In a previous blog article, we discussed nonprofit year-end fundraising in the age of COVID-19. The only thing we can predict about the rest of the year is that it will be unpredictable!
One way to overcome the uncertainty created by the coronavirus is to use surveys to seek feedback from your donors. In business, customers are the most valuable yet underutilized source of marketing insights. In the nonprofit community, donors are the most valuable yet underutilized source of fundraising insights!
In addition to one-on-one conversations with major donors, surveys allow you to seek input and ideas from a much larger audience. Your donors are still spending a lot of time at home and are engaged online. Use this to your advantage.
What Surveys Can Tell You
Surveys can provide a wide range of insights into what donors are thinking and feeling, and what factors influence their support of your nonprofit.
Surveys can tell you:
- How donors have been affected by the pandemic.
- What types of events donors would be most likely to support.
- What they liked and didn’t like about previous events.
- Whether they plan to give more, less, or the same amount of money as last year.
- Why they plan to give that amount.
- What programs are most important to donors.
Surveys also make it possible to fill basic information gaps in your donor management software. For example, if you don’t have a donor’s date of birth, you can include this question in your survey so you can send the donor a birthday greeting and cultivate them for legacy giving. You can also discover, confirm, or update each donor’s communication preferences, whether phone, email, snail mail, or text.
Keys to a Successful Survey Strategy
As with any nonprofit year-end fundraising tactic, the first step is to identify the goal. What information do you need and for what purpose? How will this information help you make better fundraising decisions? What is the best way to obtain this information?
Regardless of the objective, lead with empathy. Show donors you care about them and value their feedback. Explain why you want their perspective and how that information will be used. Make sure they understand that responding thoughtfully to your survey is an opportunity to influence the direction of your nonprofit!
Test your approach to surveys. Do you receive higher response rates for long or short surveys? What days and times work best? For example, according to a HubSpot compilation of surveys, weekdays during a low-peak time period for professionals – early mornings, lunch, late afternoons, and evenings – are ideal because the survey doesn’t interfere with other activities.
What types of email headlines and social media posts perform best? Depending on its contents, consider posting the survey to your social media accounts to hear back from your followers. Although online surveys are the simplest and least expensive to execute and track, also consider making surveys part of direct mail campaigns and phone outreach. Take advantage of every opportunity to gather information from your donors.
Finally, use your donor management software! Develop your questions with defined data fields in mind and put these on an online form. The online form will then seamlessly pull survey answers back into your database. Word your questions clearly and use closed-ended optionswith specific choices – multiple choice, “yes” or “no,” rating scale of 1-5, etc. The simpler, the
better. People are more likely to complete a survey that takes less time.
Want to find out how Eleo donor management software can help you take full advantage of surveys to support your nonprofit year-end fundraising strategy? Contact us for a demo today!