When we were IET Connect, we always found it difficult to raise awareness of the work we do but more importantly to maintain awareness. In various studies throughout the years IET Connect has found that they just aren’t at the front of people’s minds. That’s a big problem for us. Organisations like ours were set up to help people with life’s challenges. We don’t want anybody to struggle alone. But, to hear that people don’t know about us was not unexpected.
IET Connect has commissioned many research pieces throughout the years. Each piece said the same thing – ‘we don’t know who you are and we don’t know what you do.’ This year we interviewed some key stakeholders and commissioned a survey. The findings weren’t shocking – people told us we can be doing a lot more to help them, we can be doing a lot more to remove barriers that prevent people from asking for help. A big barrier was the name – so developed a new one that speaks to our community.
We know it’s hard asking for help. So this year we not only listening but we are now doing something about it. It takes honesty and transparency for us to overcome the challenges that prevent us helping more people. But that’s what’s the most important thing for us – that people feel that they can ask for help.
Primarily, people were confused about their eligibility. This is a huge barrier. Who would ask for help if they felt that they would be rejected in their time of need? So, we will start by being more specific about our services so that engineers and their partners fully understand how they are eligible for our support.
Another common thread in the survey was that people also felt bad asking for help. ‘There are people in greater need, I feel bad taking up time and money…’. We are beginning to break down this stigma in asking for help. We are working to improve our touchpoints of people asking for help – to assure them every step of the way that they are doing the right thing in asking for help. That we absolutely do have the time and funds to support more people, no matter if their problem is big or small.
There’s a lot of changes underway to get us to the point where people are more aware of us and feel comfortable asking for help. We’ve changed our name and that’s just the start. Over the coming months we will be addressing some of the key concerns expressed in the survey. Starting with our strategy – we are very focussed on helping more people with the things that matter to them most.
We know we can do better and we are committed to do better. We will do better by building a strong and supportive community. And in the spirit of community, we will be sharing regular updates on the work we do- so stay tuned!