Kidzmatter’s Ground-Breaking 2018 Curriculum Survey


By Jimmy Stewart
Jimmy Stewart is the Executive Editor of KidzMatter Magazine.

The marketing research firm of Campbell Rinker recently completed a detailed survey of Kidzmatter readers to determine your uses and preferences with regard to children’s and family ministry curriculum. Their comprehensive 92-page report is an excellent reflection of how you judge, choose and apply curriculum for your kidmin. The findings also resulted in a ground-breaking, first-ever view for Campbell Rinker of the curriculum market for large U.S. churches of more than 500 members. We are excited that we can share with you, as faithful readers and subscribers of Kidzmatter, the values you deem most important when it comes to curricula designed for children’s and family ministry leaders. 

We discovered some things that even we ourselves we didn’t know about Kidzmatter readers and subscribers! All in all, thanks to Campbell Rinker, we learned some really cool stuff about our Kidzmatter DNA. 

For example, we found out that Kidzmatter readers tend to be, at the very least, dedicated—but also professional practitioners of children’s ministry. This is important because it poses a contrast between your level of training, your application of curriculum, and your depth of involvement in children’s ministries and that of the majority of other kidmin leaders. Most children’s ministry leaders in the U.S. today tend to be part-time workers, volunteer Sunday school teachers, church-staff administrators, or even small-congregation pastors who double-duty by also pastoring their churches’ children’s and family ministries. 

You also tend to be a part of congregations that are considered as the “larger” U.S. churches. About one-third of you represent church members of 500-2,000 people. Churches of 500 or more congregants make up some 15 percent to 20 percent of all church bodies in the country. The children’s programs you represent are also on the high side, with some representing between 400 and 500 attending kids. 

The specific findings revealed by the survey about Kidzmatter readers were so unique, they broke new ground in research for Campbell Rinker. 

“Thanks to the Kidzmatter survey, we now have a better understanding of the large church market,” said Campbell Rinker President Dirk Rinker. “In the past, it has been hard (for us) to get a sampling from this group because most samplings in previous studies have been from smaller churches. We now have better granularity in the large-church data than we’ve had before.”

The firm also had to retool its research systems somewhat after its marketing team realized that Kidzmatter readers did not fit the small-church mold of previous survey respondents. The data mined from Kidzmatter respondents provided Campbell Rinker with a window into the large-church curriculum market like they’d never had before. 

Rinker also was pleased with the accuracy of the data. About 625 respondents were surveyed, with a plus-or-minus 3.9 percent margin of error. By contrast, a typical U.S. presidential poll, for example, has a plus-or-minus margin of 3 percent, with double the number of respondents as were surveyed for Kidzmatter. Getting a margin result that close to an average U.S. presidential poll compares favorably. It means the data returned for Kidzmatter is “really solid,” Rinker said. 

What follows are some highlights from the great work done by the Campbell Rinker marketing and research team. We hope you enjoy reading these facts about yourself as much as we do! Kidzmatter is proud to have you as readers, subscribers and loyal friends of our ministry.

Curriculum and Leadership
Kidzmatter readers and subscribers are leaders in both curriculum use and children’s ministry in their churches:
•    49 percent of you are empowered to make the final purchase decisions when buying children’s Sunday school curriculum for your church.
•    A whopping 69 percent of you personally teach Sunday school at your church, using curriculum. 
•    More than half or you, 55 percent, serve as a program director or leader in your church’s midweek children’s programs.

Online Usage
Kidzmatter readers and subscribers are active users of online resources such as articles, blogs, video teaching tips and webinars. And that number is increasing—half of you said you visit websites for help more often today than you did one year ago. The number of you who do not rely on online resources is less than one-fifth (18 percent). 

Here are the features you would most like to have included with children’s Sunday school curriculum used by your church:
•    83 percent of you would like to have downloadable media. 
•    83 percent of you would like to have in-class games relevant to the weekly lessons.
•    81 percent of you prefer ordering your curricula online (that’s a whopping number!).
•    71 percent of you would like multimedia components such as music or videos. 
•    51 percent of you would like 24/7 access to computer games related to the weekly lessons. 
•    44 percent of you would like computer-based lessons instead of traditional printed materials. 

How often do Kidzmatter readers and subscribers use social media platforms in the pursuit of ministry? On a weekly basis, you use: 
•    Facebook: 30 percent
•    YouTube: 23 percent
•    Pinterest: 22 percent
•    Instagram: 12 percent
•    Twitter: 8 percent 

Bible Preference
By far, Kidzmatter readers’ and subscribers’ three favorite Bible translations to use in children’s Sunday school classes are: 
•    NIV: 85 percent
•    NLT: 57 percent
•    ESV: 52 percent

Brand Loyalty
Kidzmatter readers and subscribers are progressive about incorporating new curriculum products, whereas a third of churches never change their children’s Sunday school curricula. In these cases, change isn’t readily embraced, in part, because many churches’ Sunday school leaders are volunteers; or they are workers who are less trained and reticent to risk suggesting a change to a product that is used churchwide. By contrast, you are willing to make a deliberate choice to change your Sunday school curricula to better suit your children’s needs and your ministry budget:  
•    An astounding 77 percent of you would consider using a different publisher’s curriculum even if you are satisfied with your current curriculum. 
•    The majority of you, 48 percent, cited the desire to “try something new” as the reason you quit using a specific Sunday school curriculum.
•    Some 40 percent of you are willing to change your Sunday school curricula every 1-2 years. 

Product Awareness
The highest percentage of Kidzmatter readers and subscribers, 19 percent, learned about the Sunday school curriculum you currently use by word-of-mouth from someone at your church.

This study was initiated and conducted independently by Campbell Rinker, which specializes in marketing research for nonprofits, churches, and the companies that serve them. The results reflect customer-provided opinions, not the product reviews and opinions of Campbell Rinker, an independent researcher. The survey questionnaire was developed by Campbell Rinker. Campbell Rinker and Kidzmatter extend gratitude toward those who committed their time and talent. 

Behind the Data
Through market research, Campbell Rinker seeks to measure the opinions, perceptions, attitudes, motivations and habits of the people an organization needs in order to thrive. Specifically, the firm helps publishers better tailor their curriculum for the marketplace and understand more clearly what users are looking for so they can hone in to meet customers’ needs. They publish a highly comprehensive Church Curricula Market Report every couple of years or so. The most recent study was published last year, with previous studies being published in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013 and 2015. 

With headquarters in Valencia, California, and field offices along California’s central coast and on the East Coast near Boston, Campbell Rinker has the reach to provide personalized service to its clients. The firm is a member of the prestigious Council of American Survey Research Organizations and the Market Research Association, and is one of a select few research groups in the United States that specialize in marketing research for nonprofits. 

After Dirk Rinker was named president in 2003, Campbell Rinker began assisting not only nonprofits but also firms that serve nonprofits, such as software publishers, nonprofit consultancies, associations, government entities, and tourism bureaus. Having aided hundreds of well-known nonprofits, Campbell Rinker is poised to launch online research services dedicated to advancing the practice of donor relations.  

ResearchRyan Frank