2 Foolproof Ways to Increase Survey Response Rates

It’s not magic!

September 26. 2023

Maryfrances Porter

Whenever I speak, survey development is BY FAR the most popular topic. I often go through a toolkit of questions, rules for writing questions, response scales and more. And, even once people know how to write their questions they still need to know how to make surveying successful.

Here are two foolproof strategies for ensuring the most people respond to your survey.

Foolproof Strategy #1

Wait for it… … … A survey introduction! Wait, what?!? Yes, that’s right.

Telling people why you are asking them questions, how long it will take, and what will be done with the results increases people’s trust in you, their motivation to help, and their general understanding about why this is worth 2 minutes of their time.

Here’s an example of a good survey introduction:

Resume Writing Workshop Survey

We are so glad you were part of our workshop!

Please take 2 minutes to give us your feedback.

Your feedback helps us improve the workshop, and it helps us raise money to keep it going.

We are not asking for your name, and nothing bad will happen to you if do not complete the survey. We also never report any one person’s answers; we only talk about results for the group.

Please ask your training leader if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Foolproof Strategy #2

Your nonprofit is providing specific services to specific people for a limited amount of time. Your nonprofit is responsible for making sure your clients are able to receive and take advantage of everything you offer.

They may gain things like a getting driver’s license, completing a business plan, learning about budgeting, engaging with art, gaining soft skills, feeling less depressed, a full belly, etc.

Don’t let them leave your office or meeting before they answer your survey!
Once your clients leave your office your chances of getting a survey back drop substantially. Even if you need to have them

answer the survey before your services are technically completed, go ahead and ask then!

Nowadays with video meetings being so proliferate, I’ve found that if you leave five minutes at the end and ask people to complete a survey they often just logged off early. The answer – stop 15 minutes before the end of the presentation and have them complete the survey – THEN complete the presentation. Less than ideal, but it’s much better than not getting any feedback!

I hope this is helpful!   Good luck out there!


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Partnerships for Strategic Impact®

At Partnerships for Strategic Impact®, I have all the tools to build out the structures and strategies you need for collecting actionable impact data; I train staff in how to use them, analyze data, and make action steps for change; I teach you to tell powerful impact stories. My goal is your sustainability: I provide just the right amount of coaching and ongoing support to ensure success.

This is within reach. It’s not harder than managing your budget. Plus, you, your funders, and the people you serve deserve to know more about the value your organization delivers.

If you’re reading this, then you’re already part of my network. Schedule some time on my calendar. There’s no sales pitch and no obligation. Just curiosity and answering your questions.  I am the seasoned program-evaluation, program-development, data-storytelling consultants you need, right in your back pocket. I am here to bring order to the process of figuring out how to track and use your impact story.

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach


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By Published On: September 24th, 2023Categories: Blog - Smart SurveysComments Off on 2 Foolproof Ways to Increase Survey Response Rates (and it’s not magic!)