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RFC – Measuring Involvement

stevec March 17, 2011

Way back in the last century, as part of the ARPANET project, a group of graduate students were tasked with building communications protocols that would allow disparate computer systems to talk to each other. They did not think themselves worthy of the job and felt at some point a more qualified team would take charge.

A member of the team, Steve Crocker, created a humble approach to communicating the team’s results. He called these RFCs or Request for Comments.

Steve said it like this:

Most of us were graduate students and we expected that a professional crew would show up eventually to take over the problems we were dealing with. We had accumulated a few notes on the design of DEL and other matters, and we decided to put them together in a set of notes. The basic ground rules were that anyone could say anything and that nothing was official. And to emphasize the point, I labeled the notes ‘Request for Comments.’

This work formed the foundation for the internet we know and love today. So, what does all this have to do with ACS Technologies? Well, we’ve been researching how churches measure engagement or involvement in their church community and would like feedback on how you do it at your church. We came up with some basic concepts, that I would like to put out there as a request for comment.

We break down involvement into four categories: Stressed, Healthy, Stalled, and Disengaged with a point system to measure where individual’s fit. The point system is based on the following questions:

Are you…

– A regular attender?
– A regular giver?
– A regular volunteer?
– A group member?
– A group leader?

The points could be weighted based on the culture of the church, and other aspects of the system would be customizable (i.e. the descriptions of the categories, what constitutes a regular attender, a regular giver). We would also measure movement over time as trends and at an individual level.

How would you measure this? Do these categories make sense? How do you define regular attenders, givers, etc.? How does being a group leader compare to other types of volunteer activities? What are reasonable time frames for measuring trends (monthly, quarterly, yearly, other)?

Please comment!

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