If you’re a Bunker Labs program alumni, or in one of our programs right now, we need to talk about the EEP survey. As you probably know, all Bunker Labs programs and services are available to entrepreneurs, like you, at no cost. This is only possible thanks to our generous funding partners and donations from our community and supporters that empower Bunker Labs to serve veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs.
What is the EEP Survey, Anyway?
Every year, thanks to the support of JPMorgan Chase, Bunker Labs works with an evaluation partner (in this case, EEP: Equitable Evaluation Practice) to conduct an independent annual survey of program alumni. It’s sort of like a report card to see how well Bunker Labs is serving our community. As a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization, we have a responsibility to measure, evaluate, and report the impact of each program and service delivered, not just to our generous funding partners and donors but also to you, our community!
Since 2017, Bunker Labs has partnered with an evaluation partner (EEP), services that are available thanks to the support of our partners at JPMorgan Chase, to conduct an annual survey. Unlike program applications/intake forms, mid-point surveys, and exit surveys, this survey is for Bunker Labs alumni – which allows us to measure longitudinal economic impact. This means EEP is collecting information from companies that are years past their initial Bunker Labs program experience, so we can see what the long-term effects are for companies that go through our programs.
Each year in June, EEP emails over a thousand Bunker Labs alumni to check in on how their businesses are performing after participating in our programs. EEP takes this information, anonymizes it, and aggregates it into broader insights about veteran and military spouse-owned business performance after Bunker Labs. We are then able to use these insights to adjust programs to better serve the veteran and military spouse business community. Also, anonymized insights and aggregated data help create our annual report, complete funder reports, and help us approach new funding partners. Most importantly, it helps Bunker Labs tell the story of our community—the impact you are making on the economy and your community.
Why doesn’t Bunker Labs Conduct This Survey?
Thanks to the support of our partners at JPMorgan Chase, Bunker Labs has the unique opportunity to work with an evaluation partner to conduct our alumni survey.
Having an expert third party evaluator like EEP ensures the survey results are unbiased. This lends credibility to the results and ensures we can trust the insights the survey generates. Just like you wouldn’t like a child grade their own test or fill out their own report card, it’s important that an impartial third party conducts this particular survey. It keeps our team focused on serving and building up the veteran and military spouse entrepreneur community.
They’re Asking Sensitive Information, I don’t Like That
The survey asks a lot of questions, some about revenue, fundraising, and employee headcounts that you might be uncomfortable answering. First, you do not have to answer any questions you’re genuinely uncomfortable answering. It is infinitely preferable to receive a half-answered survey than no survey response at all.
Additionally, it’s important to make clear that this information is held confidential by the third-party surveyor, EEP. They then compile all the results so Bunker Labs and JPMorgan Chase can see all the data in aggregate. Neither Bunker nor JPMorgan Chase gets to see “Dana Smith’s Widget Factory had 1.4 million in revenue last year, a 70% increase”. We only see that 128 companies out of 1,000 responders have over 1 million in revenue, and 15% of companies had revenue increases of 50% or more in the past year. Further, EEP cannot and does not sell the raw data (or even the anonymized data) to additional parties. Your information stays private.
Help Bunker Labs, Fill Out the EEP
One way you can support Bunker Labs each year is to take 15-30 minutes to fill out the EEP survey. It gives us vital information about how we can better serve veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and small business owners, and gives us performance metrics we can bring to funders to help grow our community. It cannot be stressed enough how important this is to keeping our programs free to future Bunker Labs entrepreneurs, and gain insight into what early interventions result in the best long term success for veterans and military spouse founders.
I Didn’t Get an Email
The survey gets sent from “firstname.lastname@example.org” in June, check your spam filter and junk email. Alternately, while you’re thinking about it, whitelist it so you can ensure you receive it every year. Not sure how to whitelist an email address? There are many online guides.
If you’re a legacy alumnus that last participated in Bunker Labs before 2021 and still haven’t received anything from uwsc.wisc.edu by late June, there’s a good chance that you were emailed about it for two surveys in a row and did not respond. At that point, EEP policy removes that email address from their survey list. If this happened to you, and want to get back on the list? Send an email to us at Info@BunkerLabs.org and put “Re-add to EEP Survey” as the subject line, along with your name, the Bunker Labs cohort/program you were in, and the best email address to use for the EEP survey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of FAQs to help you better understand the EEP survey and how your information is used. You can also watch the video below.
1. What type of survey is this?
- The EEP survey a longitudinal survey, which means we track the continued trajectory of your business (and hundreds of others) over multiple years as far back as 2017 so we can gain insights about growth over time, and better understand the challenges entrepreneurs face and shape future programs around addressing the needs of the community.
2. How long does it take to complete the survey?
- The survey is shared over email and takes roughly 15-30 minutes to complete. It may take longer if you need to obtain details on your business’ financials from the prior calendar year.
