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Do you remember the Benchmark Survey

03/04/2021 02:34:55 PM


Steve Fintel

During the high holy days, we asked everyone to fill out (yet another) survey. This one was put together by the URJ and consisted of 3 parts: a financial and operating data benchmarking tool, a qualitative board self-assessment and a congregation wide survey. Staff provided the data for first part, the board graded ourselves for the second part and you (the congregants) filled out the last part. As part of our request to take part in the survey, I committed to share the results. 

Let me start by thanking everyone for your responses; about half of our congregant population took the time to fill out the survey which means we have a statistically significant turnout and the results will be meaningful. I will explain how we will use this data a little further down.

The purpose of the survey is to provide us with an objective mirror so we can evaluate ourselves. Because it’s administered by the URJ, we can also see how our responses compare to other congregations (further filtered by size and location).

The results we got back are very encouraging. One example you can examine right now is the word cloud published on our values page. The survey asked ‘what three words best describe Temple Beth Shalom’ and then generated the word cloud from the responses. ‘welcoming’, ‘friendly’ and ‘warm’ came up most often – which align almost exactly to our Mission, Vision and Values.

Speaking of Mission, Vision and Values, another example is our answer to the question of how the mission statement resonates with the community. Temple Beth Shalom found itself in the top 10% of congregant responses with 82% either agreeing or strongly agreeing.  If you’re interested in looking at the results yourself, please email me and I can provide them to you.

While all of this is fascinating to me (I'm a card carrying geek), the greatest value of the benchmark survey is demonstrated in how we'll use the data. When Temple Beth Shalom was created 20 years ago, a strategic plan was also created that defined the steps needed to transition the group of 70 or so families into a 'real' congregation. A few years ago, leadership realized that we had checked off every one of the items in the plan. So it's time to create a new plan and the benchmark survey provides us with invaluable insight into what our congregants value about our community. The board has already started work in this area and I hope I have more to say on it by our annual meeting in June.

One other use will be to indicate progress. We now have a baseline reading of how we value our community. With your permission, I would like to rerun in fall of 2022 and see how far we've moved the needle. We'll also be able to see how far the North American Jewish Community has moved as well. It should be pretty interesting.

Tue, May 24 2022 23 Iyar 5782