Women's Ministry Surveys Online vs. Printed

A few weeks ago our women’s ministry team decided to distribute a survey to assess what our women were looking for from our team in the next year.

We’ve also heard a lot of women mention that they miss our evening Bible study offering. What better way to find out how great the interest really is than to ask!

Our team was divided about whether or not a printed version of our women’s ministry survey was necessary. Our compromise was to offer both.

Perhaps your team has been faced with a similar dilemma.

Is it necessary, as it was 10 years ago, to offer a printed version of a survey?

What are the benefits of offering an online survey vs. a printed survey?

Is one better than the other?

This post walks through what we discovered during this process.

We did our best to ensure that both versions received ample publicity.

How we distributed the printed version:

  1. Sunday bulletin – two Sundays
  2. Connect Center desk
  3. Announcements in SS announcements and Sunday bulletin

How we distributed the online version:

  1. Emailed link and request to all women in church
  2. Sent reminder email before close of survey
  3. Shared link via Women’s Ministry Facebook Page

Examining the pro's and con's of online vs. printed surveys

As the creator of the survey I have first-hand experience of the pro’s and con’s of each version.

Let’s look first at the pro’s.

Pro’s of the Printed Version:

  1. Internet not necessary
  2. Convenient (in Bulletin)

Pro’s of the Online Version:

  1. Accessible anytime
  2. Results immediately calculated
  3. Required answers (we chose to utilize this option)
  4. More detailed answers were received
  5. Real-time results – can view responses as they are entered
  6. Easy to set up and send out – I used Google Forms
  7. Results were combined into nifty grafts and also available as a spreadsheet

You can probably already see where this is headed!

Were the “con’s” as out of balance? Yes, they were!

Con’s of the Printed Version:

  1. Women did not answer all of the questions
  2. Open-ended question responses were brief in comparison
  3. Skewed overall results by not answering every question
  4. Disruptive to worship time in service
  5. Time consuming collection – Had to be collected and then entered in by hand
  6. Time consuming to create and format survey
  7. Time consuming to distribute thru various channels at church

Con’s of the Online Version:

  1. Needed reminders to submit

You may have noticed I did not list internet access as a “con”. Ten years ago this would have been an issue, but internet access is rarely an issue anymore.

So how many of each survey did we receive?

We had a total of 50 surveys submitted, which for a church our size is fantastic! (We average around 200 in attendance, divided between two services on Sunday.)

Of the 50 – 12 were printed surveys and 38 were online surveys.

If our goal is good feedback on the surveys, then the online surveys were the clear winner. As noted above:

  • Answers were more detailed in the online survey responses
  • Questions were skipped on the printed version skewing our results

And in case you’re curious, yes, I’m attaching a copy of the paper survey we distributed. 🙂

Click the link below to open a free PDF. Please gather and glean – take what is helpful for your ministry and use it!

Women’s Ministry Survey Summer 2016

The online version was exactly the same except for the fact that I was able to require an answer before they could move on to the next question. A very few respondents typed “n/a” as their response to the open-ended questions.

If I had to do it all again, I’d be willing to do both, if and only if, our team still felt strongly about putting out two versions.

Is it necessary to do both, probably not…

If, however, you had a large event and could give women dedicated time to complete a printed survey, I would definitely do both. You’ll far increase your responses, although you may find them to be less meaty than those gathered online.

Definitely take into consideration your situation and circumstances at your church – what worked for us may not be best for your church!

What has been your experience with distributing women’s ministry surveys in your church?

You may also want to read:
Seven Super Survey Questions
Retreat Surveys
What Women Really Want from Your Women’s Ministry

One year ago: Lazarus Awakening Bible Study
Two years ago: 5 Ways the Internet Undermines Your Ministry
Three years ago: Christmas Icebreaker Questions (Free Printable)

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags