The best part of my job is hearing from the Oregonians who participate in our monthly surveys.
These "panelists" from all over the state share their thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of topics, including everything from whether Oregonians should be able to pump their own gas to how hopeful they feel about the future to whether they think the people running their community care about what happens to them.
But no matter what their answers are, what I see are people who want something better for their community.
Take Sherry, from Multnomah County, for instance:
"I am an active panelist for The Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (OVBC). I take surveys as often as they send them my way. … I participate because I enjoy offering my feedback/opinions on a variety of topics. I also participate because I believe my voice is being heard and that I might, in some small way, actually have a positive effect on what happens in my small part of the world."
Usually, opinion research is funded by organizations or individuals with a specific agenda. They can selectively use and present the research in a way that best benefits them and not necessarily the public good.
That is why OVBC was founded as an independent and nonpartisan charitable organization to conduct opinion research that is accessible, understandable and available to all Oregonians, including organizations that support our communities and that might not otherwise be able to afford it.
We want to provide statistically reliable data that represents all Oregonians, including those who are often underrepresented in opinion research, like rural residents and communities of color. The research will help us make the difficult decisions about our state's future by showing the values and beliefs that unite us and providing a better understanding of what divides us.
Oregonians have an impressive history of crossing divides to solve problems facing our state and our communities and right now, those divides are our biggest problem. OVBC can help.
"I joined the OVBC panel because it is important to be to be doing everything I can to help our community grow and heal. I believe that different groups cannot work well together unless they understand each other, and this panel is a good way to start that process. I also enjoy seeing what different topics people are talking about, and the rewards program doesn't hurt either!" says Annie, from Washington County
Here's how it works: Oregonians register for the panel through our website and we email them with invitations for participation when we have a project available. A survey, for example, takes about 15 minutes and upon completion 300 rewards points are added to their OVBC Panel account. Once participants have earned 1,200 points, those points can be redeemed for cash, or their value can be donated to a charitable organization. All responses are anonymous, and we will never share your personal information with outside organizations without your permission.
We think Ted, from Marion County, sums it up rather nicely:
"Oregon is diverse in both landscape and opinions. My experience participating in the OVBC panel provides an opportunity to share my opinion on an array of topics to someone who listens and provides both the public and policymakers information upon which they can act. Equally important, the feedback the panelists get back from OVBC about the results provides insight to me about what other Oregonians are thinking on important issues. The survey process is easy and the results rewarding!"
For about 15 minutes of your time each month, you can have a voice in shaping our state's future, and earn some cash. There's really no downside. We hope you will join the OVBC panel; we cannot wait to hear what you have to say about the important issues facing our state.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.