[SURVEY OF THE MONTH] COVID-19 Survey Series: Regional Economy Development Recovery Plan


The Survey of the Month series is a monthly blog where we highlight the extraordinary work our customers are doing, along with some takeaways that are relevant for anyone interested in making the most out of online engagement using MetroQuest’s survey platform!

To see more in the series, visit the blogs here.

This month, we are changing gears and highlighting a survey series relevant to everyone after the last year and a half: the Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) is developing an economic development recovery plan in response to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The three-survey series will help NRPC identify the challenges businesses face and develop practices and strategies to stimulate the economy and foster and increase support for businesses.

What’s the story? COVID-19 Impact on Businesses

The NRPC serves 13 municipalities in the greater Nashua region located in Southern New Hampshire. The Commission focuses on developing and implementing innovative planning strategies to preserve and improve the quality of life.

NRPC was awarded a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and started the process to develop a comprehensive economic development recovery plan for the greater Nashua region. The initiative addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region’s economy, including job loss, business closure, workforce challenges and the disparate impact of recent economic disturbances on traditionally disadvantaged and underserved businesses.

The Survey series consists of 3 modules: Workforce, Entrepreneurship and Retail & Restaurants. NRPC built a brilliant project website, which is an essential part of successful online engagement. Here are some key takeaways from the NRPC’s project website:




  1. Building a project website allows the engagement team to develop a brand around the project. In this case, while NRPC used MetroQuest for the online survey, the name of the tool is not relevant to participants. NRPC followed their branding guidelines by using the organization’s vibrant green color and built the branding around the project. Moreover, the project website will be available for longer than the MetroQuest Survey’s engagement period, allowing visitors and participants to follow the project for updates.
  2. At the top of the project website, visitors are presented with large, prominent Survey launch buttons linking to their 3 Surveys. Having the Survey links readily available on the project website delivers a clear call to action and is key to driving traffic to the Survey.
  3. Below the Survey launch buttons and before sharing their input in the Surveys, visitors are given the opportunity to learn about the intended audience for each Survey with detailed but concise background information about the project.

I encourage you to visit their project website and see how following these guidelines creates a welcoming environment for Survey participants.

Anatomy of the Economic Recovery Plan Survey Series: Identifying Challenges & Strategies and Weighing Support Options

The Survey series consists of three parts: Workforce, Entrepreneurship and Retail & Restaurants. Each of the three surveys are intended for different audiences:

  1. Workforce Survey for all businesses, especially those with workforce challenges.
  2. Entrepreneurship Survey for start-ups and any other businesses established in the last three years.
  3. Retail & Restaurants Survey for businesses in the hospitality, retail, and food service industries.

Upon landing on each Survey’s Welcome Screen, visitors are greeted with representative images for each topic along with a short introduction with the purpose of the project and statistical facts.




Like many other MetroQuest Surveys, the pandemic recovery surveys begin the interactive portion of the Survey with Priority Ranking Screens. The visitors are asked to rank five challenges the business has faced due to the pandemic. For example, two of the surveys ask visitors to rank factors that have adversely affected their ability to maintain and expand operations in the hospitality industry or as a start-up. In contrast, in the Workforce Survey, participants are asked to rank five strategies the business is willing to implement to expand its available workforce. These challenges and strategies were previously identified by the team at NRPC.




Next, different rating Screens were utilized to suggest and inform the visitors of any options and strategies that could be implemented to conquer the challenges they currently face. Visitors were asked to give input on the strategies based on how well it would work for their business, whether by responding to a Tradeoffs Screen, Budget Allocation Screen or Strategy Rating Screen.

For example, the Workforce Survey used a Tradeoffs Screen to display five tradeoffs presented to the visitor in the previous Screen: Transportation, Childcare, Housing, Compensation, and Non-Traditional Schedules. Visitors were asked to indicate which tradeoff they prefer. For example, under Non-Traditional Schedules, they were asked to indicate their preference regarding flexible hours or traditional fixed and full-time hours.



Similarly, the entrepreneurship Survey included a Budget Allocation Screen to ask participants to distribute theoretical funding of $100,000 across nine categories: Accounting & Finance, Legal Services, Grant Writing, Marketing & Communication, Networking, Health & Wellness, Strategic Planning, Advice & Mentoring and Leadership Skills.

Each category provides more details so that participants can make an informed decision on where they would spend the funding and investment. This interactive activity strengthens the idea of funding prioritization for participants, illustrating options and limited resources.



If you would like to try the Surveys, here are the links for each Survey:

These are demo versions that will not affect the Survey results.

5 Tips from the COVID-19 Recovery Plan Survey Series: Clear calls to action!

From the project website to the Survey series, NRPC’s message is clear and straightforward. Below are 5 takeaways from their project:

  1. Essential elements of the project website are providing concise background information for the participants to learn about the project initiative and a clear call to action with prominent survey links and eye-catching screenshots of the three Surveys.
  2. Once visitors land on the Welcome Screen, they are greeted with the purpose of the Survey and the importance of the public’s input in a succinct manner. This is followed by the statistical facts on the relevant topic on the bottom rotating sliders, helping visitors understand the context and relevance of their input.
  3. In all three Surveys, Priority Ranking Screens serve as the first interactive Screen to easily show participants how to share their input using this new, fun method. It is a simple yet effective exercise. Your participants get warmed up to using MetroQuest’s interactive activity while you gather data-driven insights that are easy to understand!
  4. Instead of using cumbersome standard survey questions, gamify the experience so that participants have more enjoyment while providing feedback for your project! The Budget Allocation Screen is an excellent choice to educate participants about limited resources and solicit input about where they would allocate them, while playing a quick game. A fun survey experience will help you achieve a higher survey completion rate. The participants will also be more likely to share your Survey with others that you might not be able to reach otherwise.
  5. Using different rating Screens, including the Image Rating and Strategy Rating Screens, allow you to gather qualitative data quickly; simultaneously, you can also allow participants to provide optional written feedback by providing the comment button where appropriate. This will enable you to gather both qualitative and quantitative data!


Congratulations to NRPC for creating a fantastic survey series to help the businesses in their community!

For more great tips on how to make the most out of MetroQuest, contact your Customer Experience manager or reach out for more information!

Want to learn more about how MetroQuest supports community outreach on your next transportation plan? Check out our recent webinar:


The Art and Science of Virtual Public Engagement for Transportation Planning

The Art and Science of Virtual Public Engagement for Transportation Planning

Online surveys have come to the forefront as safe, effective measures for engaging a large and diverse audience. Learn how to create delightful surveys that engage 1000s and deliver the results you need to support a wide range of transportation plans!


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