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A Guide to Donor Surveys

Have you ever wondered what you could do to connect better with your donors? Send them a survey! Surveys are a great way to engage with your donors and allow you the opportunity to enhance the connection between your donors and your organization.

A well-crafted donor survey can help you learn about your donors and help your donors communicate why they support you. Here are five strategies for creating an effective survey.

Survey Set-Up

Keep the survey short. A donor survey should include a minimum of five questions and a maximum of nine questions. It is important to make the last question open-ended, which will allow donors to go into more detail on their overall thoughts. Additionally, use questions that flow and build on each other to encourage your donors to complete the survey.

Branding should be consistent throughout the survey. Use good contrast between your background and text color so that the text is readable. Use a logo that represents your organization and that includes your organization’s name. Also, remember to include your name and contact information. This will make it clear to the donor who is communicating with them and requesting their feedback.

Provide donors without access to a computer or mobile devices a print version of the survey, which can be mailed or provided in person. Lastly, share the survey by email and social media to increase responses.

Survey Segmentation

Segment your surveys to narrow down the audience and specify the questions for that group. Here are some ways to segment your survey recipients:

- Loyal donors
- New prospects
- Volunteers
- Age
- Geographic location
- Graduation year
- Gift type and amount

Survey Time and Date

Consider the date and time that the survey will be sent. Keep in mind other media that you are using to communicate with donors. You may want to stagger your communications so there is not too much information going out simultaneously. Consider when is typically a good time during the day to send a communication such as a survey to your supporters. For example, if you send your survey in the evening, the donor will likely see the survey in their inbox first thing in the morning.

Survey Response

How do you get the donor to open the email? Have a catchy subject line that is inviting and that encourages opening the survey. In the email message include statements that convey impact and sincerity such as: “Thank you for caring,” “Please share your opinion”, “Take five minutes to give us feedback” and “Your opinion makes a difference.” These are a few examples of email subject lines you may consider. These types of statements will encourage your donor to respond.

Survey Follow-Up

Prepare to follow up on survey responses. The last question should be an open-ended question, which opens the door for you to connect with the donor by email or phone call. This will allow you to thank the donor for completing the survey. You should respond to the donor’s comments in the open-ended reply, remembering all of your responses should be rooted in gratitude for their time.

Surveys are a gateway to building relationships and starting conversations between you and your donors. They are an essential resource that will provide you with the information needed to connect with your donors based on their interests, understand why they support you and help them achieve their goals through giving.

Kimi Reid

By Kimi Reid
Integrated Marketing Coordinator, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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