New Survey: How Online Work is Impacting Us All

  • By Andy Goodman, July 21, 2020

When foundations, nonprofits and other public interest organizations started shifting work online as a result of the Great Recession, The Goodman Center conducted research to see what was working, what wasn’t and why. In 2009, we released our report, “Dialing In, Logging On, Nodding Off: The True Costs of Teleconferences, Videoconferences and Webinars.” The results were sobering: virtual meetings were consistently plagued with technical problems, most meeting leaders had received no training for navigating online environments, and the fight for participation and engagement was frequently a losing battle.

Responding to these findings, we started offering an online class, “The Webinar on Webinars,” specifically to share best practices that make virtual meetings and trainings more engaging and productive. Between 2009 and 2020 we logged hundreds of hours online, teaching but also learning from our students as we went. And then in March of this year, like everyone else, we found ourselves in a radically altered landscape – one in which virtual meetings were no longer an “option.” They were now the norm.

So, we began offering The Webinar on Webinars for free to provide much-needed guidance to as many public interest professionals as we could. We also decided to update our research to better understand how technology and practices have evolved since 2009, and to capture what’s happening right now when literally the entire world has become a laboratory for observing humans attempting to work productively in virtual habitats.

To ensure that a new survey would reach a truly representative swath of the public interest community, The Goodman Center has been recruiting partners who share our interest in discovering new best practices. GEO was one of the first organizations to sign on, and they were followed in rapid succession by America’s Promise Alliance, Borealis Philanthropy, Capacity Canada, Center for Public Interest Communications, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Communications Network, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Council on Foundations, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Forum One, Independent Sector and Points of Light.

With the assistance of the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida, we launched a pilot version of the survey on June 25th. Not only did this two-week test run provide some early data, we were also able to interview some of the respondents about the process of taking the survey to ensure questions in the final version would be clear, concise, and generate useful information.

All of which has brought us to the point, dear reader, where you come in! If you’ve ever been stuck in an online meeting and thought, “There has to be a better way,” this survey is your chance to help design that better way. Today we’re asking you to set aside 10-15 minutes to share your experience and let your voice be heard. Click here to take the survey and to find out how you can receive a copy of the report with all the results.

And remember: the sanity you save may be your own!


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Andy Goodman

Co-founder and Director

Andy Goodman is co-founder and director of The Goodman Center, which teaches communications and marketing professionals how to reach more people with more impact. Along with Storytelling as Best Practice, he is author of Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes and Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes. He also publishes a monthly journal, free-range thinking, to share best practices in the field of public interest communications.