Below you’ll find the transcript for episode 17, Everything You Need to Know About Women’s Ministry Surveys, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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Welcome to the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast. I’m Cyndee Ownbey, your host and women’s ministry mentor. I’m the founder of Women’s Ministry Toolbox and the author of Rethinking Women’s Ministry. The Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast is a podcast for women’s ministry leaders and team members of all stages (from new to seasoned) serving in their local church community. If you’re looking for hope and inspiration, you’ve come to the right place! In addition to discussing the nuts and bolts of women’s ministry, I’ll be asking seasoned women’s ministry leaders to share their best tips and the lessons they’ve learned. Together we’ll learn to build a flourishing, Christ-focused women’s ministry.
EP 17 – Everything You Need to Know About Women’s Ministry Surveys
We’re going to be talking about:
- Who you should survey
- what to survey
- how to create surveys
I’ll also be sharing some sample survey questions and tips on processing the responses you receive.
What should you survey?
I strongly recommend that you do a survey for every big event that your women’s ministry team hosts – that includes things like retreats, conferences, and workshops – anything that your team puts a lot of planning, prayer, and preparation into.
You want to make sure that when you send those surveys out, that they are sent to every attendee and the speakers that were at your event. All of them may have important feedback to share with you.
When I’m offering a survey, these are the things that I want to find out:
- What worked well
- what it is that we should do again
- what didn’t work well
- what needs to be tweaked
What tools should you use to create your survey?
First, check and see what survey resources your church has access to. They may already have a membership or program that you can use, and you won’t need to find another resource.
If they don’t, try using Survey Monkey, it’s free for up to 10 questions, or Google Forms, which is also free and has unlimited question options. However, the reporting portion (where you can see the responses) is quite different, so be sure to check those out as you’re trying to decide which is best for your team.
How do we craft great survey questions?
I’ve got 10 tips to share quickly with you.
- Set a clear goal. Know what the purpose is of your survey. Know what you want to know.
- Ask direct questions.
- Ask only one question at a time. If you use a matrix, use it only once as it’s overwhelming and can take a lot more time to complete.
- Provide space for other answers with a fill-in-the-blank option.
- Take care not to guide them to answer the way you want them to – as in only offering multiple choices without an “other” option.
- Carefully word every question, so it’s not leading.
- Specify the type of response you want. Do they need to pick one or select all that apply? If you’re using a rating scale, what does one on your rating scale mean?
- Use open-ended questions. Those are my favorites. That’s where I get some of the best feedback.
- Give them an opportunity to share anything else. A great way to ask this is, “do you have any other comments or information you’d like to share with us?”
- Ask someone to give you feedback on the survey before you send it out.
- What do you need to know about the person who’s responding? Do you want to know what age range they fall into? Did younger women enjoy the event? Did older women feel it was helpful? (Just don’t make the mistake I often do when listing ages. I’ll put 20 to 30 and 30 to 40 instead of 21 to 30 and 31 to 40. )
We talked about how to craft the questions, but what questions should you actually ask?
I have a blog post on the women’s ministry toolbox website with seven questions specifically for events.
Seven Question Survey
I ask participants to rate: the topic, location, speaker, worship, food, schedule, time, and the overall event.
I asked them to rate each one as did not meet expectations, met expectations, exceeded expectations, and included a space for comments after each category rating.
My favorite question to ask at the end of the survey (the responses are always so encouraging to the team and me) is, “what was the highlight of the event for you?”
That’s the seven-question format that I use for events, but I also have a three-question format that you might find helpful.
- What should our women’s ministry start doing that we are not doing now?
- What is our women’s ministry doing that we should stop doing?
- What is our women’s ministry doing that we should keep doing?
If you are interested in finding out how you can do better as a leader, you can use those same questions with your women’s ministry team members. You just changed the language a little bit to say, “what should our women’s ministry team start doing that we’re not doing?”
Are you launching or revamping your women’s ministry? Do you struggle to get your women’s ministry team on the same page? My book, Rethinking Women’s Ministry: Biblical, Practical Tools for Cultivating a Flourishing Community, is designed to help women’s ministry leaders and team members prayerfully examine what’s working and what isn’t. As God highlights the areas that need rethinking, you’ll be able to form an action plan that will enable your team to reach more women more effectively and create a community that flourishes. You’ll find Rethinking Women’s Ministry on Amazon, your favorite online retailer, and at womensministrytoolboxshop.com.
We’ve talked about types of questions and creating good questions, but how do we get women to respond and turn in their surveys?
Here are some tips for increasing responses on your surveys.
- I suggest that you allow anonymous responses. Many women are not going to want to attach their names.
- You also will want to provide multiple reminders and even multiple opportunities for women to submit their surveys. That might mean you have a paper and electronic copy.
- You can hand them out at the end of an event or you can distribute them at a meeting and give them time to complete it.
- You may also find it helpful to bribe them with a small gift. Place a paper survey in a folder and their name in a separate folder or bag so that they’re not connected. Consider giving away a $10 gift card to a local restaurant, Amazon, or coffee shop.
- Keep your surveys short. That will increase the number of responses you receive. As I was doing the research for this podcast, I came across a site that said 15 questions is the sweet spot because you want the survey to take five minutes or less to complete.
- You also want to make sure your survey is easy to access. Drop a link to it if it’s online. Don’t require downloading a separate app – that will just complicate things, and you’ll have a lot fewer responses.
- You can also increase your responses by making them time-sensitive. Give them one week to respond and make the deadline clear.
Sticking with the topic of survey responses…
Who should view the results of your survey?
(This can get a little bit tricky here.)
- You could give the survey results to your entire women’s ministry or planning team for the event.
- If you feel it would be more helpful, you could just share portions or highlights with the whole team.
- You may want to share your survey results with your church staff if that information would be helpful to them.
For example, on a survey that we did at one church, we were able to show how many women wanted an evening Bible study. We were able to take those numbers to the church staff to justify a need that we wanted to meet.
You can also share the testimonies that you got back through your survey with your speakers. They don’t need to see the rest of your survey, but they will love to know if they made an impact and if women enjoy their session. Testimonials are like gold to speakers!
People love to share their opinions, but they can sometimes be a bit blunt.
- Before you look at your responses, please pray and try not to take them personally.
- If you don’t agree with the results, which will probably happen, pray about it.
- Don’t use a number to discard responses.
If only one person mentioned it, that doesn’t mean that no one else thought or experienced this. They may be the only one bold enough to mention it or the only person who thought to write it on the survey. For example, if one person says they couldn’t hear well, chances are others struggled too. If one person says the teaching was too long, talk to your team and decide if that feedback is true, or maybe it’s just somebody who has a shorter attention span.
Sometimes comments that you receive only once come from your most insightful women. So please take care not to discard them.
If you’re made aware of issues, address them one on one, if you can. Even on an anonymous survey, sometimes people will leave their names, and in that case, you’re likely going to want to contact them. They’re leaving their name because they are hoping that you’re going to follow up.
Create a list of action items and record them for future team members and event planners so they can follow through on them.
Don’t just let that feedback sit on the shelf. Take what you’ve gathered and gleaned and record it somewhere, so it’s not forgotten when the next event is planned.
It can be hard to put yourself out there to receive feedback that could improve your ministry or your leadership.
If you’re struggling with the thought of sending out a survey, pray about I and ask God to help you filter the responses appropriately – as not every comment or idea may be valid or require a response.
If you’re feeling especially vulnerable or concerned about a response you received on a survey, I encourage you to reach out to a godly mentor. Share with them the feedback you received and ask for their advice. They’ll help you determine if it’s a valid concern or not.
Today’s Toolbox Task:
- Look at your calendar and see if there’s a need to create a survey for any upcoming events.
- If so, get to work and get that survey created.
I pray that you will be bold and willing to send out surveys after your big women’s ministry events.
The responses you get can be such an encouragement to your team, and they can provide insight that may point to some areas your team may want to refine to better reach the women in your church and in your community.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, would you consider leaving us a rating and review in your podcast app? This helps leaders just like you find this podcast, and it also helps them to know whether the podcast would be a good fit. Just open your podcast app, go to the show, and then scroll down until you see the ratings & reviews option. From there you can tap to rate and then write a review. It really is a huge help – thanks so much! May the grace of God carry you through difficult ministry seasons, may He direct your steps as you seek to make Him known, and may your love for the LORD be apparent to every woman you serve.