2012 Survey

Group Interaction and Member Demographics

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC PO Box 75085 Washington, DC 20013 | www.rpcvw.org | facebook.com/RPCVW | twitter.com/RPCVW

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington D.C. (RPCV/W) is a Washington-based nonprofit organization committed to serving our community and providing social outlets and professional resources to our members. Founded in 1979 and incorporated in 1990, RPCV/W is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world. RPCV/W is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and governed by an elected board of directors.

Total Membership Growth
900 Total Membership 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 157 195 241 392 762

The last few years have brought unprecedented growth to the organization. In January 2009, RPCV/W organized 168 volunteers to march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. In 2011, it put on a 5,000 participant ceremony and march across the Memorial Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. High-profile events like these attract more members to the group and increase its capacity to explore new initiatives. This survey was conducted in October 2012 with 106 participants representing 15% of the total membership of RPCVW. It will be used to plan more inclusive events, reach out more effectively to constituencies within our member base, and help us meet our mission of providing services for our members and our communities in the spirit of Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal. Contact me if you have any questions about the survey or about getting involved with RPCV/W. –Chris Robinson, Public Relations Director -- publicrelations@rpcvw.org

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC

How did you find RPCV/W?
Google, or other search engine Word of mouth 5% 8% NPCA website referral At an event 17% 47% Our Facebook, Twitter, or another social site I don't remember



Though www.rpcvw.org has top Google rankings for key terms related to the Peace Corps, most of our members get involved through word of mouth. RPCVs form strong networks which is the major reason our group is able to function without a full-time staff. Members join to be part of a community and to stay up to date on the Peace Corps, but also to build social and professional relationships.

Why did you join?

2% Professional Development 31% 33% Social Activities Discounted Tickets for Special Events 7% 5% 22% Member of Partner Group General Interest Community Service

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC

How long have you been a member?
Over 10 years

5 - 10 years

1 - 5 years

Under 1 year 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50%

New arrivals are a major component of our membership, making up nearly half of those surveyed. We offer free memberships for the first year for everyone, regardless of when or whether they served in the Peace Corps. The vast amount rely on our weekly newsletter for information, though the Facebook group is very active with daily postings and numbers well over 1,000 members. Twitter and rpcvw.org complete our online presence, which we are continuously trying to make more conducive to our members’ preferences.

What's your primary information source?
2% 3% 5% 5% Word of mouth Weekly email newsletter RPCVW.org website Facebook page or group Twitter feed 85%

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC

What events have you attended over the last 12 months?

Med-Evacuated PCV Meet-and-Greet, 7 Other, 13

Thanksgiving or Cherry Blossom Potluck, 9 Hike, Bike Ride, Wine Tour, or Camping Trip, 16 Speed Networking, 18

Community Service Project, 17 None, 19 JFK Wreath Laying, 21 Holiday Party and Silent Auction, 22 Professional Development Panel, 33 50th Anniversary Arlington Event and Walk of Flags, 35

Summer Barbecue and Elections, 42

Happy Hour, 48

RPCV/W divides its programing into social, professional development, community service, and special events. Monthly happy hours serve to greet new arrivals while our Holiday Party and Summer BBQ usually draw the largest attendees. This chart shows the popularity of our events over the last year. 2012-2013 will see twice as many events as last year.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC

How has RPCV/W helped you?
0 I made friends at social events I worked on community service projects I got a job or hired an RPCV I found a mentor or mentee I had an informational interview I met my significant other I promoted my organization or cause I participated in a fun event I heard some good stories I tried something new Other (see below) 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

RPCV/W strives to provide fun, engaging, and meaningful activities for our members. We all make friends and enjoy sharing stories. We try to provide 2 social, one community service and one professional development event every month. Our profdev initiative aims to help participants network effectively, set up informational interviews, and forge bonds in different industries. As evidenced by the chart below, opinions are pretty well divided about what components we should focus on and strengthen, with profdev in the lead

Other 13%

Where would you like to see us focus our programming? More focus on
social activities 27%

