A Guide to Donor Surveys

Good ways to get to know your donors and keep them

We see non-profit organizations spend a lot of time speculating about why donors choose to make donations. But rather than spending time assuming what your donors think, try asking them. Donor surveys are the perfect way to learn more about your donors, their connection to your organization, and what inspires them. 

The best part? Asking donors what they think is a very effective way to retain them. (It doesn’t get any more win-win than this). 

We checked out dozens of articles to create this guide to help you create the best donor survey.

Keep it Simple and Friendly

Remember that the goal of your donor survey is to connect with your donors, not necessarily to conduct scientific research so you don’t need to be overly formal with it. We like tips one and two from this Keela article on setting your goals and tone of voice to best engage your audience.

Ask Different Donors Different Questions

One size does not fit all so think about your donor segments when designing survey questions. This CallHub article lists and explains different examples of donor survey types and the common questions included in them. 

Use Multiple Question Formats

The “Survey Design and Implementation” section of this Nonprofit Quarterly article goes over important structuring elements, like multiple choice vs. open-ended questions to help guide your survey creation.

Sample Survey Questions 

We think the most important question you can ask your donors is some version of “why did you choose to give to us?” The lovely folks at Neon One shared seven donor survey questions in this helpful article.  

Timing is Everything

From surveying donors right after they give, right after an event, or annually, there are lots of wonderful opportunities to gather donors’ opinions. This article from Qgiv gives examples of common scenarios of the best times to send out surveys and why.  

Get a Great Response to Your Donor Survey

After putting so much research and time into creating the perfect donor survey, the last thing you need is to be disheartened by low response rates. The “How to Motivate Donor Survey Response” section of this Proactive Content article lists five great different ways for your organization to incentivize survey responses.