CBOs weigh in on Consumer Action publications

Published: Saturday, May 05, 2018

We received valuable feedback from our CBOs on our publications.

As Consumer Action expands its consumer education library with new publications and training modules, we like to check in with our “customers” every now and then to see that we’re on the right track. Fortunately, we’ve got a 7,000-member network of community-based organizations (CBOs) to tap for feedback and suggestions to guide our future work.

In February, we sent out a nine-question survey to a portion of our network (for manageability’s sake). A couple of those questions related to a module we’re currently working on (about insuring your home against losses suffered in a natural disaster and what assistance FEMA offers). The others asked respondents to weigh in on what length publications work best for them and their clients and whether our delivery of the information is on target.

We received 125 responses. In addition to getting confirmation that the vast majority of our partners (87%) still have a need for free, printed multilingual materials and that nearly all of them (96%) need consumer fact sheets for distribution to their clients, here’s what we learned:

  • The consensus among respondents was that shorter is better when it comes to publication length. The vast majority (81%) checked the box for four pages (their choices were “4-page,” “8-page,” “12-page” and “Other”). Some respondents expounded that one or two pages is even better, though a few allowed some leeway, saying “the shortest format to cover the topic adequately is best” and “depends on the subject matter and literacy levels.”
  • A number of respondents asked for more—and more descriptive—graphics (“graphics that speak a thousand words”). Anyone who has been using our publications for years has undoubtedly noticed the increased use of images and color; we’ll continue to incorporate the most effective visuals we can find.
  • There were a variety of suggestions that speak to the readability of our publications. Requests for larger font size, more bullet points and “8th grade reading level” or lower reflect the broad range of populations our CBO partners serve, from the elderly (who may have reduced vision) to those for whom English is not their first language.

Mixed in among the constructive comments were thanks:

  • “I am using many publications and all of them are GREAT and helpful. Thanks!”
  • “Everything is already user friendly for my clients, and I want to thank you.”
  • “The educational tools you create and provide at no charge are vital to our students in correctional education.”

Our appreciation goes to all the CBOs who took the time to respond and provide thoughtful feedback and practical suggestions. Your input is already being implemented (just look at the use of bullet points above!).

If you use Consumer Action publications in your work with consumers but you either didn't receive our survey or didn’t have the chance to respond, you can still chime in. And if you have any suggestions for future consumer publications and/or training module topics, we’d love to hear them!

 
 
 

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