Donor Surveys to Help Your Fundraising Efforts

Today we’re talking about ways to use both formal and informal surveys to help grow your fundraising program

Just in case you prefer to read, here’s the transcript:

Hi – this is Kirsten Bullock again of Bullock Consulting. Most people love to offer an opinion – especially if they know your request is genuine and would be helpful. In this video I’ll be covering some information about using surveys – including their purpose, what to include and a word of caution.

First, the purpose. While there are many, there are two that I’ll focus on. The first is, fairly obviously, to listen. This is your chance to get feedback from people that will help you better communicate with your audience.

The second purpose, and one that is often overlooked, is to set the stage for things to come. You’ll have the chance to introduce new ideas that you’re thinking about and get their feedback. But by simply bringing up a potential change, you’re giving your audience time to adjust before jumping into it.

So to accomplish this successfully, you’ll be asking questions. These could be yes/no questions, multiple choice, open-ended or rank in order of importance just to name a few.

Some specific questions I often include are:

  • What made you first get involved in this organization
  • What do you think we’re doing well?
  • What are we not doing so well?
  • Is there anything we’re missing?

And you’ll include some ideas – new things you’re thinking about trying or planning on trying so that you can get good feedback and also set the stage so that your supporters feel like they’ve been kept in the loop.

Now for the word of caution.

How people respond on a survey is sometimes different that what they really end up doing. Several years ago, Robert Putnam (author of Bowling Alone and Better Together) shared a story about asking people if they had been in church the prior weekend. Since it was a semi-controlled environment, they were able to track how many people were actually in church pews. It turned out that the number of people who reported being in church was a bit higher than the numbers of people who were actually in church.

There could be many reasons for this. I don’t think people are untruthful, it’s just sometimes that memory gets fuzzy. A second part of this is that people often respond with how they would like themselves to be rather than realistically assessing what they would do. So we just need to be cautious with how we interpret answers to a survey – as well as how we word the questions.

That’s it for today. Thanks for joining me and I’ll see you next time!

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