Our names are Ashleigh Paul and Andrew Young and we are from Phoenix, Arizona. We discovered your website while searching for questionnaire templates for assisting in the beginning phases of building a sustainable community and were impressed with your content.
We are currently looking for resources to help with the first steps of formalizing a loose group of individuals into a more organized community with the goal of coming together to live sustainably. We realize that gaining information about the people involved is important. Our first goal is to build a detailed questionnaire form that can be utilized to gain data about the individuals and compile this to see the community resources and build a web with the information. Are there tools such as template questionnaires available for gaining this type of information and organizing it into a web or excel format?
We will be reviewing all of the details provided on your website. If there is any specific advice, information, templates, etc. that you believe could benefit us at this time in our development or in the future, anything and everything would be greatly appreciated. We hope to connect with as many like-minded people as we possibly can and are excited to learn more about Community Tool Box!
Thank you & many blessings!
Hi Ashleigh and Andrew,
It sounds like you're starting an ambitious and worthy endeavor! Based on what you've described, I think what will help you the most is the Assessing Community Needs Toolkit: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/assessing-community-needs-and-resources. This toolkit describes and provides examples for a number of different ways to collect information from the folks that you need to understand. There are some specific examples for surveys that should help you craft the kinds of questions you want to ask, but there are also other methods that may ultimately be more useful for you. You'll want to look at the benefits of each before deciding how you want to collect data, and while there's no "template" as such, there are plenty of examples to get you started.
One thing to keep firmly in mind, of course, is the privacy and protection of the people you want to gather for this endeavor. It's best practice not to ask questions you don't absolutely have to for decision-making purposes (try to leave the "it would be nice to know" questions off and ask only the "we have to know this to move forward" questions). This will also help you with getting people to respond - they are more likely to do so if the questions don't make them feel vulnerable.
If you do want to do a survey, you'll also want to think about whether that survey is on paper or online. Even if you choose to distribute the survey on paper, it is much easier to get the data into a format you can analyze if you use a form or a survey tool. While you can certainly enter answers from a paper survey into a spreadsheet directly, using an online tool allows you to simply answer the questions and the tool formats the spreadsheet for you when you download the data. It cuts down on human error and makes it much easier to organize the data. SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) has some free options and so does Google Forms. You can use these tools for other types of data too if it helps you organize your thoughts. For example, if you decide to conduct focus groups, you can put your questions into a survey format with an open response and type up your notes as the answers.
I hope this is helpful as you continue on your journey. Best of luck to you!