Quarterly vs. Monthly Reports

Discuss basic duties of stake and ward clerks, including where to begin.
jvmoore13
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Quarterly vs. Monthly Reports

Postby jvmoore13 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:20 pm

One of the things that has always bothered me in the many years I have been a clerk (in at least four different stakes across the country) is that even though HQ only asks us to submit the member progress report quarterly, virtually every stake still asks for the same data monthly.

I find it challenging enough getting the info in a timely fashion quarterly, let alone monthly. Additionally, MLS isn't really designed for acurate monthly reporting. It doesn't freeze the statistics monthly like it does quarterly, thus unless I happen to run unit statistics on the last day of the month the pecentages are based on what ever the current membership is.

I've been doing this long enough that I remember when we had to submit a monthly progress report to HQ and when it was changed to quarterly to reduce some of the burden on us clerks. I'm courious what other folk's experiences are. Does you stake still require the information monthly? It seems that if the majority of the stakes want the same information more frequently, the MLS developers could help accomodate this need.

Alternativly, any justifications to the stake president to only do quarterly??

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:10 pm

Our stake president requests home teaching reports each month, but does not ask for any of the statistical information on the Quarterly Report. The stake simply receives that information from the wards automatically through MLS each quarter.

I think it's healthy for any entity (ward, stake, company, household) to periodically review the reports it generates or any other procedures and see if they are worth the effort. You might just have a chat with the stake clerk and ask him if the stake really uses the monthly information. If it's really helpful to the stake president and it helps him to minister to the stake, then you simply support him in that effort. But if not, perhaps your discussion with the stake clerk will lead him to talk to the stake president and make sure that the benefit of these reports justifies the effort.
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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:30 am

I was a ward clerk with very similar feelings jvmoore13... It was my hope that the monthly numbers gathering allowed local HPGL, EQP, RSP, etc... to focus on the needs of people... The review of HT and VT never happened in my ward, so I would send reports, or distribute them in Ward Council indicating families that hadn't been seen in Months... sometimes these people went more than 6-9 months without anything changing... it was a bit disappointing to me, because they also tended to be the families that didn't fit into particular circles in the ward easily. The same could be said about all the areas we gather statistics.... If a ward only finds out 3 months later that little sally-sue hasn't attended YW in the last 3 months... but was attending earlier... maybe 3 months is too long to start compiling those stats... monthly is much better for intervention....

Here's my theory... I keep the wards gathering the data and sending it to me monthly.... the stake uses the data quarterly... both serve to help where the help is needed.

At the Ward Level, to me, the numbers are about the people.... At the stake level the numbers are about leaders, and training... helping to identify greater trends to be addressed... whatever is necessary to get that job done. Some stake presidents will want to micro-manage this process, some will not.

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Postby kisaac » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:55 am

Obviously, the HT - VT stats are included on the quarterly, but should still be a monthly task on the ward level, as per CHI (CHI book 2: 9.5.4, and CHI book 2: 7.4.4) While the CHI doesn't require you to do this on MLS, most units probably do... If you do, then they are also provided to the stake monthly. Our stake still requires a separate HT report delivered monthly from each EQ & HP group to the stake through the High Council rep, including monthly goals and success stories, Prospective elder info, etc.

As far as attendance, our stake presidency doesn't require any additional reporting above the quarterly data. However, specific Stake organizations might. I think our Sunday School Pres. has a reporting policy, and I think the stake Primary still asks for an additional report from their ward leaders on children NOT attending any meetings. I have stakes in the past that required a similar "members not attending" monthly report of priesthood quorums, both aaronic and Melchizedek.
Our stake DOES enter the quarterly data into a separate spreadsheet for further processing, and breaks it down into wards and provides this report back to the ward, as described at this link to the wiki:
Some wards and stakes find it helpful to copy the data from the Quarterly Report into a spreadsheet. This allows you to create charts for each of the major statistics for more visual appeal and trend analysis.
Some examples of the kind of statistics that can be done from the raw data in the quarterly report....
(see the wiki for all of these additional statistics you can create without gathering any additional data)
As a side note, remember that the quarterly report may not give you a true picture of your membership's habits, however, and a monthly report might.
Should a member that attends a quorum four times a year be counted as having the same attendance as a member that attends every week? The quarterly reporting methods allows those two individuals to be statistically identical, one that attends weekly, and one that attends four times a year. While that may be good enough for the needs that CHQ tracks, you need to ask if that is good enough for an elders quorum president, or the bishop, or the stake president?

To me there is no question: "That which we measure improves." I was EQ pres. when we moved from the monthly attendance to the quarterly attendance (counting last month of quarter only) for the report many years back. The message seemed to be, no more roles for the first two months of each quarter, so we didn't take it.

