In previous posts, I’ve talked about how the nonprofit organization I work for, VitalChurch Ministry, has produced a church survey, which we sell to help bring in some additional funds to our organization. We’ve had some people question why, as a nonprofit, we would charge for the online survey—especially since church surveys and sample church survey questions can be found online for free. This is a great question, and an important one to answer, since your nonprofit may currently be in the position of deciding whether to charge for some or all of your services or to give them away for free to the public.
First of all, let me say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a nonprofit organization charging people for goods and services. A nonprofit doesn’t have to rely solely on donations or grants to survive, and it doesn’t have to provide any or all services for free. There are, of course, rules with regard to what your organization can and cannot charge for, but for the most part, charging fees or selling goods and services related to your organization’s mission is allowed. (Please consult an attorney that specializes in nonprofits if you have specific questions about this!)
In the case of our organization’s church survey, we decided to charge for it because we believe in its value and didn’t want to cheapen it by simply giving it away. This survey is based on many years of research and our real-world experience working with churches throughout the country. It asks the questions that we believe most churches want the answers to, and we believe it is a far superior product to anything you can find online for free.
Our staff manages the majority of the process on behalf of the churches that use our survey. Basically, all that the church staff is required to do is provide us with the email addresses and then encourage their congregation to actually complete the survey. Our team does the work of sending out the survey (which is already written and formatted) and collecting the results. We then process the results and provide them, along with a short analysis of the results of each question, to the church leaders.
The most valuable aspect of our church survey, we believe, is the follow-up phone call we include with every survey that is purchased. Church leaders have the opportunity to get on the phone with one of our nonprofit’s church diagnostic experts—several of whom have decades of experience working with churches and helping them pinpoint any issues that are keeping their church from thriving. This is something you would never get from a free church survey that you find on the internet!
This type of personal interaction is beneficial to the church leaders in a couple of ways. First of all, it allows them to ask their most pressing questions, but it also gives them further insight into some issues that they may not have even been aware of! Second, they get the chance to get to know our organization a bit better, should they ever need some of the other services we provide in the future. We want to be a valuable resource to churches, but we can only help if churches know what we do!
To learn more about VitalChurch Ministry’s church survey, click here.short url: