In the last couple weeks we’ve been talking about using technology to enhance grouplife in your church. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter and eNewsletters all can make communication with your leaders easier. Using a web-based survey tool can help you understand needs and next steps. Here’s a little bit on why it makes sense, which tools to consider, and some ideas on how to use the tool.
Why Surveying Make Sense
Whether you have 10 leaders or 100, you can gather important insights by surveying. I’m not discounting the value of individually talking with leaders. It’s just that the way you ask the questions and the setting you’re in will make a difference in how they answer. At the same time, a focus group or discussion with a group of your leaders will usually yield some helpful ideas and information, but the privacy offered by surveying adds a nice element.
As your small group ministry grows, it will become much easier to get feedback from a larger percentage by using a survey of some kind and a web-based survey allows easy access (it can be emailed to your leaders or linked from a web page or blog). Depending on the kind of information you’re gathering, you can share the results with your leaders.
Survey Tools to Consider
SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang are probably the two most popular tools. Both offer a free version that will work for many survey needs. Depending on the size of your congregation, upgrading to a pay-as-you-go plan often makes sense since they can be used for all ministries (including guest follow-up).
Types of Surveys
A number of different surveys can be used to enhance grouplife. I’ve used a survey to establish a baseline understanding of how groups function on arriving at a new church by including questions about:
- how long your group has been meeting?
- how often do you meet?
- how did you start?
- how many different people take a turn hosting?
- how many different homes (or locations) do you meet in?
I’ve also surveyed my leaders on curriculum preferences and needs, curriculum review, leadership development ideas, and service project interest.
Survey Design Tips
Both SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang include a variety of prefabricated survey templates about customer service, employee feedback, and event planning. Although you can learn from the provided templates…you’ll want to learn to develop your own. Here are some keys:
- Determine in advance whether you’d like to be able to follow up with anyone. If you do, you’ll want to include a question that inputs name, email, etc.
- Learn to take advantage of skip logic in the design of your survey. Skip logic allows you to set up questions that segment your responders into groups (i.e., currently leading, no longer leading, taking a break, etc.). A question that segments can lead to pages that are only applicable to that group.
- Some questions can be “required” and others made optional.
- Add “other” as an option to allow unexpected responses.
- Keep the survey as short as possible. Surveys that are too long will discourage responders.