Engaging Jewish Communities Through the Web

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    Engaging Jewish Communities through the

    Web: Survey Study

    August 27, 2010

    Presented to:

    Jvillage NetworkBurlington, Vermont

    www.jvillagenetwork.com

    Presented by:

    Joy A. Livingston, Ph.D.Flint Springs Associates

    Hinesburg, Vermontwww.flintspringsassociates.com

    http://www.jvillagenetwork.com/http://www.flintspringsassociates.com/http://www.flintspringsassociates.com/http://www.jvillagenetwork.com/
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    Introduction

    The Internet brings both exciting opportunities and new challenges to modern synagogues.

    Jvillage was established to help Jewish organizations, in particular synagogues, enhance

    belonging and build community through the internet. Jvillage provides user-friendly custom

    Web sites as well as interactive tools and content.

    In order to better understand synagogues current use of the internet to engage members, as well

    as emerging needs for making the most of this tool, Jvillage commissioned Flint Springs

    Associates (FSA) to study synagogues internet use. FSA began with an interview study of 22

    synagogues throughout the United States. Based on results of that study, FSA constructed a

    survey to learn from a broader sample of synagogues.

    Using the Jvillage national synagogue database, FSA distributed the survey via email. The

    survey was sent to 2500 email addresses using the following request:

    Dear Friend:

    Hello, my name is Joy Livingston and I am a research consultant with Flint Springs Associates(FSA). As a member of our local synagogue, I know that the web can be an important tool forconnecting with our community. Indeed, I am conducting a survey study to learn more about howsynagogues across the country use the web to engage and grow their membership.

    The study is sponsored by Jvillage Network. When I have completed the study and reportedfindings, Jvillage Network will publish results on their website (www.jvillagenetwork.com) to helpsynagogues understand the range of possibilities and how others are using the web.

    For each survey completed, $1.00 will be donated to Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

    Thank you for taking a few minutes to complete the survey. Here is a link to the survey:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=WrqR2fZGFFQR8UTU_2fcRhIA_3d_3dThe surveywill be open for responses until Tuesday, August 3.

    This link is uniquely tied to this survey and your email address. Please do not forward thismessage. Also, please be assured that this link will not be used for marketing purposes.

    Please feel free to be in touch with me if you have any questions about the study.

    Best wishes,

    Joy Livingston, PhD

    http://c/Users/Spencer/Documents/biz/JVillage/research/www.jvillagenetwork.comhttp://c/Users/Spencer/Documents/biz/JVillage/research/www.jvillagenetwork.comhttp://c/Users/Spencer/Documents/biz/JVillage/research/www.jvillagenetwork.comhttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=WrqR2fZGFFQR8UTU_2fcRhIA_3d_3dhttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=WrqR2fZGFFQR8UTU_2fcRhIA_3d_3dhttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=WrqR2fZGFFQR8UTU_2fcRhIA_3d_3dhttp://c/Users/Spencer/Documents/biz/JVillage/research/www.jvillagenetwork.com
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    Results

    Survey Respondents

    A total of 163responses were received, for a 7% return rate; 128 respondents fully completed thesurvey. This sample size is sufficient to provide a confidence interval (or margin of error) of

    seven points, at a 95% confidence level. That is to say, there is a 95% chance that results for the

    full population would be plus or minus 7 points of any percentages found in the analysis of thesurvey sample results. Moreover, the sample size is large enough to provide acceptable power to

    detect statistically significant differences at a 95% confidence level.

    Survey respondents represented primarily reform (51%) and conservative (33%) synagogues (see

    Table 1).

    Table 1: Affiliation of Respondents' Synagogues

    Affiliation Frequency Percent

    Reform 69 51%

    Reconstructionist 6 4%

    Conservative 44 33%

    Orthodox 9 7%

    Reform/Conservative 2 1%

    Not affiliated 4 3%

    Total 134 100%

    The majority of respondents (73%) were paid staff members, either clergy, executive directors or

    other staff members (see Table 2). Two respondents identified as webmasters, however it wasnot clear if these were paid or volunteer positions.

    Table 2: Respondents' Position at Synagogue

    Position Frequency Percent

    Clergy 36 27%

    Executive Director 36 27%

    Staff member 25 19%

    Board member 23 17%

    Volunteer (not on board) 12 9%

    Webmaster 2 1%

    Total 134 100%

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    Respondents represented synagogues from 20 member households to 2700 member households;on average the synagogues served 435 member households (see Table 3). Most respondentssynagogues had Hebrew Schools, serving from a few to 750 students, with an average of 148

    students (see Table 4).

