Survey Ideas for Towns and Municipalities
Regular feedback is invaluable.
It gives you insight into your operations, and can show you which areas you’re excelling in –and places that may need a bit more work. It’s also an excellent opportunity to gather public opinion on events, services that you provide, agendas, and more.
One of the best ways to go about collecting feedback is by conducting surveys. If you have a website, you can use free online survey tools like Survey Monkey or Free Online Surveys. If you have a WordPress account, you can even conduct simple polls and surveys on your blog. Email surveys are another great option, with MailChimp providing free easy-to-use email survey templates.
If you’re interested in providing the best service possible for your town, surveys will be a tremendous help, giving you inside information on what the public’s thinking –and ideas on potential improvements that could be made. Here are some ideas for surveys, as well as some tips for running them effectively.
- Community Surveys
Conducting surveys on the community is a great way to get a feel for public sentiment about the neighborhoods and the local area. Are residents proud to be a part of their community? Do they have ideas for lowering crime, improving infrastructure, or making the town center more welcoming? Running a survey is a great way to find out.
- Surveys to Improve Your Process
Surveys are a great way to get feedback on ways to improve your processes. For example, you could find that residents have great ideas about making meetings more visitor friendly, or suggestions for your phone call routing system.
- Get Feedback on a Service
You could run a survey to gather feedback on a particular service –or a number of services. See how well the sanitation, public works, or parks and recreation departments are performing, and collect feedback to see what improvements residents would like to see.
Tips for a Successful Survey
- Have a Goal in Mind
While it may sound basic –if you don’t have an end goal in mind for the survey you are designing, it will show. Have a goal in mind, and ask yourself what you hope to gain from the survey. This will help you to design a questionnaire that’s on-topic. It will also give you relevant results that will be easier to work with.
- Keep It Short and Simple
Shorter surveys have a better response rate. No one likes a long, detailed survey, so keep it simple. Stay on topic, and create short, easy-to-understand yes and no, or multiple choice questions. On some questions, you may also want to use a rating scale to allow users to rank between one and five, or one and ten.
- Stay Consistent
Make sure your survey is consistent. For instance –if you ask users to rate something on a one-to-five scale ensure that you have them determine the next question on a one-to-five basis as well, and not a scale of one-to-ten. This will make it easier for users to answer the survey accurately.
Giving your town’s residents an opportunity to share their thoughts and have a say is a great way to give your town a voice, foster a sense of community and belonging, and see what residents are really thinking. It can help you to see what areas need help, preventing small problems from escalating out of control. It can also give you great ideas about improvements that you can make to your town.
Image: Peter Morville