3. What questions can I expect to be asked?
- The status of your business (ie. Open, closed, temporary halt of operations, merged/acquired) & impact of pandemic on your business (starting in 2020 survey)
- Business performance details from prior calendar including revenue, capital/funding obtained, employee/contractor counts and compensation, business milestones reached
- Details of primary customers and suppliers (if relevant)
- Future plans for your business include fundraising, hiring, operational expansion
- How and when you engaged with Bunker Labs, how Bunker Labs has impacted you, and how Bunker Labs could improve your experiences in our programs/community
4. Haven’t I provided some of this information when I applied to a program?
- Yes, many of these questions you’ll recognize from the Bunker Labs application process or mid-point surveys. Because an independent third party (EEP) is facilitating the data collection, we can’t be involved in answering the survey responses. Furthermore, since this is a longitudinal survey, asking some of the same questions allows us to capture new data points each year and analyze changes over time. Bunker Labs is evaluating our data collection process to try to streamline data collection in the future.
5. Why are there questions about my business’ finances?
- As a non-profit organization, funders judge our impact by evaluating your entrepreneurial and economic growth. To gauge that, they need relevant details to understand how business is going for all the Bunker Labs entrepreneurs compared to last year.
6. Do I have to answer all the questions? Are there any repercussions to me if I do not answer all the questions?
- You do not have to answer questions you are uncomfortable answering. A partially filled out survey is preferable to not receiving any survey. There are no repercussions for you if you do not answer all the questions. However, being as open and honest as you can in the survey helps Bunker Labs, and ensures we can continue to offer and improve our programs at no charge to veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Further, responding to questions with “prefer not to answer” is preferable to leaving it blank entirely.
7. Who has access to the data collected and what is done with it?
- EEP anonymizes and aggregates the data to provide Bunker Labs and JPMorgan Chase with summaries and high-level insights from all survey respondents. Bunker Labs receives CSV files of all data to be incorporated into Bunker Labs’ existing data sets and systems. Neither EEP nor Bunker Labs will sell or give away your data. Your written responses to open questions may be shared anonymously with Bunker Labs staff to address trends or in feedback, but neither your name nor your company name will be included alongside the written response.
8. Why was I chosen to participate in the survey?
- Each year, Bunker Labs creates an email list of alumni who completed a Bunker Labs program during the prior calendar year. These individuals are added to an existing EEP survey contact list that includes alumni who received and responded to the survey in at least one of the past two years. If you do not wish to receive the survey annually, you can request to have your name removed from the contact list.
9. Why should I participate in this survey?
- By participating, you can help demonstrate to our stakeholders and funders the value of Bunker Labs to the veteran and military spouse business community. This survey also helps shape Bunker Labs programs and allows insights into how programs can change to best meet the needs of future participants. This survey also helps Bunker Labs understand the long-term trends in entrepreneurship for veterans and military spouses.
10. Why do you use a 3rd party to collect survey responses?
- These surveys are similar to report cards for Bunker Labs for funders like JPMorgan Chase to make decisions about how to move forward with our organization. By hiring a third-party to conduct the survey, funders can feel confident the results are free of bias.
- Bunker Labs has partnered with a third-party evaluator since 2017 thanks to the support of JPMorgan Chase. As a non-profit organization, it is critical to capture and evaluate the impact of our programs and services to achieve our mission. Using a third-party evaluator strengthens our credibility in reporting overall impact.
11. When can I expect to receive this survey?
- Typically, the EEP survey is sent out in May or June. The survey remains open until 30% of the list responds. EEP will follow up via email or phone with all non-responders on the list during the response window until they achieve a 30% response rate.
12. I didn’t get a survey, what happened?
- The survey gets sent from “email@example.com” in June, check your spam filter and junk email.
- If you’re a legacy alumni that last participated in Bunker Labs before 2021 and still haven’t received anything from “firstname.lastname@example.org” by late June, there’s a good chance you were emailed about it for two surveys in a row, and did not respond. At that point, EEP policy removes that email address from their survey list.
13. I want to help, how can I get back on the survey list?
- Want to get back on the list? Send an email to us at Info@BunkerLabs.org and put “Re-add to EEP Survey” as the subject line, along with your name, the Bunker Labs cohort/program you were in, and the best email address to use for the EEP survey.
14. How can I prepare for the survey?
- The biggest part of the survey that potentially slows down survey responses is the financial information from the previous year. To help efficiently answer all the questions, we recommend (though not required) having the following documents on hand:
- Prior calendar year’s profit & loss/income statement balance sheet
- Prior calendar year’s employee information (number of employees, full-time/part-time status, 1099 contract workers, demographics)
- Prior calendar year’s average salary and average hourly wage information for employees and 1099 contract workers
- Prior calendar year’s equity financing, loans/lines of credit, and grant amounts
15. How long has this survey been conducted for Bunker Labs?
- Bunker Labs started using this study in 2017.
16. What is ICIC?
- Prior to 2020, this study was conducted by ICIC (Initiative for a Competitive Inner City). It is now conducted by EEP (Equitable Evaluation Process).
I Have More Questions
For any further questions, feel free to watch this video, comment in this post, or reach out to your local Bunker Labs Ambassador, who can connect you with a Bunker Labs team member that can answer any further questions.
Bunker Labs is Now Part of IVMF
As of January 2024, Bunker Labs is now a part of Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). In addition to ongoing Bunker Labs programming, we’d encourage you to browse IVMF’s deep wealth of entrepreneurship programming, much of it available virtually or at locations across the country. Find the program to help your business take the next step today!