Thank you to all who participated in our St. Francis Communications Survey. Below you will find the results along with a bit of insight on each question. Some of the responses were what we expected, others were not quite what we thought. Overall, we have gained a good deal of insight into what is important to our parishioners, what is working, and what needs improvement.
Questions 1-4 helped us know who was participating in the survey, male, female, age groups, length of time being a parishioners, and whether the family has children in the Preschool or Franciscan School.
The fact the there were more female respondents was not surprising. The distribution of fairly even among parishioners in the various age groups 36 years and older.
The survey could only be taken once from a particular computer. A family of five with one computer could only submit one survey from that computer. The other family members would have had to use a different computer to participate in the survey. This may explain why there is little response from the younger age groups, since the parent would have been the ones most likely to participate.
The response to question 5 was surprising. We expected the web site to be the preferred method used by parishioners to get information. The bulletin edged out email as the preferred method followed by the parish website.
From question 6 we see that over half of the respondent seldom visit the website. Some of the comments received for Questions 6 and 7 refer to items on the old website which suggest some folks have not visited the current parish site before taking the survey.
How would you improve the parish website? The overwhelming responses here were to improve the “search” function on the site so that it brings up relevant information for a particular search.
The responses to question 8 were the most surprising. While 55.7% scan the bulletin for something of interest, almost 38% read it from cover to cover. Our expectation was that only a small percentage of people actually read it in depth. When compared to the fact that just 23.5% visit the website frequently, this was an eye opener. If you combine this with the fact nearly 56% seldom visit the parish website, it makes the parish bulletin stand out as a critical component in parish communications.
85% would like the parish to continue printing a parish bulletin. Many assumed that this question was asked due to cost associated with production. Perhaps we should have stated up front that the bulletin is paid for by the advertising revenue. There is no out of pocket cost to the church. We received many suggestions on how to cut cost by printing less, reducing color pages, or just having an electronic version.
The vast majority of comments suggested that it is good the way it is and had some very nice things to say. Some suggested we reduce the number of articles. Others expressed that they liked the content. We are planning do a follow up on this question to discuss content in more detail and will invite parishioners to participate in giving us more feedback on this. If you submitted your email address at the end of the survey, we will probably contact you within the next few weeks to get more input from you. And one of my favorite suggestions received. “Put mass schedule where it is easy to find.” (It’s on the front cover)
The overwhelming response is to distribute both a printed and an electronic version, which we will continue to do. In case you were not aware that an electronic version is available, please click here to sign up to get the link to the bulletin emailed to you every Sunday at noon.
We were relieved to find that only 1.6% of you feel that you are getting too many emails from the parish. We use Constant Contact to send parish wide emails and try not to abuse our email privileges. Please bear in mind if you opt-out of receiving emails, you automatically opt out of receiving all emails that we send via Constant Contact. As an example a parishioner contacted me because they stopped receiving Fr. Bill’s daily reflection. Upon checking the system we discovered that they had opted out of an email from the parish about something else. They were automatically removed from receiving all other emails from the system. This is not something we control, it is built in to the email distribution service provider. Once a person opts-out, we cannot add them. They must follow a link to re-subscribe to the church’s emails. If you get some emails from the church about stuff that may not be of interest to you, simply ignore it. We try to segment the emails based on areas of interest and participation, but many times it is necessary to send out an email to everyone in the parish, such as this survey.
Opinions were split nearly evenly divided down the middle on whether or not we should publish a parish directory.
While there has been some talk of another parish directory, we really needed your input on how to go about doing it. From the responses, it is clear that an electronic directory where families provided their own photo was the favored production method. It is also interesting to note how many would not participate in kind of parish directory, almost 20%. Participation in any parish directory would be completely voluntary.
While 58% gave the parish high marks for communicating and engaging with parishioners, 2.4% gave us a failing grade. The rest think the parish does an OK job. There is always room for improvement and this is one of the reason we conducted this survey.
The assortment of suggestions ran the gamut, but there was an underlying thread of desire to have more personal connections; a mentor family for new parish families, more opportunities to share a meal together after Mass, re-design the parish welcome center, help meeting folks – especially if you are new – to form SCC, ministry fairs, more opportunities where parishioners can be introduced to one another.
Parishioners were harsher critics of their own engagement behavior than that of the parish. 12.6% felt they do a lousy job engaging and communicating as opposed to the 2.4% that gave the parish a failing grade. Some of the comments to this question were what we expected, folks are busy. Some responses were funny and some where heartbreaking. The point of this question was to see how parishioners gauged this two-way relationship of parish and parishioner. Both are crucial if we are to have a vibrant faith community were all feel welcomed, cherished, and heard.
Your suggestions in response to how parishioners can better engage ranged from, simplify, being more intentional, get healthy, get involved, don’t have the time, not sure… Everyone’s situation is different and this was a good reflective question.
Your Hobbies? This question received over 250 comments, more than any other question. It was a last minute addition to the survey and we thought it would be fun to know what people enjoy doing. I’m glad we asked since there may opportunities to connect people who are interested in the same hobbies.
We did not expect to have so many of you provide email address for future focus group(s). Almost 200 of you provided your email and would like to be included it that effort.