Beginners Guide to Donor Survey Questions

 
Sending out donor surveys is a very good way to get into the heads of your donors. Your donor survey questions will offer insight into why they give and the type of relationship they want to have with your organization. All of which is essential data to have in your CRM as you develop your marketing, fundraising and communications. 

Surveys are a great way to plan better events and activities by asking donors about their logistical preferences. Using a mix of demographics and survey questions, you may be able to increase your bottom line by offering more accurate messaging. 

Why Send Donor Surveys? 

Donor surveys will help you retain donors, keeping them engaged. Asking for their opinion and feedback shows you value them beyond their monetary gifts. Involving them in your organization's decision will keep them invested and build a stronger bond with your mission. Plus, there are tons of resources that help you create and send surveys at a little cost. 

In addition to making your donor feel good, surveys are extremely valuable to your data collection. If you're finding a lot of inconsistent information in your donor information, it may be time to send out a survey to fill in those gaps. Donor Engine is currently working on a feature to send donor surveys for more accessible data collection that will link directly back into their individual donor records, so make sure to stay tuned for that upgrade!

What Donor Survey Questions Should You Use? 

Start by setting a goal. You know your organization best, so try to create a survey that fills the most gaps in your database. Setting a goal will help you stay focused and cut out any unnecessary questions. Surveys can be specific to an event, activity or campaign, or focus on general questions about your donor's experience.  The direction you want to take is entirely up to you. 

Keep in mind your questionnaire shouldn't be too long. Your survey respondents are doing you a favour by offering their time, so focus only on asking questions you need. They should be direct, brief, friendly, transparent, and very simple. 

Also, think carefully about the structure of your questions. Answers can be open-ended, multiple-choice, yes or no, or on a scale. When deciding what questions to ask, consider why and when you want to send out your questionnaire. Use the examples below as a starting point: 

New Donor Survey

Use this type of survey as part of your welcome kit to get to know your donors. These questions may seem obvious but can be a massive help in creating your donor retention strategy. In addition to collecting their primary data (like age, birthday, address, email, etc.) you can ask: 
  • Why did you choose to support us?
  • What specific causes are you most interested in?
  • Did you run into any problems while donating?

Inactive Donor Survey

Re-engage with your donors who have stopped giving by directly asking why? You can start by making an appeal and use the following questions: 
  • What would encourage you to renew your support?
  • What areas can we improve on?
  • Were there any issues or things you dislike about our nonprofit?

Active Donor Survey

Questions for active donors should focus on finding areas you can work on when it comes to donor engagement. Ask questions that help you know your donors better and focus on their pain points to improve their overall experience. Sample questions can be: 
  • How would you rate our donation updates?
  • What did you like or dislike about our recent fundraiser?
  • How likely are you to tell others about our charity?

Post donation survey

Consider a post-donation survey following a fundraising campaign. Feedback will provide insight that can help improve your marketing, donation and awareness plans. After a big campaign or event, ask your donors if they are willing to give some quick feedback on the following: 
  • How do you prefer to donate? What inspires you to give?
  • Rate the impact you think your donation makes?
  • What other charities do you like to support?
  • How would you like to be updated about future donation drives?

Post-Event Donor Survey

Your event's success will depend on a few different things: the amount of money raised and whether you met your goals and your donor experience. Send a survey 2-3 days after an event asking:
  • How would you rate the event on a scale of 1-10?
  • What about the event would you have changed?
  • What did you like about the event?
  • How would you prefer to be informed about future events?

Year-end Donor Survey

Year-end surveys are the best time to evaluate your nonprofit's overall success. Use targeted questions based on the donor's participation throughout the year. You can ask questions such as:
  • Which of our campaigns did you like the most? Disliked?
  • How did you hear about our campaigns? 
  • How would you rate your current relationship with our organization?
  • How can we improve next year? What can we do differently?
  • What do you like most about our nonprofit? What should we continue with next year? 

Donor Survey Tips

  • Remember to segment your donors! These will help you collect the most authentic feedback and only send surveys to those who need it. 
  • Always remember to record your results in your donor management system for safekeeping, follow up and research.
  • Edit and test your surveys with the help of a friend or colleague. 
  • Ask nicely and consider offering a small gift in return like a gift card, e-book or merch. 

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