Building School Communities Through Tiny Surveys

Community Building

Building School Communities Through Tiny Surveys


One of the most powerful tools you have available to bring your school communities together is what we call “Small Moments.” In-person, these are the small things we do and say that form the bedrock of most of our one-on-one community interactions. They are often invisible and nuanced social mechanisms we use to engage with each other — like a nod of the head, a smile and a wave, or a quick greeting in passing.

Small Moments serve to reinforce a common bond of community, so although they may not be entirely pragmatic, they do have purpose;  they bring us closer together through sharing commonality; they are us acknowledging each other as members of the same community.

Online social media has its own set of small moments: a Facebook share, an Instagram picture, or a Pinterest pin. Like our in-person Small Moments, these are the bedrock of the relationships people have on social media. These are akin to broadcasting nods and smiles to everyone in our community.

So the question is, as community leaders, how do we create and broadcast Small Moments within our class communities?

You’ve got a number of tools at your disposal that you’ve probably already used — from pictures to sharing calendar items; however, today we thought we’d focus on a lesser used one we’ve had measurable success with: tiny surveys.

A tiny survey is just what it sounds like. A survey has one question, or at most, two. The survey should regard something engaging to the community as a whole — say for instance, what to make for the class fundraiser.

Your community members should be able to rank answers to your tiny survey. So a community member ranks which answer they like the most, the one they like second, third, etc. This way they are invested in the outcome no matter whether it was their favorite choice or not. In other words, it’s not a winner-take-all election type survey; each member has the ability to pick all choices and therefore can feel invested in the outcome no matter whether their most favorite or least favorite choice was picked. No one loses.

The biggest benefit of a tiny survey is that it raises community engagement without requiring much  time or effort to create or take. A tiny survey opens up a simple Small Moment that gives your community members license to react to something that brings everyone together as a community.

Whether your survey is about a future event or something that’s already happened, whether it’s about defining community priorities, or fund-raising — tiny surveys serve to raise community engagement and awareness.

They’re easy and fun — because who doesn’t have an opinion?

And they’re the gift that keeps on giving too, because as your community answers your mini-survey, you can keep them engaged with the process by sending them status updates. Turn your tiny survey into a horserace with daily updates. With each one of these updates, your community can become more involved and more invested.

Best of all, they’re free; head over to Survey Monkey and you can create a free account and have your first tiny survey up and running in a matter of minutes.

Alright, that’s it for now.

Keep online Small Moments in mind as you plan your community building activities. Make sure you support your school community with online Small Moments.