What’s In It for My Congregation? 3 Reasons to Participate in the URJ Pulse+ Survey

July 12, 2022Gila Hadani

By now, we hope that you have heard about the URJ Pulse+ Survey that will be launching on July 18, when all URJ congregation presidents, senior and solo rabbis, and executive directors will receive an email inviting the congregation to participate.

Being part of a network of URJ congregations allows us to use the power of data in ways that we cannot if we are on our own. By participating in the Pulse+ survey, you can take advantage of the URJ network. Every congregation can add to our collective strength by sharing its data in this confidential survey.

Here are three reasons why participating in the URJ Pulse+ Survey will be a worthwhile experience:

  1. Knowledge is power: Knowing your congregation’s own situation is vital and understanding it in the context of similar congregations is even more powerful. The URJ will analyze your data and present it in comparison to like congregations that are similar in size, geography, and demographics. Having this information can help you understand your situation more deeply and can be a powerful catalyst for change and growth.

    We saw this first-hand in the wake of months of shutdowns in 2020. Enrollment numbers of K-7 students were down significantly, and congregations were experiencing this in isolation. However, when we conducted the first Pulse survey, congregations saw that they were not alone, and that decreased enrollment was not an isolated situation.

    While no congregation was happy about this situation, understanding this in the larger context was validating. This commonality also opened a dialogue among congregations who shared ideas and strategies. The URJ was honored to convene those meetings and facilitate those networks. It also led to our partnership with Shalom LinkED to provide an online option for children’s education. We anticipate that the URJ Pulse+ Survey will offer similar insights.


  1. The analysis you will receive from Pulse+ is the analysis you’ve been looking for. When you are looking at your own plans and budgets, you are likely wondering how congregations like yours are faring. The Pulse+ survey will provide answers in areas such as membership trends, fundraising, security, financial sustainability, governance, and staffing through comparative data.


  1. Change is possible: Having data is a catalyst for change and we have seen how this information helps create shifts. When a congregation saw that their clergy and programming staff were spending too much time doing administrative work and not enough time with congregants, they made an intentional effort to streamline processes, reallocate workloads, and maximize time working in alignment with the congregation’s mission, vision, and values.

Many congregations have chosen to get more information from additional tools – (a congregant survey and a qualitative board self-assessment). They may choose to run a listening campaign at the synagogue with different groups of people to understand what their members are thinking, feeling, and seeking. Whatever the case, moving the congregation forward is a necessity and is doable. Having a more holistic picture of the congregation is essential, and the URJ Pulse+ Survey takes congregational leaders one step closer to that.

The Pulse+ survey expands on the success of the two Pulse Surveys the URJ ran in 2020 and 2021, with close to 300 congregations participating in each. It is designed so that you can fill out as many of the sections as you would like. You will receive analyzed information for the sections you fill out about your congregation, and we can bring together congregations of similar demographics for group consultations so we can discuss the results.

So, on July 18, when congregations receive their personalized email with login information to access the URJ Pulse+ Survey, unlock the power of data to make forward-thinking decisions, change, and growth in your congregation.

The URJ Pulse+ Survey will launch on July 18 and will close on September 1, 2022. If you are interested in participating in this exciting initiative, you can get an extra reminder by completing this Expression of Interest Form.

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