Our presidency felt an immediate drop in our understanding of the participation habits of our quorum, and after a few quarters, we unanimously voted to go back to keeping role monthly. As this had "opened our eyes," we even went further, and asked the secretary to provide the presidency with a running report of "members not attending monthly," which was far more insightful to us then "members attending at least once per quarter," kept on a spreadsheet, so we could look back and compare it to the months before.

If my bishop or stake pres. asked me to provide this to him, I wouldn't assume he was "micro-managing." I would assume he wanted me to learn to use such a report for my own presidencies analysis and benefit. Requiring it be turned in would not be as much for that leaders benefit as it would ensure that we had the info we needed in our own presidency.

A leader may use this to train new presidencies by requiring further processing of Home Teaching data. Looking deeper and processing the numbers is what makes this data useful. Do you ever list all prospective elders that were missed by HT'ers in a month? Or list the percentage of visits to households without Melchizedek priesthood in the home? Have you run a report of families NOT HOME TAUGHT and sorted it by how many months in a row they have been missed- this can be further processed in a spreadsheet to identify which of those really shouldn't get missed...ever!

When the CHI suggest clerks should look for trends and provide reports of things they find, this is exactly what it is taking about. "Lift the hood" of your quarterly reports, and take a peak inside, and check ALL those fluid levels, sure, but look for the leaks underneath that might highlight problems...and see what is really going on.

However, if you're just counting, and nobody is looking at the figures you gather, sure, you are wasting time. Sorry for the long post, but this is my experience, like you asked...

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Postby crislapi » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:52 am

My stake only requires this information quarterly. However, my recommendation is to collect them every month just so people don't forget to do it on a reporting month. Because we only do quarterly, I've had ward clerks forget to count attendance, for example. Just because CHQ only wants to see it quarterly doesn't mean there isn't useful information in the other months. If fact, due to how the quarters fall, you might actually get more accurate information in the off months.

hooson
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Postby hooson » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:49 am

The leadership of our stake and the wards within it require everything quarterly and nothing monthly.
Hyde Park Ward
London England Hyde Park Stake
Stake Clerk

davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:45 am

Our previous Stake President required ward reports monthly. They had a annual spreadsheet (tab for each month) that looked just like the form for the Quarterly Report data. The Stake Clerk compiled all the ward information for the Stake Presidency and it was discussed in Stake High Council with assignments to the Councillors to followup with wards that seemed to be slipping in the metrics. The new Stake President doesn't seem to be concerned with it. I kept it up for a year or two, but as no-one ever seemed to want it, stopped pushing the ward organizations for the information.

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Postby cbradford » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:45 am

One of the frustrations that is commonly expressed by many members of the ward council is the requirement to have the information, taken from the last month of the previous quarter, submitted by the 10th of the month. This puts a strain on all of the organizations who typically don't have their information gathered until the middle of the month. Is there a reason that the statistics are collected for the last month in the quarter? If the information was collected for the second month in the quarter, all organizations would have their information compiled by the time it is needed, and there wouldn't be a crazy rush to get it collected. I asked this question to HQ and was basically chastised for it.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:37 am

cbradford wrote:One of the frustrations that is commonly expressed by many members of the ward council is the requirement to have the information, taken from the last month of the previous quarter, submitted by the 10th of the month. This puts a strain on all of the organizations who typically don't have their information gathered until the middle of the month. Is there a reason that the statistics are collected for the last month in the quarter? If the information was collected for the second month in the quarter, all organizations would have their information compiled by the time it is needed, and there wouldn't be a crazy rush to get it collected. I asked this question to HQ and was basically chastised for it.


I don't think your question is worthy of chastisement. However, we can only speculate as to why the last month of the quarter was selected (and there's not much point in speculation). The fact is that we have been clearly told that statistics are gathered for the last month of the quarter, and that quarterly reports are due on the 15th of the following month.

So given those facts (which seem unlikely to change anytime soon), we just have to organize ourselves as well as possible to cheerfully meet the requirements we've been given. That might involve doing as much preparation as possible before the end of the month (for example, collect as many HT and VT statistics as possible during the month, instead of waiting until the month is over to start collecting reports). And make sure you've created an efficient communication channel. The clerk might also yield a couple more days; if everyone can get their information to him by the 12th, he should be able to still be done by the 15th, especially if he has gotten some of the information earlier.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:49 pm

I have found that you can update the Quarterly report until the month ends. For example, if you find out on the 20th of the month that there were 3 more families Home Taught than you had reported, you can open the Quarterly Report, update the specific numbers, and save it again. It will re-transmit on the next send-receive. (Note, however, that I do not know if this affects the Budget distribution or if that is based on whatever is transmitted by the 15th.)

The other thing I have found useful is to print out the list of individuals to be counted and provide that to the each organization. It uses a few more sheets of paper, but in the interest of making it easier they can just check-off the members who have attended in their organization and turn it back in for me to count.

For our ward, getting HT and VT information in a timely manner is the hardest thing to do and I am often updating the HT/VT information right at the end of the month just before the Quarterly Report "locks."


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