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Feb 26, 2014 | EDOT Staff

76 Percent of Visitors Found Church Through Website, Survey Shows

As part of his job as new member ministry coordinator at Trinity, The Woodlands, Nick Earl has been analyzing the data from surveys given to visitors and newcomers. The process has led to some helpful criticism and has allowed Trinity to respond positively to the feedback.


One of the most interesting discoveries underscores the need for an updated, responsive website, since 76 percent of visitors viewed Trinity's website before deciding to visit. 


Read Nick's full report below:


What do visitors really think of our Church?

Over the past year Trinity, the Woodlands has been collecting feedback from visitors and newcomers through an online survey, providing some excellent data on first-time visitor perceptions. Visitors were asked to complete a simple fifteen question survey which was emailed to them after signing in for the first time at Trinity.


In 2013, 34% of those surveyed provided responses. Visitors from all four of our Sunday services were represented in the data, and there was a good mix of younger versus older families and individuals. We are pleased to report that 98% of those who responded planned to worship at Trinity again and 97% stated that they were personally greeted and felt warmly welcomed to Trinity.


It would have been easy for us to stop there and listen passively to the survey responses as they came in, particularly as the data is thoroughly positive. However, we only have one chance to make a first impression and we do not want to forget that this data represents real visitors to Trinity, and real souls seeking a Christian home.


For instance, when asked whether the visitor had been invited to stay for coffee following each service, only 67% of visitors replied positively during the first half of the year. This information was relayed to our Greeter ministry and by the end of the year that percentage had been raised to 73%.



The survey has also given us insight into the denominational makeup of our visitors. Only 41% of those visiting Trinity in 2013 gave their Church background as Episcopalian, with the remainder split evenly between Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations. As well as demonstrating that we are attracting a diverse group to Trinity and the obvious opportunity to create new Episcopalians, this data is relevant for our leadership and in particular how we structure our worship and education. All of those surveyed said they had no problem following the worship service, but in December we offered classes on the Book of Common Prayer and continue to offer an Inquirers’ class each Sunday morning for those new to the Episcopal tradition.


When asked how visitors had found Trinity, unsurprisingly most visitors (76%) had found Trinity through our website. A further 24% had been personally invited – a testament to the hospitality of our congregation and the effectiveness of our leadership team’s invitational emphasis.



When given an opportunity at the end of the survey to share any additional thoughts regarding Trinity or their search for a Church home, over a third of the responses included active outreach or community service as important criteria for their selection of a Church. Other key words that appeared in the responses: welcoming (in 14% of responses), inclusive (36%), traditional (9%) and liturgical (9%).


There is danger in any survey that only those who are motivated positively will respond and we remain mindful of this, although we have received an occasional negative comment which helps to affirm that we are receiving fairly balanced feedback.


Trinity’s visitor survey is a simple, low-maintenance tool that continues to provide excellent, real-time impressions of our visitors’ needs. We will continue to analyze the information and work to embrace all who cross our threshold and welcome them to the Episcopal Church.

- For more information about this survey or tips on conducting your own, email Nick Earl.