By Gina Calvert

Pros and Cons of Church Surveys for Getting to Know Your Members

As a consumer, how often do you encounter surveys? 

Surveys have become important to your doctor, dentist, mechanic and various software providers because, statistically, organizations typically only hear from about 4% of their dissatisfied clients. For every one of those respondents, 26 remain silent. (Source).

Are they quiet because they’re happy? Not necessarily. Have they quietly disappeared? Maybe. Or they may have disappeared, but not necessarily quietly: 95% of customers share their bad experiences with others. (Source: Zendesk). They’re sharing their stories with their network, on social media … just not with the business.

Are Church Surveys the Way to Go?

It’s possible that the familiarity of a church family setting and easy access to leadership means that way more than 4% of dissatisfied members feel comfortable stating their viewpoint. But what about those in the margins? Do you know what makes new visitors stay or why people leave or remain unengaged?

Our nation is experiencing a phenomenon in the workplace known as “Quiet Quitting,” a state of progressive disengagement. It seems to be happening in the church, too.

This article is not a pitch for church surveys. Because people get so many feedback requests, surveys can become tiresome. (That’s why some companies just ask you to pick a number of stars or a cartoon face on a spectrum from happy to angry.)  

Surveys can also open a can of worms for leaders who get “X” number of people who want scenario A and the same number who don’t want scenario A, with both perspectives expecting their preference to result in change. 

How Church Surveys Can Go Wrong

Pastor Joel Kimes’ experience with surveys resulted in pleasing NONE of the respondents. He states, “Unless you can avoid promoting consumer worship, I urge you not to survey them.” He explains his reasoning and how the church ultimately found unity despite competing preferences. (Source)

But think back to your experiences as visitor or member. How often have you been asked by a church to answer a few questions about your experience? Ever wished you could give a church you just visited an F- on their friendliness? Without that opportunity, you probably just don’t return.

When was the last time you looked around for a suggestion box…and actually found one? Sometimes, something just needs to be said!

The Best Answers Come From the Best Questions

Some churches have had great success with surveys, but it depends on what your survey asks. Check out these two resources on why some believe it’s essential to periodically request insight into your members’ perspectives, and the right way to do it:

With attendance wavering for most churches, it’s vital to know what your loyal core needs and believes would help strengthen them and the overall body.

When you craft questions that allow you to learn why people feel disengaged, and manage your assessment correctly, you can open up dialogue to begin solving those issues. This faith-based company specializes in helping churches effectively request feedback.

How Your Giving Data Can Help You Know Your Members

As an online giving solution provider with robust analytics capabilities, we’ve learned a great deal about the power of your giving data to help you know your congregants … and better minister to them. 

Knowing your members at the ministry level can help inform other pressing questions about how the church is doing.

Explore more about this concept with these resources:

Reach out if you’d like to learn more about Vision2.