    Table 3: Number of Member Households in Respondents' Synagogues

    Number of households Frequency Percentless than 250 46 35%

    250 to 500 54 41%

    501 to 1000 20 15%

    more than 1000 12 9%

    Total 132 100%

    Table 4: Number of Students in Respondent's Synagogue Hebrew School

    Number of children in Hebrew school Frequency Percent

    None 10 8%

    Less than 50 34 27%

    50 to 100 24 19%

    101 to 200 25 20%

    201 to 400 22 18%

    more than 400 10 8%

    Total 125 100%

    Website Engages Community

    The survey asked respondents to provide an overall rating of their website in engaging their

    community. Very few respondents felt the website was extremely effective and about one-

    third felt it was very good. The majority of respondents felt their website just provided basicinformation (see Table 5).

    Table 5: Overall Rating of Synagogue Website for Engaging Community

    Rate website in engaging community Frequency Percent

    Extremely effective strategic use of technology 5 4%

    Very good, but could use more interactive features or design 44 33%

    Provides basic information 73 54%

    Doesn't serve as a tool to engage community 12 9%

    Total 134 100%

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    Website Design

    About a third of the respondents said they had hired professionals to design and build the

    synagogue website; nearly half had used volunteers to do so (see Table 6). Other approaches

    included: using the URJ website template (n=8), combinations of volunteers and professionals(n=7); and committees working with Darim (n=3).

    Table 6: Respondents' Synagogue Strategies for Designing Website

    How did you design and build website Frequency Percent

    Hired professional 48 29%

    Staff with expertise 9 6%

    Staff without expertise 7 4%

    Volunteer with expertise 56 34%

    Volunteer without expertise 16 10%

    Other 27 17%

    Total 163 100%

    About half of the respondents reported that their website had been redesigned within the past two

    years (see Table 7).

    Table 7: Respondents' Report Last Synagogue Website Redesign

    When did you last redesign website Frequency Percent

    Within past year 45 28%

    One to two years ago 35 21%

    More than two years ago 50 31%

    More than five years ago 11 7%

    Haven't redesigned 22 13%Total 163 100%

    The majority of respondents were satisfied with the way the design and function of their websites

    (see Table 8). Respondents often did not know if members were satisfied with the website.

    Table 8: Respondents' Satisfaction Ratings with Website Design and Function

    Satisfaction with

    website

    Look of Website How site Works Members Satisfied

    Frequency Percent Frequency Percent Frequency Percent

    Extremely satisfied 36 22% 24 15% 27 17%

    Somewhat satisfied 79 48% 82 50% 62 38%

    Not sure 6 4% 14 9% 48 29%

    Somewhat dissatisfied 28 17% 35 21% 21 13%

    Not at all satisfied 14 9% 8 5% 5 3%

    Total 163 100% 163 100% 163 100%

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    The more recently websites were redesigned, the more likely respondents were satisfied withtheir design (F(4,158)=11.0, p

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    Updating Website

    The majority of respondents said their websites were updated at least weekly (see Table 11).

    Table 11: Frequency of Synagogue Website Updates

    Frequency of updates Frequency Percent

    Daily to several times a week 38 24%

    Once a week 68 43%

    Several times a month 23 14%

    Once a month 22 14%

    Rarely or never 9 6%

    Total 160 100%

    Websites were updated most often by a synagogue staff member (see Table 12).

    Table 12: Party Responsible for Updating Synagogue Website

    Who updates the website Frequency PercentContracted webmaster 6 4%

    One staff member 66 41%

    One volunteer 48 30%

    Staff or volunteer in charge of area updates 27 17%

    Other 10 6%

    We do not update website 3 2%

    Total 160 100%

    Websites updated by paid staff were updated more frequently (see Table 13).

    Table 13: Frequency of Website Update by Party Responsible for Updating

    Who updates the website

    Frequency of website updates

    Daily to several

    times a week

    Once a

    week

    Several times

    a month

    Once a

    month

    Rarely

    or neverTotal

    Contracted webmaster 2 2 1 1 0 6

    One staff member 17 33 8 7 1 66

    One volunteer 6 16 10 12 4 48

    Person doing area updates 10 13 3 1 0 27

    Other 3 4 1 1 1 10

    We do not update website 0 0 0 0 3 3

    Total 38 68 23 22 9 160

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    Website Analytics

    The majority of respondents did not review web analytics (see Table 14). Of those who did,

    there was a wide range of unique visitors to sites, from under 200 to more than 1000 each month

    (see Table 15).

    Table 14: Respondents Report that Synagogue Reviews Website AnalyticsCurrently review web analytics Frequency Percent

    No 105 66%

    Yes 24 15%

    Don't know 31 19%

    Total 160 100%

    Table 15: Number of Unique Website Visitors according to Analytics

    Number unique visitors Frequency Percent

    200 or less 8 53%201 to 999 3 20%

    1000 or more 4 27%

    total 15 100%

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    Interactive Features

    The survey presented respondents with a list of possible interactive website features and asked

    about the availability of each. Respondents most often reported that their websites were

    searchable, provided updated Jewish themed content, news of the Jewish world and Israel, andopportunities for donations. When asked to rate the importance of each feature, respondents

    ranked features which allowed features allowing for various sorts of registration and payment

    among the most important, along with a searchable website (see Table 16).

    Table 16: Availability and Importance of Interactive Features on Website

    (Importance: 1=not at all important to 5=extremely important)

    Features currently

    on Website

    Available Not Available Don't Know Importance

    Frequency Percent Frequency Percent Frequency PercentMean

    rating

    Donations 58 40% 86 59% 2 1% 4.44

    Registration for

    events51 35% 94 64% 1 1% 4.31

    Payment for events 34 23% 109 75% 3 2% 4.21

    Membership

    application42 29% 97 66% 6 4% 4.09

    Searchable website 83 57% 57 39% 8 5% 4.05

    Payment of dues 23 16% 117 80% 4 3% 4.04

    School registration 30 21% 108 74% 4 3% 4.00

    Sign up to volunteer

    on-line21 14% 124 85% 1 1% 3.87

    Updated Jewish

    themed content72 49% 72 49% 4 3% 3.74

    News of Jewish world

    & Israel 64 44% 75 51% 5 3% 3.69

    Member access to

    directory22 15% 120 82% 3 2% 3.59

    Downloadable

    podcasts26 18% 117 80% 2 1% 3.29

    Blogs 31 21% 111 76% 2 1% 3.26

    Monitor child's

    progress6 4% 135 92% 2 1% 3.19

    Secured access to

    member account10 7% 131 90% 4 3% 3.05

    Streaming religious

    services 4 3% 137 94% 2 1% 2.82

    Customize homepage 4 3% 133 91% 6 4% 2.20

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    Analyses were conducted to determine if ratings of the website design, function, membersatisfaction and community engagement were related to interactive availability of interactive

    features. There were only six features for which there were no statistically significant

    relationships: signup for volunteering on-line, payment for events, monitoring school

    curriculum, customizing member homepage, streaming religious services, and updated Jewishthemed content. For all other features, the respondents rated websites significantly better if the

    interactive features were available. In particular, for all the interactive features listed in Table

    17, respondents were significantly more likely to rate their synagogues website as effective inengaging the community if these features were present. Ratings of member satisfaction were

    significantly higher when eight of the 12 features were available. Ratings of website function

    were higher when seven of the features were present, and ratings of design were higher whenfive of the features were available. Table 17 presents probability levels for all statistically

    significant differences revealed in Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests. If p

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    Calendar

    When asked about their website calendar, respondents most often said they dont have but wouldfind useful on-line RSVP features and the ability to export information into members personal

    calendars (see Table 18).

    Table 18: Calendar Features on Synagogue Websites

    Calendar FeaturesCurrent exists Don't have, would

    be usefulDon't have, don't

    need

    Frequency Percent Frequency Percent Frequency Percent

    Include recurring events 111 81% 25 18% 1 1%

    Promote events on the web

    homepage92 67% 38 28% 6 4%

    Links to more information about

    each event86 63% 47 34% 3 2%

    Promote events on web subpages 86 63% 44 32% 7 5%

    Import master calendar on to the

    website49 36% 75 55% 12 9%

    Color code event types 45 33% 61 45% 29 21%

    Enable on-line RSVP 34 25% 98 72% 4 3%

    Export into members' personal

    calendars19 14% 96 70% 19 14%

    Membership Management System

    Very few respondents reported that their members can make changes to their accounts through

    the website, and most respondents had no plans to enable this sort of access to the membershipmanagement system (see Table 19).

    Table 19: Synagogue Members can Make Changes to Accounts through the Website

    Members change accounts through the web Frequency Percent

    Yes 3 2%

    Not yet, plan for future 27 20%

    No and no plans 84 62%

    Don't have member management system 21 16%

    Total 135 100%

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    Nearly half of respondents were not sure if such access was a good idea, they needed moreinformation to make such a decision (see Table 20). When asked if they had concerns about

    member access to their accounts, the majority expressed concern about inaccuracies (see Table

    21). Other concerns included:

    In addition, we have links to people's accounts based on where they live. If they change their

    address themselves, then the links would no longer be current.

    Yes, and we like the personal contact

    The office is less concerned than the members -- many members have high concerns about

    access to member info through digital media

    Most of our congregants are older and many do not have email let alone internet access.

    Table 20: Respondents' Views on Enabling Members to Make Changes...

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