By Tim Rohde
In early summer, a group from the Communications Committee surveyed the congregation to understand their preferences in getting information and the types of information they desired to get.
Sixty-seven people returned forms. The results are stated as the percentage of people who selected a particular option in the questions. Because people can select more than one response the total will be greater than 100 percent.
When asked what electronic platforms you regularly use, 88 percent of respondents said email, 52 percent the Web, 51percent Facebook, and 19 percent some combination of Twitter, Instagram, land line, text, and Google.
As for devices used to get information, 85 percent said computers, 66 percent phones, 52 percent tablets, and 8 percent a combination of newspaper, landline, or watch.
Information about St. Mark’s is most frequently gotten from The Messenger (96 percent), email (67 percent), committees (13 percent), other events (12 percent), and web or annual report (7 percent).
Respondents would like to get their information from email (58 percent), The Messenger (51 percent), Worship (8 percent), the web (8 percent), and committees or landline (5 percent).
Two insights arise from this portion of the survey. First, The Messenger and email are by far the principal means for congregants to get information about St. Mark’s. This underscores the centrality of Bill DuPre’s role and the importance of making The Messenger as user-friendly as possible.
The second lesson is that the primary audience for the website is potential visitors, and it should be structured to serve this audience. Secondary features can be added for congregants.
The last two questions are interesting.
What information about St. Mark’s would it be helpful to have?
Calendar, 84 percent; Vestry news, 73 percent; Reflections from Rector, 70 percent; Prayer list, 64 percent; Committee news, 66 percent; Server schedule, 57 percent; Lectionary, 48 percent;
Episcopal news, 48 percent; Pastoral care, 9 percent
How would you describe St. Mark’s to a visitor?
Welcoming, 34 percent; Sermons/Eucharist, 19 percent; Friendly, 15 percent; Progressive, 15 percent; Social Justice, 12 percent; Loving, 10 percent; Diverse, 10 percent; Caring, 9 percent; Open, 9 percent; Spiritual, 7 percent; Joyful and vibrant, 7 percent; Community-oriented, 7 percent; Warm, 6 percent; Aging, 6 percent.
Given the types of information from congregants, what calls for an assessment of current information and identification of potential improvement. This could be in The Messenger, on the web site, or through targeted emails (e.g. committee information and server information). The description of St. Mark’s seems in line with descriptions I have heard people give and my personal experience. These are themes that should be highlighted in our outreach on the website.