Tuesday Template: Community Surveys For Mining Public Data And Opinions


by 123FormBuilder

In our everyday lives, we are part of several communities: local (town) communities, business communities, educational communities, religious communities, cultural communities, virtual communities, political communities and many more. From time to time, we find ourselves in the role of community managers, having to raise awareness about a certain cause, collect feedback towards an initiative or inform the community on current issues that need to be acknowledged.

This Tuesday’s Template starts with the basic, yet versatile survey template, showing you how to use it in order to collect general information, specific data or targeted feedback from your community.

A community survey may take different shapes, depending on its use case and final goal. For example, it could be conceived as a needs assessment survey or a concerns survey. If done correctly, these types of surveys can highlight the most important needs of your community, that people would like to see covered, as well as current concerns that bother them and that should be cut out before getting too serious.


Using 123FormBuilder’s free form template, any community member can design a perfectly adapted survey, thus contributing to the community management. The advantages of applying an online community survey are the following:

– it can stand for a representative sample of the community – it’s a democratic opinion research and allows expressing various points of view – submissions can be gathered fast and in an organized manner, throughout the online medium where shareability is high – broad customization options allow creating surveys that are dedicated to support each goal – various additional information like images, videos, further explanations can be included in the survey body – advanced reports help analysing the submissions, empower conclusion drawing and, thus, lay the groundwork for responsible and democratic decision making.

How to create your community survey

The first step in creating a community survey is having a crystal clear goal in mind. What should your survey do? Is it raise awareness on the homeless people in your neighbourhood? Or maybe convincing your local school to renovate the playground, by making clear that parents consider the actual one outdated? Do you want to know your community’s feeling towards your local pizza shop? Or gain support towards the upcoming local elections for running the town council?

Fulfilling this requirement of having the survey purpose clearly stated will lead to an exact selection of the questions to pose your community. Furthermore, it will be easier to track all the pieces of information you need to gather and eventually analyse.

The next step would be to actually create the survey. At this point you can make use of the extended number of features 123FormBuilder is offering related to surveys and forms in general.

Here are some suggestions for creating successful surveys:

1. Use the form headline or additional HTML blocks to include relevant information for respondents, meaning explain to them why you run the survey, what you hope to achieve and  how their participation is important to you. 2. Embed images or videos in your form, if they help support your cause or allow the respondent to better visually identify the discussed topic. Visuals are generally known as having a much higher impact on the human eye than text does. To embed an image onto your form, just use the image field from advanced fields, while inserting a video in your form body requires pasting the video URL in the previously mentioned HTML blocks. 3. Include field instructions to guide the respondent through filling out the form, especially if you have various field types that require different input models. For example, you might have multiple-choice questions where respondents can select only one option, but you might as well have checkbox-questions where one can select from 1 to maximum number of options. In these cases it’s always good to state how the response format should look like. 4. Post and share your surveys everywhere your community members are. As a community, maybe you have a dedicated website, blog, Facebook, Google+ page and Twitter channel. If so, then that’s the place where your survey should be, so that members can easily access and fill it out. 123FormBuilder makes publishing a form across multiple platforms possible. 5. Use the form reports to have an overview of the submissions, from where you can seize trending answers and opinions, which can lead you towards taking an action course or another.

The important thing to know is that everybody can create surveys for mining community data and opinions. Moreover, community surveys get along very well with the use of NationBuilder, the world’s first community organization system. Through our integration, NationBuilder users can create surveys tailored to their needs, and share them within their communities. Plus, data gathered from surveys can be sort using people tags, so that you can easily see who selected each one of your survey options.

After customizing your community survey, here’s how it could look like:


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