Stage 2 Action Steps: Conducting Personal Assessments

Part of Green Sanctuary

Personal assessments are individual surveys that ask about ongoing, environmentally friendly practices and habits. This is an optional step, but can be meaningful.

Learning which positive environmental actions congregants are already taking can provide reasons to celebrate, and give you hope for the future. Understanding congregants’ interests may suggest projects to include in your action plan. Just taking the survey often raises awareness, motivating respondents to take action. Having people retake the survey after completing your action plan can measure the impact of Green Sanctuary participation.

Most surveys focus on energy and water usage, recycling, food choices, and other elements of sustainability. Some also try to gauge respondents’ knowledge about environmental issues, involvement in environmental action, and interest or willingness to participate in specific activities.

Whether you design your own survey, or adapt one from another source, following these guidelines can help increase participation:

  • Keep it simple. A complicated survey that takes too long to complete probably won’t get a good response.
  • Focus on the positive. Avoid making people feel guilty. Instead of asking about wasteful habits, ask whether people take specific steps to conserve resources.
  • Consider an online survey tool. Web-based services like SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, SurveyGizmo, and PollDaddy let you collect data over the Internet. Most offer a free, basic version, as well as paid packages with additional features.