More focus on big special events 8%

More focus on community service 23%

More focus on professional development 29%

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC


Employment Status
18% Unemployed and looking for a job Unemployed and not looking for a job Employed and looking for a new job Employed and not looking for a new job 7%




The majority of those surveyed were female. Because of our focus on profdev, we also asked for the status of their employment. 25% are looking for a new job and 18% are just looking. 50% are employed and happy, and many volunteered to be points of contact for job seekers interested in their respective companies, agencies, and industries. Just knowing a fellow RPCV can make all the difference. To participate as a point of contact, email professionaldev@rpcvw.org. In an effort to plan more inclusive events, we also asked about family status.

Family Structure
80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Single Single with children Dating Dating with children Married Married with children

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC

Education Level
Doctorate or post Doc Working towards Doctorate or post Doc Master's Degree Working towards Master's Degree Bachelor's Degree High School diploma or equivalent 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Our membership is very well-educated, as is to be expected from the prevalence of universities and high-skilled jobs in the region. More than half of respondents have an advanced degree. RPCV groups have been formed in several area schools and institutions. The chart below shows our members’ work experience, including Peace Corps service, with the majority averaging between 2 and 7 years. Over 20% boast 20 years or more. The challenge for RPCV/W will be connecting seasoned professionals with new talent. Building a network of mentors and points of contact is a top priority of our organization. We believe any RPCV should be willing to sit down with any fellow RPCV for a few minutes to share advice and encouragement. Our Linkedin group is working toward this goal.

Work Experience
35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 0-2 years 2-4 years 5-7 years 8-10 years 10+ years 15+ years 20+ years

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC



Career Interest by Sector





0 NGO/ Non-Profit International Development Foreign Relations/ Diplomacy Federal Government- Executive Social Programs Environment Education Health Consulting Agriculture Public Relations/ Communications Other Federal Government- Legislative Science and Technology Information Technology Law Event Management Human Resource Management Lobbying Commerce/ Trade Finance Law Enforcement Accounting Federal Government- Judicial Marketing Construction This last chart displays different industries and job sectors arranged by member interest. Nonprofits and International Development are the most popular, followed by International Relations and the Federal Government. We will make sure to focus our profdev initiative around these sectors while we build strong relationships with others. RPCV groups have been established at the Department of State, Housing and Urban Development, US Agency for International Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Labor. There are also vibrant communities of RPCVs in private companies and NGOs, and on Capitol Hill, where 4 Members of Congress are Peace Corps alumni. In all, RPCV/W is a vibrant, growing organization that benefits from a constant source of new members who are drawn to Washington for a variety of reasons. Our members are driven, educated, and committed to community service and volunteering. This survey, combined with the data we collect from our website, will help us plan an exciting future for the organization.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC

Survey Comments
"(1) RPCV/W continues not to program for us older RPCVs. We don't need to make friends, find jobs, drink, etc. I think what would attract us (and I've been telling this to RPCV/W board members for decades!) is to schedule occasional topic discussions by top notch people in the DC area or visiting here, either on international development issues in general or on the newest global hotspot. Just one example -- when the Arab Spring was happening, I would have gone to a session with TOP experts talking about the issues, in depth. I know the Q and A would have been incisive because the questioners would be us RPCVs who have real experience and insight. This format was done several years ago but died out after one or two. (2) There was an RPCV/W series that took place in various embassies when Lisa Martin was RPCV/W chair. Since her area was events planning for musical performers, the series was centered around booking usicians who performed traditional music from that country (which was a treat for the embassy staff and their friends too). But it doesn't have to be that elaborate. Think of the annual DC event when many embassies open their doors to invite in the general public. (Alas, it's become a cattle call.) But I'm sure some embassies would be happy to invite a smaller group, consisting of RPCVs. Even the developed countries, who do not host PCVs, maybe talking about their PC-like programs. Germans, Swiss, etc. Having said all this, no, I can't volunteer to participate or lead. I'm already president of my COS RPCV group. Can't take on more. Sorry." "Again, I'd be more interested in intellectually interesting seminars. Considering the huge breadth of subjects that RPCVs addressed during their service, and considering all the challenges facing our country today, I would think there'd be an array of potential speakers even just in the RPCV community from which to develop a list of compelling topics. I'm not really looking for new social activities, and I'm not looking for work, but I'm always interested in attending thought-provoking and interesting seminars/presentations, and I'd think I'm probably not alone. Also - with regard to the social activities - I think the above would attract more of the older RPCVs, if that matters. (Also better for professional networking, which is of more interest to me than networking for a job.) ThanksChange the birthdate to mm/dd/yyyy Christmas party was fun Community service, social activities, and professional development are all important and fun - keep them coming! Formation of neighborhood groups with activities in those neighborhood, e.g. "RPCVs of Columbia Heights." But maybe this already exists, I don't know! Great events and wonderful organization. I am the social/community service/3rd goal coordinator for RPCVs@EPA and always looking to do group activities with other RPCV organizations. Great organization! Keep up the good work. Thanks! I am a very inactive member of RPCV/W but a very active member of Friends of the DR (founding member and Treasurer since 1998). I maintain my membership in RPCV/W and NPCA just to remain in contact with the local and national RPCV communities. I am not interested in a more active role. I recognize that RPCV/W is comprised of and serving a much younger population, which is fine. I have found somewhat out of place at the happy hours because most of the attendees are young or recent returnees. I enjoy the events which do attract some people from the earlier years. Some good examples are the annual barbeque and the wreath laying. I like all the focuses, not just professional but also social and community service. I'm new to the group so I'd like to be more involved.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC
I like the group and am impressed with all the activities. Since I live outside of the city, I haven't been able to attend as many as I would have liked but I hope that will change when I eventually move up to DC. I like the social events. I wish I could be more active, but I'm pretty busy with my other activities. I think more sustained community service events (rather than one-off weekend events) would be great--we seem to have the organizational capacity to keep a community service commitment going! "I totally should have run for something on the board, but honestly, I was in California for half of August and all of September. Oh well. Happy to try and liaison happy hours between State and RPCVW. "I would like to become more involved in a leadership position in RPCV/W I would like to see more promotion of RPCV/W events to make sure that everyone knows about them. "I would like to suggest that we not have any other big social events besides the ones we already do (i.e. no spring formal) And put more effort into community service and other different, fun social events" I would love to get more involved with planning events/event support. I'd like to see happy hours have a little more structure -- I feel like I always talk to people I already know because the room is filled with tiny cliques of people doing the exact same thing. Maybe even have random groupings of 34 people, where you look to see what group you're in when you arrive and then meet new people that way? Or some kind of arranging social interaction. I feel like I always make sure I know people that are going because it would be a semi-awkward event if you didn't know people already. "I'd like to see more low-cost social events like potluck picnics in the park, pick-up games like Ultimate Frisbee, book author readings, etc. The last happy hour that I tried to attend (at Busboys), the event was full only 15 minutes after the start. I think you should either seek out larger venues or hold happy hours more often to spread out the attendance. I think RPCV/W needs to actively recruit participants that aren't in their 20s and 30s, especially to diversify the Board. I'm a really new member, so I don't have further suggestions at this time. Keep up the great work! Now that I'm in the DC area, I'd love to help out where I can with community events. I'm living in Virginia and am commuting a lot for the next two months, so I think for now I'd like to just participate when I can, but once I'm living in or closer to DC I'd love to help with event planning. Thanks for planning all of the great events! The only reason I feel connected to this group is the weekly newsletters, its really nice to see what's on the calendar. I have only been able to attend a couple events, but really enjoyed myself. I am looking forward to meeting more members, but I also would like to attend a monthly meeting but that hasn't been on the newsletter, or at least I haven't noticed it. I hope to do more with this group in the coming year! When I can to DC in 1983 RPCV/W had members of all years. Now it is very heavily skewed towards recently returned volunteers. That is understandable but more efforts are needed to bring in those who are not recently off the boat.

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