If you’re wanting to make a major decision that will affect your church, feedback is your friend. There are a few ways to get that feedback, whether by posting a poll on Facebook, sending out an email and asking for a reply, or handing out a piece of paper at a service, but we’ve found that using an anonymous online survey, like Survey Monkey gives us our fastest and highest quantity of results.
They offer a free account allowing you to create surveys with up to 10 questions, and will allow you to view your first 100 responses (if you choose to upgrade for $300/year, you can see unlimited responses.) The great thing about the free account is that if you receive more than 100 responses, survey monkey will save the additional responses and allow you to view them after you’ve chose to pay to upgrade.
Pre-made questions in multiple categories are available, so if you need to find out the age of the respondent for instance and you’re not sure how to ask “How old are you?” without sounding blunt, you can check out their demographic category for some ways that question is already worded and divided into premade responses.
Questions can include multiple choice, dropdown, one line of text, and a variety of other question types – both to give you the exact results you’re looking for, and to make it as simple as possible for the user to complete the survey.
We get the most completed surveys when we switch up the question type. For instance, if each questions is a “Yes / Maybe / No” or “Good / Better / Best” or “Always / Sometimes / Never” then mix up a mix of multiple choice, dropdowns or sliding scales.
Once your survey is built (up to 10 questions on the free plan), they give you multiple ways to send out the email – either by email, a URL (that you could copy and paste into an email, post on social media or a button on your website) or an embed code if you want to embed directly onto your website.
One of my favorite parts of using survey monkey is analyzing the results.
We have a clear goal in mind when we create a survey (ie. we want to know how people get information about what’s coming up or how they choose which service to attend) but we also like to ask some questions that help us paint a bigger picture with some bonus questions (like asking for someone’s age or do they prefer twitter or instagram).
Our surveys are usually 5-7 questions, and survey monkey will allow you to see how someone who answered a particular question also answered the others.
For example, let’s say your survey is 3 questions, and you want to learn which age group reads the bulletin so you know what events to include:
- the person’s age
- do they read the bulletin
- what is their zip code (this is the bonus question – unrelated but helpful.)
Example 1: You could select one of those results (for instance: see only results from people who say “no” they don’t read the bulletin) and see how they answered the other questions, so you could see which age group is least likely to read the bulletin, or in which zip code that age group lives.
Example 2: You could analyze the people who say “no” they don’t read the bulletin, and find their zip codes.
From there, you could send them a mailer when there’s an important event coming up.
Example 3: See the results from a particular Zip code, then see which is the most common age group in that zip code.
You could use that information to create relevant snail mail promotion for small groups that apply to them, or customize a post card for that zip code about an upcoming event – this is all bonus information because you asked for a zip code.
I’d love to hear about how you’ve used online surveys, what you’ve learned form them, and how you’ve gotten the best results we can all learn from. Let us know in the comments below: