Skip to main content

Leadership Learning Community: Survey Findings -- What We Are Learning About Our Community

Submitted by: Natalia Castaneda on Mar 29th, 2012 at 12PM PDT

By Deborah Meehan and Natalia Castaneda


First, a big “thank you!” to all of you who took time to complete a survey to help us learn more about our community.  We received 181 responses and wanted to share some of the key insights and provocative questions that your responses helped to surface.

Many of you who responded are relatively new to LLC and have connected to us primarily through our webinars and the resources available on our website.  At LLC we have been talking about the changing nature of the relationship we have with our community. We believe there are several factors contributing to this change.  After bringing on a fabulous marketing director, our reach has expanded tremendously.  In the past two years the number of people subscribing to our newsletter, which is our primary channel for communication, has increased from 1,000 to nearly 3,000.  Attracting a much larger group of people who are more broadly distributed around the US, and the globe for that matter, has transformed the way we connect from what had been face-to-face learning events to a more virtual exchange of ideas and resources. As the economy has taken a toll on travel budgets for leadership program staff and made it more difficult for us to raise funds for convenings, we have not been able to hold our national meeting Creating Space for the past couple of years.

What does this mean?  We miss the high-touch contact we were used to having and at the same time we appreciate that learning is enriched and we have more opportunities to influence the field as the community has grown.  We have asked if we are becoming more of a learning network than learning community and what that might mean for how we organize our work and align our efforts to promote leadership models that are more inclusive, networked and connected.  We will be exploring this topic in future posts.

Who is the LLC community?

  • LLC is a cross-generational community.  44% of survey respondents are under 45, and 56% are over 45. 
  • LLC is a multi-ethnic community.  46% are people of color, and 54% are Caucasian.
  • LLC is a national organization, with survey responses from 30 states.  The highest concentrations are in California, Washington, Minnesota, and New York.
  • LLC community members mostly work in the nonprofit sector, academia, consulting, and philanthropy. Very few members work in the corporate sector.
  • LLC community members focus their work primarily around nonprofit leadership, community leadership, advocacy and policy leadership, and personal leadership sustainability.

How does the community engage with LLC?

  • The primary points of contact are our webinars, with over 65% having attended a webinar; and our website with close to 60% saying they have downloaded documents from the site.

What is the Value of LLC?

  • Eighty percent (80%) of survey respondents indicated that LLC has made a contribution to their leadership work. Participants value the access to cutting-edge ideas and resources, as well as the opportunity to participate in learning exchanges with like-minded peers.  Some participants indicated that LLC has not contributed to their work – we hope to learn more from those participants to deliver targeted services that can help take their work to the next level.

  • Two-thirds of survey respondents would recommend LLC to their colleagues. One third were neutral or unsure about recommending LLC. We hope to learn more about how to share the value of what LLC has to offer, and to give people who are neutral the experiences and knowledge they need to recommend LLC to their colleagues.

  • Two thirds of survey respondents have been involved with LLC for two years or less.  A significant number of respondents do not have a clear idea about what LLC does or how LLC can help in their leadership work. 
  • We want to take this opportunity to mention some of the ways that the LLC community can help you in your work:
    • Access to cutting-edge ideas and resources through our blog, resources directory and webinars
    • Access to networking opportunities, including learning circles and learning labs, in the Bay Area, Boston, Minnesota and other areas
    • Opportunities to share your work and ideas through our blog, resources directory, webinars and events
  • Here are some comments from participants that highlight some of the value and benefits of the LLC community:
    •  “LLC is great at identifying and describing important, emerging concepts in leadership.  They know how to create engaging learning gatherings and are excellent partners in the work of leadership for social change.”
    • “LLC's intellectual capital draws on the expertise of practitioners, not just leadership theorists in the ivory tower, who are truly committed to transformation.”
    • “A couple of really great webinars that planted some important ideas in my head, put a couple of great resources on my radar screen, and exposed me to a line of research and thinking that is helpful to my work.”

 Key Initiatives

  • Participants value LLC’s key initiatives, including the website/blog, newsletter and webinars

  • Some participants think the information provided in the webinars is too academic/technical, and they would like more practical information that could be applied in their day-to-day work.  We will certainly take this into consideration as we plan the webinar series going forward!
  • Some participants expressed interest in contributing blogs and/or hosting webinars.  Suggested topics include: collective leadership, network maps, leadership and technology, and participatory evaluation methods.  We have slowly been following up with those participants to plan exciting new articles and/or webinars that are reaching out to new thought leaders.
  • The majority of participants are more proficient with LinkedIn and Facebook than other social media tools, so we will continue to emphasize those channels in our communications efforts.

Learning Priorities

  • Participants are interested in learning about issues of culture, class and power related to leadership, systems thinking, collaboration, collective leadership, and peer learning.  We will use this information to plan the content of our initiatives (events, webinars, articles).

We look forward to improving our key initiatives based on your feedback and continuing to provide value to the leadership development community.  In addition to the webinar series, this year we are planning on launching more in-depth workshops on key areas so please stay tuned for more information.