Community survey

Situation analysis

Community survey


The community survey is a door-to-door community-building and activating method actively involving the locals, which addresses (and involves) everyone in the municipality, thus extending the number of people acting for the public good.

Purpose of the activity

  • To extend the group of local activists.
  • To collect of a wide range of opinions on matters of local interest, and to make a survey looking at the locals’ motivation and capacity to act.
  • To have the widest possible outreach. Positions and opinions will be expressed even by those who have not done so before, because they have never had the opportunity or wish to do that personally.
    Conditions of drafting the questionnaire and conducting the survey: we need to have the analysed results of the community interviews and discussions at hand; please refer to their methodology.

Key terms

local causes; community survey; door-to-door survey; collection methods; community developing and engaging method


  • personal: community developer, community cultural organizer, engaged locals (volunteers)
  • material: a meeting room regularly available for meetings and continuous training, flipchart/pens; post-it blocs, notepaper and pens, printer, A4 sheets
  • financial: room rental fee (if needed)

Applied tools and methods

During the community survey neighbours will contact one another with a questionnaire drafted by the initiators during the community discussions (please see community discussion as well).

The questions have alternative answers that were worked out in the course of these discussions. The questionnaire is aimed at more than just collecting opinions: it reveals ideas for development along with the capacity to act in line with the alternatives offered, to make sure that planning and implementation may start in several community groups after the data and results have been consolidated and evaluated.

If the idea to reach out to and engage every member of the community is raised at the community discussions, the developer(s) may ask if those present are willing to participate in organizing and conducting a comprehensive community exploration. A short overview of the process may be given, and if the participants approve, another meeting may be arranged for the actual organization of the tasks to be done. The developer(s) may promise to draft a set of questions with answer options after each topic is closed, and to prepare a questionnaire plan once each subject has been properly explored, which the community members can discuss, correct and approve of. (For the methodology of questionnaires and community survey please see the list of references – Közösségfejlesztő leckék [Lessons in community development], pp 39-45.) The initiators will then forward the questionnaire thus drafted to every adult in the municipality/neighbourhood, then collect the answers, analyse and assess them in working groups, and create an action plan based on the results, which will be implemented by the NGOs shaped during the process, together with internal and external partners they have involved. (Please refer to Local action plan.)

Finally, members of the extended circle, the ‘active core’, will present the results and the action plan to the public. They present this content in a printed publication as well, which is personally delivered to every household. It is recommended to present the community survey results and local action plan to the municipal representatives and to invite their comments and active participation in the implementation.

Results, expected outcome

  • The group of local activists is further extended;
  • Engaged, conscious citizens, capable of acting locally;
  • A strengthened community identity;
  • The forming of active community groups;
  • The forming of new contacts, neighbourhood relations és partnerships;
  • A growth of local public forums;
  • Collaboration for the public good.


Varga, A. T. – Vercseg, I.: Közösségfejlesztés. [Community Development] 1998 and 2002, Budapest, Hungarian Institute for Culture.
Vercseg, I.: Közösségfejlesztő leckék kezdőknek és haladóknak. [Community building for beginners and professionals]. Parola booklets. 2004, Budapest, Hungarian Association for Community Development.

This article based on the following document: Community development methodological guide