Community Listening Survey, 2021

The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab completed our first community survey in April 2021. We distributed surveys by email, newsletter and social media and had just over 1700 people respond. We aimed to learn how helpful current Lab resources are, which additional resources would be helpful, and how people would place a monetary value on what they learn from the Lab. We considered these findings in writing our strategic plan (link) and in thinking about who is currently in the Lab’s community and how we might expand our reach. We outline the core findings here.

How useful do you find the following Chaplaincy Innovation Lab (CIL) resources? N=1738

We also asked respondents what they would like to see the Lab do more:

  • Respondents want more free webinars on a broad range of topics (thank you for the specific ideas which we will use in planning!).
  • People want more educational materials including case studies, eBooks, multi-faith, anti-racism and pedagogical materials.
  • Many are looking for more opportunities to network, find mentorship, develop professionally, and find information about career development and board-certification for those in healthcare.
  • Many people are looking for more research opportunities including funding more chaplaincy research and highlighting current research in the field.
  • Many people said that they have not taken advantage of all the resources yet. They asked us to do more to advertise what we offer while thinking about how to send fewer emails.
  • Some people are concerned (as are we!) that our resources are too US-centric and should be more accessible to international audiences.

By your best estimate, how valuable would you say the Lab’s resources have been to you over the previous year, in estimated dollars? N=1643

The Lab has offered all its resources for free sine we launched in October 2018. To continue this, we need more donations to the Lab. The majority of respondents (79%) said the Lab’s resources were worth $100 or more to them.

Who responded to this survey and is in our community? N=1738

Respondents include people from a range of age ranges, gender identifications, and racial/ethnic backgrounds. The media age of respondents was 46, and about one-third are not-white. Almost 80% of respondents have a Bachelor’s-degree or more education.

There were at least 19 religious groups represented. Respondents came from every U.S. State as well as Canada, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, UK, and Ireland (6%). We are eager to expand our community outside of the U.S. in the next two years.

Click images below for larger graphs.

3 Age
5. Race
4 Gender
6 Education

This map shows where respondents live based on their ZIP codes. N=1203

Places of Employment

We also learned about where people work and the professional roles of respondents. The largest fraction (44%) work in private not-for profit settings.  The largest number (36%) are staff chaplains followed by Department managers (10%) and CPE educators (6%).

The largest fraction work in healthcare (42%) followed by more than one setting (20%), workplaces (6%) and higher education (6%).  Among respondents working in a single sector, the majority (56%) work in healthcare.

Click the images below for larger graphs.

9 Sector 1
10 Title

Additional ideas?

Many of you suggested other specific ideas, affinity groups, groups for retired chaplains, resources specifically for volunteer chaplains, in-person gatherings where people can gather, help with board certification, opportunities to get involved with research, support for unemployed chaplains, a weekly mailing about new research, Spanish speaking resources, etc. Your ideas are wonderful!

We are a staff of four right now with a lot of advisors (who mostly work full-time) volunteering their time. If you have time to help us with any of these ideas or you teach students who could partner with us on specific projects, please contact Michael Skaggs (

Finally, we are sorry we did not include an option throughout the survey for “not applicable” or “I didn’t know about that resource.” We will next time.


Has the Lab been useful or helpful to you? Support our work here; gifts are processed through Brandeis University: