Creating a Meaningful Survey

Surveys are everywhere online. I’m asked to take one on nearly every retail website I visit. And after a purchase, there’s usually one emailed to me, too. So many organizations do surveys because they want to get into the minds of the people they’re selling to or serving.

As a church, it’s good for you to get a pulse of what your congregation is thinking as well as understanding the needs they have.

Knowing that people have limited time and many surveys to choose from, here are some tactics that can make your survey worthwhile.

  • Keep it short. If someone commits to helping you out, respect his or her time. We’ve all likely bailed out of a survey that felt like it was never going to end. It’s better to do shorter surveys more often than long ones less frequently.
  • Focus on what you really want to know. Cut the clutter. Set a goal for what you want to know from the survey and get extremely focused on what you need to ask to get useful answers.
  • Don’t just repeat the same question. I have taken surveys that feel like they keep asking the same thing over and over again. I’ve responded to others that literally asked the same question time and time again only changing the department they’re asking about. Those kinds of questions feel generic and formulaic. Be creative and intentional about the questions you ask.
  • Don’t rely too much on one question type. Some people like clicking boxes. Others like free-form, open-ended questions. Keep that in mind and try to use a mix of both. This also brings up the questions of requiring someone to answer every question. If a check-box kind of person has to answer a free-form question, they might stop taking the survey.
  • Share how the survey results led to change. Once the survey is done, let people know about the results. Is there something that changed at your church due to the results of a survey? Tell your congregation. It creates great buy-in by letting your people know they have influence. It also increases the odds of someone filling out the next survey you create.

Looking for the right online tool for making surveys? Here are a few options:

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