When people are enabled to donate in the way they prefer to give, they give more. Because the giving preferences of churchgoers matters so much for the financial stewardship of the tens of thousands of churches we work with, we’ve conducted biannual giving surveys since 2015. Check out our latest survey.
What We Learned from Over Five Years of Surveys
With each survey, we not only learned about givers’ preferences, but how to properly conduct a survey of churchgoers. Reap the benefits of our work by using our premade survey to better understand your churchgoers and their giving preferences. Simply follow the guidelines below for guidance on conducting the survey and putting the results to good use.
How to Conduct a Survey
- We’ve made it easy to get started. The Church Giving Sample Survey is designed as an editable PDF. You simply email the survey to your members; they answer the questions directly in the PDF, save it and email it back to you.
- Another option we recommend is for you to conduct the survey electronically, which will simplify compiling and analyzing the responses. If you don’t already subscribe to an online survey service, there are plenty of inexpensive, easy-to-use options. Find them by searching “online survey tools” on the web.
- If you do an electronic survey, also offer a paper version for those who don’t use a computer.
- Don’t forget to take advantage of group activities. Print several paper copies of the survey and ask members to complete and return it during a meeting or event.
- Communicate with your members about the survey and its importance! Use all the tools at your disposal: email, your website, social media, the church bulletin, Sunday announcements and more.
- Remember to include a due date (two to three weeks is plenty of time for a short survey) and send several reminders, particularly if you aren’t getting the response you’d like.
- Whether your members submitted their answers by email, paper or through an online service, compile them together using a spreadsheet or other database tool to better analyze the results.
How to Best Put the Results to Use
You’ll want to start by using the insights you capture from your survey to create stronger programs built around your members’ interests.
Expanding Your Use of Technology
If you have a techie crowd, you’ll want to consider how to integrate technology into their experience at your church. This might involve updating your website, streaming your services online for members who can’t attend or better using your social media platforms to reach your congregation.
Updating Your Communications
Are you talking with your congregation the way they prefer, or are your messages getting lost? You might find you need to move away from paper. This might mean you’ll need to rely on email, your website or social media to connect with your members.
Updating Your Giving Methods
Understanding why members give can help you customize your messages about stewardship. Identifying giving preferences may also help you decide that your congregation is ready for electronic giving or additional options in an existing electronic program.
Report to Your Congregation
People need to know that their feedback had an impact. Sharing the results of the survey with your congregation and letting them know how it will be used to develop new programs can go a long way in building lasting relationships.
The Best Decision is an Informed Decision
Making changes to your church’s financial stewardship programs requires some heavy thinking. Whatever you do, don't go at it alone. We've created hundreds of resources to help churches like yours in our resource center.