Cool Aid Public Survey Results Released

May 5, 2011 – In March, local marketing firm McAllister Media conducted an anonymous online survey on behalf of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. We greatly appreciate and thank those 390 people who donated their time by taking the online survey. Due to the small sample size and the self-selection of respondents results are not considered statistically reliable, however they do provide insights into areas for improvement for the Cool Aid Society.

The following key themes are noteworthy (elaborated below):

  • Homelessness affects many people directly
  • Cool Aid is seen as the leading organization providing solutions
  • The public is not very aware that Cool Aid provides permanent housing, mental health services, employment and healthy recreation options
  • People become involved for a variety of reasons and their perceptions often change when they do

26.6% of the general public surveyed believe homelessness has a big impact on them, 32.5% somewhat of an impact, 30.8% a limited impact and only 10.1% stated homelessness had no impact at all. Businesses were even more affected with 43.3% believing homelessness had a big impact on them, 33.3% somewhat of an impact, 16.7% a limited impact and 6.7% no impact  at all.

While the majority of respondents identified Cool Aid as doing more than any other organization locally to tackle the issue of homelessness, many other organizations were seen to be contributing solutions including (in order of ranking): City of Victoria, Our Place, Salvation Army, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Pacifica Housing, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Mustard Seed, United Way and BC Housing.

68% of the general public thought Cool Aid was making a difference while 28.8% were unsure. 44.8% of businesses also felt Cool Aid was making a difference while 41.4% were unsure of the difference being made.

38.5% of general public and businesses were somewhat familiar with Cool Aid, with businesses trending towards very familiar with 31.4% and the general public trending towards familiar with 29%. Over 70% correctly identified that Cool Aid provided emergency shelter, a support network, resources, health care and dental care. 65% identified Cool Aid as a homelessness charity that provided counselling. Respondents were generally not aware that Cool Aid also provides housing (351 units), mental health support, employment services and sports and recreation services at the Downtown Community Centre.

Volunteers donate their time to Cool Aid because 51.6% deeply care about homelessness, 27.4% think it seems like a good idea, 24.2% have strong moral/spiritual beliefs, 11.3% know someone affected, and 11.3% have been affected themselves. Donors make gifts to Cool Aid because 58.8% deeply care about homelessness, 32.5% think it seems like a good idea, 27.5% have strong moral/spiritual beliefs, 11.3% know someone affected, and 3.8% have been affected themselves. Perceptions of the issues have changed for both volunteers (32.2%) and donors (35.5%) since they became involved with Cool Aid.

Survey results will be used to help guide Cool Aid with its communications. A summary of results is enclosed and has also been published at www.CoolAid.org/survey.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, mental health and employment services, and the Downtown Community Centre. Cool Aid focuses its services for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

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Information:    www.CoolAid.org/survey     www.mcallistermedia.com

The report “2011 Survey Results” by McAllister Media is also available online.

Tracy McAllister, VP + Director of Marketing, McAllister Media
250-380-2299, tracy@mcallistermedia.com

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Cool Aid
250-414-4781, kstinson@CoolAid.org