb as an attempt to receive “fresh material” or ideas from attendees of the conference. The forum constituted a session within the conference that could be attended by anyone at the conference including vendors and industry experts. Upon an open request for topical input, ILMA direction, or general questions, a roomful of nearly 100 individuals ranging from lake and industry experts to general lake property owners, not one unprompted response was provided. Because of this, it is uncertain that if such solicitation of information is best approached in isolated conditions or in smaller groups.
At this time ILMA will be focusing on reaching out to constituent groups such as those listed above; however an additional focus is warranted to better serve the total user base. Most lake groups consist of members of varying education or participation levels. Some are extremely dedicated, including those who have invested personal time to expand their understanding of the lake and watershed environment. This person may often lead the group while the remain board or stakeholder membership may consist of local residents simply looking to lend a helping hand. With this survey ILMA intends to extend into this secondary group and explore not only group leaders but the entirety of the membership that make up these groups.
Test survey groups will be explored later this month with representative pilot surveys and the results and surveys will be refined as the work progresses. The initial surveys will likely be hand or email distributed to help improve effectiveness. Subsequent delivery of surveys will very in presentation from what is suggested above to possible internet delivery. Test Group 1A is the Tower Lakes Improvement Association (TLIA) and Bangs Lake Advisory Committee (BLAC) of Tower Lakes and Wauconda, respectively.
~p0sted by Admin