DirectionFinder® (Resident Satisfaction Survey)

Do You Know…

What residents in your community think of the service you provide today?
What new services residents will expect you to provide tomorrow?
Whether voters think your community is headed in the right direction?


  • Clearly defined priorities
  • Objective performance evaluation and benchmarks
  • Meaningful citizen involvement
  • Increased funding
  • Better programs
  • Stronger support from community leaders and residents

What is DirectionFinder?

DirectionFinder is a comprehensive, public opinion survey instrument developed by ETC Institute to meet the unique information and budget needs of city and county governments.

How was DirectionFinder developed?

For more than 30 years, ETC Institute has worked with local governments nationwide to gather statistically valid and representative input from residents on a wide variety of issues and topics. We have administered citizen surveys on a regular basis on a broad range of community issues to help community leaders make informed decisions.

In doing so, we have developed a vast library of standardized questions and survey instruments that get high levels of response and the kinds of information decision-makers need. With DirectionFinder, we have created an off-the-shelf resource that lets city and county leaders measure the impact of virtually any service they provide.

Through these ready-made public opinion surveys, you can get the kind of information you need to make your budget and programmatic decisions. And you can get these solid, real-world answers without the often considerable expense of customized surveys. And because we built DirectionFinder on a foundation of standardized questions, it means that you’ll get results that you can compare to those of other communities like yours nationwide.

Why should you use DirectionFinder?

You should use DirectionFinder if you want to:

Monitor performance consistently over time

DirectionFinder will show you whether the perceived quality of service delivery is improving or declining in your community. It also provides you with a benchmark that allows you to compare your community’s performance to others.

Objectively measure and evaluate the impact of specific programs
DirectionFinder gives you the tool to determine how successful a program is in the eyes of residents.

Prioritize resources
DirectionFinder provides the means to reach out to community members whose opinions might not otherwise be heard. It lets city leaders know what voters who do not come to public hearings or actively participate in local government think about local issues.

Save Dollars
DirectionFinder allows cities to gather statistically valid input from residents at a significantly reduced cost; standardizing the survey questions greatly reduces the professional costs associated with the design and administration of the survey.

What will you get with DirectionFinder?

The basic DirectionFinder will:
Objectively measure the overall attitudes of your residents in the following 14 major categories:

Code Enforcement _______ Rates and Fees
Economic Development Community Image
Quality of Life Water Services
Housing Communication
Stormwater Parks and Recreation
Customer Service Transportation
Maintenance Public Safety


– Help you assess your community’s overall performance in each of these categories.

– Identify the relative importance that your residents place on each of these categories.

– Tell you how satisfied your residents are with the facilities you provide, such as streets, parks, sidewalks, lighting, etc.

– Assess the value your residents think they receive for their local tax dollars.

What if you need more information?

ETC Institute has designed optional sets of questions that can be added to the Basic DirectionFinder to help you get more information about specific issues in any of the categories. In addition, if you have an issue that is unique to your community, ETC Institute will work with you to design questions that are tailored to your needs.

When you subscribe to DirectionFinder
we’ll work together as follows:

  • A representative from your organization contacts ETC Institute to participate.
  • ETC Institute works with you to determine the best sample size for your community based on population and the amount of subanalysis desired.
  • You decide whether you want to have any of the optional sets of questions asked in addition to the core set of questions.
  • ETC Institute works with you to ensure the survey is tailored to specific issues in your community.
  • ETC Institute administers the survey when you would like it to be administered.
  • ETC Institute provides your community with results of the survey by a mutually agreed upon date. Although the normal time frame for administering and reporting the results on their survey takes about 4-6 weeks, communities can place a priority request on their survey and have the results in less than 14 days for a slight increase in fee.

If desired, ETC Institute will provide your organization with a formal presentation showing how your performance compares to other communities of your size at the regional and national level.