Understanding how your members spend time away from church can help you create a stronger, better-supported ministry. Our preferred online giving partner, Vanco Payment Solutions has developed a brief, seven-question survey you can download and share with your members to find out more about their:

1. Technology habits
2. Communication preferences
3. Activities and interests
4. Preferences for how they want to contribute to your church

The survey is easy to use and includes a companion piece that will help you compare responses with Vanco’s national survey of churchgoers’ technology habits, communication preferences, activities and attitudes toward giving.

This knowledge can help you build a stronger, thriving ministry.

Unsure about Online Giving Software, or Putting your Church on Social Media? Know Your Members’ Technology Habits.

Knowing your members’ technology habits can help to give you a better picture of how they would interact with your church’s advancement in technology, from offering online giving, to starting a new church blog, to starting a church Twitter account.

Are our church members already giving online?

If you’re unsure about how engaged your members would be with online giving options made available at your church, there are a variety of questions you can ask. For example, through the survey, you may discover that a third of your congregation is already paying bills online monthly, visiting other faith-based websites weekly (who may also be asking them to contribute online), and texting on a daily basis. This could suggest that a portion of your members might actually prefer making online donations, paying for events with a credit card, or are likely to be willing to give by text.

Because of Servant Keeper’s solid integration with Vanco, a leading provider of online giving for ministries, it’s easy to try online giving. If even a small percentage of your members are already doing online bill pay, it may be worth doing a test run of online giving at your church. All their contributions, whether they come in by text, or credit card at a kiosk, or through your church website, can be sent directly to your Servant Keeper church software. This will save your treasurer or finance team time.

Where should our church be active on social media?

Similarly, if you discover that three out of four of your youth group members are on Snapchat and Instagram daily, you may want to consider having a presence there. This would allow you to leverage more social media platforms, engage with your youth group on social media, and have them work together to share your content with their friends and followers. While the goal isn’t for you or your church to win some online popularity contest with the most followers and likes, this would help you to be out in the world interacting with new people, as well as give you a new channel for sharing the Gospel.

Should we use more technology in classes and events?

The Gospel, and loving God and other people, should always be at the forefront of any class, service, or event a church has. And with a message as exciting as the Gospel, we certainly don’t need to dress it up with lights, trendy apps, or fog machines. But unless your church is meeting outside, without electricity (which my church did for a while), you’re already using some sort of technology in your services.

There can be a wise way to blend additional technology into your classes, events and even services. Knowing how often your members are viewing videos online, listening to podcasts, and checking email, for example, can all help you to know what you can blend in and add to what you’re already offering. Maybe offer podcasts related to your current Sunday school study, or add more quality videos to your Sunday school classes to start discussions of the Word.

Talk to your Congregation the Way they Prefer. Store Communication Preferences in your Church Software.

If you aren’t talking to your members the way they prefer, your messages may be getting lost in the shuffle. Use the Vanco survey to find out exactly how members prefer to receive information from the church, regardless of how you are currently communicating with them today. Because the survey gives them the opportunity to select any of 15+ options, you may discover that there are channels of communication you no longer need to use, and some you need to use more of.

Email, Text, and Voice Calls

Using an alert system like Servant Keeper’s SKNotify can allow you to message people exactly the way they want to be reached. SKNotify, which uses groups you’ve already built in Servant Keeper (such as Choir, Youth Group, Seniors, Stay at Home Moms), allows you to reach your entire church body or specific groups by email, text, or voice message.

Communication About Giving

There are a number of reasons to communicate to your members about their giving: end-of-year tax statements, providing stories and information on the impact of their giving, and updating them on where they stand with their current pledge commitments. Doing all of this by print can take a lot of money (and without the right church contribution software) it can also take a lot of time.

Servant Keeper allows you to easily track the preferences of your members for how they want to receive their donor statements (Online, printed, or both). And because Servant Keeper allows to to quickly create, personalize, and distribute these communications in minutes, you’ll be able to do them more frequently. As a result, you can encourage people on a more regular basis by letting them know how their support is making a difference in your ministry.

Lastly, with Servant Keeper on the cloud, you can offer your members a secure online profile. From here, they can view their family’s giving and pledge history. This will allow members to see updates on their giving at any time.

Track Activities and Interests in Your Church Software

Giving to your church does not come only in the form of money, it’s also in time, talents, and service. With this survey you can track members’ interests so you have a better idea of where they would like to volunteer, or different ways they can help your outreach efforts.

Track and search anything from talents and skills, to favorite colors.

When it comes to filling service needs in your church, if you find yourself constantly going to the same person you may want to start tracking skills, talents and interests. There is nothing wrong with having a go-to person for fixing the leaky faucets, or preparing a meal, or running a VBS. But, you’ll get more people engaged with your ministry if you instead encourage others to get involved. Knowing that there are three experienced maintenance workers in your congregation means the one you always call won’t get burnt out from changing too many lightbulbs (no pun intended). Instead of having a good maintenance guy, you’ll now realize you have a whole maintenance team.

And, just as important as storing this service information, you can easily search it. If your pastor decides he wants to hold a lunch following a funeral service tomorrow, you can quickly search and pull up a list of people who are willing to cook, and have it arranged in minutes, even if your go-to person is out of town.

Ask your members about their giving preferences.

The survey (which only takes five minutes) captures a host of valuable information related to giving to your church, and it finishes off with asking an obvious, but important question about the top three ways your members prefer to give.

If your church is like what Vanco discovered in their national survey (which you can see when you download the survey for your members), you’ll find that a large portion of your congregation would like to have the ability to give online, by text, at an electronic kiosk, or through an app.

So don’t miss the opportunity to download Vanco’s Church Member Survey today.