3 Keys to Successful Surveys

August 1. 2023

Maryfrances Porter

Getting enough responses to a survey is definitely challenging! I haven’t met any nonprofit without questions about how to maximize response rates. And it’s hard! Even I am worn out by the constant request for surveys these days.


So Why Survey?

Surveys are critical for nonprofits to make informed decisions about improving service delivery.

Surveys are an important equity tool: people who cannot vote with their wallets or their feet need a way of providing feedback to service providers so their needs and preferences can be met.

Funders and nonprofits use survey data to ensure steps are being made toward social change – because that’s ultimately why we are working in this sector.


3 Keys to Successful Surveys

There are lots of creative and effective ways to ensure high numbers of survey responses. Here are the three most important:

1.  Keep your surveys and sentences short. Keep them laser focused on impact.  Even if they love you, no one wants to have to pause and think – make it so they can click and go. Honestly, I’d even shorted the question in the photo to: “Was it easy to find your gate today?”

2.  Don’t let clients leave your office until the survey is completed. Once they walk away, your chance of getting that data drops to nearly zero.  Even when I do long-term consultation, I always come up short if I send a survey out “later.”

3.  If it is impractical to get the survey at the very end of services, give the survey BEFORE then the very end. When working with a regional Legal Aid program, I suggested they give their survey while waiting for the court appearance. I’d even argue that they might even get a more accurate sense of client’s satisfaction with services if they haven’t won or lost the case yet.

There are approximately a zillion more simple things you can do to boost response rates, improve the quality of your data, and ensure you are collecting data you can turn into action.


Learn more in the ImpactStory Academy!

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: July 29th, 2023Categories: Blog - Smart SurveysComments Off on 3 Keys to Successful Surveys