What’s the Real Deal with Surveys?

Stelter conducted its first ‘donor survey’ nearly 3 decades ago as a follow-up to our Art of Giving newsletter series. There’s no doubt that quite a bit has evolved in 30 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed? A donor’s ability, interest and need to provide feedback.

With modern digital tools, surveying your donor base (and easily navigating the results) is not nearly as complicated or overwhelming as it once was. Even print surveys can still be effective and fairly simple to execute using digital dashboards.

After the results are tallied, the question always is: Now what?

Two things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t undertake a survey if you are not ready and willing to address those results that clearly call for action or change
  • Communicate the survey results to your donors, staff and influencers, even if the data might be uncomfortable or don’t reveal much. In other words: disclose the good, the bad and the boring.

Why? Credibility.

It shows your nonprofit is secure and strong enough to deal with reality, whether good, bad or indifferent. It also demonstrates to respondents that they were heard and can make a difference. Not only will they be more likely to take part in the next survey, they may increase their involvement with your organization in other ways.

As for the action part, keep in mind you don’t have to take action right away (unless there is a hair-on-fire emergency). You can tell your audience you heard them and will assemble a team or a plan to address their concerns. No matter what, action counts, but make it action you can manage.

Constituent surveys can be valuable to the growth and success of your nonprofit…as long as you pay attention to results and respond.

Has your organization sent out a survey as part of your donor communications program? What results did you see?

See how one Stelter client saw 20% response to their donor survey!

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