Creating an Effective Fundraising Questionnaire

Preparing Your Fundraising Questionnaire

Whether you're surveying your entire database or a select group, you can ask good questions that help improve your fundraising efforts. For example, you might ask what positive difference a donor would like to see their gift make.

These types of surveys are statistically rigorous and carefully choose which donors to poll. They usually have mostly closed questions with only a few open ones.

1. Identify Your Audience

Most nonprofits have multiple audiences that they want to reach with their fundraising efforts. This could include donors, volunteers, advocates, event attendees, clients served by your program, and more. It is okay to have more than one goal, and it is certainly possible to have multiple target audiences (though twelve different audience personas is a recipe for unclear priorities and confusing results).

When you create a fundraising questionnaire, consider what you would like to learn about your audiences and how that information will help you accomplish your goals. For example, if your goal is to build up your peer-to-peer fundraising program and your current audience is primarily baby boomers and matures, you may need to target a younger demographic more comfortable with text advocacy campaigns. With a carefully selected list of questions, surveys are an effective way to ask your audience what they think and to remove the barriers between them and your organization. In addition, asking their opinions shows that you care about them and are invested in improving your services.

2. Determine Your Goals

When preparing for your fundraising questionnaire, you’ll want to have specific goals in mind. Setting a top-line revenue target is always a good idea, but it’s even more important to select a few key strategic focus areas you want to improve and set objectives for these.

Having these in place will help you determine how to structure your campaign. It’s also helpful to establish a timeline to keep your team on track.

For example, if one of your goals is to acquire 300 new donors by the end of your campaign, you’ll want to track this KPI throughout the process and communicate it to your team in real-time using a professional-grade donor management or CRM platform. With these metrics and data insights at your fingertips, you can spend more time strengthening your nonprofit’s relationships with supporters and reaching your fundraising goals.

3. Create Your Questions

There are several different types of questions to ask in a donor survey. Depending on your goals, you may want to focus on asking about programs, communications, or overall engagement. You may also want to use open-ended questions — these are the type of questions that allow the donor to answer in their own words (e.g. “What makes you feel most connected to our cause?”).

For example, you might ask how they would implement a new monthly giving program. You might also ask if they had any other suggestions for improving your communication strategies or events.

These kinds of questions will help you determine the fundraiser’s ability to create fundraising strategies and build relationships with donors. It will also show you how well they understand and use the various tools that are available to them in their job. Ultimately, these skills will help them succeed in their fundraising roles. Ideally, you should include one or two open-ended questions in your survey to ensure that you get rich and valuable data.

4. Design Your Questionnaire

It’s important to build a survey into your event planning process so that you have the ability to gather feedback from participants after your fundraising events. This information can be helpful in determining what your audience enjoys or dislikes about your fundraising activities, what their motivations are for contributing to your cause and how they prefer to communicate with you.

One type of questionnaire is a donor satisfaction survey that focuses on what people like about your charity and the experience of giving to it. This type of survey is statistically rigorous, carefully selecting donors to participate and constructing questions in a way that minimizes bias.

Another type of questionnaire is the Supporter Connection Survey, which aims to understand how people connect with a charity and its mission. This type of questionnaire is less statistically rigorous than a donation satisfaction survey but still yields valid opinion data. Encourage respondents to complete the survey by including a countdown to when it will close in follow-up emails and social posts, and offering incentives like branded swag or raffle tickets to future fundraising events.

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